Questions tagged [definition]

The definition tag is used in situations where the question is either about how some term or concept is defined or where the validity of an answer depends on a subtle definition of some term or concept used in the question.

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53 views

Difference between left- and right-handed, helicity and chirality

What is the difference? I know there is the (almost) same question What's the difference between helicity and chirality? but when a particle is given as left-handed. Is it helicity or chirality?
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25 views

What do the terms “Frame specific work” and “Frame dependent work” mean? [on hold]

I was reading a paper published in A.J.Phy. American Journal of Physics 60, 356 (1992)[All About Work] by A. John Mallinckrodt and Harvey S. Leiff There I found this two terms but when tried to ...
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What is Wedge Constraint? (Definition)

What is Wedge Constraint? How can we apply it in the following problem? The block of mass $m$ slides on a wedge of mass $m$ which is free to move on the horizontal ground. Find the accelerations ...
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1answer
106 views

The invariance for time-reversal: some clarifications

On the Physics.SE I haven't found a simple definition of the invariance for time-reversal. Is it possible to have a simple explanation (also using differential equations) of the invariance for time-...
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1answer
65 views

What's the difference between canonical quantization and second quantization?

I am wondering the difference between the canonical quantization and the second quantization in quantum field theory. For example, a harmonic chain, one can write down its lagrangian density $\...
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2answers
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What does the term $\mathcal O(\epsilon^2)$ mean?

In the highest upvoted answer to Where does the $i$ come from in the Schrödinger equation? the author writes the following equation: $$ U^\dagger U=(\mathbb I+\epsilon^* A^\dagger)(\mathbb I+\...
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3answers
53 views

Is a rotating object moving or stationary?

Because it rotates in situ, its center of mass does not move, so it is static, but it is rotating, so it is not static, then is it static or moving?
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35 views

Rigorously define degrees of freedom

I want to understand if there is truly a rigorous definition for the degrees of freedom in a system. Say all of a system's physical states are contained in some set $S$. A seemingly acceptable (and I ...
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44 views

Mathematical formulation of the concept of temperature

We were taught the following. Consider three systems $A$, $B$ and $C$, which have exactly two independent variables each, $(X,Y)$, $(X’,Y’)$ and $(X’’,Y’’)$. Thermal equilibrium for $A$ and $B$ is ...
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1answer
23 views

Sensitivity to initial conditions and predictability

Are there examples of chaotic systems that are predictable and at the same time sensible to initial conditions? or would that violate the notion of sensibility to initial conditions? Lets imaginge A ...
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67 views

General definition of symmetry in physics?

I've looked at a number of questions on what symmetries are in physics, such as this one, this one and this one. However, I found the questions and answers to be not completely satisfying because they ...
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1answer
69 views

What is the most general conception/formalization of “energy”? [duplicate]

(disclaimer: I am not a physicist). I have been taught about the concept of energy in a fairly ad-hoc way. i.e. I was simply "told" that kinetic energy equals $\frac 1 2 m v^2$, and similarly I was ...
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52 views

What motivated Gibbs's definition of Gibbs entropy? [on hold]

What motivated Gibbs's definition of Gibbs entropy? I have read and I think that I agree with the idea that if we have to choose probability distribution for an unknown system then it is a good idea ...
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1answer
38 views

A doubt regarding Modelling physical phenomena and position uncertainty

For example, in velocity, when we say $v=\frac{dx}{dt}$, there is no proof for it. Its almost like an axiom. Something taken to be true, without a proof. How do I know that for every $x=f(t)$, $v=f'(t)...
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What is Rectangular Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM)?

While studying Simple Harmonic Motion and Lissajous figure, I found a term called Rectangular SHM. But what is it actually? Is it something like square wave? What is the difference between Linear and ...
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2answers
52 views

Soft X-rays and Hard X-rays

How to know how much of kilovolts are in soft X-rays, and in hard X-rays? (Ex: 80kV is in soft X-rays or hard X-rays?
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1answer
20 views

Specific total enthalpy VS Specific enthalpy

What is the difference between specific enthalpy and specific total enthalpy in the context of fluid flow?
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2answers
48 views

What is a mass moment?

I am currently reading through a document Finding Moments of Inertia from MIT, page 4, and I am a little confused as to one of the concepts that they use. In this document, there is mention of a mass ...
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0answers
95 views

A concise definition of a frame of reference in Newtonian mechanics?

I've read Wikipedia's entry on frame of reference and also followed all of the references cited in the text (Salençon, Brillouin, Norton, etc) but I'm struggling to find any concise definition in all ...
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1answer
37 views

Definition of non-conservative force [duplicate]

In defining conservative force, we say that "The potential energy difference is path independent." However, as far as I understand, potential energy only exists when there is a force field. ...
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3answers
274 views

Equivalent definitions of total angular momentum

Consider the equality \begin{equation}\exp\left(-\frac{i}{\hbar}\boldsymbol{\phi J}\right)\left|x\right>=\left|R(\phi)x\right>,\end{equation} where $\left|x\right>$ denotes a position ...
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2answers
77 views

Definition of “specific gravity”

I've learnt that a specific quantity is an extensive quantity divided by the mass. How does the definition of specific gravity fit into this scheme?
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3answers
86 views

WHY did physicist defined velocity as displacement divided by time, why not displacement * time? [closed]

V=S/T. As per my knowledge i think ratio as division and it don't give any meaning like this much displacement in this much time. So i think physicists only used division as notion for velocity. But ...
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65 views

Physicist path integral and cylinder set measures

Path integral via discretization So let me start with what seems to be the point of view of physicists (corrections are highly appreciated since this is what I understood!). Let a quantum system with ...
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0answers
42 views

Off-shell vs half off-shell vs fully off-shell $T$-matrix

I know what are on-shell particles, but I want to know what are off-shell, and half off-shell, and fully off-shell states? and how we decide to consider one of these states in evaluating $T$-Matrix?
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Physics Equivalent of IUPAC Gold Book

I wanted to look up a few definitions and found them to vary from source to source so I wondered if there was a book such as IUPAC Gold Book in Chemistry which formally lists and defines almost all ...
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Why definition of potential energy and law of conservation of mechanical energy is misleading several times?

I regularly see 1 or 2 questions on this website about the definition or application of potential energy.The users fundamentally ask the same thing in every question. What I have learned till now is:-...
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1answer
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Is four velocity always given by $U^{\mu} = d x^{\mu}/d\tau$?

I was taught that four-velocity is defined as $${\bf U} = \frac{d \bf x}{d\tau}$$ and that it has the components $$U^{\mu} = \frac{d x^{\mu}}{d\tau}$$ where $d\bf x$ is the four displacement and $\...
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3answers
105 views

Is there a better definition of magnetic field than this?

It may seem a trivial question but the definition of the magnetic field in everyday books is misleading. "It is the region or area around a magnetic material in which its magnetic force can be felt." ...
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2answers
57 views

What is irrotational flow? How to judge?

For example, when the wing moves horizontally, the direction of fluid flow changes first to upward at the leading edge of the wing and then to downward at the trailing edge. Does it rotate? If the ...
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1answer
36 views

What is a pseudopure state?

In the paper titled "Experimental Implementation of the Quantum Baker’s Map" by Weinstein et al. (Phys. Rev. Let. 89 (2002)), the author says something like [...] the pseudopure state corresponding ...
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3answers
184 views

How can I explain what a kilogram is using Planck's constant? [duplicate]

I want to understand what 1 kg represents. For example: I know that 1 second is equal to $9\ 192\ 631\ 770$ transitions from the microwave radiation that a cesium-133 atom (at $0$K) emits, if it's ...
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2answers
91 views

What is a Hamiltonian of a System?

What is a Hamiltonian of a System? When learning about Hamiltonian for first time it is an object introduced as Legendre Dual Transform of Lagrangian of the same system. And we learn further that it ...
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3answers
77 views

How do I understand Kinetic energy formula? [duplicate]

$$\frac{mv^2}{2}= Kinetic Energy$$ Can you explain me? What is purpose of $v^2$, $mv^2$, I am trying to understand the formula.
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1answer
36 views

Klein-Gordon equation propagators: intersection with the support of the source

Let $(M,g)$ be a globally hyperbolic. Let $P = \Box - m^2$ be the Klein-Gordon differential operator. Following Fewster's notes, we may define the retarded/advanced propagators $$E^\pm : C^\infty_0(M)\...
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2answers
116 views

How does one obtain $\hbar$ as $\frac{h}{2\pi}$?

I'm reading Dirac's Principles of Quantum Mechanics. He defines $\hbar$ to be the real number satisfying the following relation $$ uv - vu = i\hbar[u,v]$$ where $u$ and $v$ are dynamical variables, ...
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1answer
70 views

What do you mean by Newtonian space? [closed]

What do you mean by Newtonian space? When you see this question, most of you might be thinking that I am trying to crack a joke or something..but no. This was a genuine doubt which one of my friends ...
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2answers
76 views

In which sense equations of motion are covariant?

I read lots questions about what covariance is and I found out that, according to this topic Lorentz invariance of the Minkowski metric, we say an object is covariant if it doesn't take the same value ...
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1answer
53 views

What are quasi-regular singularities?

The book EXACT SPACE-TIMESIN EINSTEIN’SGENERAL RELATIVITY by Podolsky and Griffiths has a section on Taub-Nut space-time metrics and there is defines the singularity made in the Taub metric as quasi-...
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2answers
3k views

Why is the length of the Kelvin unit of temperature equal to that of the Celsius unit? [duplicate]

The Celsius unit is arbitrarily defined, based on the boiling and freezing point of water. Is it a coincidence, then, that the SI unit of temperature Kelvin, which is used in all natural equations, ...
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4answers
144 views

Does energy exist, or is it just a relationship between other fundamental things?

Could anyone tell me what energy really is? I searched for it, and some people said that energy doesn't exist physically and it is not fundamental, but it is a relationship between other fundamental ...
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3answers
71 views

How do we define “mass” in the context of particle physics and relativity?

In laypersons terminology, mass is defined as the amount of matter. However, consider the following: The $W$ and $Z$ bosons have mass. An antiparticle has the same mass as its corresponding particle. ...
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1answer
89 views

How can tempered distributions be paths?

I'm reading the Appendix A of Glimm and Jaffe book "Quantum Physics: a functional integral point of view", and there is something that I'm missing In section A.4 the authors talk in a very general ...
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53 views

Scattering amplitudes vs correlators

What are the practical differences between correlators and scattering amplitudes in quantum field theory? On a very practical level: scattering amplitudes describe the evolution of an IN state into ...
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1answer
63 views

Questions about an inertial frame

Can someone explain to me what I put in bold? Inertial frame definition: When the coordinate axes are stationary with respect to the mean position of the "fixed" stars or if they move with uniform ...
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1answer
45 views

Is this understanding of potential energy correct?

I am studying basic mechanics and have reached the chapter on potential energy. However I am a bit confused about the difference between potential energy and the formula for the potential energy due ...
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1answer
45 views

Discretization of path integral and linear interpolations

Consider the evaluation by discretization of the path integral $$\int e^{iS[x(t)]}\mathfrak{D}x(t),\quad S[x(t)]=\int_{t}^{t'}\left[\frac{m}{2}\dot{x}(\tau)^2-V(x(\tau))\right]d\tau.$$ One ...
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Inertial frame definition in Rindler Introduction to STR vs Landau' & Lifshitz Mechanics

Juxtaposing Rindler's Introduction to STR (page 7) vs Landau's Mechanics (page 5) inertial frame definition,I get that rindler assumes frame moving uniformly w.r.t inertial frame as an inertial frame ...
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1answer
63 views

Exact meaning of 'degree'

I wish to know if there is an exact meaning of degree in physics/math/chemistry. It is used in many cases and it is not clear to me which requirements must have an unit of measurements for carrying ...
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22 views

Question reg. reasoning of deterministic reversible cyclical laws - The Theoretical Minimum

I recently started reading "The Theoretical Minimum: What you need to know to start doing Physics". In the first chapter, the authors define the "Minus-First law", and state that reversible ".. laws ...