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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1answer
178 views

Why are densities not fields?

I have read (in Statistical mechanics of lattice system 2: exact, series and renormalization group methods by D.A. Lavis and G.M. Bell pg 2 ), that intrinsic variables are either fields or densities. ...
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2answers
70 views

Clarification on meaning of scalar in math and scalar in physics

When a mathematician says something is a scalar, say on the plane, they mean that it associates to points on the plane real numbers. When a physicist says something is a scalar, they mean that if we ...
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2answers
31 views

Parameterisation of the equation of motion for a relativistic massive point particle

The equation of motion for a relativistic massive point particle is given by: $$\frac{dp_{\mu}}{d \tau} = 0,$$ where $p_{\mu}$ is the four-momentum defined by $p_{\mu} = m \frac{dx_{\mu}}{ds/c}$, ...
32
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5answers
2k views

Why do we need coordinate-free descriptions?

I was reading a book on differential geometry in which it said that a problem early physicists such as Einstein faced was coordinates and they realized that physics does not obey man's coordinate ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

Invariant equations of motion under Lorentz transformations

My question regards the statement that an equation of motion may be invariant under a Lorentz transformation I just finished watching the Stanford University special relativity lectures on special ...
0
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1answer
83 views

Problem understanding Lorentz invariance [duplicate]

So they usually started with "...This is obviously Lorentz invariant, because of the 4-vector character of the quantity,..., (and after a two page long derivation) another quantity is also obviously ...
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0answers
29 views

What is the correct terminology for a “symplectic covariant” equation?

A Lorentz covariant equation is one that takes the same form even when a Lorentz transformation is applied to each variable. Lorentz covariance is generally made manifest by writing the equation with ...
2
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2answers
88 views

Making sense out of covariance and contravariance

I just read about co- and contravariant vectors and I am not sure that I got it right: If we imagine that we have a n-dimensional manifold $M$ then a tangent space is spanned by the vectors ...
0
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1answer
53 views

Lorentz invariance vs. covariance

I am a bit confused whether relativistic theory is Lorentz invariant or covariant. And please explain why?
3
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2answers
75 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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1answer
29 views

Matrix dimensions in the spacetime interval equation don't seem to agree? (Possible notation misunderstanding)

The spacetime interval in flat space can be expressed as $(\Delta s)^2 = g_{\alpha \beta} \Delta x^\alpha \Delta x^\beta$. I understand covariant, $x_a$, and contravariant, $x^a$, vectors to be row ...
3
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1answer
76 views

In continuum mechanics, why is the stress vector $T=\sigma\cdot n$ not a covector?

In continuum mechanics, the stress vector (see Cauchy stress tensor) $T=\sigma\cdot n$ is the surface density of a force. Forces are covectors, since they map a displacement vector to a scalar energy. ...
1
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1answer
102 views

Covariant formulation of physical equations?

Is it possible to rewrite equations like the Klein-Gordon, the Dirac or the Proca equation in a generally covariant way? And if yes, how and how can the general covariance be shown? (I searched ...
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1answer
73 views

Covariance of the Dirac Equation

i want to show that the following equation holds: $$ \frac{1}{8}\left[\gamma^{\mu},\omega_{\mu \nu} [\gamma^{\mu},\gamma^{\nu} ] \right] = \omega^{\mu}_{~~~\nu}\,~ \gamma^{\nu} $$ $\gamma^{\mu}$ ...
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2answers
60 views

Index gymnastics and representing bra-kets as covariant and contravariant tensors

I am trying to figure out how to write, in Einstein notation as well as pick out elements of $$\langle A|[\mu]|B\rangle \langle X|[\nu]|Y\rangle$$ where $[\mu] = \begin{bmatrix} \mu_{11} & ...
0
votes
2answers
95 views

Off-diagonal terms in metric for 4D space-time [closed]

Consider a delta between two events in 4D space-time written as a 4-vector, $x^\mu=(dt, dR)$. The time $dt$ is a scalar difference in time. The 3-vector $dR$ points some direction in space. One ...
5
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3answers
170 views

How can a Physical law not be invariant?

In Relativity, both the old Galilean theory or Einstein's Special Relativity, one of the most important things is the discussion of whether or not physical laws are invariant. Einstein's theory then ...
1
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1answer
83 views

Transpose of (1,1) tensor

When we transpose a (1,1) tensor, shall we simply switch the two indices while keeping their upper/lower positions or switch them and also switch their upper/lower positions? In general, would the ...
11
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7answers
269 views

How can a set of components fail to make up a vector?

Many books in Physics insist to define vectors are objects with components with the property that the components transform in a proper way under a change of coordinates. Now, in mathematics, on the ...
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2answers
124 views

Relation between Vector space $V$ and its dual $V^{*}$ [closed]

I asked the same question in Math.SE, but I was suggested to ask it here as well. I am studying relativity, and as you know the theory extensively uses the notion of covariant and contravariant ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

Geodesic equation

I have a technical question about the geodesic equation. Assume we have a frame $(E_{1},E_{2},E_{3},E_{4})$ (not necessarily a coordinate frame). Assume we have a parametrized curve $\gamma(s)\in M$ ...
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1answer
87 views

Understanding the covariant derivative and its relation to parallel transport

I have been reading section 3.1 of Wald's GR book in which he introduces the notion of a covariant derivative. As I understand, this is introduced as the (partial) derivative operators $\partial_{a}$ ...
0
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0answers
60 views

The Covariant Spinor Derivative in the Locally Supersymmetric Generalisation of the Polyakov Action and Potential Mistakes in the Literature

Questions) I recently came upon the thesis The Landscape of Free Fermionic Gauge Models by D. G. Moore and G.B. Cleaver. On pages 20 and 21 they explain that the locally supersymmetric action, ...
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2answers
63 views

Identifying a scalar function

We know that a scalar is invariant under rotations. What about a scalar function? Should it also be invariant under rotations? Therefore, under rotation $\phi(x,y,z)$ must be equal to ...
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2answers
141 views

Is a vector field not a vector quantity?

I'm trying to make sense of Poisson bracket relation $$\{L_i,A_k\}_{PB}~=~\epsilon_{ikl}A_l,\tag1$$ where $L_i$ is $i$th component of angular momentum, $A_k$ is $k$th component of an arbitrary ...
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2answers
169 views

Is there an accepted axiomatic approach to general relativity?

I am reading Steven Weinberg's book Gravitation and Cosmology. He makes a big deal out of the equivalence principle and showed a bunch of deductions you can make based on it. This surprised me since ...
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0answers
31 views

Is energy-momentum of curvature a boundary/holographic density?

Since the beginnings of General Relativity, we have had this awkward, unholy separation of the universe in marble versus wood. divergence of the stress-energy momentum holds at all points of ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Transformation of $q_k$ and $p_k$ from invariance of Hamiltonian

This is a step in Nakahara's Geometry, Topology and Physics, 2nd edition, 2003, on pages 7-8: Given that $q_k ' = q_k +\epsilon f_k(q)$, we have that $$\Lambda_{ij} = \frac{\partial q_i'}{\partial ...
8
votes
7answers
419 views

What does the statement “the laws of physics are invariant” mean?

In the first paragraph of Wikipedia's article on special relativity, it states one of the assumptions of special relativity is the laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial ...
5
votes
2answers
164 views

Metric tensor in SRT

I just read on this webpage that we have (click me) $g_{\alpha \beta} = g_{\alpha}^{\beta} = g^{\alpha \beta}.$ Now, although I understand that the first and the last one are equal, I don't think ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Naturalness of tensor fields in general relativity?

In the third chapter of the book The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, the authors say regarding the matter fields in general relativity: These fields will obey equations which can be expressed ...
3
votes
2answers
84 views

Why does choosing a time break covariance?

I'm reading that in EM theory, in hamiltonian formalism, we choose a specific reference frame with a specific time, and that this breaks covariance. Why? Surely it's simple because it's just stated ...
1
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1answer
50 views

What is the point of defining the lie algebra of the proper Lorentz group in a “covariant” way?

In Muller-Kirsten's book Introduction to Supersymmetry, the author first defines the proper Lorentz group's lie algebra basis in the standard manner - antisymmetric matrices consisting of $0$s and ...
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2answers
66 views

Transformation of spinors due to Lorentz group

Assume we have a Dirac spinor $\psi(x)$ which satisfies the Dirac equation: $$(i\gamma^{\mu}\partial_{\mu} - m)\psi(x) = 0.$$ If we boost our spacetime coordinates to a new system with a Lorentz ...
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0answers
92 views

Expressing the gauge field strength tensor in terms of covariant derivatives of the vector potential

Writing the covariant derivative as $$ \tag{1} D_\mu = \partial_\mu -ig A_\mu $$ it is easy to show that (in the non-abelian case) $$ \tag{2} [D_\mu,D_\nu] = -ig (\partial_\mu A_\nu - \partial_\nu ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Proof of the relation $d^4 \xi = \sqrt{|g|} \,\, d^4x$ switching between local and non-inertial coordinates

Denoting with $d\xi^m$ and $dx^\mu$ respectively flat and non-inertial coordinates, we have the following relation between the volume elements in the two coordinate systems: $$ d^4 \xi = \sqrt{|\det ...
6
votes
2answers
183 views

What does it mean to transform as a scalar or vector?

I'm working through an introductory electrodynamics text (Griffiths), and I encountered a pair of questions asking me to show that: the divergence transforms as a scalar under rotations the ...
4
votes
1answer
56 views

How can we see that the Riemann curvature tensor is covariant?

The Riemann curvature tensor, using the conventions of wikipedia, is written in terms of Christoffel symbols as: $$ \tag{1} R^\lambda_{\,\,\mu \nu \rho} = \partial_\nu \Gamma^\lambda_{\,\,\rho \mu} - ...
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0answers
66 views

Explicit demonstration of the relativistic invariance of the Weyl equation

It can be demonstrated explicitly that the Dirac equation is relativistically invariant. This is a proof (borrowed from Peskin & Schroder, see the unnumbered equation after the eqn. 3.31): ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Time derivative of time-translation Killing vector

I'm working with the spherically symmetric, static black hole metric. In the problem I'm working on, I'm told that $K$ is the time-translation Killing vector, $\frac{\partial}{\partial t}$ or $K = (1, ...
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2answers
193 views

Is four-current a vector or a vector density?

According to MTW, $$F^{\alpha\beta}{}_{;\beta} = 4\pi J^\alpha$$ and we can infer that the four-current must be an ordinary vector field because the left side is tensorial. But Wikipedia says that ...
2
votes
2answers
108 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 ...
2
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4answers
194 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
votes
1answer
234 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
votes
2answers
353 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
544 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 ...
7
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4answers
427 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
151 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
144 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
votes
1answer
175 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 ...