DO NOT USE THIS TAG just because your question involves math! If your question is on simplification of a mathematical expression, please ask it at math.stackexchange.com The mathematics tag covers non-applied pure mathematical disciplines that are traditionally not part of the mathematical physics ...

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4
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1answer
388 views

What areas of physics depend on the sum $1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6+ 7+\ldots= -1/12$? [duplicate]

This youtube video from Numberphile, http://youtu.be/w-I6XTVZXww shows how the value is derived. In the video, one interviewee claims that "this result is used in many areas of physics". In the ...
4
votes
2answers
580 views

Sum total distance of electrons on a spherical surface

What is the sum total distance between every possible pair of point charges when there are n point charges on a spherical surface? All point charges can only and are located on the infinitesimal ...
11
votes
3answers
646 views

If a theory of everything exists, is it necessarily unique?

There is a lot of interesting debate over whether a "theory of everything" (ToE) is allowed to exist in the mathematical sense, see Does Gödel preclude a workable ToE?, Final Theory in Physics: a ...
3
votes
2answers
559 views

What are some interesting calculus of variation problems? [closed]

That I could create as a classical mechanics class project? Other than the classical examples that we see in textbooks (catenary, brachistochrone, Fermat, etc..)
2
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2answers
248 views

Mathematics needed for string theory [duplicate]

I'm interested in cutting edge string theory studied by research physicist. I'm wonder what mathematics is needed and how far am I in terms of mathematics background needed and how much more ...
2
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0answers
332 views

Mathematical Prerequisites for QFT [closed]

I am curious about which areas of mathematics one should be comfortable with before learning QFT. I am familiar with the "learn-it-as-you-go" approach often advocated in physics, but would like to ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What is the physical meaning of a dot product and a cross product of vectors? [duplicate]

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 ...
0
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2answers
395 views

Is there any phenomenon in physics which is sensitive to irrational numbers?

We can measure only rational numbers by our scale. Here is an example where irrational numbers does makes sense. If so then this question may have some theoretical importance. Is irrational numbers ...
0
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0answers
102 views

Literature request for books / review papers on gravitation, gauge theories and related mathematics [duplicate]

Similar to this reference, are there more such references / works [including textbooks] available in the literature? (A list would be greatly welcomed and appreciated.)
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7answers
2k views

The philosophy behind the mathematics of quantum mechanics

My field of study is computer science, and I recently had some readings on quantum physics and computation. This is surely a basic question for the physics researcher, but the answer helps me a lot ...
18
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2answers
10k views

How is the Saddle point approximation used in physics?

I am trying to understand the saddle point approximation and apply it to a problem I have but the treatments I have seen online are all very mathematical and are not giving me a good qualitative ...
10
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2answers
3k views

Differences between symmetric, Hermitian, self-adjoint, and essentially self-adjoint operators

I am a physicist. I always heard physicists used the terminology "symmetric", "Hermitian", "self-adjoint", and "essentially self-adjoint" operators interchangeably. Actually what is the difference ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Direct Sum of Hilbert spaces

I am a physicist who is not that well-versed in mathematical rigour (a shame, I know! But I'm working on it.) In Wald's book on QFT in Curved spacetimes, I found the following definitions of the ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a antiunitary operator?

In field theory one can define a time reversal operator T such that $T^{-1} \phi (x) T = \phi (\mathcal T x)$. It is then proved that T must be antiunitary: $T^{-1} i T = -i$. How is this equation ...
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1answer
4k views

Equation describing magnetic hysteresis

So when you're looking at B-H curves for ferromagnetic substances, you often see these magnetic hysteresis curves, which occur, I gather, largely because of domain formation which has some reversible ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

Metric of a manifold foliated by maximally symmetric submanifold

I am reading the last chapter (Schwarzchild solution and Black Holes) of Sean Caroll's GR notes (http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9712019). While talking about spherical symmetry, he says how the ...
2
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0answers
106 views

Learning Roadmap to Mathematical Physics [duplicate]

Currently, I am a graduate student specializing in algebraic geometry. On the other hand, I have also become extremely interested in the mathematical physics. However, I am not sure what steps I ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How important is mathematical proof in physics?

How important are proofs in physics? If something is mathematically proven to follow from something we know is true, does it still require experimental verification? Are there examples of things that ...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

Where and how exactly does string theory and Q.E.D. use zeta function regularization?

In the video they mention it being used in many fields of physics inclusing String and QED theory. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-I6XTVZXww But I remember reading somewhere that 1+2+3..=-1/12 is ...
4
votes
7answers
1k views

For a theoretical (not mathematical) physicist, is there a need to learn pure mathematics?

For a theoretical physicist (not a mathematical physicist), is there a need to learn pure mathematics ?
4
votes
2answers
299 views

Combinatorial sum in a problem with a Fermi gas

I'm solving a problem involving a Fermi gas. There is a specific sum I cannot figure my way around. A set of equidistant levels, indexed by $m=0,1,2 \ldots$, is populated by spinless fermions with ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Calculating uncertainty in the final result (combining uncertainties)

I'm struggling to determine the uncertainty in $F$ so it would match the textbook answer. The problem statement is: A force F is obtained using the equation: $F = \frac{mv^2}{2\pi(x_2 - x_1)}$. The ...
2
votes
0answers
127 views

The implications of Gödel's Second Incompleteness Theorem on Theoretical Physics models [duplicate]

Does Gödel's Second Incompleteness Theorem imply that no Theoretical Physics model of reality can be proved to be consistent using the laws of physics? I work partially in Quantum Information Theory ...
1
vote
2answers
159 views

How $\pi$ is derived from quantum mechanics

I came across this article New Derivation of Pi Links Quantum Physics and Pure Math in which they discuss about a recent discovery of deriving PI from physics. I am not a physicist or a mathematician ...
7
votes
1answer
155 views

Are there cases in which we should consider tensors as equivalence classes?

Usually in texts about Physics that uses tensors defines them as multilinear maps. So if $V$ is a vector space over the field $F$, a tensor is a multilinear mapping: $$T:V\times\cdots\times V\times ...
4
votes
4answers
335 views

How do I go from exponents to a formula?

This is a continuation of this question. http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-01-physics-i-classical-mechanics-fall-1999/video-lectures/lecture-1/ skip this lecture to around 25:50. After doing ...
3
votes
2answers
570 views

Tensor Product of Hilbert spaces

This question is regarding a definition of Tensor product of Hilbert spaces that I found in Wald's book on QFT in curved space time. Let's first get some notation straight. Let $(V,+,*)$ denote a set ...
2
votes
1answer
162 views

Description of charged sphere with Heaviside function in cylindrical coordinates

I need to describe density of charge of uniformly charged sphere (radius R, total charge Q, position of centre (0,0,0)) with Dirac delta function and Heaviside step function. The hard part is to ...
2
votes
1answer
175 views

Why are there equations in physics with factors of 2, 3 and 5, but there aren't any with factors of 7 or 11?

I noticed that there are a lot of equations in physics with factors of 2, 3 and 5 (either in the numerator or in the denominator), but there aren't any with factors of 7 or any prime number greater ...
2
votes
1answer
630 views

What is the mathematical nature of space time quantization in string theory/super string theory?

I don't know much about string theory, apart from it being a theory of everything which brings QM, QED and nuclear forces and gravity under one single roof. I am curious to know from a mathematical ...
1
vote
3answers
82 views

Transition probability derivation

I have encountered this limit while learning time dependent perturbation and transition probability in Sakurai. How to show this limit? I tried to integrate around $x=0$ but didn't get anything ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Why is the logarithm of the number of all possible states of a system differentiable?

Temperature of a system is defined as $$\left( \frac{\partial \ln(\Omega)}{ \partial E} \right)_{N, X_i} = \frac{1}{kT}$$ Where $\Omega$ is the number of all accessible states (ways) for the system. $ ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Feynman's question on the mathematical machinery underlying nature [duplicate]

Physicist Richard Feynman said in his lectures "It always bothers me that according to the laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical ...
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0answers
79 views

Books for learning Mathematics in Physics? [duplicate]

Currently I'm doing Advanced Classical Mechanics courses. I'm finding it hard to understand due to the lack of knowledge in linear algebra, multi variable calculus and other chapters. Can anyone ...
1
vote
1answer
208 views

Universal Sequence and relationship of mathematics and reality [closed]

In "The Special and General Theory of Relativity" Einstein says: How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably ...
1
vote
1answer
345 views

Math for Thermodynamics Basics

I am studying Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics from a book that i am not sure who has written it, because of its cover is not present. There is a section that i can not understand: ...
1
vote
1answer
262 views

Potential for charge distribution, finiteness

Consider a potential for charge distribution: $$v_H(\mathbf{r}) ~=~ \int \frac{\rho(\mathbf{r'})}{|\mathbf{r}-\mathbf{r'}|}d\mathbf{r'}$$ where $\rho(\mathbf{r'})$ is the charge density. This ...
1
vote
1answer
552 views

Functional Derivative of Convolution

How to carry out the following functional derivative? $$\frac{\delta F}{\delta n(r)}$$ where $$F=\int dr n(r) \int C(|r-r'|) n(r') dr'$$ is it simply: $$2 \int dr' C(|r-r'|) ...