Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What are the best words of science?

  1. Jan 16, 2014 #1
    Hey all, I'm just kicking back next to a lake with a line in the water- solar powered internet rocks. Tipping back a few beers towards the sunset, tipsy-haspy waiting for a strike... and wondered what peoples' favorite words of science might be?

    Parallax for me, that's a cool word. Solid concept; easy to remember cause it rolls off the tongue like hopping across a creek. But saying quark... that word makes me go, 'hmmm, that's a stupid sounding word.'

    I tried earnestly to describe what a superfluid was to a friend, but she couldn't stop laughing. The word will never be the same.

    Condensate, that's a cool word too. There just went a flock of geese, on their migration south in a V formation cause they can feel the vorticis.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "Set" ... the hook.
  4. Jan 16, 2014 #3
    check the 'drag'...
  5. Jan 16, 2014 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Will you be needing "Heat Transfer" ... in a skillet?
  6. Jan 16, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Oh so many.

  7. Jan 16, 2014 #6


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Hmmm. Let me think. Recently I've taken a liking to the word virialization (as how it applies to dark matter and the virial theorem).

    Spaghettification is always a good one. Ya' can't go wrong with that.

    I wonder if that that was the intended purpose. It could be. Murray Gell-Mann coined the term "quark" as applied to subatomic particles. But Murray Gell-Mann didn't invent the word itself, per-se. He got it from a literary work called Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.
    Three quarks for Muster Mark!
    Sure he hasn't got much of a bark
    And sure any he has it's all beside the mark.​
    If there's one thing to know about Finnegans Wake its that the book has a slew of "made up" words and phrases that nobody truly comprehends (outside the mind of Joyce, perhaps).
  8. Jan 16, 2014 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  9. Jan 16, 2014 #8
    Joyce-give or take, back and forth, up or down; strange and charmed sounds pretty cool.
  10. Jan 16, 2014 #9


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I had to look that one up. I love it! :!!)

    A barn is a unit of area defined as 10-28 square meters.
    The etymology of the unit barn is whimsical: during wartime research on the atomic bomb, American physicists at Purdue University who were deflecting neutrons off uranium nuclei (similar to Rutherford scattering) described the uranium nucleus as "big as a barn". Physicists working on the project adopted the name "barn" for a unit equal to 10−24 square centimetres. Initially they hoped the American slang name would obscure any reference to the study of nuclear structure; eventually, the word became a standard unit in particle physics.​
  11. Jan 16, 2014 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  12. Jan 16, 2014 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    Abiogenesis is a cool word.

    I also like these:
  13. Jan 16, 2014 #12


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I like the "mho" as the unit of conductance (inverse of the "ohm" as the unit of resistance).

    And in particle physics we talk about "flavo(u)rs" of fundamental particles (electron / muon / tau for leptons, or up / strange / top for quarks).
  14. Jan 16, 2014 #13
    I've always been a fan of "positron".

    And I heard "tachyon" somewhere, but I can't remember if it's a real thing or not, regardless, cool sounding.

    I had never heard of "barn" as it was referenced above. That is awesome.
  15. Jan 16, 2014 #14
    parsecs :biggrin:
  16. Jan 16, 2014 #15
    of the aforementioned I also like parallax, neutrino, positron, quark. Muon is pretty cool too.
  17. Jan 17, 2014 #16


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Colonoscopy, it just sounds cringe worthy by its own right.
  18. Jan 17, 2014 #17
  19. Jan 17, 2014 #18


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper


    Yes, it's a real thing, and there's no typo! One of the longest words in the English language belongs to medical science. :biggrin:

    (Oh, and although Enigman's word is even longer and also refers to a medical condition, it's often considered to be purposefully contrived to be as long as possible. It's basically just a verbose expression for silicosis. Whereas the word I gave was coined more "naturally").
  20. Jan 17, 2014 #19


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Input, output, feedback, signal/noise. All I think 20th century to-the-point coinages with an American sound.

    Ones I hate are those coming from silly 'in' jokes. Amber mutants, Northern blots, Western blots, buckyballs. :yuck:

    Mho is borderline.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  21. Jan 17, 2014 #20
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: What are the best words of science?
  1. Best science (Replies: 21)