8
votes
6answers
479 views

In coordinate-free relativity, how do we define a vector?

Relativity can be developed without coordinates: Laurent 1994 (SR), Winitzski 2007 (GR). I would normally define a vector by its transformation properties: it's something whose components change ...
1
vote
1answer
535 views

Bra space and adjoint vectors

If I'm not wrong, a bra, $ \langle \phi_n | $, can be thought as a linear functional that when applied to a ket vector, $| \phi_m \rangle$, returns a complex number; that is, the inner product it's a ...
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 $f(T)$ ...
1
vote
2answers
671 views

What is the physical meaning of a product of vectors?

My teacher told me that Vectors are quantities that behave like Displacements. Seen this way, the triangle law of vector addition simply means that to reach point C from point A, going from A to B ...
14
votes
5answers
7k views

How can area be a vector?

My professor told me recently that Area is a vector. A Google search gave me the following definition for a vector: Noun: A quantity having direction as well as magnitude, esp. as determining ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Uniqueness of Helmholtz decomposition?

Helmholtz theorem states that given a smooth vector field $\pmb{H}$, there are a scalar field $\phi$ and a vector field $\pmb{G}$ such that $$\pmb{H}=\pmb{\nabla} \phi +\pmb{\nabla} \times \pmb{G},$$ ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Can vectors in physics be represented by complex numbers and can they be divided? [closed]

Below is attached for reference, but the question is simply about whether vectors used in physics in a vector space can be represented by complex numbers and whether they can be divided. In ...