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37
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3answers
2k views
37
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 ...
19
votes
2answers
789 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
524 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 $d=\frac{1}{2}at^2$?
7
votes
1answer
477 views

I reached a result concerning displacement with quantized time intervals. Am I on to something?

A few days ago, I realized a similarity between distance with constant acceleration, $d = v_i t + 1/2 a t^2$, and the sum of integers up to n, $(n^2 + n)/2$. This came up again today when I decided to ...
7
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
146 views

Understanding Calculus Notation in Physics

I have just started a first-year calculus-based physics course about electromagnetism and waves. I am having trouble understanding what calculus notation means in the context of physics. Here is a ...
6
votes
4answers
376 views

Name this Mulltivariable Calculus Theorem

In Robert Wald's book General Relativity a multivariable calculus theorem is cited on page 16, which states: If $F:\mathbb{R}^n\mapsto \mathbb{R}$ is $C^{\infty}$ then for each $a=(a^1,...,a^n) \in ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Galilean transformation of wave equation

I have this general wave equation: \begin{equation} \dfrac{\partial^2 \psi}{\partial x^2}+\dfrac{\partial^2 \psi}{\partial y^2}-\dfrac{1}{c^2}\dfrac{\partial^2 \psi}{\partial t^2}=0 \end{equation} ...
5
votes
3answers
559 views

Is it safe to ignore derivatives of velocity w.r.t. position and vice versa?

In a certain textbook a function is given as: $$f=f(x(t))$$ And then this is differentiated w.r.t. $t$ to get: $$f_t=\dot{x}f_x$$ (Where the notation $f_u=df/du$, $f_{uu}=d^2f/du^2$, etc.) This ...
4
votes
4answers
434 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' ...
4
votes
3answers
183 views

How empty of fuel are spacecraft booster rockets typically?

A recent XKCD What-if article mentions the situation where each additional kilogram of cargo to LEO requires an additional 1. 3 kilograms of fuel, which in turn requires fuel to carry ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

Question about Matrix Integral

I am stuck with the technique details of KKN's paper . How to get formula (2.11) $$Z= \int \frac{d \phi }{ \rm{ Vol(G)}} \frac{1}{\rm{Det}(\rm{ad}(\phi)+\epsilon)} $$ from (2.10)? $$Z=\int \frac{d ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

What's the proper interpretation of canceling infinitesimals? [duplicate]

In most textbooks of physics I've found this demonstration of work-kinetic energy theorem: $$\begin{align} W &= \int_{x_{1}}^{x_{2}} F(x)\ dx \tag{1}\\ &= \int_{x_{1}}^{x_{2}} m\cdot a\ dx ...
4
votes
0answers
82 views

On Cohomological Gauge theory Calculation

I am in trouble with calculation details of Witten's Two dimensional Gauge Theories Revisited. My questions is about (3.21) and (3.27). From section 3, we have $$\delta A_i=i\epsilon \psi_i\\ \delta ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Divergence of $\frac{\hat{r}}{r^2}$

In David J. Griffiths's Introduction to Electrodynamics, the author gave the following problem in an exercise. Sketch the vector function $$ \vec{v} ~=~ \frac{\hat{r}}{r^2}, $$ and compute ...
3
votes
3answers
476 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). ...
3
votes
1answer
165 views

Three integrals in Peskin's Textbook

Peskin's QFT textbook 1.page 14 $$\int_0 ^\infty \mathrm{d}p\ p \sin px \ e^{-it\sqrt{p^2 +m^2}}$$ when $x^2\gg t^2$, how do I apply the method of stationary phase to get the book's answer. ...
3
votes
2answers
147 views

Differentials in Spherical Shell - Maxwell Distribution

In explaining the Maxwell distribution of molecular speeds, my pchem textbook uses the following figure: We are basically trying to find the probability of having a particle with a speed $u$ between ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Boson calculus and Maximum Weight State

I'm just going over a few past exams for tomorrow, and I've come across a question that I'm having quite a bit of difficulty with. Let $\left|0\right\rangle$ denote the Fock vacuum state so that ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

Neglecting second order differentials

I am currently doing some Lorentz invariance exercises considering infinitesimal Lorentz transformations, and have been told to neglect second order differentials. It's not the first time I have come ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

Integration of 3-momentum

During a lecture that I missed, I was trapped when the lecturer uses the relation $$dp_x~ dp_y ~dp_z ~=~d^3\mathbf{p} ~=~ 4\pi p^2 dp.$$ Can I know how is this relation derived please?
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Partial derivative potential energy of 'free' vibration

I have this rather mathematical question about the calculation of the partial derivative of a potential energy function given by: $$U(x_i)=\frac{1}{2}\sum_{i,j}\frac{\partial^2U(0)}{\partial ...
2
votes
3answers
401 views

How to get an integral formula for the flux time derivative

$$\frac{d}{dt}\int \limits_{A} \mathbf B d \mathbf A = \int \limits_{A} \left( \frac{\partial \mathbf B}{\partial t} + \mathbf v (\nabla \cdot \mathbf B ) + [\nabla \times [\mathbf v \times \mathbf B ...
2
votes
1answer
191 views

The curl of a special cross product

When given two vectors $\mathbf{A}$ and $\mathbf{B}$, the curl of the cross product of these two is given by ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

$\hat{\imath}$ component of force exerted on an electron by a magnetic field?

The magnetic field over a certain range is given by $\vec{B} = B_x\hat{\imath} + B_y\hat{\jmath}$, where $B_x= 4\: \mathrm{T}$ and $B_y= 2\: \mathrm{T}$. An electron moves into the field with a ...
2
votes
2answers
149 views

Infinitesimal volume using differentials

I don't understand why in some texts they put that infinitesimal volume $dV = dx dy dz$. If $ V = V(x,y, z)$ infinitesimal volume should be $$dV = \frac{\partial V}{\partial x} dx +\frac{\partial ...
2
votes
2answers
817 views

Application of Calculus in Physics

Why do we apply Calculus in Physics when most of the quantities are not continuous and are not symmetrical at all levels of magnification? Aren't most, if not all, forms of Matter and Energy discrete? ...
1
vote
4answers
910 views

How can/does calculus describe the movement of a particle?

I was talking to Roger Penrose about calculus in the appendix in his book Cycles Of Time and he said I'd need a good understanding of calculus if I wanted to read his book in great depth. He said I ...
1
vote
2answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
190 views

$\nabla({\bf u}^2)=2({\bf u}\cdot \nabla){\bf u} - 2(\nabla \times {\bf u}) \times {\bf u}$

Please see the next link: http://www3.kis.uni-freiburg.de/~peter/teach/hydro/hydro02.pdf In (2.13), he used: $$\nabla({\bf u}^2)=2({\bf u}\cdot \nabla){\bf u} - 2(\nabla \times {\bf u}) \times {\bf ...
1
vote
1answer
91 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
35 views

If the net force on a current loop in a magnetic field is zero, why is torque independent of choice of origin?

Im trying to show that the integral over a closed loop of a crossproduct stays the same if I choose a different origin with $\overrightarrow{r}=\overrightarrow{r}\prime+\overrightarrow{r_0}$ and ...
1
vote
2answers
34 views

Gauss' Law for Magnetism Derivative Form: With or without volume integral?

I've been reading through FLP Vol. II, and he has proven that as the flux through a closed surface is: $\ \int_{surface} \mathbf{F} \space \mathrm{d}\mathbf{a} $, according to the divergence theorem, ...
1
vote
2answers
146 views

Which of these two different forms of spin-orbit interaction is correct?

I am seeing the spin-orbit interaction in two different ways: $\lambda [\mathbf{p} \times \nabla V]\cdot \sigma$ $\lambda [\nabla V \times \mathbf{p}]\cdot \sigma$ I don't see how these two ...
1
vote
1answer
509 views

Derivation of the self gravitational potential energy of a sphere

I have been searching on the Internet but have not found a derivation of the formula for the self gravitational potential energy of a sphere. Can someone show how to do this? I assume it involved 6 ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

Convective Operators: Cartesian vs Spherical Coordinates

(This question may be more appropriate for Math Stack Exchange, but since physicists tend to be more well acquainted with vector calculus, I'm asking the question here). This question is about ...
1
vote
1answer
111 views

What is a projection method?

Quoting from Solenthaler et. al. Predictive-Corrective Incompressible SPH (ACM Transactions on Graphics, Vol. 28, No. 3, Article 40, Publication date: August 2009) (PDF link here) These ...
1
vote
1answer
141 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
207 views

Confused about the physical meaning of velocity variation

I am reading a paper and saw the author wrote something like, Because of no-slip wall assumption, so velocity vector $\vec{v}$ is $0$ on the wall, and also the variation of this velocity on the wall ...
1
vote
0answers
61 views

How to calculate these integrals about propagator of QFT analytically?

How to get these three analytical solutions? Thanks very much! $$ G_{ret}(x,y) = \lim_{\epsilon \to 0} \frac{1}{(2 \pi)^4} \int d^4p \, \frac{e^{-ip(x-y)}}{(p_0+i\epsilon)^2 - \vec{p}^2 - m^2} = ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

velocity function in slip effect

$$\frac{dp_l}{dx}-\mu_l\frac{\partial^2 u}{\partial y^2}=0$$ where $\mu_l$ and $p_l$ is the liquid phase viscosity and pressure, respectively; and $u$ is the flow velocity. The boundary ...
1
vote
3answers
156 views

Physical motivation for differentiation under the integral

I am thinking about the mathematical process of "differentiating underneath the integral", i.e. applying the theorem $$\partial_s \int_{-\infty}^\infty f(x,s)\,dx=\int_{-\infty}^\infty \partial_s ...
1
vote
0answers
115 views

insulator based gauss law questions

My book is incredibly scarce on insulator based Gauss law questions. Conductors seem to handle themselves pretty simply. Here's a question I'm working on that isn't part of my book. where the radii ...
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Prequisite for the Feynman lectures? [duplicate]

It obviously requires single- and multi-variable calculus and linear algebra, but what else? And where do you suggest to get that background from?this isn't a duplicate because I'm for the math needed ...
1
vote
0answers
95 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
0answers
273 views

Apostol or Spivak for mathematical physics? [closed]

I came across many recommendations for both of these books, but I'm not sure which one should I use to study calculus... I know most of the methods used in calculus and I use them frequently, but I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
154 views

How to decompose a divergence operator

I am reading a paper, and see someone decompose a divergence operator as follows, could someone judge and see if it is correct? $$\nabla \cdot {\bf{v}} = \left( {{\bf{n}} \cdot \nabla } \right){v_n} ...
0
votes
2answers
124 views

Showing $ m\int \frac{d\textbf{v}}{dt} \dot \normalsize \textbf{v}dt = \frac{m}{2}\int \frac{d(v^2)}{dt}{}dt$

Can someone please explain how this equation is valid, using intermediate steps if available? $$ m\int \frac{d\textbf{v}}{dt} \dot \normalsize \textbf{v}dt = \frac{m}{2}\int \frac{d(v^2)}{dt}{}dt$$ ...
0
votes
2answers
601 views

Electromagnetic wave propagation through two lossless dielectrics

In Elements of Electromagnetics (Sadiku, 3rd edition, Section 10.8), the author says to consider two lossless dielectric materials joined at an interface $z=0$. Here two lossless dielectric materials ...