A set of numbers used to quantify location in space.

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4
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3answers
577 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
240 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
192 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
566 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
251 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
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1answer
234 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
218 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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2answers
189 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
99 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
131 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
votes
0answers
63 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
205 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
185 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
149 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
275 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
509 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
78 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
114 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 ...
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1answer
88 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
300 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
261 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
84 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
54 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 ...
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0answers
83 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
65 views

How do I modify a 3-D simulation grid to be 2-D?

I am creating a particle in cell simulation that models an electron plasma in a cylindrical container. Part of this process is assigning charge density to grid points based on the position of each ...
2
votes
1answer
733 views

Calculate the latitude / longitude coordinates of the location where the Sun is at the zenith

There are plenty of resources showing how to calculate zenith and azimuth of the Sun when the time and the location are given. However, I need to calculate the location where the sun is at the ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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 $ ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

How do I find the generalized coordinates in a certain system?

I'm learning about constraints and I know the following: If there are $N$ particles in 3 dimensional space, I have $3N$ degrees of freedom. If I have $n_b$ holonomic constraints and I switch over to ...
3
votes
2answers
399 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
135 views

Center of mass coordinates in Lagrangians and Laplacians

Is there a quick nice and easy way to write Lagrangian's and the classical/quantum Laplacian operator in terms of center of mass coordinates? The algebra is so involved and it has me confused about ...
0
votes
3answers
143 views

Is this webcomic accurate?

I was considering this xkcd comic from 5/10/14, with the alt-text "Trains rotate the Earth around various axes while elevators shift its position in space." I'm wondering about its accuracy. I ...
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0answers
130 views

About the proof of the second Bianchi Identity

The second Bianchi Identity is $$ \nabla_{[a}R_{bc]de}=0 $$ As far as I know, the proof (say, Walfram Mathword) start by stating the representation of Riemann tensor in local inertial coordinates $$ ...
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0answers
131 views

Compute and plot satellite position on 2D Earth map

I would like to create a simple satellite tracking software, that will compute the position of a satellite at any time, and show its location on a 2D map of Earth. Let's assume it is possible to ...
2
votes
2answers
79 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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0answers
201 views

How to solve the Laplace equation in ellipsoidal coordinates?

It seems that popular textbooks on electrodynamics do not discuss how to solve the Laplace equation in ellipsoidal coordinates. I could not find any reference, but there must be references about this. ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Curvilinear coordinate system around body of revolution

In Boundary-Layer Theory by Schlichting he gives the boundary-layer equations for a body of revolution according to the paper by Boltze$^1$. Unfortunately, this paper is in German. He apparently uses ...
3
votes
1answer
108 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 ...
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vote
1answer
109 views

Rotation operator for a point in a coordinate system linearly derived from Cartesian coordinates

For some experimental and practical reason, I have created a new coordinate system in the form $$x^\prime_i=T_{ij}x_j$$ where $T_{ij}$ isn't a square matrix. $x_i$ is standard Cartesian coordinates, ...
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1answer
469 views

When are we now? Time coordinate system [closed]

The Second and the metre are well defined. We have those units available. Of course units are meant to express measurement, tools to compare with precision, and interchange that information ...
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0answers
55 views

Active and passive transformations and the change in potential energy

Under active transformation, the particle moves. On the other hand, for a passive one, the coordinate is just relabel. I've read that the passive one will not affect the potential energy and the ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Which coordinate system confirms quantum-level experimental data?

We often use the Cartesian coordinate system, since it is the naive approach at macro level (placing a box just "next to" or "above" the other box). There are, however, many more such systems, incl. ...
2
votes
0answers
60 views

Solutions of PDEs in different coordinate systems

Suppose we have a PDE, for example the Helmholtz paraxial equation: $$ \nabla_\perp^2A+2ik\frac{\partial A}{\partial z}=0 $$ Solutions depend on the coordinate system we are using, i.e. we obtain ...
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0answers
75 views

How to prove the relations between the variables in bispherical coordinates?

When I was reading papers about the forces between two charged spherical conductors in a uniform electric field, I was confused with bispherical coordinates the author used to describe the spherical ...
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vote
1answer
145 views

Coordinate-free derivation of the Lamé-Navier's elasticity equations

Linear static elasticity provides a local equation $-\mathrm{div}\sigma=f$, the constitutive law $\sigma=2\mu\epsilon+\lambda \mathrm{tr}(\epsilon)I$ as well as the strain-displacement relationship ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Electric field in a cylinder

We have electric charge density $\rho(r) = kr$ in a cylinder of infinite height and radius $a$. I'm asked to find the electric field. I'm doing it using two methods and I don't undesrtand why then ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Heliocentric Worldview [duplicate]

Isn't the whole historic Discussion of Heliocentric vs. Geocentric Worldview just about a Calculation-Technique. I mean I could also choose my coordinate-center to be in the middle of Earth and setup ...
5
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0answers
106 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
467 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
240 views

Optimal selection of generalized coordinates in Lagrangian system

EDITED: The number of bonds is actually 2, not 1 (look at edit history). Fixed for archiving purposes. Problem: The edge A of an homogeneous rod (of length $\ell$ and mass $m$) is performing a smooth ...