The tag has no wiki summary.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

39
votes
3answers
2k views
19
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the difference between implicit and explicit time dependence e.g. $\frac{\partial \rho}{\partial t}$ and $\frac{d \rho} {dt}$?

What is the difference between implicit and explicit time dependence e.g. $\frac{\partial \rho}{\partial t}$ and $\frac{d \rho} {dt}$? I know one is a partial derivative and the other is a total ...
19
votes
6answers
6k views

Laplace operator's interpretation

What is your interpretation of Laplace operator? When evaluating Laplacian of some scalar field at a given point one can get a value. What does this value tell us about the field or it's behaviour in ...
12
votes
1answer
507 views

Is there a “covariant derivative” for conformal transformation?

A primary field is defined by its behavior under a conformal transformation $x\rightarrow x'(x)$: $$\phi(x)\rightarrow\phi'(x')=\left|\frac{\partial x'}{\partial x}\right|^{-h}\phi(x)$$ It's fairly ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference between $\Delta$, $d$ and $\delta$

I have read the thread regarding 'the difference between the operators between $\delta$ and $d$', but it does not answer my question. I am confused about the notation for change in Physics. In ...
10
votes
2answers
367 views

Lagrangian Mechanics - Commutativity Rule $\frac{d}{dt}\delta q=\delta \frac{dq}{dt} $

I am reading about Lagrangian mechanics. At some point the difference between the temporal derivative of a variation and variation of the temporal derivative is discussed. The fact that the two are ...
8
votes
1answer
246 views

When motion begins, do objects go through an infinite number of position derivatives?

This might be a very vague and unclear question, but let me explain. When an object at rest moves, or moves from point $A$ to point $B$, we know the object must have had some velocity (1st derivative ...
8
votes
1answer
174 views

Time derivative of the state vector as expressed in abstract Hilbert space vs. as a wavefunction

The Schrodinger equation in Hilbert space is expressed as : $$\frac{\partial}{\partial t} \psi(t) = \frac{-i}{\hbar}H\psi(t). $$ Here $\frac{\partial}{\partial t} \psi(t) \equiv \psi'(t) \equiv\lim ...
7
votes
4answers
253 views

Conserved quantities and total derivatives?

I am having a bit of a crisis in understanding of the physical meanings of total derivatives. When a quantity $\rho$ (be it a vector or a scalar) is said to be conserved, then (mathematically) ...
7
votes
3answers
799 views

What is the relation between (physicists) functional derivatives and Fréchet derivatives

I´m wondering how can one get to the definition of Functional Derivative found on most Quantum Field Theory books: $$\frac{\delta F[f(x)]}{\delta f(y) } = \lim_{\epsilon \rightarrow 0} ...
6
votes
4answers
394 views

Name this Mulltivariable Calculus Theorem

In Robert Wald's book General Relativity a multivariable calculus theorem is cited on page 16, which states: If $F:\mathbb{R}^n\mapsto \mathbb{R}$ is $C^{\infty}$ then for each $a=(a^1,...,a^n) \in ...
6
votes
4answers
633 views

What is the current of a capacitor when the derivative of voltage is undefined?

This is from the textbook I am reading: I know this equation for capacitors: $$i=C\cdot \frac { dv }{ dt }$$ Here is my question: how can diagram (a) be allowed if the derivative of the voltage ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

How is gradient the maximum rate of change of a function?

Recently I read a book which described about gradient. It says $${\rm d}T~=~ \nabla T \cdot {\rm d}{\bf r},$$ and suddenly they concluded that $\nabla T$ is the maximum rate of change of $f(T)$ ...
5
votes
2answers
177 views

A confusion about notation in Goldstein

On treating systems of particles, Goldstein starts with the consideration that whenever there are $k$ particles on a system, the $i$-th one obeys the relation $$\dfrac{d}{dt}{\bf p}_i = {\bf ...
5
votes
7answers
598 views

Physical intuition for higher order derivatives

Could somebody give me an intuitive physical interpretation of higher order derivatives (from 2 and so on), that is not related to position - velocity - acceleration - jerk - etc?
5
votes
0answers
112 views

Is it correct to sum over either index of the metric the same way?

I don't know if the following is correct, i want to compute the following derivative $$\frac{\partial }{\partial (\partial_{\mu}A_{\nu})}\left(\partial^{\alpha}A^{\beta}\partial_{\alpha}A_{\beta} ...
4
votes
1answer
217 views

Do partial derivatives commute on tensors?

For example; is $$\partial_{\rho}\partial_{\sigma}h_{\mu\nu} - \partial_{\sigma}\partial_{\rho}h_{\mu\nu}=0$$ correct?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Derivatives of operators

How do derivatives of operators work? Do they act on the terms in the derivative or do they just get "added to the tail"? Is there a conceptual way to understand this? For example: say you had the ...
4
votes
2answers
125 views

Conventions regarding partial derivatives

Look at this expression: $$\frac{\partial}{\partial t} (V-\mathbf{v}\cdot\mathbf{A}).$$ This expression occurs in Griffiths EM book (4th ed, p.444). $V=V(\mathbf{r},t)$is the scalar potential, ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Higgs mechanism in QED

I'm trying to understand the Higgs mechanics. For that matter, I'm exploring the possibility of giving mass to the photon in a gauge-invariant way. So, if we introduce a complex scalar field: $$ ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Contradiction of a scalar product

Can anyone resolve this contradiction: ...
3
votes
2answers
250 views

Derivative with respect to a vector is a gradient?

I've encountered in some books (and even completed an exercise from the Goldstein by using it), a strange notation that seems to work exactly like a gradient, I have tried to look for an explanation ...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

What is the difference between $\nabla _{\sigma} $ and $ \nabla^{\sigma}$?

What is the difference between: $\nabla _{\sigma} $ and $ \nabla^{\sigma}$? I've been told that the first is the covariant derivative, however I'm just starting a course on spacetime geometry and ...
3
votes
2answers
270 views

What are $\partial_t$ and $\partial^\mu$?

I'm reading the Wikipedia page for the Dirac equation: $\rho=\phi^*\phi\,$ ...... $J = -\frac{i\hbar}{2m}(\phi^*\nabla\phi - \phi\nabla\phi^*)$ with the conservation of probability ...
3
votes
6answers
821 views

Is acceleration $a = s/t^2$, or $a = 2s/t^2$, or something third?

I'm having trouble understanding some of the stuff regarding movement in my introductory physics class (I never thought I'd say that...) Acceleration is defined as $ a = \frac{s}{t^2}.$ Distance can ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Why do we do partial and not covariant differentiation with $x^{\nu}$?

Why when taking the velocity vector we make $$u^{\nu}=\frac{d}{d\tau}x^{\nu}$$ and not $$u^{\nu}=\frac{\nabla}{d\tau}x^{\nu}$$ where in the last equation I meant the covariant derivative. Why?
3
votes
1answer
150 views

Neglecting second order differentials

I am currently doing some Lorentz invariance exercises considering infinitesimal Lorentz transformations, and have been told to neglect second order differentials. It's not the first time I have come ...
2
votes
2answers
951 views

Derivative of the product of operators

I'm asked to show that $\frac{d(\hat{A}\hat{B})}{d\lambda} = \frac{d\hat{A}}{d\lambda}\hat{B} + \hat{A}\frac{d\hat{b}}{d\lambda}$ With $\lambda$ a continuous parameter Should I use the definition ...
2
votes
2answers
118 views

Any difference between thermodynamic double-derivative and derivative “at constant” value?

Reading about the Maxwell relations has left me confused, and I want a basic sanity check regarding the notation. The Wikipedia article breezes over the following switch of notation without really ...
2
votes
3answers
181 views

Ordering of differential operators

If we write something like: $\partial_a X_{\mu} \partial^a X^{\mu}$ Does that mean the first derivative is only applied to the first X? ($\partial_a X_{\mu})( \partial^a X^{\mu}$) Or is the ...
2
votes
2answers
181 views

Are there general circuits that differentiate/integrate empirically?

Is it possible to construct simple circuits, that given a time-varying input, produce an output that represents the derivative or integral of the input with respect to time?
2
votes
3answers
49 views

Can we measure rates in real time?

I know what it means to say that my position is "X" at a particular moment in time. I can easily take a picture of my motion and observe my exact location at the instant the picture was taken. That is ...
2
votes
1answer
203 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
134 views

Partial derivative potential energy of 'free' vibration

I have this rather mathematical question about the calculation of the partial derivative of a potential energy function given by: $$U(x_i)=\frac{1}{2}\sum_{i,j}\frac{\partial^2U(0)}{\partial ...
2
votes
2answers
81 views

Covariant derivative of a covariant tensor wrt superscript

Is it true that when you take the covariant derivative of a covariant tensor, do you always have to do with a subscript? What if you do it wrt a superscript?Does the first term (with the partial ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Are covariant derivatives of Killing vector fields symmetric?

I'm reading the Lecture Notes on General Relativity by Matthias Blau, and in section 9.1 (point 1) he writes: Let $K^\mu$ be a Killing vector field, and ${x^\mu(\tau)}$ be a geodesic. Then the ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Taylor series expansion of $\ln$ and $\cosh$ in distance fallen in time $t$ equation

I want to find the Taylor expansion of $y=\frac {V_t^2}{g} \ln(\cosh(\frac{gt}{V_t}))$ I have tried using the fact $\cosh x= \frac {e^x}{2}$ for large t, which works, I just need help on small values ...
2
votes
3answers
205 views

Physical motivation for differentiation under the integral

I am thinking about the mathematical process of "differentiating underneath the integral", i.e. applying the theorem $$\partial_s \int_{-\infty}^\infty f(x,s)\,dx=\int_{-\infty}^\infty \partial_s ...
1
vote
4answers
723 views

Which Schrodinger equation is correct?

In the coordinate representation, in 1D, the wave function depends on space and time, $\Psi(x,t)$, accordingly the time dependent Schrodinger equation is $$H\Psi(x,t) = ...
1
vote
2answers
248 views

What does $\textbf{f} = -\boldsymbol{\nabla} u$ mean in practice and how is it computed?

In classical computer simulations such as molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, one integrates Newton's equations of motion to determine particle trajectories. If we think of Newton's Second Law as ...
1
vote
3answers
185 views

Apparent dimensional mismatch after taking derivative

Suppose I have a variable $x$ and a constant $a$, each having the dimension of length. That is $[x]=[a]=[L]$ where square brackets denote the dimension of the physical quantity contained within them. ...
1
vote
2answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
815 views

When we take time derivative of a function of time, then is the result another function of time, again?

(I'll try to explain my question by one known example), for example where the velocity is a function of time v(t) then its time derivative (which is acceleration: $a=\frac {dv}{dt}$) is another ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Curl of a vector field with two different systems of coordinates

Let $$\mathbf{H} = H_x \mathbf{u}_x + H_y \mathbf{u}_y + H_z \mathbf{u}_z$$ be a vector field whose components are defined with respect to the unit vectors $\mathbf{u}_x$, $\mathbf{u}_y$ and ...
1
vote
1answer
198 views

$\nabla({\bf u}^2)=2({\bf u}\cdot \nabla){\bf u} - 2(\nabla \times {\bf u}) \times {\bf u}$

Please see the next link: http://www3.kis.uni-freiburg.de/~peter/teach/hydro/hydro02.pdf In (2.13), he used: $$\nabla({\bf u}^2)=2({\bf u}\cdot \nabla){\bf u} - 2(\nabla \times {\bf u}) \times {\bf ...
1
vote
1answer
240 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} ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

How to get the time derivative of an expectation value in quantum mechanics?

The textbook computes the time derivative of an expectation value as follows: $$\frac{d}{dt}\langle Q\rangle=\frac{d}{dt}\langle \Psi|\hat Q\Psi\rangle=\langle \frac{\partial\Psi}{\partial t}|\hat ...
1
vote
2answers
51 views

Taylor series: Epsilon not differentiated? [closed]

Why isn't epsilon differentiated with respect to time? (see my question on the right)
1
vote
1answer
93 views

Question concerning the Feynman Lectures of Physics

I am reading the Feynman lectures and at this point http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/I_13.html#Ch13-S3 it says as follows: The time derivate of the potential energy is $\begin{equation} ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

Trouble with derivation in an equation for Newton's Law of Angular Motion

I'm an autodidact and can't follow the part after "it is easily seen that"... which is the 31st equation: Shouldn't it be: $m_i\,{\bf r}_i\times \frac{d^2{\bf r}_i }{dt^2}= \frac{d}{dt}(m_i r_i ...