A set of numbers used to quantify location in space.

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16
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6answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
2k 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 $ ...
3
votes
4answers
618 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
757 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
449 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
888 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
142 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 - ...
2
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Peskin and Schroeder passive and active translation

In peskin and Schroeder's qft book, in chapter two, they're discussing Noether's theorem with respect to translations of co-ordinates. They describe and "infinitesimal" translation $x^\mu\rightarrow ...
3
votes
2answers
196 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
470 views

What is the physical meaning of the Eddington - Finkelstein coordinates?

I want to see a some physical process (experimental) that could explain the many transformations of coordinates into this mathematical procedure. (really two transformations, but i think that is a ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

In general relativity (GR), does time stop at the event horizon or in the central singularity of a black hole?

I was reading through this question on time and big bang, and @John Rennie's answer surprised me. In the immediate environment of a black hole, where does time stop ticking if one were to follow a ...
2
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
853 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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? ...
2
votes
1answer
365 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
162 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: $$ ...
7
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
419 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
votes
3answers
287 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
3answers
333 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
212 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
4k 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
56 views
+50

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
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
87 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
votes
0answers
91 views

Kleppner derivation of Lorentz transformation

I am reading Kleppner.(Lorentz transformations) He said,we take the most general transformation relating the coordinates of a given event in the two systems to be of the form $$x'=Ax +Bt, y'=y, z'=z, ...
2
votes
2answers
424 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
206 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
2answers
506 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
125 views

Free fall coordinates/Fermi (normal) coordinates

It makes sense intuitively given the equivalent principle, and I've seen many times it stated, that for a free fall (geodesic) path in an arbitrary spacetime, we can choose our coordinate system to ...
0
votes
0answers
118 views

Covariant Derivative Chain rule? [duplicate]

I want to prove that a covariant derivative of a vector $A^{\mu}(x(z))$ at the point $x(z)$ in general would be defined as $$D_z ...
7
votes
2answers
643 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
234 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
78 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?
2
votes
2answers
142 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
199 views

A reference frame is any coordinate system or just a set of Cartesian axes?

In Physics the idea of a reference frame is one important idea. In many texts I've seem, a reference frame is not defined explicitly, but rather there seems to be one implicit definition that a ...
2
votes
3answers
213 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
850 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
75 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
2answers
706 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?
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Description of charged sphere with Heaviside function in cylindrical coordinates

I need to describe density of charge of uniformly charged sphere (radius R, total charge Q, position of centre (0,0,0)) with Dirac delta function and Heaviside step function. The hard part is to ...
1
vote
2answers
237 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
189 views

What does it mean to divide space and time?

Goldstein's mechanics book, on the chapter on relativistic mechanics says that "We cannot assume that all observers make the same division into time and space in the same way." What does it mean to ...
1
vote
0answers
80 views

coordinate change differential equation polar

I noticed that v [in step (2.5)] is not the same as the terms from the first formula, even if they are related.. I tried to understand how did he reach to this ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

How to get the angle needed for a projectile to pass through a given point for trajectory plotting [closed]

I am trying to find the angle needed for a projectile to pass-through a given point. Here is what I do know: Starting Point $(x_0,y_0)$ Velocity Pass-through point $(x_1, y_1)$ I also need to ...
0
votes
2answers
409 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
1k views

Vector Nature Of Angular Velocity

I am currently reading about angular position, angular velocity, and angular acceleration. I came across this paragraph that was particularly confusing, and was wondering if someone could perhaps help ...