Physical vocabulary in life

  Many of the vocabulary we are used to in life often evolve into another layer of meaning in physics. Understanding the different meanings of these words in life and physics helps us better understand the difficult physics.


  When a person says that he is not sure about something, the person may have little or no confidence in the upcoming event. But for scientists, the meaning of “uncertainty” may be just the opposite. When doing experiments, scientists must measure the values ​​of some physical quantities. In fact, even without human intervention, each measurement will have a certain degree of error, the experimental results will naturally shift the true value, and the uncertainty in physics refers to such an error. Only when scientists have determined the uncertainty by mathematical methods can they clearly understand the actual experimental results.

  When you mention the word signal, you may think of a traffic signal or a gesture. But in physics, signals refer to data obtained when scientists try to understand a physical process, such as proton decay or energy deposition of dark matter particles. In experiments like proton decay, the signal is very rare and weak, and scientists need to spend a lot of effort to reduce, eliminate, and understand the desired signal.

  When we listen to music, we are very annoyed by the presence of noise around us. Similarly, physicists don’t want to hear a bunch of noise when looking for a particular signal. Scientists can capture some useless data while capturing signals. These useless data (interference signals) are noise. It may come from the environment surrounding the experiment, such as the radioactive decay of everyday matter or the collision of cosmic rays with the atmosphere. In order for the experiment to be effective, the signal must be above the noise so that the scientist can detect it.


  If your home needs to buy new furniture, it is best to buy a damped, hinged hinge with a cushioning function that will slowly close the door. Damping is a characteristic in which any vibration system is vibrated, and the vibration amplitude gradually decreases due to the attenuation of the force or the dissipation of energy. Damping is important in physical systems. In a particle accelerator, the particles leave a trail similar to a boat that has crossed the surface of the water, making the passage of the next batch of particles difficult. The use of mechanical dampers reduces wakes and improves accelerator performance.

  The physicist uses the term rotation to describe an intrinsic property of a particle. However, the particles are not really rotating, and the spin of the particles really describes what the particles look like from different directions. A particle with a spin of 0 looks like a dot and looks the same from any direction. Particles with a spin of 1 are like an arrow and look different from different directions. Only when it turns a full circle (360°), the particles look the same.

Particle beam

  The English of the particle beam is Beam, which means beam and smile, but in physics, the term refers to a beam of particles produced by a particle accelerator, which can be composed of many different particles such as electrons, protons, and neutrons. . These dense particle streams can be artificially controlled, studied in physical experiments, or struck targets to produce other types of particle streams.

  For physicists, tunnels are not caves that are dug to make room for the road. In the field of physics quantum, quantum tunneling (tunneling) is a phenomenon in which a particle can pass through a barrier (such as energy limitation) that it usually cannot pass, because in the quantum domain, the behavior of things and the behavior of macroscopic things are completely different. For example, in a radioactive decay process, quantum tunneling occurs when a particle escapes from the nucleus.


  You might think that luminosity represents how much light an object emits. In astrophysics, it has the same meaning, referring to the energy emitted by a celestial body (such as a star) for a certain period of time. But luminosity also represents another meaning in the field of particle physics: it describes how many particles will pass through a certain point. For example, at the center of the particle collider, higher luminosity means more particle collisions.

  The essence refers to the most essential and excellent part of things, but you can also find it in the physics paper about the expansion of the universe. Scientists believe that dark energy promotes the expansion of the universe, but still does not know what dark energy is. The essence model is one of the theories that scientists interpret dark energy. According to the theory, an energy fluid called “Essence” fills the universe, and the essence varies with time and place. This dark energy changes intensity over time.

Length of life

  Usually the length of life refers to the life of a creature, but for a particle, its length depends on the time it takes to decay or convert to other (usually lighter) particles. Those particles that decay rapidly, whose life is less than one second, for example, the Higgs boson can only survive about 1.6 × 10-22 seconds. However, particles like protons are very long-lived, and scientists don’t know if it will decay. If not, then their lifespan may be longer than the history of the entire universe.