To be used for linear algebra, and closely related disciplines such as tensor algebras and maybe clifford algebras.

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35
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4answers
14k views

Are matrices and second rank tensors the same thing?

Tensors are mathematical objects that are needed in physics to define certain quantities. I have a couple of questions regarding them that need to be clarified: Are matrices and second rank tensors ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

What exactly is a dimension?

How do you exactly define what is and isn't a dimension? I heard somewhere that it is "anything you can move through" but if that is right, why wasn't time and space considered a dimension before ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

Perturbation theory with degeneracy even after 1st order

Most textbooks on basic quantum mechanics tell you that when your initial Hamiltonian $H_0$ has degenerate states, then before you can do (time independent) perturbation theory with a perturbation ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

What're the relations and differences between slave-fermion and slave-boson formalism?

As we know, in condensed matter theory, especially in dealing with strongly correlated systems, physicists have constructed various "peculiar" slave-fermion and slave-boson theories. For example, For ...
13
votes
2answers
896 views

Is there a simple proof that Kirchhoff's circuit laws always provide an exactly complete set of equations?

Suppose I have a complicated electric circuit which is composed exclusively of resistors and voltage and current sources, wired up together in a complicated way. The standard way to solve the circuit (...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Use of 'complete' as in 'complete set of states' or 'complete basis'

Question. In the context of QM, I hear the phrases 'complete set of states' and 'complete basis' (among other similar expressions) thrown around rather a lot. What exactly is meant by 'complete'? ...
11
votes
1answer
367 views

Conceptual difficulty in understanding Continuous Vector Space

I have an extremely ridiculous doubt that has been bothering me, since I started learning quantum mechanics. If we consider the finite dimensional vector space for the spin$\frac{1}{2}$ particles, ...
11
votes
0answers
276 views

Linear response theory for Gross Pitaevskii equation

I am trying to linearize the following GP eq: \begin{equation} i\partial_{t}\psi(r,t)=\left[-\frac{\nabla^{2}}{2m}+g\left|\psi(r,t)\right|^{2}+V_{d}(r)\right]\psi(r,t) \end{equation} The ansatz for ...
10
votes
6answers
5k views

Linear Algebra for Quantum Physics

A week ago I asked people on this site what mathematical background was needed for understanding Quantum Physics, and most of you mentioned Linear Algebra, so I decided to conduct a self-study of ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the dual of a tensor mean (e.g. dual stress tensor in relativistic ED)?

I know what the dual of a vector means (as a map to its field), and I am also aware of of the definition a dual of a tensor as, $$F^{*ij} = \frac{1}{2} \epsilon^{ijkl} F_{kl}\tag{1}$$ I just don't ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

“An operator is hermitian”. Implications?

Alastair Rae states that there are 4 postulates of Quantum Mechanics in his text on the subject matter. The first part of his second postulate can be stated as: Every dynamical variable may be ...
9
votes
4answers
5k views

Difficulties with bra-ket notation

I have started to study quantum mechanics. I know linear algebra,functional analysis, calculus, and so on, but at this moment I have a problem in Dirac bra-ket formalism. Namely, I have problem with "...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a basis for the Hilbert space of a 1-D scattering state?

Suppose I have a massive particle in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Its wavefunction can be written in the position basis as $$\vert \Psi \rangle = \Psi_x(x,t)$$ or in the momentum basis as $$...
8
votes
2answers
288 views

Precise meaning of composition of ket and bra, e.g. $|\psi\rangle\langle\psi|$

I'm currently studying density matrices, and have been frequently coming across the construction $$|\psi\rangle\langle\psi| \,.$$ What is the formal meaning of this composition? I understand $\...
8
votes
2answers
533 views

Infinite dimensional vector spaces vs. the dual space

I just happened across this over on Math Overflow. It references the following theorem from linear algebra: A vector space has the same dimension as its dual if and only if it is finite ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

Trace of an operator matrix (Quantum computation and quantum information)

I'm reading the book Quantum computation and quantum information by Mike & Ike and I'm stuck at 2.60/2.61. There, the author says that, given the operator $A|ψ⟩⟨ψ|$, its trace is: $${\rm tr}(A|\...
7
votes
3answers
495 views

How to find the logarithm of Pauli Matrix? [closed]

When I solve some physics problem, it helps a lot if I can find the logarithm of Pauli matrix. e.g. $\sigma_{x}=\left(\begin{array}{cc} 0 & 1\\ 1 & 0 \end{array}\right)$, find the matrix $...
7
votes
2answers
613 views

Can we show that time is orthogonal to space?

It's easy to show that the time we measure is "in a different direction" from the space directions we measure. However, it's not immediately obvious to me that these directions are orthogonal. How do ...
7
votes
1answer
433 views

Kraus operator rank

All quantum operations $\mathcal{E}$ on a system of Hilbert space dimension $\mathcal{d}$ can be generated by an operator-sum representation containing at most $\mathcal{d^2}$ elements. Extending ...
6
votes
3answers
755 views

Does it mean anything if the commutator of an operator with the Hamiltonian is equal to the Hamiltonian?

Question says it all, really. I have $[\hat{H},\hat{O}]=-2i\hbar\hat{H}$. Does this mean that the operator $\hat{O}$ (an observable) is special in some way?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Representation of operators in quantum mechanics

For which systems we represent the Hamiltonian as a differential operator and for which system we represent it by a matrix? Can the momentum be represented by a matrix operator?
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Math of eigenvalue problem in quantum mechanics

I learned the eigenvalue problem in linear algebra before and I just find that the quantum mechanics happen to associate the Schrodinger equation with the eigenvalue problem. In linear algebra, we ...
6
votes
3answers
437 views

Countable Matrix Representation

In my quantum mechanics class, my professor explained that the Hamiltonian along with position and momentum operators can be represented by matrices of countable dimension. This is especially usefull ...
6
votes
2answers
404 views

Why are the solution coefficients for a harmonic oscillator proportional to minors of the determinant?

I'm studying the oscillations of systems with more than one degree of freedom from Landau & Lifshitz's Mechanics Third Edition (for those who have the book, my question corresponds roughly to ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

Show the Lorentz Transformation Matrices Have an Inverse

Assume the Lorentz transformations obey the relationship $$g_{uv}\Lambda^u_{p}\Lambda^v_\sigma = g_{p\sigma},$$ where $g_{uv}$ is the metric tensor of special relativity. How can one show, under that ...
5
votes
2answers
198 views

Why do we use orthogonal axes?

I have been asked several times that “why do we use orthogonal axes in coordinate systems?” and I was always replying that “because of simplicity”. But, today morning, someone asked me that question ...
5
votes
1answer
416 views

How can (in Dirac's terminology) the product of two “real” linear operators be “not real”?

I'm puzzled about a statement from Dirac's book, The principles of quantum mechanics, (§8, p.28): As a simple examples of this result, it should be noted that, if $\xi$ and $\eta$ are real, in ...
5
votes
2answers
801 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
182 views

What does $\left|x,t\right>$ actually mean (Heisenberg picture)?

I am pretty much confused with this notation I believe. The Heisenberg states are denoted by $\left|x,t\right>$ and the Schrodinger states are given by $\left|x(t)\right>$. It seems like both of ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is length/distance a vector?

I have heard that area is a vector quantity in 3 dimensions, e.g. this Phys.SE post, what about the length/distance? Since area is the product of two lengths, does this mean that length is also a ...
5
votes
1answer
70 views

Signature of $f: \Lambda^2(\mathbb{R}^4) \times \Lambda^2(\mathbb{R}^4) \to \mathbb{R}$, $f(\omega, \omega') = \omega \wedge \omega'$ [closed]

Define$$f: \Lambda^2(\mathbb{R}^4) \times \Lambda^2(\mathbb{R}^4) \to \Lambda^4(\mathbb{R}^4) \cong \mathbb{R}, \quad f(\omega, \omega') = \omega \wedge \omega'.$$ What is the signature of $f$? ...
5
votes
1answer
993 views

What do up-left orthogonality has in common with up-down and what is their relationship?

I am familiar with the true (or general) notion of orthogonality, given in the Linear Algebra and Pythagoras theorem derived from the $\vec x \cdot \vec y = 0$. I have also recently got to know that ...
5
votes
1answer
143 views

What is the difference between active and passive transformations in Quantum Mechanics?

I am trying to understand what each transformation means and what their differences are but many books that don't state which transformation they are referring to make it a bit confusing to understand ...
5
votes
2answers
311 views

Determinant and adjunct of $k-\omega^2m$ in terms of natural frequencies

Given is a mechanical multiple degree of freedom system described by the following matrices and equation: mass matrix ${\bf{m}} = \left[\begin{matrix} m & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & m & 0 \\ 0 &...
5
votes
1answer
294 views

Advanced atomic physics: From Liouville Equations to the Bloch equations

I'm trying to derive the Bloch equations from the Liouville equation. This should be possible according to this paper, where it discusses higher order Bloch equations (second order spherical tensors). ...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

When is an operator subspace the span of Kraus operators?

Let $A$ and $B$ be finite dimensional Hilbert spaces, and let $\mathcal{L}(A \to B)$ be the space of linear operators from $A$ to $B$. Say that a subspace $K \subseteq \mathcal{L}(A \to B)$ is a span ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

These two operators commute…but their eigenvectors aren't all the same. Why?

The Hamiltonian $$H = \left[ \begin{array}{cccc} a & 0 & 0 & -b \\ 0 & 0 & -b & 0\\ 0 & -b & 0 & 0\\ -b & 0 & 0 & -a \end{array} \right] $$ commutes ...
4
votes
4answers
781 views

How do you find a particular representation for Grassmann numbers?

This question is more general in the sense that I want to know how one finds a particular (say matrix) representation for any object. For the case of Grassmann numbers we have from Wikipedia the ...
4
votes
1answer
411 views

The issue on existence of inverse operations of $a$ and $a^{\dagger}$

I have asked a question at math.stackexchange that have a physical meaning. My assumption: Suppose $a$ and $a^\dagger$ is Hermitian adjoint operators and $[a,a^\dagger]=1$. I want to prove that ...
4
votes
3answers
356 views

Why are the energy eigenstates realized in atomic transitions?

I have a question like "Why is it often assumed that particles are found in energy eigenstates?", it is a little different, though. When one solves the hydrogen atom, one can use a polynomial Ansatz ...
4
votes
2answers
218 views

Dimension of separable state

Please can you help me to understand how the dimension of the set of separable states is $\dim \cal H_1 + \dim \cal H_2$? This is the relevant passage: So far, we have assumed implicitly that the ...
4
votes
1answer
851 views

What information does the trace of a matrix give?

I was recently thinking what information do we get from a matrix. So if we say the columns (or rows) of a matrix define the basis of a system, say vectors of 3 dimensional space. Then the determinant ...
4
votes
2answers
467 views

Matrix elements of linear operators - orthonormal basis required?

In an early linear algebra class of mine, I learnt that a linear map $\mathcal{A}$ acting on a vector space could be represented by a matrix $A_{ij}$ according to the rule: $$\mathcal{A}({e_j}) = A_{...
4
votes
2answers
144 views

Superposition in Quantum Mechanics

First of all, let $V$ be a vector space over the field $\mathbb{F}$. It is possible then to show, by Zorn's Lemma that there is a basis for $V$. The main point is that although basis are quite ...
4
votes
1answer
482 views

How are matrices used to represent quantities, and what is the meaning of a matrix?

So I'm reading this text on Quantum Mechanics, and it goes through a few chapters that I understand fairly well including probability. But then it says that all quantities, like position and energy ...
4
votes
1answer
545 views

Deriving photon propagator

In Peskin & Schroeder's book on page 297 in deriving the photon propagator the authors say that $$\left(-k^2g_{\mu\nu}+(1-\frac{1}{\xi})k_\mu k_\nu\right)D^{\nu\rho}_F(k)=i\delta^\rho_\mu \tag{9....
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Some question about symplectic transformation

I read Arnold's book Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics and come across with three problems in page 229. 1.Let $\lambda$ and $\bar{\lambda}$ be simple (multiplicity 1) eigenvalues of a ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Dimension of the space of solutions in an electric circuit

Consider an electric circuit with dc sources ( voltage and current) and resistors. Write down the equations. In the most general case, the solution of the system is not unique. The set of solutions ...
4
votes
1answer
338 views

Saturation of the Cauchy-Schwarz Inequality

Going to as little details as possible, here is a statement from Wald's text on QFT in curved spacetimes(I am not quoting the book) He considers two vector spaces ${\cal S}$ and ${\cal H}$. Note -...
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 ...