How a quantity behaves under a change of basis vectors. This tag covers relativistic covariance, as well as contravariant and covariant tensors not necessarily in the context of relativity. DO NOT USE THIS TAG for statistical covariance.

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56 views

Meaning of general covariance

Quoting from Wald's GR: In the context of special relativity, the principle of general covariance states that the spacetime metric $\eta_{ab}$, is the only quantity pertaining to spacetime ...
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4answers
114 views

How does the Lorentz transformation $\Lambda^{\mu}{}_{\nu}$ transform?

For example the Four-velocity transforms as $$U^{a'}=\Lambda^{a'}{}_{\nu}U^{\nu},$$ the Faradaytensor as $$F^{a'b'}=\Lambda_{\,\,\mu}^{a'}\Lambda_{\,\,\nu}^{b'}F^{\mu\nu}$$ or in Matrixnotation: ...
7
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1answer
160 views

Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations?

Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations? Is this statement true? I have only seen examples of this, like the invariance of Electromagnetic action under Lorentz ...
3
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2answers
107 views

The definition of transpose of Lorentz transformation (as a mixed tensor)

In the appendix of the textbook of Group Theory in Physics by Wu-Ki Tung, the transpose of a matrix is defined as the following, Eq.(I.3-1) $${{A^T}_i}^j~=~{A^j}_i.$$ This is extremely confusing for ...
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4answers
339 views

Is partial derivative a vector or dual vector?

The textbook(Introduction to the Classical Theory of Particles and Fields, by Boris Kosyakov) defines a hypersurface by $$F(x)~=~c,$$ where $F\in C^\infty[\mathbb M_4,\mathbb R]$. Differentiating ...
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4answers
404 views

Is there a fundamental reason not to define the work vice-versa

My question arises from something which has never been really clear: in continuum mechanics, why is strain energy defined as: $$W=\int_\Omega ...
1
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1answer
98 views

How can we derive the gauge field Lagrangian?

I learned the gauge field Lagrangian is given in this form: $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4} \mathrm{Tr}(F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu}).$$ But how one can derive this equation starting from defining the ...
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2answers
121 views

What is $V^\mu$ if $\nabla_{\mu} V^{\mu}$=scalar?

Suppose there is a quantity written as $\sum\limits_\mu \nabla_\mu V^\mu$ which is invariant under a coordinate transformation, i.e. scalar, where $V^\mu=(V^0,V^1,V^2,V^3)$ and $\nabla_\mu$ is a ...
3
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1answer
104 views

Vector fields and tensors in E&M

I'm confused by a very basic property of electric fields. The electric field is a vector field. Vectors are tensors. Wikipedia has the following statement in the article about the electromagnetic ...
2
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1answer
59 views

Gauge SU(2) with real triplet

I have come across a model of gauge $SU(2)$ with a real triplet. The covariant derivative for $SU(2)$ complex doublet is written as $$D_\mu=\partial_\mu-igT^aA^a_\mu$$ where $T^a$ are generators of ...
2
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2answers
139 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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2answers
73 views

Independent components in a 4-vector representing massless fields

In Ryder Page141, it is written "the electromagnetic field, like any massless field, possesses only two independent components, but is covariantly described by a 4-vector $A_{\mu}$". Why are there ...
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5answers
1k views

What problems with Electromagnetism led Einstein to the Special Theory of Relativity?

I have often heard it said that several problems in the theory of electromagnetism as described by Maxwell's equations led Einstein to his theory of Special Relativity. What exactly were these ...
0
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2answers
55 views

Magnetic force and relative frame

The magnetic field for to a moving charge depend on its velocity (Biot Savart's law). My question is that is it then not frame dependent? If it is, it means if a man is walking and other is standing ...
4
votes
3answers
227 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 ...
3
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3answers
158 views

Relation between component and algebraic definition of covariant vectors

I studied contravariance and covariance concepts in following way: For any vector if we get its components by parallelogram way we achieve contravariant components, and if we want to get its ...
2
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4answers
232 views

Gradient is covariant or contravariant?

I read somewhere people write gradient in covariant form because of their proposes. I think gradient expanded in covariant basis $i$, $j$, $k$, so by invariance nature of vectors, component of ...
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6answers
765 views

Why should a (physical) principle be applicable to different systems in different positions in space and time?

This is a question with a philosophical, as well as physical, flavor. Why should a physical principle (or a description of one), be applicable to different systems that can be in different positions ...
5
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1answer
155 views

Levi Civita covariance and contravariance

I read some older posts about this question, but I don't know if I'm getting it. I'm working with a Lagrangian involving some Levi Civita symbols, and when I calculate a term containing ...
5
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1answer
105 views

Invariance of a tensor under coordinate transformation

I know, that a tensor is a mathematically entity that is represented using a basis and tensor products, in the form of a matrix, and changing a representation doesn't change a tensor, is kind of ...
6
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2answers
492 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 ...
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3answers
148 views

Why do we need a metric to define gradient?

For me, the gradient of a scalar field (say, in three dimensions) is simply (formally) $\nabla f = \left(\frac{\partial f}{\partial x}, \frac{\partial f}{\partial y},\frac{\partial f}{\partial z} ...
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4answers
171 views

Difference between matrix representations of tensors and $\delta^{i}_{j}$ and $\delta_{ij}$?

My question basically is, is Kronecker delta $\delta_{ij}$ or $\delta^{i}_{j}$. Many tensor calculus books (including the one which I use) state it to be the latter, whereas I have also read many ...
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2answers
141 views

Why are totally antisymmetric tensors more useful than totally symmetric tensors?

In an arbitrary number of dimensions, one can naturally define two tensors, Kronecker delta and Levi-Civita epsilon tensor. However, why isn't it advantageous to define some totally symmetric tensor ...
2
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1answer
118 views

Are diffeomorphisms a proper subgroup of conformal transformations?

The title sums it pretty much. Are all diffeomorphism transformations also conformal transformations? If the answer is that they are not, what are called the set of diffeomorphisms that are not ...
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3answers
135 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}) = ...
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0answers
54 views

Background subtraction for a signal ans Errors Analysis

I use a CCD to see the split of a energy level due to Zeeman effect. I have a 1 dimensional CCD of 7926 pixel of 7μm each one. My CCD analyze a region 2 dimensional, and then it steps forward 200 ...
3
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2answers
262 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 ...
3
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2answers
296 views

Why the generators of boosts transform like a vector under rotation?

$$\left[J_i,J_j \right]=i\epsilon_{ijk}J_k$$ $$\left[J_i,M_j \right]=i\epsilon_{ijk}M_k$$ $$\left[M_i,M_j \right]=-i\epsilon_{ijk}J_k$$ where $J_i$ is the generator of rotation of Lorentz group, $M_i$ ...
3
votes
1answer
104 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
votes
1answer
215 views

Question on index notation and metric tensor

I found this expression in my SR notes: $$ (\Lambda^{-1})^{\lambda}_{\ \ \ \sigma} = g^{\lambda\mu}~\Lambda^{\rho}_{\ \ \ \mu} ~g_{\rho\sigma} = \Lambda_\sigma^{\ \ \ \lambda}$$ I know where it ...
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8answers
1k views

Is it foolish to distinguish between covariant and contravariant vectors?

A vector space is a set whose elements satisfy certain axioms. Now there are physical entities that satisfy these properties, which may not be arrows. A co-ordinate transformation is linear map from a ...
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1answer
89 views

Covariant derivative as a tensor

$$\nabla_{j} v^{i}~=~g^{ik}\nabla_{j}v_{k}.$$ Does this equality involve an intermediate step, where I take the metric inside the derivative, and then use the fact that covariant derivative of the ...
3
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2answers
251 views

Partial Differentiation of a Tensor

I have doubts in the statement that the partial or ordinary differentiation of tensor is not a tensor. The argument for this is that the partial differentiation of the tensor involves evaluating the ...
3
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1answer
155 views

Lorentz transformation implemented by a non-unitary operator.

One often come across in QFT sentences like the following, for instance: ...under a Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$ implemented by the unitary operator $U(\Lambda)$, a Dirac field transforms ...
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vote
1answer
155 views

Why in some cases $0\alpha$ component of stress-energy tensor don't form 4-vector?

In electrodynamics there is Poynting vector and energy density, which refer to $0\alpha $ components of stress-energy tensor, don't create 4-vector. Analogous situation with mass density and mass ...
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2answers
496 views

Understanding the difference between co- and contra-variant vectors

I am looking at the 4-vector treatment of special relativity, but I have had no formal training in Tensor algebra and thus am having difficulty understanding some of the concepts which appear. One ...
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2answers
92 views

With respect to what quantities do I vary Lagrangians in field theory?

I have recently been wondering, with respect to which quantities (covariant or contravariant) one should vary QFT Lagrangians and whether there is some rule regarding this. Let me give an example ...
2
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1answer
234 views

What is a covariant derivative in gauge theory?

I've been studying electroweak theory and you need to keep the Lagrangian covariant by introducing covariant derivatives. What is a covariant derivative? And what does it mean to keep the Lagrangian ...
3
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1answer
82 views

Question about simple permutation of covariant derivatives

I must to compute value $$ [[D_{\mu}, D_{\nu}],D_{\lambda}]A^{\rho}. $$ It is equal to $$ [D_{\mu}, D_{\nu}]D_{\lambda}A^{\rho} - D_{\lambda} ([D_{\mu}, D_{\nu}]])A^{\rho} - [D_{\mu}, ...
5
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1answer
153 views

Lorentz covariance of the Noether charge

The invariance under translation leads to the conserved energy-momentum tensor $\Theta_{\mu\nu}$ satisfying $\partial^\mu\Theta_{\mu\nu}=0$, from which we get the conserved quantity$$P^\nu=\int ...
4
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0answers
112 views

Principle of relativity - a second, equivalent form, using invariants

Most people state the principle of relativity like this: "The rules of physics must take the same form in all inertial frames." Question: is this an equivalent way of saying the same thing: ...
7
votes
3answers
700 views

Covariant and contravariant vectors

Reading Weinberg's Gravitation and Cosmology, I came across the sentence (p.115, above equation (4.11.8)) The partial derivative operator $\partial/\partial x^\mu$ is a covariant vector, or in ...
3
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2answers
605 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? ...
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1answer
500 views

Covariance of the Dirac equation and Infinitesimal Lorentz transformation

Okay, I've got really desperate now. I've spend 10 hours of work (for a few days) trying to prove 'trivial' equation in Quantum Electrodynamics. To anybody who want to write an answer for my questions ...
6
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2answers
322 views

Is there any physics behind covariance and contravariance of indices of tensors?

Is there any physics behind covariance and contravariance (up and down) of indices of tensors?
6
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2answers
214 views

What's the basic premise of General Relativity?

What is the basic assumption(s) required to explore general relativity? For example, if one merely assumes that the speed of light $c$ is the same for all observers, and the laws of physics are the ...
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1answer
269 views

Vectors on Different Coordinate Systems? [closed]

Consider the product of vectors coordinated relative to a given coordinate frame, defined by $$\vec{a}\square\vec{b}=((a_{1},b_{1})\square(a_{2},b_{2})):=(a_{1}b_{1},a_{2}b_{2})$$ Explain why ...
4
votes
5answers
538 views

Why define four-vectors to be quantities that transform only like the position vector transforms?

A four-vector is defined to be a four component quantity $A^\nu$ which transforms under a Lorentz transformation as $A^{\mu'} = L_\nu^{\mu'} A^\nu$, where $L_\nu^{\mu'}$ is the Lorentz transformation ...
0
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1answer
124 views

Covariant derivative-Differential

I was trying to prove that the derivative-four vector are covariant. This can be proved only if you consider the time and space derivatives to be $\dfrac{\partial}{\partial ...