Meaning of Anomaly


The Greek word anōmalía came to Latin as an anomaly, and then to Castilian as an anomaly. The notion refers to a divergence, an incompatibility, a disagreement or a deviation from a norm or practice.

For example: “The child suffers from a chromosomal abnormality that causes various disorders”, “The investigation did not detect any abnormality in the mechanics of the vehicle”, “The abnormality in the results of the clinical analyzes worried the doctors”.

The idea of ​​anomaly appears in different contexts. In the field of biology, there is talk of a genetic abnormality when a pathology causes a modification of the genome. A chromosomal abnormality, on the other hand, is an alteration in the order or number of genes inside the chromosomes.

In the realm of physics, an anomaly describes a classic symmetry, such as being one of the Lagrangian that is broken by quantum effects. A Lagrangian is a scalar function from which it is possible to obtain certain properties of a dynamic system, such as conservation laws and temporal evolution. Currently, it is the main operator to describe a physical system.

When talking about quantum effects, we refer to quantum mechanics, a part of physics that is responsible for describing nature fundamentally on a small spatial scale. Although the physical anomaly can be understood as a short-distance ultraviolet effect, which occurs because certain divergent integrals cannot be regularized so that all symmetries are preserved at the same time, there is also an infrared effect, since the The nature of these divergences is determined by low-energy physics.

The concept also appears in astronomy, where it talks about:

* eccentric anomaly: the angle that is measured from the center of the ellipse, and which serves to form the projection of the planet on the main circumference;

* average anomaly: a portion of a period of the orbit, which is expressed as an angle;

* true anomaly: the angle measured from the focus of the orbit and formed by the planet with the axis of the ellipse.

A social anomaly, on the other hand, is a behavior or a habit that circumvents the conventional rules of society. It can be a permanent anomaly, which is sustained even though time progresses (like an addiction), or a periodic anomaly, which is interrupted in time (a revolution, a warlike conflict).

In colloquial language, an anomaly is something that is strange or strange: “Upon entering the house, the old man did not notice any anomaly: however, his wife’s murderer had returned there to erase his traces”, “The elections were they carried out without anomalies ”, “ It was an unheard-of tournament, with several anomalies: there were matches suspended due to incidents, athletes who refused to play due to lack of payment and some matches were played without an audience ”.

The term anomaly is part of a very particular group, as far as its use is concerned, since it is not exclusive to the cultured language, but it is not appreciated in any everyday speech conversation either. We could say that it is more typical of technical areas, where certain professionals look for anomalies as part of their daily tasks to correct them before they cause major problems.

In computer programming, for example, it is common for the word anomaly to appear spontaneously in a talk, even if it is a daily and informal exchange; Let’s see some example sentences: «And? Have you noticed any abnormality? » , “I have looked at the drawing code and have not seen any anomaly, so the problem must be related to memory management. ”