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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77 views

If I were to change the definition of refractive index [closed]

We know that the Refractive Index is just a number that gives an idea of how much velocity of light decreases in comparison to vacuum. So, it makes sense to define a variable, n as: n=c/v where v ...
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7answers
95 views

Why is work equal to force times displacement?

This is how I think of what work is.I am sure I am wrong somewhere because I shouldn't be coming to the conclusion that I am coming to.It would be helpful if you would point out where this conceptual ...
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2answers
101 views

Diffeomorphic but physically inequivalent spacetimes

In the last few years there has been a considerable endeavor in understanding the asymptotic symmetries of quantum gravity on Minkowski Spacetime. This has been tied to a study of the BMS group that ...
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4answers
107 views

Why the need for defining the velocity as a derivative? [closed]

Something intuitive and fundamental as the concept of velocity (of a particle for example) in classical physics is defined as a derivative, a concept to me quite vague and strange, although i know its ...
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1answer
31 views

What is meant by homogeneous in $x$ in $n$'th degree?

I'm reading about classical mechanics by Goldstein, and in the section about Hamiltonian mechanics it is stated that in the expression: $$H(q,p,t)=\dot{q}_ip_i-L(q,\dot{q}, t)$$ the Lagrangian ...
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1answer
47 views

What is a quantum system?

I heard that a wavefunction applies to a quantum system. But what is a quantum system? I am new to quantum mechanics, sorry for asking a basic question.
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6answers
56 views

Standard Definition of speed of light and metre

The speed of light is the speed at which lightwaves propagate through different materials. In particular, the value for the speed of light in a vacuum is now defined as exactly 299,792,458 metres per ...
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1answer
44 views

The difference between exact solution and analytic solution

My mother tongue is not English so I am confused with the difference between exact solution and analytic solution. Are these the same?
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1answer
33 views

What is a free parameter?

Soft question here, but I was wondering just what exactly free parameters are? I have a murky understanding on the concept but I would much appreciate someone shedding some light on the matter. Is ...
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1answer
75 views

Transformation of metric by diffeomorphism: pushforward or pullback?

Let $(M,g)$ be a smooth manifold with a metric tensor of signature $(p,q)$. The signature isn't really important for this question so we leave it general. If $\Phi : M\to M$ is a diffeomorphism we ...
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1answer
81 views

What is the true quantitative definition of “force”? [duplicate]

Newton's second Law of Motion states that for a point mass, $\vec F = m \vec a$. This is a law and not a definition. So, this law only makes sense if all the physical quantities appearing in this law ...
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2answers
50 views

Fermat's Principle: no first-order change in time?

I was reading the chapter on Fermat's principle in the Feynman lecture series. The principle is stated along these lines: "The correct statement is the following: a ray going in a certain ...
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0answers
20 views

What is recessional nonlocality?

In laymen’s terms, what is recessional nonlocality? I understand recessional means to recede or retract away, and (correct me if I’m wrong) I understand locality has something to do with quantum ...
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1answer
41 views

How does flavor change in weak interaction works with $Z$ and $W^{\pm,0}$?

How does flavor change in weak interaction works with $Z$ and $W^{\pm,0}$? I'm completely confused of how could weak interaction just "approximately" conserve the flavor, but $u,d,s,c$ could be just ...
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3answers
1k views

When exactly is a dimension spatial?

I every so often hear claims like: M-Theory predicts that there are 10 spatial dimensions! Now I'm not really sure what these claims mean. There are three spatial dimensions that I normally ...
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2answers
139 views

How could 'rest mass' and 'invariant mass' be the same?

The terms rest mass and invariant mass are often interchanged, however i cannot reconcile these concepts: Consider a photon ...
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1answer
40 views

What does the notation $\mathcal{O}\left(\frac{1}{r^2}\right)$ mean? [duplicate]

I was reading a text about quantum scattering, and I faced a notation I don't understand. The equation is the following: $$ \nabla \psi_{\text{scattered}} = \frac{i k f(\theta) e^{ikr}}{r} \mathbf{\...
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1answer
62 views

Conceptual definition of the $H$-field

I am looking for a conceptual definition or statement for H to help ground my understanding as I work through the math. I often see it explained that D and H are just the components of the fields ...
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2answers
67 views

Definition of fluid

What's fluid? The definition, I read isn't clear to me,it says, "A fluid is a substance which will yield to any continued shearing stress however small." But, what's shearing stress? What does ...
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4answers
650 views

What is the difference between a translation and a Galilean transformation?

What is the difference between a translation and a Galilean transformation?
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0answers
98 views

Is Fermi energy the same as chemical potential?

In all of the textbooks , the Fermi Energy was interpreted as the energy level below which all possible energy states are filled. However with a Fermi-Dirac type of distribution, which has asymptotes ...
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0answers
45 views

Holonomic basis

Is the following definition correct? Given a differentiable manifold $M$ and an ordered basis $\{e_j^m\}$ of the tangent space $T_m M$ with $m\in M$ (they are vectors and not vector fields). An ...
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0answers
31 views

Difference between resonance and the synchronization of coupled oscillator

I was reading about phase synchronization of coupled oscillator where the oscillators are synchronized by an applied field. Now the coupled oscillators are synchronized. So my question is that what is ...
2
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2answers
127 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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0answers
36 views

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
118 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
108 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
75 views

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
62 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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0answers
39 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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0answers
50 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
30 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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0answers
71 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 ...
2
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1answer
71 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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1answer
40 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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0answers
82 views

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
54 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
116 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
121 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
96 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
43 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
287 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
80 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
95 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 ...
5
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0answers
67 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
49 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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0answers
25 views

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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0answers
50 views

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
100 views

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
108 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." ...