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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3
votes
1answer
261 views

Is there a mathematical way to describe how a flame flickers?

I love the way candles flicker. It's a great effect and I almost want to see it replicated in an actual lightbulb. I was curious if there is any way to express that mathematically? I'm not that ...
52
votes
6answers
2k views

The Role of Rigor

The purpose of this question is to ask about the role of mathematical rigor in physics. In order to formulate a question that can be answered, and not just discussed, I divided this large issue into ...
29
votes
8answers
3k views

Does Gödel preclude a workable ToE?

Gödel's incompleteness theorem prevents a universal axiomatic system for math. Is there any reason to believe that it also prevents a theory of everything for physics? Edit: I haven't before seen ...
2
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
500 views

Reference area of a parachute

I am trying to do an aerodynamic drag equation on a descending parachute (the round variety) and have no idea what the reference area on one would be. I know for a sphere, you can use radius*radius*PI ...
12
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
503 views

Transforming a sum into an integral

I posted this in the mathematical forums. Maybe you will help me. I found an hard article http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v105/i3/p776_1 of yang huang and luttinger. The authors begins with the sum: ...
3
votes
4answers
541 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.
-1
votes
1answer
365 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'|) ...
14
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

What interpretive difference is there between defining a function with or without a differential as a postfactor?

I have thought about this and looked for answers for a long time now, but I do not have any name or label for this problem, which is the reason for the long title of this question. I have come across ...
2
votes
7answers
322 views

Book request for an abstract treatment of QM without using any particle formalism

I am an electronics and communication engineer, specializing in signal processing. I have some touch with the mathematics concerning communication systems and also with signal processing. I want to ...
4
votes
2answers
278 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 ...
19
votes
11answers
5k views

What is the logarithm of a kilometer? Is it a dimensionless number?

In log-plots a quantity is plotted on a logarithmic scale. This got me thinking about what the logarithm of a unit actually is. Suppose I have something with length $L = 1 km$. $\lg L = \lg km$ It ...
12
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
247 views

Can we make a change of variables (for example to polar coordinates) into a divergent integral?

I know that if the integral is convergent we can always make a change of variable to make it better, however what happens with DIVERGENT integrals? can we make a change of variable into a divergent ...
6
votes
1answer
501 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
2k views

real world applications of Mathematics which use functions with singularities, not just as a matter of mathematical taste but for conceptual reasons

EDIT [for aptness of this question to this site, read 'real world applications' as 'applications in Physics'] The concept of function (of the form $f : \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$ ) has been used in ...
7
votes
6answers
404 views

Objects in Physics as a mathematician would see them

I'm a mathematician with hardly any knowledge of physics. Before I start reading volumes of physics books, I have a few questions that have been bugging me and that will help me start reading physics. ...
9
votes
1answer
11k views

Where does this equation originate from? (found in the Big Bang Theory)

Recently, I've been watching "The Big Bang Theory" again and as some of you might know, it's a series with a lot of scientific jokes in it - mostly about Physics or Mathematics. I understand most of ...
-2
votes
1answer
501 views

How to simplify e to power of j.t [closed]

I have exam tommorow and cant get this figured out :( dont blame me but please answer this question. I Want to simplify this term: 3 times ((e topowerof 5jt) + (e topowerof -5jt)) Thanks.
2
votes
2answers
390 views

How do you find conserved quantities for linear second order ODEs?

I have a differential equation of the form $ \frac{d^2 y}{dt^2} + f(t) \frac{dy}{dt} + g(t) y = 0 $ where $f$ and $g$ are known functions of time. Is there a systematic (or otherwise) way of ...
2
votes
2answers
287 views

a question on Lagrange's equation when the time derivative of the generalized co-ordinates is constant

Consider a system whose generalized co-ordinates are $q_i$ and is under the constraints $\dot{q_i} = K_i \forall i = 1,2,3,...$ where $K_i$ are constants. I have a problem in writing the Lagrange's ...
10
votes
3answers
471 views

infinite grid of planets with newtonian gravity

Assuming only Newtonian gravity, suppose that the universe consists of an infinite number of uniform planets, uniformly distributed in a two-dimensional grid infinite in both directions and not moving ...
2
votes
2answers
593 views

Helmholtz decomposition in the plane

Prove or disprove the following proposition: For any smooth plane vector field $\mathbf{H}=\left(H_x,H_y\right)$, there exist scalar potentials $\phi$, $\psi$ such that $H_x=\frac{\partial \phi ...
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 $$\pmb{H}=\pmb{\nabla} \phi +\pmb{\nabla} \times \pmb{G},$$ ...
0
votes
1answer
175 views

A question on smooth 1-manifolds

Consider two people living on two different smooth 1-manifolds $S$ and $T$ as shown in figure 1. The manifold $S$ is a bump function joining the points $A$ and $B$ and the manifold $T$ is formed by ...
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?
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Applications of the Spectral Theorem to Quantum Mechanics

I'm currently learning some basic functional analysis. Yesterday I arrived at the spectral theorem of self-adjoint operators. I've heard that this theorem has lots of applications in Quantum ...
2
votes
2answers
430 views

Diffusion across an interface and conservation of mass

I am reading a physiology book chapter (Mathematical Physiology, by Keener --Respiration chapter) about the gas exchange between capillaries and alveoli. It seems that this gas exchange can be modeled ...
2
votes
1answer
406 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
588 views

How do I derive the critical temperature for bose condensation in two dimensions?

In class we derived the 3D case, but there's a step I don't understand: $$ N = g \cdot {V \over (2 \pi \hbar)^3} \cdot \int\limits_{0}^{\infty}{1 \over{e^{\left( E_p \over{K_B T}\right)}-1}} d^3 p = ...
1
vote
6answers
338 views

Are the laws of physics applied mathematics? [closed]

This questions started with a question I had about gravity. If two objects of different weights fall to the earth at the same rate of acceleration, then it seems to me that gravity is in some ways ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
367 views

Problem deriving kinetic energy from work

I'm currently reading a nice introductory book (german, could be translated as "Physics with a pencil"). The author works a lot with differential calculus and antiderivatives (integrals will be used ...
2
votes
0answers
342 views

A question about Dirac operator

The Dirac operator at 2 dimension can be written as $$ D=\sum_{k=1,2}\sigma^{k}D_{k}=\left( \begin{array}{cc} 0 & \partial_{x}-i\partial_{y}-i(A_x-iA_y)\\ ...
6
votes
5answers
586 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
145 views

Mathematical Elegance in a Cosmological Theory Considered Necessary?

In general, it seems cosmological theories that encompass more and more of the phenomena of the universe are expected to be more and more mathematically elegant, in conception if not in detail. Our ...
2
votes
1answer
260 views

Can the geodesic propagators in the Euclidean BTZ black hole can be written in terms of meromorphic functions on its conformal boundary?

I'm interested in knowing if ,in the context of AdS_{3}/CFT_{2}, we can (and how to) express the geodesic propagators on the bulk space of the Euclidean AdS_{3} black holes, in terms of meromorphic ...
3
votes
3answers
607 views

Can a functional derivative be calculated if we have a function of more than one variable?

Can a functional derivative be calculated if we have a function of more than one variable? The functional derivative of, for example, $F[b(x)]=e^{\int_0^{x'} dx a(x,y) b(x)}$ is ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Number of dimensions in string theory and possible link with number theory

This question has led me to ask somewhat a more specific question. I have read somewhere about a coincidence. Numbers of the form $8k + 2$ appears to be relevant for string theory. For k = 0 one gets ...
10
votes
17answers
2k views

Can pure maths create new theories in physics or does the “idea” ALWAYS come before the math?

I am in a debate with a friend about the value of string theory in physics. He is concerned that we are wasting valuable intellectual and financial resources on a path that is fanciful and can't ever ...
1
vote
1answer
150 views

Time evolution of wave spectrum

A useful way of thinking (not only) oceanic waves is to consider them as a superimposition of linear modes: the elevation η of the sea surface is given by: 1: $\eta({\bf x}, t) = ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Solving a Young Laplace equation for a meniscus against a flat plate

This is more of a math question and one, furthermore, that I know the final answer to. What I am asking is more of a "how do I get there" question as this question was generated during a self study ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

Formalizing Quantum Field Theory

I'm wondering about current efforts to provide mathematical foundations and more solid definition for quantum field theories. I am aware of such efforts in the context of the simpler topological or ...
4
votes
2answers
478 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
601 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Crash course on algebraic geometry with view to applications in physics

Could you please recommend any good texts on algebraic geometry (just over the complex numbers rather than arbitrary fields) and on complex geometry including Kahler manifolds that could serve as an ...
18
votes
10answers
3k views

Applications of Algebraic Topology to physics

I have always wondered about applications of Algebraic Topology to Physics, seeing as am I studying algebraic topology and physics is cool and pretty. My initial thoughts would be that since most ...