A set of numbers used to quantify location in space.

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151 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 ...
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3answers
499 views

Clarifying what metric counts as flat space

In (2D) Cartesian coordinates, the Euclidean metric... $$\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix}$$ ...is flat space. If the diagonal elements are exchanged for other real numbers ...
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2answers
115 views

Under what representation do the Christoffel symbols transform?

I often read the statement, that the Christoffel symbols aren't tensors. But then, under which representation do they transform?
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5answers
283 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 ...
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2answers
643 views

The wave equation in general relativity, special relativity, and Cartesian coordinates

The relativistic wave equation is $$\square\varphi=\rho$$ where $\varphi$ is the field, $\rho$ is the source, and $\square$ is the D'Alembert operator, defined by ...
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3answers
120 views

Why doesn't $\vec{E} =\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0} \int\frac{\rho \hat{r}\;dxdydz}{r^2}$ blow up at $r=0$, when $\rho$ is finite?

Electric field at $(x,y,z)$ produced by a continuous distribution of charges is given by:$$\mathbf{E}(x,y,z) =\dfrac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0} \int\dfrac{\rho(x',y',z') \mathbf{\hat{r}} ...
3
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1answer
234 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 ...
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1answer
87 views

Schwarzschild metric: Change in coordinates corresponds to change in object?

I have been reading about the Schwarzschild metric in the book "General Relativity: An Introduction for Physicists" by Hobson, Efstathiou and Lasenby and it appears to say something counter intuitive. ...
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2answers
234 views

Curved space-time VS change of coordinates in Minkowski space

I'm looking for a rather intuitive explanation (or some references) of the difference between the metric of a curved space-time and the metric of non-inertial frames. Consider an inertial reference ...
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2answers
297 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 ...
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2answers
387 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 ...
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2answers
342 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 $\mathbb{R} \times \mathbb{R}^2$. ...
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2answers
494 views

Local inertial coordinates/Fermi normal coordinates

It is said that we can introduce local inertial coordinates/Fermi normal coordinates for any timelike geodesic. But why only for timelike geodesics? What about null geodesics? Perhaps it has to do ...
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7answers
520 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
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1answer
47 views

contravariant and covariant vectors and their orthogonality in Euclidean space

I am reading this paper Sigma Coordinate - Contravariance and covariance and I understand how covariant and contravariant vectors are defined mathematically Covariance and Contravariance and I had ...
3
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1answer
319 views

Non-inertial frames in Lagrangian mechanics?

Building on this Phys.SE post I am interested in how non-inertial frames can be considered in Lagrangian mechanics. My understanding is that changing the reference frame causes a transformation of the ...
3
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1answer
114 views

Manifolds, unit 2-sphere and stereographic projection

I am always passing through this example while reading about manifolds that I don't quite get. It is when describing the unit 2-sphere $S^2$ as an example of a manifold. They say, initially it may ...
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2answers
280 views

Ball Bearing Inside a Hollow, Spinning Rod: where is the logical flaw?

As described in the title, suppose we have a frictionless, hollow rod that is rotating in the $xy$-plane with some fixed angular velocity $\omega$. The rod is pivoting around its midpoint. Suppose we ...
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1answer
209 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, ...
3
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1answer
116 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
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1answer
109 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 ...
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1answer
130 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 ...
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2answers
222 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 ...
3
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1answer
373 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 ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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5answers
125 views

Local inertial frame

In general relativity we introduce local inertial frames to be such frames where the laws of special relativity holds. Let $\xi^{\alpha}$ the coordinates in the local inertial frame, so we get ...
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0answers
79 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 ?
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3answers
4k views

Converting between Galactic and Ecliptic coordinates

I was hoping someone would be able to tell me the formula to convert between ecliptic and galactic coordinates. I've been able to convert values using ...
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0answers
122 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

Is there a quick way of finding the kinetic energy on spherical coordinates?

Assume a particle in 3D euclidean space. Its kinetic energy: $$ T = \frac{1}{2}m\left(\dot x^2 + \dot y^2 + \dot z^2\right) $$ I need to change to spherical coordinates and find its kinetic energy: ...
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3answers
336 views

Why don't we define absolute coordinates?

Why don't we chose a random point in the void present between galaxy clusters and define it as the absolute origin? I know that rest is not absolute and that space expands, but we can easily keep ...
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3answers
974 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 ...
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2answers
181 views

Are solutions coordinate invariant?

In the case of electromagnetism, we can solve the sorceless wave equation in Cartesian coordinates ($x$,$y$,$z$) getting plane waves as solutions: $$ u(x) = A(x-ct) + B(x+ct) $$ and actually I am not ...
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2answers
9k 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 ...
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3answers
323 views

Two-rotation coordinate transformation

I've designed an electronic device that uses a 3-axis accelerometer to measure the acceleration of an automobile. I'm only interested in accelerations in the plane of the road surface, so I want to ...
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3answers
207 views

Why doesn't a global frame of reference exist for GR?

I only have at best a layperson's familiarity with GR, so forgive me if I am asking a basic question, but I have heard that in GR, we cannot have a global frame of reference, that is a frame of ...
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2answers
352 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} & ...
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2answers
117 views

Whose reference frame to use for $d \theta$ near a black hole?

Using the Schwarzchild metric for a body circularly orbiting a nonspinning black hole (i.e. $dr=0$), the relation between $d\tau$, the time between two light pulses sent out infinitesimally close ...
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2answers
138 views

What coordinate systems allows the magnitude of the basis vectors to change with position?

I'm familiar with coordinate systems where the direction of the basis vectors changes with position, but I haven't come across any where the relative magnitude of the basis vectors themselves are ...
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2answers
95 views

Show that two families of curves are orthogonal (without using orthogonal trajectories)

I'm reading through Hartle's General Relativity and came across this question: Consider the following coordinate transformation from rectangular coordinates $(x,y)$, labeling points in the plane ...
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2answers
6k 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
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1answer
496 views

Electromagnetic Tensor in Cylindrical Coordinates

I understand that the Electromagnetic Tensor is given by $$F^{\mu\nu}\mapsto\begin{pmatrix}0 & -E_{x} & -E_{y} & -E_{z}\\ E_{x} & 0 & -B_{z} & B_{y}\\ E_{y} & B_{z} & ...
2
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2answers
351 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
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1answer
171 views

Gradient and curl of a field in polar coordinates

How do we determine the gradient and curl of a scalar/vector field in polar coordinates? For instance, if we have the following potential energy function for a force, $$U = ...
2
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2answers
594 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 ...
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2answers
239 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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4answers
99 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 ...
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1answer
106 views

Why does a system have to be holonomic?

So I'm doing some work from Taylor's mechanics book. He says for the problems in the book, we require the system to be holonomic - that is the number of generalized coordinates = number of Deg. of ...
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1answer
112 views

What is the most general definition of a coordinate system?

What is the most general definition of a coordinate system? Specificly: given a suitably general metric space $(\mathcal S, s)$ consisting of a set $\mathcal S$ of elements (for instance: a set ...
2
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1answer
89 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 ...