A set of numbers used to quantify location in space.

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7
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2answers
339 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
22 views

question about ICRF/J2000 equinox orientation

The DE406 ephemeris data and the NASA Horizons website all report the Earth's current coordinates on 2014 Sep 27, a few days after the Fall equinox, as approximately [1,0,0] AU. However every ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Calculation of the partition function for a classical 2D gas lying on the surface of a sphere of constant radius $R$

I'm kind of confused with this system. My first question is. Is the Hamiltonian of one particle of this gas the following? ...
2
votes
2answers
46 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
58 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 ...
1
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1answer
27 views

Degrees of Freedom for an Asymmetric top

How many degrees of freedom does an asymmetric top have if it is rotating about a fixed point?What are the generalised coordinates used then?
0
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2answers
69 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
49 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
vote
1answer
57 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
50 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 ...
0
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0answers
26 views

A basic relation in spherical coordinates [migrated]

Why is it that $$x\partial_x+y\partial_y+z\partial_z=r\partial_r~?$$ I know that $$r^2=x^2+y^2+z^2,$$ but how is this relation implied?
3
votes
4answers
113 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
118 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
vote
1answer
53 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
vote
1answer
35 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
119 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

Trajectory of a photon around a Schwarzschild black hole?

Consider a photon coming from the infinity in a unbounded orbit to a Schwarzschild black hole (Schwarzschild radius $r_{s}$) (see this for illustration). Its impact parameter is $b$ and its distance ...
1
vote
1answer
71 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
48 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 $x'=x-vt$, ...
14
votes
6answers
838 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
votes
2answers
29 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
55 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
238 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
79 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
57 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
788 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 ...
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0answers
76 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
votes
1answer
62 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
votes
1answer
61 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
31 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
103 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
vote
0answers
51 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
160 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
votes
5answers
198 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
votes
2answers
201 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
vote
2answers
102 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
vote
2answers
272 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
204 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
168 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
130 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
vote
2answers
60 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
45 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
votes
1answer
73 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
42 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
180 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
50 views

How to know the Direction of the Acceleration Vector?

If the exercise doesn't give you the direction, how to know the correct one? Sometimes I assume its to the right and it was actually to the left, and I get everything wrong. Example here: How can I ...
3
votes
2answers
162 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
127 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
190 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
827 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 ...