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Terms physicists and biologists use differently

  1. Mar 13, 2014 #1

    Ryan_m_b

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    I'm giving a presentation to a group next week made up of mathematicians, physicists and mechanical engineers. My talk is going to be related to my work so it's going to be very biology based. I want to start the talk pointing out that life science and the physical sciences are very different in their cultures and I thought it would be fun to have a slide with terms both use but completely differently. The point of this is to lead on to saying that if at any point I'm using a term that you know but don't see how it fits then feel free to ask.

    Examples I have so far are vector, plasma and differentiate, can anyone think of any others?
     
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  3. Mar 13, 2014 #2

    Cthugha

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    How about translation?
     
  4. Mar 13, 2014 #3

    Nugatory

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    Evolution (of a physical system versus a species); decay; selection
     
  5. Mar 13, 2014 #4

    Ryan_m_b

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    That's a good one, thanks

    Maybe, I'm leaning more towards ones that won't be obvious or well known if possible. The vector example I got from a lecture recently in which a class of mechanical engineering students hadn't heard of a disease vector before.
     
  6. Mar 13, 2014 #5

    Pythagorean

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    free energy

    edit: that was a joke, referencing pseudo-science, but I immediately realized that physicists also use free energy in thermodynamics.
     
  7. Mar 13, 2014 #6

    Pythagorean

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    nucleus
    cell
    filament
    plasma
    conjugate
    bifurcation
    degeneracy
    corona
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  8. Mar 13, 2014 #7

    arildno

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    Is "perturbation" used in life sciences in some technical sense?? If it is, I'm sure it means something else than within physics/maths.

    As a general strategy here,I would suggest that you should look at semi-colloquial Greek/Latin loan words that are used in a technical sense, and compare actual technical usages to discover subtle differences in implied meaning.
     
  9. Mar 13, 2014 #8

    AlephZero

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  10. Mar 13, 2014 #9
    flux: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flux_(disambiguation)
    fusion/fission?
    [STRIKE]plasma[/STRIKE]*
    vertex http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertex
    [STRIKE]vector[/STRIKE]*
    proteus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteus_(disambiguation)
    torus
    panda http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PANDA_experiment
    matrix
    anything else I missed:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=dis...iology&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&start=0
    ed-
    radiation (evolutionary)
    parabola http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabola_(disambiguation)
    *finally decided to really read the op...
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  11. Mar 13, 2014 #10
    gaussian and normal
     
  12. Mar 13, 2014 #11

    berkeman

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    Real
    Imaginary
    Complex
    Manifold (this one has the nice property of being different for mathmatics, ME, and general use)
     
  13. Mar 13, 2014 #12

    arildno

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    Dearly Missed

  14. Mar 13, 2014 #13

    Ygggdrasil

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    These probably apply more to chemistry than biology, but: solution, precipitate, reduction.

    Also, statistical significance.
     
  15. Mar 13, 2014 #14

    Dembadon

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    "Proof"

    :biggrin:
     
  16. Mar 13, 2014 #15

    kith

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    Population
     
  17. Mar 13, 2014 #16

    DrGreg

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    That reminds me of a joke I saw recently:

    Q. What do you get when you cross a mountain-climber with a mosquito?

    A. Nothing: you can't cross a scalar with a vector.​

    I had to look up the biological meaning of "vector" before I understood the joke.
     
  18. Mar 13, 2014 #17

    berkeman

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    :rofl:

    Okay, that has *got* to be Ryan's first slide! Too funny!
     
  19. Mar 13, 2014 #18

    Fredrik

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    "Theory".

    (I don't think there are any universally accepted definitions, but...)

    Physics: A piece of mathematics and some correspondence rules that tell us how interpret mathematical results as predictions about results of experiments. (Short version: "Something that makes predictions about results of experiments"). If the predictions are bad, then it's a bad theory, but it's still a theory. If the predictions are very accurate, then it's considered a good theory even if we're not sure that it really explains anything.

    In other sciences: Something that explains a fact. (People often say that it's in this sense that the theory of evolution is a theory).

    Outside of science:
    1. A statement that's believed to be true.
    2. A guess.
     
  20. Mar 13, 2014 #19

    Ryan_m_b

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    These are all great everyone :biggrin: thanks! I probably won't need any more but feel free to keep them coming for interests sake.

    Haha I am definitely stealing this for once I've explained vector!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  21. Mar 13, 2014 #20

    lisab

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    Date.

    Biologist: Phoenix dactylifera
    Physicist: time stated in terms of the day, month, and year
    General public: a romantic rendezvous
     
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