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7
votes
1answer
141 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
3k 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 $f(T)$ ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

How do you do an integral involving the derivative of a delta function?

I got an integral in solving Schrodinger equation with delta function potential. It looks like $$\int \frac{y(x)}{x} \frac{\mathrm{d}\delta(x-x_0)}{\mathrm{d}x}$$ I'm trying to solve this by ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

Why are radians more natural than any other angle unit?

I'm convinced that radians are, at the very least, the most convenient unit for angles in mathematics and physics. In addition to this I suspect that they are the most fundamentally natural unit for ...
6
votes
5answers
653 views

Are the solutions in radicals of cubic and quartic of any use in physics?

We all know that there are analytic formulae to solve quadratic, cubic and quartic polynomial equations. But it seems to me that the only solution that widely used is physics is the solution of ...
6
votes
2answers
502 views

Does the wave function always asymptotically approach zero?

I'm new to quantum physics (and to this site), so please bear with me. I know that quantum mechanics allows particles to appear in regions that are classically forbidden; for example, an electron ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the covariant derivative in mathematician's language?

In mathematics, we talk about tangent vectors and cotangent vectors on a manifold at each point, and vector fields and cotangent vector fields (also known as differential one-forms). When we talk ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What math do I need for mathematical physics? In what manner should I learn math? [closed]

I'm a freshman undergraduate. I've got my sight on mathematical physics. I love math but I don't have the talent nor the inclination for purely abstract mathematics. I also love physics. The only ...
6
votes
1answer
125 views

Determining the Hodge numbers of some orbifold examples

I'm currently reading about complex geometry in order to get a feeling of how to determine the Hodge numbers, e.g. of certain orbifold constructions. Since I'm a physicist with no deeper mathematical ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Book covering Topology required for physics and applications

I am a physics undergrad, and interested to learn Topology so far as it has use in Physics. Currently I am trying to study Topological solitons but bogged down by some topological concepts. I am not ...
6
votes
2answers
96 views

Classical logic in concern with QM Mathematics

In no way am I a physicist, so please excuse improperly used terms. It is in my understanding that Quantum Physics does not obey Classical Logic, hence the existence of Quantum Logic. My questions ...
6
votes
1answer
563 views

Is C60 really the “most spherical” fullerene?

In the late 80's and early 90's, Smalley and others made claims that the C60 fullerene bearing icosahedral symmetry was the most spherical molecule known, and perhaps the most spherical that could ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
241 views

Kähler and complex manifolds

I was wondering if anyone knows any good references concerning Kähler manifolds and complex manifolds? I am studying supergravity theories and for the simplest $\mathcal{N}=1$ supergravity we will get ...
5
votes
2answers
260 views

Integer physics

Are there interesting (aspects of) problems in modern physics that can be expressed solely in terms of integer numbers? Bonus points for quantum mechanics.
5
votes
1answer
129 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
249 views

Is there a physical motivation to study finite fields?

Clearly finite groups are of immense value in physics and these are also substructures of fields. However I never came across any computations involving finite fields at university and so I never ...
5
votes
0answers
502 views

Good theoretical physics introduction for 6 year old very advanced in math? [duplicate]

I think now is a good time to introduce my son to theoretical physics. He asks so many questions about the universe, black holes, gravity, atoms, molecules, light, etc. He's borderline obsessed with ...
4
votes
10answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
676 views

Intuitive meaning of the exponential form of an unitary operator in Quantum Mechanics

I'm an undergraduate student in Chemistry currently studying quantum mechanics and I have a problem with unitary transformations. Here in my book, it is stated that Every unitary operator ...
4
votes
3answers
951 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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 $$\pmb{H}=\pmb{\nabla} \phi +\pmb{\nabla} \times \pmb{G},$$ ...
4
votes
4answers
323 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
558 views

Normalization of the path integral

When one defines the path integral propagator, there is the need to normalize the propagator (since it would give you a probability density). There are two formulas which are used. 1) Original ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

In what way are the Mathematical universe hypothesis and A New Kind of Science connected

The Mathematical universe hypothesis, mainly by Max Tegmark and A new Kind of Science, mainly by Stephen Wolfram both claim (as least as I understand it) that at its innermost core reality is ...
4
votes
2answers
402 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
282 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
330 views

Are gauge choices in electrodynamics really always possible?

If $B$ is magnetic field and $E$ electric Field, then $$B=\nabla\times A,$$ $$E= -\nabla V+\frac{\partial A}{\partial t}.$$ There is Gauge invariance for the trnasformation $$A'\rightarrow ...
4
votes
1answer
296 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
1answer
332 views

Differentiating inside an integral sign

I'm reading John Taylor's Classical Mechanics book and I'm at the part where he's deriving the Euler-Lagrange equation. Here is the part of the derivation that I didn't follow: I don't get how ...
4
votes
2answers
381 views

Quantum Mechanics in terms of *-algebras

I'm currently trying to find my way into the geometric description of Quantum Mechanics. I therefor started reading: Geometry of state spaces. In: Entanglement and Decoherence (A. Buchleitner et ...
4
votes
3answers
370 views

shifting from mathematics to physics

I am a postgraduate in mathematics. I studied physics during my B.Sc.studies.I want to go for further studies in physics particularly in theoretical physics. I am in a job and cant afford regular ...
4
votes
2answers
427 views

Why model space with real numbers?

Are there any good papers discussing why we use $\mathbb{R}^{3}$as a model for space? More specifically are there any that explain why we don't use other number systems such as extensions of the real ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Which is the role of Algebraic Geometry in String Theory? [closed]

Could someone sketch me what algebraic geometry has to do with string theory? Are there other mathematical disciplines that are interwoven with string theory? I'm aware of a similar question on ...
4
votes
1answer
173 views

Did Maxwell invent the math to describe the ideas of electromagnetism?

Did he invent surface and line integrals, or did they already exist when he formulated his equations. If they did, already exist, how did they come about in pure math?
4
votes
1answer
156 views

A question about canonical transformation

I have posted this question in math.stackexchange before with no answer till now. It may be more suitable to post here. There is a problem in Arnold's Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics ...
4
votes
1answer
98 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
542 views

Existence and uniqueness of solutions for Einstein equations

Now that an equivalence of Navier Stokes and Einstein equations has been established, and it is known solutions to Einstein-Maxwell-Boltzmann exist and are unique, and it is known that Einstein ...
4
votes
1answer
648 views

Boundary conditions for Couette flow

I'm trying to reproduce a result from a paper (T. Thatcher, Boundary Conditions for Grad's 13 moment equations, equation (32), page 6), however, I haven't been able to do so. Hopefully someone can ...
4
votes
1answer
192 views

Does nature tetrate?

We see addition, multiplication and exponentiation in the natural formulae that make up physics. However, do we ever see tetration (repeated exponentiation) or higher hyper-operators in nature? ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

The use of Hall algebras in physics

I asked the same question in mo. I think maybe here there are more physics guys to help me. I once read a statement (not memorized precisely) that a certain physics quantity between two states of ...
4
votes
0answers
39 views

Solutions of nonlinear systems invariant wrt. perturbations (looking for applications)

I want to ask if the following purely mathematical problem (that I'm working on) might have some applications to physics. The problem in a nutshell: describe properties of solution sets of real ...
3
votes
7answers
860 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 ?
3
votes
4answers
3k views

How many digits of Pi are required in physics?

In other words: which physics experiment requires to know Pi with the highest precision?
3
votes
4answers
609 views

Generalized functions in physics

Prior to the Dirac delta function, what other distributions functions where physicists using? I find it hard to motivate the theory of generalized functions with just the delta function alone.
3
votes
2answers
315 views

Finite velocity at infinite distance

If an object were launched exactly at escape velocity it would have zero velocity at infinity. But what if we launch an identical objects at greater than escape velocity? Apparently it will have a ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Spherical wave as sum of plane waves

How can we do this computation? $\iiint_{R^3} \frac{e^{ik'r}}{r} e^{ik_1x+k_2y+k_3z}dx dy dz$ where $r=\sqrt{x^2+y^2+z^2}$ ? I think we must use distributions... Physically, it's equivalent to ...
3
votes
1answer
217 views

Etale bundles and sheaves

Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please try to give substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book or paper (or ...
3
votes
4answers
838 views

Topology needed for Differential Geometry [duplicate]

I am a physics undergrad, and need to study differential geometry ASAP to supplement my studies on solitons and instantons. How much topology do I need to know. I know some basic concepts reading from ...