A set of numbers used to quantify location in space.

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5answers
466 views

Minkowski Metric Signature

When I learned about the Minkowski Space and it's coordinates, it was explained such that the metric turns out to be $$ ds^{2} = -(cdx^{0})^{2} +(dx^{1})^{2} + (dx^{2})^{2} + (dx^{3})^{2} $$ where $ ...
7
votes
2answers
462 views

Is there any situation in Physics where the Right Hand Rule is not arbitrary?

We use Right Hand Rule in calculating Torque not because that's the direction torque is pointing in the real, physical world, but because it's a convenient way to indicate the "sign" of the rotation ...
6
votes
3answers
169 views

From Manifold to Manifold?

Tensor equations are supposed to stay invariant in form wrt coordinate transformations where the metric is preserved. It is important to take note of the fact that invariance in form of the tensor ...
5
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2answers
188 views

A thought experiment on vision and curved spacetime

What follows is a long self-made example to deal with my conceptual issues of visualizing curved spacetime. Imagine an observer floating somewhere in space. He feels no strain on his body, ...
5
votes
2answers
318 views

Lorentz transformation in light cone coordinates in string theory

What is the explicit form of the Lorentz transformation changing the light cone coordinates in the light cone gauge in string theory? The extended nature of the strings complicate matters, especially ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is light described by a null geodesic?

I'm trying to wrap my head around how geodesics describe trajectories at the moment. I get that for events to be causally connected, they must be connected by a timelike curve, so free objects must ...
5
votes
1answer
300 views

What do up-left orthogonality has in common with up-down and what is their relationship?

I am familiar with the true (or general) notion of orthogonality, given in the Linear Algebra and Pythagoras theorem derived from the $\vec x \cdot \vec y = 0$. I have also recently got to know that ...
5
votes
3answers
287 views

Is the equivalence principle strictly fulfilled by general relativity?

The equivalence principle states The outcome of any local experiment in a freely falling laboratory is independent of the velocity of the laboratory and its location in spacetime. Any real local ...
5
votes
1answer
282 views

Is General Relativity applicable for all coordinate systems?

My understanding was that relativistic physics can be expressed in any inertial coordinate system, but not arbitrary systems. That is, no experiment can determine if we are "still" or "moving" at a ...
5
votes
1answer
231 views

6 independent Einstein field equations?

I can't understand the comment on page 409, Gravitation, by Misner, Thorne, Wheeler It follows that the ten components $G_{\alpha\beta} =8\pi T_{\alpha\beta}$ of the field equation must not ...
5
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0answers
46 views

Polar Decomposition of a Complex Scalar Field

People often write a complex scalar field via polar decomposition. What does this parametrization precisely mean? To be more explicit consider the following Lagrangian of a complex scalar field with ...
5
votes
0answers
69 views

What coordinate system is used to describe planets positions in the universe?

How are planets positions described in the space and in respect to what? For example is Sun the origo and right now at this moment Earth has [coord_X, coord_Y, coord_Z]? or maybe [lng, lat]? ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Integrating Radial Vector Fields

Given a integral $$\int_vd^3{r} \;\vec{r}\;\rho(r)$$ and How do you convert it to spherical coordinate system, noting that $\rho(r)$ is indeed as it is without vector, i.e. it is spherically symmetric ...
4
votes
3answers
263 views

Does the Relativity Principle of Special Relativity imply homogeneity and isotropy of all the reference frames?

In Rindler's book: Relativity, Special, General and Cosmological, is stated on page 40 that the Relativity Principle (RP), when applied to just one Inertial Frame (IF), guarantees the homogeneity and ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

Extent of coordinate freedom to set metric components along a spacetime path

If we describe spacetime with a Lorentzian manifold, it is always possible to choose a coordinate system such that at any particular point $x^\alpha$, the components of the metric are: $$ ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Kerr Metric in Orthogonal form

I've seen the Kerr metric usually presented in the Boyer-Lindquist coordinates where there is a cross term in the $d\phi$ and $dt$ term. I've done a good bit of searching and cannot find any ...
4
votes
1answer
122 views

How to assign coordinates to the elements of a flat metric space

Consider the metric space $(M, d \,)$ where set $M$ contains sufficiently many (at least five) distinct elements, and consider the assignment $c_f$ of coordinates to (the elements of) set $M$, $c_f ...
4
votes
1answer
350 views

failing to see the conundrum in the Einstein hole argument

I've been reading about the Einstein hole argument, and i fail to understand what makes active diffeomorphisms "special" compared to passive diffeomorphismsm also known as good old coordinate ...
4
votes
1answer
739 views

Convert ECI coordinates to latitude/longitude?

I have been given output in (what I believe to be) ECI format (from OrbitTools): ...
4
votes
0answers
228 views

Tensor equations in General Relativity

In the context of general relativity it is often stated that one of the main purposes of tensors is that of making equations frame-independent. Question: why is this true? I'm looking for a ...
3
votes
4answers
430 views

Why are coordinates and velocities sufficient to completely determine the state and determine the subsequent motion of a mechanical system?

I am a Physics undergraduate, so provide references with your responses. Landau & Lifshitz write in page one of their mechanics textbook: If all the co-ordinates and velocities are ...
3
votes
2answers
475 views

Centrifugal Force and Polar Coordinates

In Classical Mechanics, both Goldstein and Taylor (authors of different books with the same title) talk about the centrifugal force term when solving the Euler-Lagrange equation for the two body ...
3
votes
3answers
271 views

First Postulate of Special Relativity: What does it mean?

Wikipedia has this quote: Special principle of relativity: If a system of coordinates K is chosen so that, in relation to it, physical laws hold good in their simplest form, the same laws hold ...
3
votes
1answer
141 views

Why does the Kruskal diagram extend to all 4 quadrants?

Why is it that the Kruskal diagram is always seen extended to all 4 quadrants when the definitions of the $U,V$ coordinates don't seem to suggest that the coordinates are not defined in, say, the 3rd ...
3
votes
2answers
233 views

Explanation for Negative $\rho$ (radial distance) in Cylindrical Coordinates

My question : What does it mean when we arrive at negative values for distance variables like $\rho$ in cylindrical coordinates? (after some discussion here,I revised the question, at the end of the ...
3
votes
2answers
322 views

Coordinate Transformation of Scalar Fields in QFT

By definition scalar fields are independent of coordinate system, thus I would expect a scalar field $\psi [x]$ would not change under the transformation $x^\mu \to x^\mu + \epsilon^\mu $. Correct? ...
3
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7answers
433 views

Relation between coordinates and frames of reference

I always get a little uneasy that all the theories I can think of (at least since Newton) are constructed in a way such that they would be true in heaven and on earth ... but we can never go ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Primary direction in planet-centered equatorial reference frame

I am given the classical orbital elements of the orbit of a spacecraft around a planet which is not the Earth, say Venus. I assume those are referred to a reference frame whose fundamental plane is ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Force from point charge on perfect dipole

Have a point charge and a perfect dipole $\vec{p}$ a distance $r$ away. Angle between $\vec{p}$ and $\hat{r}$ is $\theta$. Want to find force on dipole. I'm having more than a little difficulty ...
3
votes
0answers
55 views

Is there a technical term for “meaningfulness” of mathematical operations?

Is there a technical term for "meaningfulness" of mathematical operations? For example, adding vectors that represent forces has a meaning regardless of the coordinate frame, but an elementwise ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

QM: How to compute position/momentum relation in polar coordinates

So if we are working in one dimensional space, we have the formula: $$\langle x|p\rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi\hbar}} e^{ipx/\hbar}$$ Suppose instead we are confined to a circle of radius $R$ so that ...
3
votes
0answers
91 views

Is a solution to the Klein-Gordon equation homeomorphic (or even diffeomorphic) to a solution of an equation with a different covariance group?

Consider some solution $\psi(x,t)$ to the linear Klein-Gordon equation: $-\partial^2_t \psi + \nabla^2 \psi = m^2 \psi$. Up to homeomorphism, can $\psi$ serve as a solution to some other equation ...
2
votes
3answers
351 views

Jacobian, Lorentz and Fourier Transformation

Jacobian, Lorentz and Fourier Transformation. I am confused with the physical interpretation/meaning of all these transformations. As far as I understood, Jacobian transforms from one coordinate ...
2
votes
1answer
187 views

Lightcone coordinates

The Light cone coordinates are defined as $$x^+ = x^0 + x^3$$ $$x^- = x^0 - x^3$$ Then in the light cone coordinates the position 4-vector becomes: $(x^+, x^-, x^1, x^2)$ . Zwiebach in his A First ...
2
votes
2answers
975 views

Expression of kinetic energy in polar coordinates

Expression for kinetic energy in Cartesian coordinate: Expression for kinetic energy in polar coordinate (applying the transformation of coordinates): Why can't we express it in the following ...
2
votes
2answers
247 views

Coordinate transformation from earth to solar

I am building a 3d model of the solar system and need to figure out the position of the pole stars of each planet in order to tilt the planets in the correct direction the correct amount. I've already ...
2
votes
4answers
87 views

Special Relativity moving in space

Given that time is 'just another' dimension and people get hung up on the fact that we cannot go back and forth in time like the other dimensions. Is there any proof that the corner of 8th Avenue and ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Riemann normal chart and special relativity

When you pick Riemann normal coordinates at a point, then the Christoffel symbols vanish and the metric is flat, but the Riemann curvature tensor does not necessarily vanish. Since Einstein said that ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Expression of electrostatic field

An electrostatic field is characterized by the fact that it depends only by $r$, isn't it? If it is true, I don't understand why this expression, given in cylindrical coordinates, $${\bf ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

What is the physical intepretation of harmonic coordinates?

When I see harmonic coordinates used somewhere, what should my association be? Is there some general use or need to consider the harmonic cooridnate condition? I don't really see what's ...
2
votes
2answers
466 views

What is a Kustaanheimo-Stiefel transformation?

What is a Kustaanheimo-Stiefel transformation? Which applications has it in physics? Can you point me to a reference, where this transformation is explained?
2
votes
2answers
164 views

Exercise about Lagrange-Euler equations

I'm solving an exercise about the Lagrange-Euler equations, that states the following: Let $\gamma (t) = \{ (t,q) : q = q(t), t_0 \leq t \leq t_1\}$ be a curve in $\mathbb{R} \times \mathbb{R}^2$. ...
2
votes
1answer
173 views

Deriving the Schwarzschild solution

I am CS student and i want to create graphical simulation of black hole, so I need to use The Schwarzschild solution to calculate possible coordinates of given body every second. First try in 2D ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Why is it not possible to distinguish left from right by means of a coil?

Why is it not possible to explain to an alien "at the phone" which side is left and which is the right side by defining a simple experimental setup using induction? Defining for instance downwards ...
2
votes
2answers
60 views

Velocity in a turning reference frame

I often see the relation that $\vec v=\vec v_0+ \vec \omega \times \vec r$ in a turning reference frame, but where does it actually come from and how do I arrive at the acceleration being $$\vec ...
2
votes
1answer
259 views

Degrees of freedom in the infinite momentum frame

Lenny Susskind explains in this video at about 40min, as an extended object (for example a relativistic string) is boosted to the infinite momentum frame (sometimes called light cone frame), it has no ...
2
votes
2answers
395 views

Does the length of the sidereal day vary systematically?

I'm confused about some properties of the sidereal day, in particular whether its duration varies systematically over the course of the year.1 It seems to me that that must be the case, but the ...
2
votes
1answer
211 views

Mass Shell in Light Cone Coordinates

I'm reading Zweibach's introduction to string theory, and don't understand one of his claims. He defined the mass shell to be the set of points in momentum space s.t. $p^2+m^2 = 0$. Then the physical ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Space-Time Continuum [duplicate]

In special relativity it is said that " Time and space cannot be defined separately from one another. Rather space and time are interwoven into a single continuum known as spacetime. " What is the ...
2
votes
1answer
930 views

The trajectory of a projectile launched from a hilltop

Here is the problem: A boy stands at the peak of a hill which slopes downward uniformly at angle $\phi$. At what angle $\theta$ from the horizontal should he throw a rock so that it has the greatest ...