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7
votes
5answers
25k views

How to get distance when acceleration is not constant?

I have a background in calculus but don't really know anything about physics. Forgive me if this is a really basic question. The equation for distance of an accelerating object with constant ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

Rigorous underpinnings of infinitesimals in physics

Just as background, I should say I am a mathematics grad student who is trying to learn some physics. I've been reading "The Theoretical Minimum" by Susskind and Hrabovsky and on page 134, they ...
40
votes
6answers
2k views

How to treat differentials and infinitesimals?

In my Calculus class, my math teacher said that differentials such as $dx$ are not numbers, and should not be treated as such. In my physics class, it seems like we treat differentials exactly like ...
5
votes
5answers
409 views

Infinite series of derivatives of position when starting from rest

Suppose you have an object with zero for the value of all the derivatives of position. In order to get the object moving you would need to increase the value of the velocity from zero to some finite ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Level of calculus required for physics [closed]

First time for me here so kindly let me know if I violate the rules - especially if this is a duplicate. After reading the page how to become a good theoretical phycist, I started a serious revision ...
7
votes
6answers
716 views

Is Newton's first law something real or a mathematical formalism?

Why do objects always 'tend' to move in straight lines? How come, everytime I see a curved path that an object takes, I can always say that the object tends to move in a straight line over 'small' ...
12
votes
1answer
704 views

Why there is a $\frac{1}{2}$ in the distance formula $d=\frac{1}{2}at^2$?

I'm preparing for my exam, but I have difficulties in perceiving why there is a $\frac{1}{2}$ in the distance formula $d=\frac{1}{2}at^2$?
10
votes
4answers
447 views

Electromagnetic field and continuous and differentiable vector fields

We have notions of derivative for a continuous and differentiable vector fields. The operations like curl,divergence etc. have well defined precise notions for these fields. We know electrostatic and ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Can someone give an intuitive way of understanding why Gauss's law holds?

Gauss' Law of electrostatics is an amazing law. It is extremely useful (as far as problems framed for it are concerned :D. I do not have a real world-problem solving experience of using Gauss' Law). ...
1
vote
5answers
528 views

What is divergence?

What is divergence? I was learning about Maxwells equations and don't understand the divergence part of it. Can someone give an intuition of what divergence is in relation to maxwells equation. To ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

Wrong calculation of work done on a spring, how is it wrong?

So I would have thought that this would be how you derive the work on a spring: basically the same way you do with gravity and other contexts, use $$W=\vec{F}\cdot \vec{x}.$$ If you displace a spring ...
2
votes
1answer
204 views

Expansion of a function

In Landau-Lifschitz, following expansion is given, We have, $$L(v'^2)~=~L(v^2+2\textbf{v}\cdot\epsilon+\epsilon ^2)$$ expanding this in powers of $\epsilon$ and neglecting powers of higher order, ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Derive vector gradient in spherical coordinates from first principles

Trying to understand where the $\frac{1}{r sin(\theta)}$ and $1/r$ bits come in the definition of gradient. I've derived the spherical unit vectors but now I don't understand how to transform ...
41
votes
3answers
3k views
4
votes
2answers
583 views

A basic math identity often used in integrals [closed]

I'm just wondering about why $y_i=A_{ij}x_j$ implies $$d^Ny=|\det A|d^Nx.$$ I see that $\det A$ is the product of the eigenvalues of a diagonal matrix but still don't exactly see how. Please help.
2
votes
1answer
171 views

Landau's derivation of a free particle's kinetic energy- expansion of a function?

I was reading a bit of Landau and Lifshitz's Mechanics the other day and ran into the following part, where the authors are about to derive the kinetic energy of a free particle. They use the fact ...
1
vote
3answers
268 views

Problem in deducing the equations of motion using indefinite integral

As we know, antiderivative or indefinite integral is the function the derivative of which gives the actual function. Let $F(x)$ be the derivative of $f(x)$ ie. the instantaneous rate of change of ...
0
votes
1answer
89 views

magnetic field due to current in a wire using Biot-Savart's law

I am learning about Biot-Savart's law to calculate the magnetic field due to the electric current in a wire. ...
0
votes
2answers
494 views

Feynman's subscript notation

Consider this vector calculus identity: $$ \mathbf{A} \times \left( \nabla \times \mathbf{B} \right) = \nabla_\mathbf{B} \left( \mathbf{A \cdot B} \right) - \left( \mathbf{A} \cdot \nabla \right) ...
1
vote
0answers
133 views

Uniform load applied to a parabolic curve

As I have to design the vertebra bone and its natural boundary conditions I came across a problem. How can I applied a uniform load if the place where the force is applied is a parabolic curve. Ok ...
1
vote
1answer
182 views

Determine the flow and amplitude equation for thermal energy (with Del operator)

It is a question vector calculus and Maxwell's laws. I put it this way. Let's say, we are working in a $3$-Dimensional space ( e.g $x\cdot y\cdot z = 4\cdot3\cdot2$, a certain room/class of that size ...
0
votes
2answers
664 views

Gauss's (Divergence) theorem in Classical Electrodynamics

How does divergence theorem holds good for electric field. How does this hold true- $$\iiint\limits_{\mathcal{V}} (\vec{\nabla}\cdot\vec{E})\ \mbox{d}V=\mathop{{\int\!\!\!\!\!\int}\mkern-21mu ...