To be used for questions on geometry closely pertaining to physics. Includes differential geometry and euclidean geometry.

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15
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7answers
4k views

Experimental evidence of a fourth spatial dimension?

As human beings, we observe the world in which we live in three dimensions. However, it is certainly theoretically possible that more dimensions exist. Is there any direct or indirect evidence ...
13
votes
4answers
62k views

Does the rotation of the earth dramatically affect airplane flight time?

Say I'm flying from Sydney, to Los Angeles (S2LA), back to Sydney (LA2S). During S2LA, travelling with the rotation of the earth, would the flight time be longer than LA2S on account of Los Angeles ...
4
votes
10answers
2k views

Is it possible for a physical object to have a irrational length?

Suppose I have a caliper that is infinitely precise. Also suppose that this caliper returns not a number, but rather whether the precise length is rational or irrational. If I were to use this ...
5
votes
3answers
435 views

Textbook on the Geometry of Special Relativity

I am looking for a textbook that treats the subject of Special Relativity from a geometric point of view, i.e. a textbook that introduces the theory right from the start in terms of 4-vectors and ...
2
votes
0answers
72 views

If two ends were a certain “length” apart were they therefore at rest (or at least rigid) to each other? [closed]

Considering the definition of the SI unit of "length" [1] and [2 (" method a.")] I'm missing any requirements about the two "ends" of the required "path travelled by light" being "at rest to each ...
5
votes
2answers
144 views

What is the notion of a spatial angle in general relativity?

Is there a notion of spatial angles in general relativity? Example: The world line of a photon is given by $x^{\mu}(\lambda)$. Suppose it flies into my lab where I have a mirror. I align the mirror ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

Why is physical space equivalent to $\mathbb{R}^3$?

Why is physical space equivalent to $\mathbb{R}^3$, as opposed to e.g. $\mathbb{Q}^3$? I am trying to understand what would be the logical reasons behind our assumption that our physical space is ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

How far into space does one have to travel to see the entire sphere of earth?

Virgin Galactic will take passengers aboard SpaceShipTwo as high as 65 miles above the surface of the earth. But from this altitude, passengers will only be able to see a certain segment of the ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Gravitation is not force?

Einstein said that gravity can be looked at as curvature in space- time and not as a force that is acting between bodies. (Actually what Einstein said was that gravity was curvature in space-time and ...
3
votes
2answers
394 views

Shape of electric charges on sphere in equilibrium state

When electric charges of equal magnitude and sign are released on a regular sphere (and assume that they stick to the surface of the sphere, but they are free to move along its surface), what is the ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Do perfect spheres exist in nature?

Often in physics, Objects are approximated as spherical. However do any perfectly spherical objects actually exist in nature?
5
votes
2answers
119 views

Which causal structures are absent from any “nice” patch of Minkowski space?

Which "causal separation structures" (or "interval structures") can not be found among the events in "any nice patch ($P$) of Minkowski space"?, where "causal separation structure" ($s$) should be ...
1
vote
1answer
425 views

Geometry in diagonal matrix and inertia tensor

For this problem, can anyone explain to me why when $x_1$ axis is aligned with the diagonal of the cube, the resulting inertia tensor will become diagonal? How to interpret this result geometrically? ...
1
vote
1answer
306 views

How to calculate spatial distance in space-time?

Pinning two test particles at two different points in space, how can I calculate their spatial distance, when the geometry is given by the Schwarzschild metric? Let's say particle 1 is pinned at ...
1
vote
2answers
129 views

Are signal fronts in a beam not at rest to each other?

I'd like to investigate how the notion of "mutual rest" might be applied consistently, but distinctively, in the following thought experiment: Consider a light source ("$A$") which directs a beam ...
19
votes
3answers
6k views

Why can't a piece of paper (of non-zero thickness) be folded more than $N$ times?

Updated: In order to fold anything in half, it must be $\pi$ times longer than its thickness, and that depending on how something is folded, the amount its length decreases with each fold differs. ...
4
votes
1answer
945 views

How is the equation of motion on an ellipse derived?

I would like to show that a particle orbiting another will follow the trajectory \begin{equation} r = \frac{a(1-e^2)}{1 + e \cos(\theta)}. \end{equation} I would like to do this with minimal ...
3
votes
1answer
219 views

Can a very small portion of an ellipse be a parabola?

We consider that when a body is projected from any height from the earth surface with a speed lesser than the orbital speed ( tangentially to the earth surface at that point.) it follows an elliptical ...
6
votes
2answers
428 views

Is Dyson Sphere a stable construction?

Suppose that a star is encompassed by a Dyson Sphere. Do we need a position control system for the Dyson Sphere to keep its origin always aligned with the center of the star? Will it stay aligned ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Analytic solution for angle of minimum deviation?

Consider a simple prism with a prism angle $A$, angle of incidence $\theta_1$, angle of emergence $\theta_4$ and the first and second angle of refraction as $\theta_2,\theta_3$. the refractive index ...
1
vote
1answer
179 views

Rømer's determination of the speed of light

I am trying to understand Rømer's determination of the speed of light ($c$). The geometry of the situation is shown in the image below. The determination involves measuring apparent fluctuations in ...
108
votes
2answers
6k views

Why do sunbeams diverge even though the sun is much more than a few kilometers away?

Consider this picture of sun beams streaming onto the valley through the clouds. Given that the valley is only (at a guess) 3km wide, with simple trigonometry and the angles of the beams, this ...
15
votes
2answers
507 views

Generalized Complex Geometry and Theoretical Physics

I have been wondering about some of the different uses of Generalized Complex Geometry (GCG) in Physics. Without going into mathematical detail (see Gualtieri's thesis for reference), a Generalized ...
11
votes
2answers
730 views

The Reeh-Schlieder theorem and quantum geometry

There have been some very nice discussions recently centered around the question of whether gravity and the geometry and topology of the classical world we see about us, could be phenomena which ...
9
votes
1answer
228 views

Cutting a circle and moving endpoints

A metal (or otherwise, suitably elastic) circle is cut and the points are slid up and down a vertical axis as shown: How would one describe the resultant curves mathematically?
-3
votes
3answers
1k views

Should linear algebra and vector calculus from traditional courses be replaced with `geometric algebra`? [closed]

geometric algebra gives geometric meaning to linear algebra and much more. it can provide a coordinate free geometric interpretation of spaces. those who learn of ...
5
votes
4answers
699 views

How did “no prior geometry” father 50 years of confusion?

I've come across this quote attributed to Misner, Thorne & Wheeler from their book, Gravitation: Mathematics was not sufficiently refined in 1917 to cleave apart the demands for "no prior ...
3
votes
0answers
267 views

Geodesic distance in de Sitter space

Consider $N$ dimensional de Sitter space embedded in $N+1$ dimensional Minkowski space: $$\eta_{\mu\nu}X^\mu X^\nu=1, \hspace{1cm}\eta_{\mu\nu}=\text{diag}(-1,1,\dots,1)$$ where I set $H=1$ for ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

How to calculate roll, yaw and pitch angles from 3D co-ordinates (Euler Angles)

I have digitized a video of a flying fly in a 3-dimensional space. At all instants I know the x, y, and z co-oridinates of the following points on the fly's body --- The points are my choice, and ...
3
votes
4answers
397 views

Formulation of general relativity

EDIT: I think I can pinpoint my confusion a bit better. Here comes my updated question (I'm not sure what the standard way of doing things is - please let me know if I should delete the old version). ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

Is there a theory that physically explains the origin equivalence principle / explains gravity via acceleration?

I've been thinking about how gravity could arise from a 4th dimensional spinning cylinder with space-time that has pliability like rubber (which I think is a generally accepted analogy). The ...
2
votes
0answers
41 views

Can a value of “length, in meters” be attributed to a pair of ends which are rigid (but not at rest) to each other? [duplicate]

The definition of the SI base unit "metre" [1] doesn't seem to rule out explicitly that a certain value of "length, in meters" could be attributed to a pair of ends which are rigid to each other, but ...
6
votes
1answer
483 views

Why are fractal geometries useful for compact antenna design?

While most of what I've read about fractals has been dubious in nature, over the years, I keep hearing that these sorts of self-similar (or approximately self-similar) geometries are useful in the ...
4
votes
1answer
149 views

Flat space metrics

This question concerns the metric of a flat space: $$ds^2=dr^2+cr^2\,\,d\theta^2$$ where $c$ is a constant. Why is it necessary to set $c=1$ to avoid singularities and to restrict $r\ge 0$? Thanks.
3
votes
1answer
923 views

Nanotube chiral angle as a function of $n$ and $m$

I'm looking into nanotubes and I thought I'd assure myself that the basic geometry equations are indeed correct. No problems for the radius, I quickly found the known formula: $$R = ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Where is a closed form also exact?

I'm not very familiar with exterior derivatives. I've some trouble following argument (which is a part of a proof that if the Riemann tensor vanishes, $R^{\,\rho}_{\;\,\sigma \mu \nu}=0$, iff there ...
2
votes
3answers
12k views

Determining the center of mass of a cone

I'm having some trouble with a simple classical mechanics problem, where I need to calculate the center of mass of a cone whose base radius is $a$ and height $h$..! I know the required equation. But, ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do far away objects appear to move slowly in comparison to nearby objects?

When we are in a moving train, nearby stationary objects appear to go backwards. In Physics, relative velocity can be employed to explain the phenomenon: velocity of object w.r.t train = velocity ...
1
vote
2answers
237 views

A simple way of calculating Euler Angles from Rotation Matrix — help!

This is a follow up of this question : I have the rotation matrix $$ \left( \begin{matrix} a_{11} & a_{12} & a_{13}\\ a_{21} & a_{22} & a_{23}\\ a_{31} & a_{32} & ...
1
vote
2answers
464 views

Triple-right triangle experiment: what's the minimum distance?

Among the other ways, one way to prove the Earth is round is the triple-right triangle. The idea is simple: Starting from point A you move in a straight line for a certain distance. At point B, ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Get actual object size in mm using camera [closed]

How to get actual object size in mm when we know Object distance, focal length, image width in pixels and camera angle,
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Did a racer on a “restless” course race at some particular average velocity? (1: Starting blocks, finish line moving uniformly wrt. each o.)

Consider two participants, $A$ and $B$ moving uniformly wrt. each other; first having approached each other, then having met and passed each other, and eventually having separated from each other such ...