Glossary
 Page ID
 55026
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(Eg. "Genetic, Hereditary, DNA ...")  (Eg. "Relating to genes or heredity")  The infamous double helix  https://bio.libretexts.org/  CCBYSA; Delmar Larsen 
Word(s) 
Definition 
Image  Caption  Link  Source 

Abacus  Calculator based of stones moving on rods or in grooves  
Aberration  A departure from the normal operation of a device or an optical element  
Acoustic  Science of sound  
Accuracy  Proximity to true value. Accuracy is a consistent error from true value, but it is not necessarily a good or precise error.  
Adjacent side  In a right triangle, the side between a given angle and the right angle  
Ailerons  The small flaps on the back of wings on airplanes  
Allotrope  Different forms of the same chemical element. Some allotropes of carbon are graphite, graphene, diamond, and buckyballs.  
Angle of depression  The angle between the horizontal and the line from the object to the observer’s eye, assuming the object is positioned lower than the observer  
Angle of elevation  The angle between the horizontal and the line from the object to the observer’s eye, assuming the object is positioned higher than the observer  
ANOVA  Analysis of variance (ANOVA) is statistical models for estimations  
Antiderivative  The opposite of a derivative which leads to a indefinite integral. Through the fundamental theorem of calculus an antiderivative can be made into a definite integral.  
Apatite  A mineral group that consists of calcium phosophate minerals  
Arc length  The arc length of a curve can be thought of as the distance a person would travel along the path of the curve  
Arithmetic sequence  A sequence in which the difference between every pair of consecutive terms is the same is called an arithmetic sequence.  
Aspheric  Slightly off from spherical (usually used to correct spherical aberration)  
AFM  Atomic force microscope is a microscope that uses a cantilever with a nanometersize tip to "feel" the surface of the specimen. AFMs can "see" in the nanometer realm and has many different interchangable probes to investigate many different properties.  
Bandgap  The gap in insulators and semiconductors between the valance band (the nucleus energy area) and the conduction bands (the electron shell energy area). Note: This is actually more complex than this.  
Bellows  A device that has a bag and two flats plates that is used to squeeze air out at a fast pace for various purposes. Also, flexible structures that expand and compress for various purposes.  
Binomial series  A series given by \( (1+x)^r=\sum_{n=0}^∞(^r_n)x^n=1+rx+\dfrac{r(r−1)}{2!}x^2+⋯+\dfrac{r(r−1)⋯(r−n+1)}{n!}x^n+⋯\) for \( x<1\); from the Maclaurin series for \( f(x)=(1+x)^r\)  
Boat keel  The long structure directly on the bottom of a boat that is used to support the hull. Can have hydrodynamics purpose or counterbalance purpose as well as support purpose.  
Bounded above (sequences)  A sequence \(\displaystyle {a_n}\) is bounded above if there exists a constant \(\displaystyle M\) such that \(\displaystyle a_n≤M\) for all positive integers \(\displaystyle n\)  
Bounded below (sequences)  A sequence \(\displaystyle {a_n}\) is bounded below if there exists a constant \(\displaystyle M\) such that \(\displaystyle M≤a_n\) for all positive integers \(\displaystyle n\)  
Bounded sequence  A sequence \(\displaystyle {a_n}\) is bounded if there exists a constant \(\displaystyle M\) such that \(\displaystyle a_n≤M\) for all positive integers \(\displaystyle n\)  
Catenary  A curve in the shape of the function \(y=a\cdot\cosh(x/a)\) is a catenary; a cable of uniform density suspended between two supports assumes the shape of a catenary. Catenary comes from the Latin word meaning "chain" as a catenary is often observed with free hanging chains. In engineering a catenary arch is known to be a strong self sustaining structure.  An electric wire between two poles is a catenary.  
Center of mass  The point at which the total mass of the system could be concentrated without changing the moment  
Centroid  The centroid of a region is the geometric center of the region; laminas are often represented by regions in the plane; if the lamina has a constant density, the center of mass of the lamina depends only on the shape of the corresponding planar region; in this case, the center of mass of the lamina corresponds to the centroid of the representative region  
Ceramic  Hard brittle material made from inorganic substances and metals. Typically nonconductive, heat resistant, chemical resistant, and corrosion resistant  
Change of variables  The process in mathematics of substituting variables with another expression to simplify a problem.  
Cipher  Encoded words to make a message secret. Used is "spycraft". Evidence of using ciphers first appear in antiquity (Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome)  
Codex  A manuscript usually hand written and on material other then paper  
Cold finger  A strip of metal intended to transfer temperature from a cold plate to a device like a detector  
Confidence Interval  A range of values that represents the confidence of a true value that is a function of one variable (kinda like an error bar)  
Confidence Contour  A contour that represents the confidence of a true value that is a function of two or more variables (kinda like a 3D error bar)  
Contour  Contour lines (isoline or isoarithm) which represent the path of a constant value  
Convergence of a series  A series converges if the sequence of partial sums for that series converges.  
Convergent sequence  A convergent sequence is a sequence \(\displaystyle {a_n}\) for which there exists a real number \(\displaystyle L\) such that \(\displaystyle a_n\) is arbitrarily close to \(\displaystyle L\) as long as \(\displaystyle n\) is sufficiently large  
Cryocooler  A mechanical cooling system that goes to cryogenic temperatures  
Cryostat  Cooling system that goes to cryogenic temperatures by means of a cryogenic liquid (LH or LHe)  
Cryogenic temperature  Temperatures below 124 K, though in practical terms it is usually 77K and below  
Cubit  A length unit used in antiquity  
Demoiselle  An ultralight aircraft in the context of this book. Young lady in general terms.  
Density function (mass density)  A density function describes how mass is distributed throughout an object; it can be a linear density, expressed in terms of mass per unit length; an area density, expressed in terms of mass per unit area; or a volume density, expressed in terms of mass per unit volume; weightdensity is also used to describe weight (rather than mass) per unit volume.  
Diffusion (physics)  Movement of particles to a high concentration area to a low concentration area  
Dirigible 
A rigid lighterthanair aircraft that is steerable and powered by an engine. The Hindenburg was a dirigible. In contrast a Zeppelin is semirigid and a blimp is not rigid at all. So the Goodyear blimp is not a dirigible or Zeppelin. The dirigible was first demonstrated by a Brazilian in 1709. In 1785 a dirigible with birdlike steering and handpowered propellors crossed the English channel with French balloonist JeanPierreFrançois Blanchard and American John Jeffries 

Divergence of a series  A series diverges if the sequence of partial sums for that series diverges.  
Divine Proportion  The Golden Ratio. This was detailed in the book illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci called "De Divina Proportione" by Luca Pacioli circa 1509.  
Ductile  The ease of which metal can be drawn out into a wire. Also, the degree to which a material can deform until failure.  
Dynamics  The study of objects in motion. This by its very nature suggests a study that is in the time domain. This differs from statics where time is not relevant. For fluids a hydro is attached to dynamics (hydrodynamics) but the idea is still the same.  
eBird  Citizen science site for bird observation.  
Electron microscope  Electron microscope is a microscope that uses electrons rather than light. Due to the wavelength of electrons, electron microscopes can "see" in the nanometer realm.  
Ethics  A philosophy that is based off human morals that attempts to define right and wrong or good and evil  
Frustum  A portion of a cone; a frustum is constructed by cutting the cone with a plane parallel to the base  
Geometric Sequence  A sequence a_{n} in which the ratio a_{n+1}/a_{n} is the same for all positive integers, n, is called a geometric sequence.  
Geometric series  A geometric series is a series that can be written in the form \(\displaystyle \sum_{n=1}^∞ ar^{n−1}=a+ar+ar^2+ar^3+⋯\)  
Getter  Substance that absorbs unwanted residuals (like water) in a vacuum  
Glassy carbon  A carbon solid that has a glassy appearance that is also known as vitreous carbon  
Golden Ratio  A golden ratio is a ratio of two quantities, say a and b, that are equal to the ratio of the larger quantity and the sum of the quantities. It is said that this ratio defines a unique natural structure and hence it is sometimes called the divine proportion. Interestingly this quantity is used in numerical methods.  
Handle (computer science)  Abstract reference to a resources (similar to a pointer, but not). A pointer is an address to a resource, normally data, where as a handle references functions.  
Harmonic series  A geometric series is a series that can be written in the form \(\displaystyle \sum_{n=1}^∞ ar^{n−1}=a+ar+ar^2+ar^3+⋯\). This series is interesting in that it diverges albeit rather slowly.  
Hydrophilic  Tends to mix, dissolve, or be wetted in water  
Hydrophobic  Tends to repel water  
Hydrostatic pressure  The pressure exerted by water on a submerged object  
Hydroxyapatite  A phosphate material that forms bones and teeth but is rarely found in rocks  
Hypotenuse  The side of a right triangle opposite the right angle  
Incompressible (fluid)  A fluid that does not diverge but is the same density throughout the system  
Indeterminate forms  When evaluating a limit, the forms \(\dfrac{0}{0}\), \(∞/∞, 0⋅∞, ∞−∞, 0^0, ∞^0\), and \(1^∞\) are considered indeterminate because further analysis is required to determine whether the limit exists and, if so, what its value is.  
Indefinite integral  A primitive integral or an integral without an upper and lower limit. Sort of like a definition of a specific integral.  
Index of refraction  A unitless number that describes the speed of light in a material.  
Infinite series  An infinite series is an expression of the form \(\displaystyle a_1+a_2+a_3+⋯=\sum_{n=1}^∞ a_n\)  
Inflection point  If f(x) is continuous at c and f(x) changes concavity at c, the point (c, f(c)) is an inflection point of f  
Integral 
Integral has a number of meanings in mathematics, but they all relate to the standard definition of integral: the sum of the necessary parts that creates a whole. This leads to the most common use of integral in mathematics which is the sum of infinitesimal areas within a range. 

Integration by substitution  A technique for integration that allows integration of functions that are the result of a chainrule derivative  
Interval of convergence  The set of real numbers, x, for which a power series converges  
Iso  Equal as in equal temperature in isothermal, etc.  
Iterative process  Process in which a list of numbers x_{0}, x_{1}, x_{2}, x_{3}, … is generated by starting with a number x_{0} and defining x_{n}=F(x_{n−1}) for n≥1  
Jerk  Change of acceleration with respect to time. The names implies jerk as the feeling of being thrust suddenly in one direction. This is also sometimes called jolt (also aptly named).  
Kinetics  In mechanics the effects of force on a body and in chemistry the rate of reaction. Kinetics implies a dynamic situation (time varying).  
Koch curve  A fractal curve  
Lamina  A thin sheet of material; laminas are thin enough that, for mathematical purposes, they can be treated as if they are twodimensional  
Limestone  Soft sedimentary rock made of calcium carbonate. Densities can vary from rather hard limestone to chalk like limestone.  
Mastaba  A tomb that has slanted sides and a flat roof; stone bench  
Metal  Crystal that conducts electricity and heat well. Ductile and malleable. Made of the metallic and semimetallic elements.  
Method of cylindrical shells  A method of calculating the volume of a solid of revolution by dividing the solid into nested cylindrical shells; this method is different from the methods of disks or washers in that we integrate with respect to the opposite variable.  
Nabla  An ancient stringed harp  
Newton’s method  Method for approximating roots of \(f(x)=0;\) using an initial guess \(x_0\); each subsequent approximation is defined by the equation \(x_n=x_{n−1}−\frac{f(x_{n−1})}{f'(x_{n−1})}\)  
Nonelementary integral  An integral for which the antiderivative of the integrand cannot be expressed as an elementary function  
Ostracon  A piece of pottery or stone that has writings scratch on it.  
Partial sum  The k^{th} partial sum of the infinite series \(\displaystyle \sum^∞_{n=1}a_n\) is the finite sum \(\displaystyle S_k=\sum_{n=1}^ka_n=a_1+a_2+a_3+⋯+a_k\)  
Periodic function  A function is periodic if it has a repeating pattern as the values of \(x\) move from left to right  
Phase change  Change for one state of matter to another state of matter through "symmetry breaking" (except in some iso instances)  
Polymer  Materials made of large molecules that are made of many subunits like DNA. Organic. Usually flexible.  
Portmanteau  A combination word  
Power series  A series of the form \(\displaystyle \sum_{n=0}^∞c_nx^n\) is a power series centered at \(x=0\); a series of the form \(\displaystyle \sum_{n=0}^∞c_n(x−a)^n\) is a power series centered at \(x=a\)  
Precision  A consistent result with a small error, but not necessarily anywhere near a true value  
Principle of least action  A variation principle that is used to derive the equation of motions. It has nothing to do with the general accepted meaning of action or least action.  
Probability Distribution Function (PDF) 
This is a general term that describe the probability distribution of a system or experiment. There are three types of probability distribution functions:


Pseudocode  A plain language text of an algorithm to be translated into a computer program with appropriate syntax. Useful for thinking out ideas before implementing them.  
QED  "Quad erat demonstrandum." Sometimes hollow square ◻ is used for this. Sometimes a filled in square is used ◼. These squares are sometimes referred to as a tombstone.  
Quadrature  Integration  
Quarks  Elementary particle that make up protons and neutrons  
Radians  For a circular arc of length \(s\) on a circle of radius 1, the radian measure of the associated angle \(θ\) is \(s\). This contrasts to degrees where a full circle is 360 degrees but \(2 \pi \) radians.  
Radius of convergence  If there exists a real number \(R>0\) such that a power series centered at \(x=a\) converges for \(x−a<R\) and diverges for \(x−a>R\), then \(R\) is the radius of convergence; if the power series only converges at \(x=a\), the radius of convergence is \(R=0\); if the power series converges for all real numbers \(x\), the radius of convergence is \(R=∞\)  
Raman scattering  The basis of Raman spectroscopy which is the inelastic scattering of photons into a material.  
Raman spectroscopy  Uses Raman scattering to determine the vibrational modes of a material. This will allow not only an identification of a substance but what allotrope it might be as well.  
Read noise  The noise associated with reading an element of a detector. Includes all sources of noise but primarily due to ADC of a detector.  
Recurrence relation  A recurrence relation is a relationship in which a term a_{n} in a sequence is defined in terms of earlier terms in the sequence  
Recursion (computer)  A function that calls itself (typical example is a factorial)  
Regression  Statistical model comparing dependent variables with independent variables usually using a mean value and the actual value in some fashion  
Register (computer)  Quick memory usually associated with the CPU  
Regula Falsi  False position  
Sequence  An ordered list of numbers of the form a_{1},a_{2},a_{3},…is a sequence  
Small angle approximation  An approximation used extensively in engineering and physics. In this approximation when we have a small angle in our problem we can say that \(\cos(\theta) = 1  \frac{\theta^2}{2}\) and/or \(\sin(\theta) = \theta\).  
Surface area  The surface area of a solid is the total area of the "skin" of the object; for objects such as bricks, the surface area of the object is the sum of the areas of all of its faces; for a sphere is the sum of infinitesimal area slices of the surface of the sphere.  
Telescoping series  A telescoping series is one in which most of the terms cancel in each of the partial sums  
Theorem of Pappus for volume  This theorem states that the volume of a solid of revolution formed by revolving a region around an external axis is equal to the area of the region multiplied by the distance traveled by the centroid of the region  
Theremin  A modern electronic instrument that does not require physical contact  
Tuples  Ordered set  
Unix  An operating system philosophy of modularity; also the operating system itself  
Variable  A representation of a changing value  
Vitreous  Substance that resembles glass  
Work  In science work is an energy transfer descriptor otherwise it means effort either physical or intellectually  
xray  xradiation which is high energy radiation  
Yeast  A fungus that people use to make bread, beer, wine, and root beer among other uses  
Zooniverse  Citizen science web portal. Citizen science goes back to antiquity. Recently with the advent of computers and clouds citizen science has become more popular and important to science. 