Tagged Questions

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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6
votes
4answers
361 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
vote
1answer
71 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
117 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
93 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
51 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
votes
2answers
131 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
71 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 ...
14
votes
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
votes
2answers
51 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
189 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
votes
3answers
142 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
votes
4answers
204 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
760 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
votes
1answer
134 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
votes
1answer
91 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
votes
2answers
483 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
vote
3answers
132 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} ...
10
votes
4answers
155 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
133 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
votes
1answer
111 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
131 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}) = ...
2
votes
0answers
49 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
votes
2answers
234 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
votes
2answers
266 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
101 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
203 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 ...
16
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
85 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
votes
2answers
222 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
votes
1answer
151 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
154 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
462 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
91 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
votes
1answer
226 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
149 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
votes
0answers
110 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: ...
3
votes
2answers
567 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? ...
1
vote
1answer
475 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
votes
2answers
306 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
votes
2answers
208 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
260 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
520 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
282 views

Arbitrary tensor covariant derivative

what are the rules for performing covariant derivatives on tensors of arbitrary rank? I found a few examples of Tensor derivatives: $$\nabla_{c} T^a {}_{b} = \partial_{c}T^a {}_{b}+ \Gamma^a{}_{cd} ...
2
votes
1answer
481 views

Invariance, covariance and symmetry

Though often heard, often read, often felt being overused, I wonder what are the precise definitions of invariance and covariance. Could you please give me an example from quantum field theory? ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

Is time a Scalar or a Vector?

In Wikipedia it's said that time is a scalar quantity. But its hard to understand that how? As stated that we consider only the magnitude of time then its a scalar. But on basis of time we define ...
0
votes
0answers
153 views

How to solve following equation (Yukawa field)?

By using Lagrangian for Yukawa interaction, $$ L = -\frac{1}{c}A_{\alpha}j^{\alpha} + \frac{1}{8 \pi c}(\partial_{\alpha}A_{\beta})(\partial^{\alpha}A^{\beta}) + ...
3
votes
2answers
338 views

Lorenz gauge fixing

Is it always possible to define function $\psi$ satisfying the Lorenz gauge equation $$ \partial_{\mu}\partial^{\mu} \psi + \partial_{\mu}A^{\mu} = 0? $$
3
votes
0answers
102 views

Is a solution to the Klein-Gordon equation homeomorphic (or even diffeomorphic) to a solution of an equation with a different covariance group?

Consider some solution $\psi(x,t)$ to the linear Klein-Gordon equation: $-\partial^2_t \psi + \nabla^2 \psi = m^2 \psi$. Up to homeomorphism, can $\psi$ serve as a solution to some other equation ...