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45
votes
7answers
4k views

Do Maxwell's Equations overdetermine the electric and magnetic fields?

Maxwell's equations specify two vector and two scalar (differential) equations. That implies 8 components in the equations. But between vector fields $\vec{E}=(E_x,E_y,E_z)$ and ...
34
votes
6answers
895 views

Motion described by $m \frac{\mathrm{d}^2 x}{\mathrm{d}t^2}=-k\frac{\mathrm{d}^{\frac12 }x}{\mathrm{d}t^{\frac12}}$

What kind of motion would a (preferably dimensionless for simplicity) body do if the force acted on it was proportional to the semi-derivative of displacement, i.e. $$m \frac{\mathrm{d}^2 ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Does the heat equation violate causality?

I've ran across the idea that, besides simply writing partial differential equations in covariant form, they need to be hyperbolic with all characteristic speeds less than the speed of light. A ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Any physical example of an “explosive” differential equation $ y' = ky^2$?

I was told that in physics (and in chemistry as well) there are processes that may be described by a differential equation of the form $$ y' = ky^2. $$ That is, the variation of a variable depends ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Conservation of Mathematical Constraints when deriving Energy and Momentum from $F=ma$

Background: Starting from $F = ma$, integrating with respect to time, and using basic calc, one can derive $\int Fdt = m (v_f - v_i)$ Starting from $F = ma$, integrating with respect to distance, ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Applications of delay differential equations

Being interested in the mathematical theory, I was wondering if there are up-to-date, nontrivial models/theories where delay differential equations play a role (PDE-s, or more general functional ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

First-order wave equation: Why is its presence not common?

The (one-dimensional) wave equation is the second-order linear partial differential equation $$\frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial x^2}=\frac{1}{v^2}\frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial t^2}\tag{second order PDE}$$ ...
13
votes
3answers
441 views

Chemical reaction as state transition?

When considering diffusion of chemicals, the reaction part is business of chemical kinetics, where the relevant characteristics of different substances come from collision theory together with some ...
13
votes
0answers
101 views

Can one classify partial differential equations according to the causality properties of their solutions (and if yes, then how)?

Recently, I bumped into this interesting comment by Valter Moretti which made me wonder about the following, more general question (to which I suspect the answer is affirmative): Can we easily tell, ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the physical meaning/concept behind Legendre polynomials?

In mathematical physics and other textbooks we find the Legendre polynomials are solutions of Legendre's differential equations. But I didn't understand where we encounter Legendre's differential ...
12
votes
2answers
98 views

Numerical Analysis of Elliptic PDEs

I am looking for an elementary reference regarding issues of stability in numerical analysis of non-linear elliptic PDEs, particularly using the finite difference method (but something more ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is it natural to look for solutions involving dimensionless quantities?

While studying the Heat Equation, I got stuck in a statement in my book. It says: We have seen that the combination of variables $\displaystyle \frac{x}{\sqrt{Dt}}$ is not only invariant with ...
8
votes
1answer
786 views

Modification of Newton's Law of Cooling

Yesterday I randomly started thinking about Newton's Law of Cooling. The problem I realized is that it assumes the ambient temperature stays constant over time, which is obviously not true. So what I ...
8
votes
1answer
995 views

Relation between Black-Scholes equation and quantum mechanics

I am interested in the link between the Black & Scholes equation and quantum mechanics. I start from the Black & Scholes PDE $$ \frac{\partial C}{\partial t} = -\frac{1}{2}\sigma^2 S^2 ...
8
votes
3answers
174 views

What physical phenomena are modelled by Chebyshev equation?

What physical phenomena are modeled by Chebyshev equation? The equation is below $$(1-x^2) {d^2 y \over d x^2} - x {d y \over d x} + p^2 y ~=~ 0 .$$ I could not find it in Wikipedia or in Google (at ...
6
votes
1answer
470 views

Diffeomorphisms and boundary conditions

I am trying to find out how did the authors in this paper (arXiv:0809.4266) found out the general form of the diffeomorphism which preserve the boundary conditions in the same paper. I found this ...
6
votes
2answers
161 views

What is Method of Characteristics?

I am a final year student of BS Mechanical Engineering and method of characteristics is not a part of our curriculum. In-fact I heard of it first time after finally picking my FYP. My final year ...
6
votes
2answers
700 views

WHY does the “order” of a differential equation = number of “energy storage” elements in a system?

OK. in all engineering courses there comes a point when they introduce you to systems theory and modeling of systems (for eg. via the impulse response) and then the Laplace transform. The modern ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What type of PDE are Navier-Stokes equations, and Schrödinger equation?

What type of PDE are Navier-Stokes equations, and Schrödinger equation? I mean, are they parabolic, hyperbolic, elliptic PDEs?
6
votes
1answer
201 views

Integrating Factor Solution for Plasma Wave Equation

As part of a derivation in Bernstein '58 [1] a linear first-order (eqn. (9) in the image) appears: But the general solution I would usually take (as appears in Gradshteyn and Ryzhik and checked in ...
6
votes
1answer
193 views

Physical interpretation related to a non-linear partial differential equation

I am doctoral student in pure mathematics working on a particular problem. My question is if this problem has applications to real world phenomena. I will try to explain the direct problem starting ...
5
votes
2answers
394 views

Time-dependent Schrödinger equation with $V=V(x,t)$

I was wondering about the following: If you have the time-dependent Schrödinger equation such that $$i \hbar \frac{\partial\psi(x,t)}{\partial t} = - \frac{\hbar^2}{2m} ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

Why is the wave equation so pervasive?

The homogenous wave equation can be expressed in covariant form as $$ \Box^2 \varphi = 0 $$ where $\Box^2$ is the D'Alembert operator and $\varphi$ is some physical field. The acoustic wave ...
5
votes
2answers
233 views

Poisson equation in 2D and 3D: geometrical reason for the difference

The Poisson equation in 3D shows a fundamental solution in 3D which decays with $\sim 1/r$, whilst in 2D it shows a much different decay $\sim -\ln r$. While in 3D not only the solution, but also its ...
5
votes
1answer
395 views

Solving the differential equation of a beam under moving load using green functions

i started working on this paper and i didnt understand one part of it , the problem is : Solve this equation using green functions : $$ EI {\partial^4 y(x,t)\over\partial x^4}+\mu ...
5
votes
1answer
474 views

What formulas should I use to realistically model the diffusion of a drop of ink in a water?

I am a mathematician and am originally from the math side of stackexchange. I want to model the behaviour of a drop of ink diffusing in water. I dont want to simply use the diffusion equation ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Is the mathematical form of the acoustic diffusion equation present in other fields of physics?

We are working in the field of High Performance Computing and we have developed a very efficient parallel implementation for solving the Acoustic Diffusion Equation as described below: $$ ...
5
votes
1answer
489 views

Solving Special Function Equations Using Lie Symmetries

The lie group + representation theory approach to special functions & how they solve the ode's arising in physics is absolutely amazing. I've given an example of it's power below on Bessel's ...
5
votes
2answers
183 views

What information is lost in the symmetrization necessary to derive the BBGKY hierarchy?

The book on Kinetic theory I'm reading derives the BBGKY hierarchy after introducing the reduced distribution functions $f_s(q^1,p_1,q^2,p_2,\dots,q^s,p_s):=\int\ \rho\ \ \mathrm d q^{s+1} \mathrm d ...
5
votes
0answers
141 views

on fundamental 2D conductivity equation boundary value problem

Consider the following homogeneous boundary value problem for a function/potential $u(x,y)$ on the infinite strip $[-\infty,\infty]\times[0,\pi/4]$ w/positive periodic coefficient/nductivity ...
4
votes
3answers
431 views

Heat equation with strange boundary condition

I've attempted a few different solutions to this math methods problem from an old qualifying exam, but I can't seem to hack it. The setup for the problem is that the temperature sand in the Australian ...
4
votes
3answers
676 views

Bessel vs. modified Bessel in radial equation of hydrogen

I am trying to understand the difference between Bessel functions and modified Bessel functions (simply googling is yielding complicated, non-intuitive answers). I was under the impression that one ...
4
votes
1answer
202 views

field solutions for covariant derivative of vector field constrained to zero

Question: What do the solutions of $\nabla_\mu A^\nu = 0 $ look like? And is it possible for spacetime curvature to somehow restrict the solution to $A^\nu = 0$? Here is my current ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

Are all diffusion-like processes described as wave-like in relativity-compatible formulations?

Citing from Wikipedia's article on relativistic heat conduction: For most of the last century, it was recognized that Fourier equation (and its more general Fick's law of diffusion) is in ...
4
votes
1answer
158 views

Solution of QM tasks by using asymptotics

When we solve QM tasks by solving the Schrödinger equation, such as tasks about a particle in a Morse potential, a Poschl-Teller potential and many others, we usually find approximations (lets call ...
4
votes
1answer
357 views

How to determine sign of coefficients in simple spring, damper, mass system?

For a system of the sort shown below: I have come to realize that I continuously make mistakes when it comes to determining the signs (or specifically the direction of the forces) of the ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

What exactly is the meaning of weak formulations and what is its purpose?

What is the purpose behind weak formulation of PDEs? I have read in the book by Zienkiewicz and Taylor that a weak formulation is more "permissive" that the original problem in the sense that it ...
4
votes
0answers
98 views

Is there a proof that the number of eigenstates is countable for a bound system?

When you solve Schrödinger equation for a free particle with no boundary conditions your eigen states are indexed by quantum number $k \in \mathbb R $ and $\mathbb R$ isn't countable but if you add a ...
4
votes
0answers
196 views

Naive questions on the classical equations of motion from the Chern-Simons Lagrangian

Consider a Chern-Simons Lagrangian $\mathscr{L}=\mathbf{e}^2-b^2+g\epsilon^{\mu \nu \lambda} a_\mu\partial _\nu a_\lambda$ in 2+1 dimensions, where the 'electromagnetic' fields are $e_i=\partial ...
4
votes
1answer
335 views

Research problems in application of Lie groups to differential equations [closed]

Are there any open problems in physics involving Lie groups and differential equations for a phd theses. Some applications are say, Noether's theorem in classical or quantum field theory. But I am ...
3
votes
3answers
310 views

Proper and rigourous derivation of Gaussian beam?

Gaussian beams are known solutions to the Paraxial Wave Equation: $$ \frac{\partial^2 \Psi(x,y,t)}{\partial^2 x} + \frac{\partial^2 \Psi(x,y,t)}{\partial^2 y} = 2ik\frac{\partial ...
3
votes
4answers
532 views

Why is linear independence of harmonic oscillator solutions important?

The equation of motion for the harmonic oscillator (mass on spring model) $$\frac{d^2x}{dt^2} + \omega_0^2 x = 0$$ with $\omega_0^2 = D/m$, $D$ and $m$ being the force constant of the spring and the ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Complete vs General Integral of first order PDE

The following is an excerpt from Landau's Course on Theoretical Physics Vol.1 Mechanics: ... we should recall the fact that every first-order partial differential equation has a solution depending ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Existence and Uniqueness of Newton's Laws

I'm reading Arnold's book on classical mechanics. This is kind of a dumb question, but I'm having problems understanding his explanation for existence and uniqueness of Newton's laws. On page $8$ he ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Greens function in EM with boundary conditions confusion

So I thought I was understanding Green's functions, but now I am unsure. I'll start by explaining (briefly) what I think I know then ask the question. Background Greens are a way of solving ...
3
votes
2answers
106 views

Numerical modelling of a step function in time in a hydrodynamic system. (Runge Kutta fourth order)

So I'm trying to model a hydrodynamic system that introduces a sudden "jump" in the value of a function at a specific time. The system is solved with a Runge-Kutta fourth order method. I have a ...
3
votes
2answers
137 views

Solving differential equations without approximations?

In physics, many problems start with a mathematical relationship of the physical phenomenon at hand, and then, in many occasion, always only leave whatever in the first order to get a nice and ...
3
votes
1answer
502 views

What does it mean that Einstein's equations are hyperbolic-elliptical?

I says on Wolfram MathWorld that Einstein's field equations are a set of "16 coupled hyperbolic-elliptic nonlinear partial differential equations". What does it mean that the equations are ...
3
votes
2answers
79 views

Interpretation of Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors of an hyperbolic conservation law $\partial_t W + A \partial_x W = 0$

I read in a article dealing with a hyperbolic partial differential equations this statement : For any system of hyperbolic partial differential equations (pde), expressed as (1) ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

A model for constant temperature of water in a container

I put some water in a container with initial temperature $T_0$ in a room, and the room's initial temperature is $T_a$. Now the container is filled to the maximum, so any more water coming in will ...