A set of numbers used to quantify location in space.

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2answers
210 views

Free fall and projectile motion

I'm wondering if something is falling say from a roof, would the distance it falls be the final $y$ position? Also would all the $y$ components (velocity, displacement) be negative?
0
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2answers
82 views

Projections in Polar coordinate system

I really understand what projections in Cartesian coordinate system, I can imagine this, but I absolutely do not understand projection in polar system. For example, I have a speed, $U$, and I must ...
1
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1answer
67 views

Timelike curves in Special Relativity

I have a question that probably might sound silly to most of you. We know that a natural Lorentz-invariant parametrization of a timelike curve is provided by: $$\tau$$ the Lorentz-invariant proper ...
1
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1answer
81 views

Convenient coordinate systems and symmetries

I recall in my basic electromagnetism and quantum mechanics lectures that choosing one coordinate system over another may greatly simplify the equations involved in solving a problem (think about ...
3
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4answers
125 views

What is the motivation for the definition of a manifold?

In Wald's General Relativity, an $n$-dimensional $C^{\infty}$ manifold $\mathit{M}$ is defined as a set, with subsets $\lbrace{O}_{\alpha}\rbrace$, which satisfies 3 properties. In particular, the ...
2
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2answers
246 views

A few questions on passive vs active Lorentz transformations

1.) How do we physically interpret an active Lorentz transformation? The passive transformation seems simple enough: you view a fixed object from the perspective of a new observer. When we actively ...
1
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1answer
75 views

Vectors in non-orthogonal systems

In a non-orthogonal coordinate system, what is the physically significant difference between the components of a vector on the skew axes and its projection onto each axis? Why would one want to find ...
1
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1answer
40 views

When to pull out a negative sign from a variable

I get confused about when there should be a negative sign in certain equations or not. I will give three short examples (that I will make long with explanation) that show my confusion. Example 1: ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

Momentum vector transformation

I am confused about the way momentum vector transforms in the following case: $$q_k \to q_k'= q_k + \epsilon f_k(q)$$ The Jacobian is thus $\Lambda_{ij} = \frac{\partial q'_i}{\partial q_j} \approx ...
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1answer
100 views

Derivative chain rule in a triangle, confusing but interesting problem

I asked the question in math.stackexchange. But I think it is better to ask here again. I am new to these sites. Please forgive me if it is not polite. http://math.stackexchange.com/q/921001 You can ...
2
votes
0answers
63 views

Question about Origins in Galilean transformation

I'm just learning about relativity, and every equation I see for a galilean transformation of frame $S'$ (moving with uniform velocity in the $x$-direction with respect to frame $S$) is $x'=x-vt$, ...
15
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6answers
952 views

Proving that interval preserving transformations are linear

In almost all proofs I've seen of the Lorentz transformations one starts on the assumption that the required transformations are linear. I'm wondering if there is a way to prove the linearity: Prove ...
0
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2answers
30 views

How can I calculate the center of an object relative to a focal point and a moving observer? [closed]

I'm developing an app that contains a 3D scene which the user can navigate. As the user moves it gives the illusion that you are browsing a real landscape but for the illusion to work I need to know ...
1
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0answers
111 views

The Effect of Tortoise Coordinates

Referring particularly to http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9909056 in regard to the wave equation for Schwarzschild-AdS black holes (p.4), I'm trying to understand tortoise coordinates. So starting ...
5
votes
3answers
259 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, ...
0
votes
4answers
108 views

Find a central force given the orbit

I've been trying to solve the following problem for a long time. Let's consider a particle of mass $m$ in $\mathbb{R}^3$ with polar coordinates $(r,\theta,\phi)$. The particle moves on the orbit ...
0
votes
2answers
139 views

Kinematic sign convention

For example, if I drop a ball from a $50$ meters building, then I will consider the ground is $0$ meter downward is positive ( which makes gravity positive, downward velocity positive, etc) so ...
12
votes
3answers
816 views

Is “now” or “the present moment” properly defined in GR?

My question is about the extent to which "now" is defined in GR. In Minkowski spacetime, it's possible to define a "now" for an inertial observer by finding a spacelike 3-plane such that, in the ...
1
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0answers
82 views

Wick rotation and special relativity

CMIIW, but as I understand it, Wick rotation replaces the Minkowski basis (t,x,y,z) with the Euclidean basis (it,x,y,z). Suppose that $t_2=t_1 \cosh \beta+x_1 \sinh \beta$ and $x_2=t_1 \sinh \beta+x_1 ...
-2
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1answer
63 views

Length in polar coordinates

Say we are in 3 dimensions and use $(-++)$. If we have the metric $$ds^2=-dt^2+dr^2+r^2df^2(t),$$ then what is the third coordinate if the first two were $t$ and $r$? $$X^iX_i=-t^2+r^2+?$$
3
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1answer
394 views

How to determine satellite position in J2000 from latitude, longitude and distance from Earth?

Due to my task of writing orbit prediction routines I am trying to understand the reference frames better and how to use them ( particularly for Earth orbits ). I think I get the idea of what ECI ...
3
votes
1answer
39 views

Are the cylindrical and spherical form of Jeans' equations equivalent?

The question kind of says it all, what I really want to know is are the differences in their forms only due to the co-ordinate transform? And as such should a suitable spherical system satisfy ...
3
votes
2answers
139 views

Cartesian Coordinates to Polar Coordinates

I apologize if this question is trivial, but I am new to physics and am struggling with some of the basic concepts. Working in $\mathbb{R}^2$ with standard coordinates $(x,y)$, suppose we have a ...
1
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0answers
85 views

Double dot product in Cylindrical polar coordinates - Strain Energy

I'm working with a problem in linear elasticity, and I have to calculate the strain energy function as follows: $$2W=σ_{ij}ε_{ij}$$ Where σ and ε are symmetric rank 2 tensors. For cartesian ...
4
votes
3answers
364 views

How to understand the definition of vector and tensor?

Physics texts like to define vector as something that transform like a vector and tensor as something that transform like a tensor, which is different from the definition in math books. I am having ...
2
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5answers
224 views

On the coordinate independence of general relativity

I've been having a bit of trouble with the idea of coordinate independence in general relativity. Let me start with a simple example that I think illustrates my question conceptually: Say you have ...
4
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2answers
396 views

Metric tensor in special and general relativity

I'm having trouble understanding the metric tensor in general relativity. What I've understood so far has come from my course lecture notes used in conjunction with "The Road to Reality" by Roger ...
1
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2answers
162 views

A simple way of calculating Euler Angles from Rotation Matrix — help!

This is a follow up of this question : I have the rotation matrix $$ \left( \begin{matrix} a_{11} & a_{12} & a_{13}\\ a_{21} & a_{22} & a_{23}\\ a_{31} & a_{32} & ...
1
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2answers
415 views

Calculating the electric potential in cylindrical coordinates from constant E-field

I am having so much trouble with this problem. I feel like I shouldn't be, but I am. A uniform electric field, $\vec{E} = E_0\hat{x}$. What is the potential, expressed using cylindrical ...
11
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1answer
237 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
201 views

Is the apparent lack of (Ricci) curvature in the Schwarzschild metric due to a choice of coordinates?

I've been lightly studying GR lately. Something that has been bothering me has been the lack of (Ricci) curvature produced from the Schwarzschild metric in the few lectures I've watched, as well as ...
3
votes
1answer
176 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 ...
1
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2answers
131 views

Euler angles derivation

I have been trying to grasp the idea of Euler angles for a while. Can anyone point out if my understanding is correct or not. Situation: We have 3 axes known as principal axes of inertia which define ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Quantum mechanics with non-cartesian coordinates

Let say we have the classical hamiltonian of a harmonic oscillator: $$H=\frac{p_x^2+p_y^2+p_z^2}{2m}+\frac{k_1x^2+k_2y^2+k_3z^2}{2}$$ and we want to find the hamiltonian operator in quantum mechanics, ...
2
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1answer
114 views

Black holes and Time Dilation at the horizon

What is the difference between proper time and the observer time? Whilst thinking about Black holes, when we see the Schwarzschild metric $$c^2\tau ^2 = \left ( 1 - \frac{r_{s}}{r} \right )c^2t^2 - ...
3
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0answers
58 views

How coordinate system shifting is related to similarity transformations?

I know that coordinate system shifting can be represented using matrices. But how exactly are similarity transformations related to coordinate shifts ?
4
votes
4answers
192 views

What makes a coordinate curved?

Bear with me while I try to explain exactly what the question is. The question Can a curvature in time (and not space) cause acceleration? is imagining a coordinate system in which the curvature is ...
3
votes
2answers
176 views

Can a curvature in time (and not space) cause acceleration?

I realize that the curvature of space-time causes acceleration (gravity). Is it possible to have a curvature only of space, or a curvature only of time? If so, would a curvature only of space, or a ...
5
votes
3answers
141 views

Integral in different coordinate systems

In Griffiths' electrodynamics book, he uses the equation, $$\nabla^2\mathbf{A}=-\mu_0 \mathbf{J},$$ to state that $$\mathbf{A}(\mathbf{r}) = ...
7
votes
0answers
234 views

Understanding and deriving ellipsoidal coordinates geometrically

If one were to read old texts on mathematical physics, like Maxwell, Morse & Feshbach, Hilbert and Courant, Jacobi, etc... they'd find ellipsoidal coordinates popping up, but the authors derive ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How to calculate roll, yaw and pitch angles from 3D co-ordinates (Euler Angles)

I have digitized a video of a flying fly in a 3-dimensional space. At all instants I know the x, y, and z co-oridinates of the following points on the fly's body --- The points are my choice, and ...
6
votes
2answers
499 views

Why isn't invariant notation common?

In principle, one can write quantities in a manifestly invariant - rather than covariant - fashion in e.g. special relativity. For example, rather than writing just $x^\mu$, we could write the basis ...
-1
votes
1answer
77 views

Prove one of the following trajectories is circular

In his classical mechanics lecture, Prof Susskind gives a short exercise, which I "feel" is very simple, but don't know where to start with. The question is: "There is a coordinate system ...
6
votes
1answer
90 views

Curvilinear Coordinates and basis vectors

In these notes, $\frac{\partial \vec{r}} {\partial q_i}$ is stated to form a basis set for the vector space. How does this happen? Also, how does one justify this equation from Goldstein's ...
1
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1answer
83 views

How big or small is a reference frame in Relativity?

What exactly is a frame of reference? Does it have an objective existence and if so what is it? What's the size of a reference frame? Is a reference frame the same size for a stationary frame of ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

How to transform material permittivity tensor from Cartesian coordinates to another orthogonal coordinate system?

I have a material specified by a permittivity tensor written in Cartesian coordiantes: $$\begin{pmatrix} \epsilon_{xx} & \epsilon_{xy} & \epsilon_{xz}\\ \epsilon_{yx} &\epsilon_{yy} ...
1
vote
1answer
193 views

How can I find the motion equations of the 2-dim harmonic oscillator?

First of all: I am no physicist, so I am rather helpless. I need to find the moving equations of the 2-dim. harmonic oscillator. If it is possible it should be rather elementary, because, as I said, ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Which symmetry for which distance function

For evaluating the electric field of some charge distribution one can use $$\phi(r):= \frac{1}{4 \pi \varepsilon_0}\int_{\mathbb{R}^3} \frac{\rho(r')}{||r-r'||_2} dr'.$$ My question is: What symmetry ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Inconsistent integral and distance in spherical coordinates

I am currently studying this problem: 14 b) There you see an integral $$A(r) = \int f(\theta) (-\sin(\phi), \cos(\phi),0) d \Omega$$ where $f$ is the function containing all the rest of the integrand ...
0
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0answers
58 views

Jacobian of a transformation on Maxwell equations in cylindrical coordinates

In an area called transformation optics, they transform Maxwell equations from one space coordinate system to another, and then using the fact that Maxwell equations retain the same format under ...