Talk Like a Physicist Day

Today’s the day! I’m all over this one. Talk like a physicist

If anyone needs some pointers:

Use “canonical” when you mean “usual” or “standard.” As in, “the canonical example of talking like a physicist is to use the word ‘canonical.'”

Use “orthogonal” to refer to things that are mutually-exclusive or can’t coincide. “We keep playing phone tag — I think our schedules must be orthogonal”

“About” becomes “to a first-order approximation”

Things are not difficult, they are “non-trivial”

Large discrepancies are “orders of magnitude apart”

Refer to coordinates and coordinate systems. “I got shafted” becomes “I took one up the z-axis”

Any actual personal experience becomes “empirical data.” i.e. a burn on your hand is empirical data that the stove is hot.

You’re not being lazy, you are in your ground state.

A semi-educated guess is an extrapolation

You aren’t ignoring details, you are taking the ideal case

A tiny amount is “vanishingly small” or “negligible.” Really small is “infinitesimal”

You aren’t overweight, you are thermodynamically efficient

Stuck in a meeting is “trapped in a potential well,” though you hope you can “tunnel out.” Alternatively, it can be a black hole, from which there is no escape.

it’s not a wire, it’s a “conductor”

It’s not light, they are photons. Turning on the lamp becomes emitting photons.

20 thoughts on “Talk Like a Physicist Day

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  7. Also, don’t refer to “zero” and “one” directly. Say vanishingly small, or vanishes, and refer to “one” as “unity.”

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  12. Tea culture is the crystallization of Chinese people’s tradition and custom of drinking tea combined with the development of their technique of processing tea leaves to produce the final product. Tea is a shrub ( Thea sinensis ) which has fragrant white flowers and evergreen leaves. The dried leaves of this plant, plucked in various stages of growth and prepared by various processes, are used to make a hot beverage. If the leaves are fully fermented or oxidized before drying, the final product is called black tea because it is dark in color. “Black tea” is the term used by English-speaking people. In the Chinese language it is referred to as “red tea” in contrast to “green tea”.

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  14. Even for the physicist, the description in plain language will be a criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached. Werner Heisenberg (Nobel Prize winner in physics)

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