Questions tagged [science]

The use of English in science.

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2
votes
3answers
7k views

How do you explain cubic growth of a function

When reading scientific papers I have seen people explain the growth of a variable linearly, exponentially. However how would one say for a variable which grows in quadratic fashion, or cubic? I don'...
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2answers
11k views

Capitalisation of “Nature”

Why is "Nature" usually spelt with an initial capital letter in scientific journals? I am mainly referring to life science here, in case this matters. I am not talking about the obvious cases, like ...
-1
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1answer
34 views

Term for “extent/proportion of a population [that meet some condition]”

What is a technical term (perhaps from statistics) for the extent (or proportion) that a specified condition applies to some given population? For example: There is a communicable cancer currently ...
2
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1answer
146 views

Terminology for multi-cause changes

Is there any terminology or wording to describe the type of fundamental change of a system that is not the result of a single cause, but rather caused by many influences at interplay pushing from ...
1
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1answer
327 views

Amino acid vs. amino-acid [duplicate]

In the following two examples, is there any difference as to how amino acid should be hyphenated? There are twenty amino acids. The amino acid content is 80%. My intuition would be to hyphenate in ...
1
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2answers
832 views

Meteor & Meteorite is to Meteoroid as A & B is to Asteroid?

In astronomy, A meteoroid is what it is called before it enters a planet's atmosphere, A meteor is what it is called after it enters a planet's atmosphere but before it hits the surface, and A ...
1
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3answers
1k views

Word for: A river than splits into two, later rejoining into one? (fluvial terminology)

A tributary is river or stream that flows into a larger river. A distributary a stream branching off a river. Is there a word that combines both structures, the idea of a river that splits in two ...
24
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2answers
113k views

Are chemical element names capitalized?

Do the names of chemical elements need to be capitalized? For example, in running text should it be hydrogen or Hydrogen?
13
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2answers
3k views

Suffix ‘-ium’ vs. ‘-um’ in element names

Many chemical elements have the suffix ‘-ium’. However, exactly four elements – molyb­denum, tanta­lum, plat­inum, and lan­thanum – have the suffix ‘-um’ instead. Is there a difference between the ...
8
votes
1answer
18k views

Should names of scientific theories be capitalized?

I'd really like to safely write stuff like Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Theory of Evolution without capitals; but I don't want to regret it, whence my question. Should the name of ...
8
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3answers
722 views

If “string theory” and “M-theory” are not tested yet, should they be read as “string hypothesis”, “M-hypothesis”?

I came across this question on Yahoo! Answers: Should M-theory read, M-hypothesis? It being limited evidence for further investigation, perhaps not yet a theory. I responded thus: (I realise the ...
5
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5answers
2k views

What is the name of the behavior that makes you believe more in something when it contradicts your beliefs?

What is the name of a common human behavior that makes you believe more in one thing when you are contradicted? I read an article a while ago about this behavior saying that people naturally (or ...
4
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1answer
4k views

Active vs Passive voice in lab reports, and history of scientific usage

I've had some discussions in the past with TA's who would tell my undergrads "Lab reports are written in the passive voice". Aside from whether or not this is correct (let's come back to that in a ...
4
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1answer
337 views

Why do we write “Fourier's law” but “Soret effect”?

Can you explain why do we write e.g. Fourier's law, Ohm's law, Newton's law of cooling, etc. but Soret effect, Dufour effect instead of Soret's effect, Dufour's effect? What is the principle?
3
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2answers
459 views

A futuristic Phobia in the scientific context (Related to Artificial Intelligence)

Is there any specific term to describe a phobia about future of relationship between humans and (intelligent) machines? One may think it could be Cyberphobia or Mechanophobia, however these options ...
2
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1answer
220 views

How to pronounce the names of supersymmetric partner particles of fermions

The names of supersymmetric partner particles of fermions are formed by s- + the name of the normal particle. E.g.: sparticle sfermion squark sup sdown scharm sstrange stop sbottom slepton ...
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4answers
1k views

Why does binomial nomenclature seem to break case rules?

According to the Wiki page for binomial nomenclature, we are supposed to capitalize the first word when naming species regardless of where it occurs in the sentence. To me, this seem very incongruous ...
2
votes
2answers
203 views

Lanthanum vs lanthanium

All lanthanides except for lanthanum have suffix "-ium". Why lanthanum is so special, and why this particular word form has been considered canonical? Is using of "lanthanium" these days allowed, or ...
2
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1answer
703 views

Why does the suffix of “iodine” sound different in American and British English?

As an American, I noticed Fluorine and Iodine, though clearly sharing the same ending (and this was corroborated by etymonline.com; both contain the same chemical suffix) sounded different. Fluorine ...
1
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1answer
117 views

The practice of identifying authors from their writings

Is there an English word for the practice of analysing texts to determine their authors? For example, comparing three texts A, B and C and realising that the choice of words, grammar and style of ...