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27
votes
1answer
4k views

Differentiating Propagator, Greens function, Correlation function, etc

For the following quantities respectively, could someone write down the common definitions, their meaning, the field of study in which one would typically find these under their actual name, and most ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

Mathematically-oriented Treatment of General Relativity

Can someone suggest a textbook that treats general relativity from a rigorous mathematical perspective? Ideally, such a book would Prove all theorems used. Use modern "mathematical notation" as ...
22
votes
2answers
897 views

Symbols of derivatives

What is the exact use of the symbols $\partial$, $\delta$ and $\mathrm{d}$ in derivatives in physics? How are they different and when are they used? It would be nice to get that settled once and for ...
20
votes
8answers
2k views

Is it foolish to distinguish between covariant and contravariant vectors?

A vector space is a set whose elements satisfy certain axioms. Now there are physical entities that satisfy these properties, which may not be arrows. A co-ordinate transformation is linear map from a ...
19
votes
8answers
5k views

Is there a symbol for “unitless”?

I'm making a table where columns are labelled with the property and the units it's measured in: Length (m) |||| Force (N) |||| Safety Factor (unitless) ||| etc... I'd like not to write "unitless" ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

What does Peter Parkers formula represent?

Okay, so the trailer for the new Spider Man movie is out and appearently our friendly physicist from the neightborhood came up with something. However I can't find out what this is. Transcription: ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

Difference between $\Delta$, $d$ and $\delta$

I have read the thread regarding 'the difference between the operators between $\delta$ and $d$', but it does not answer my question. I am confused about the notation for change in Physics. In ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of an image on Feynman's shirt

Is there any physical meaning of the image on Feynman's T-shirt?
10
votes
5answers
1k views

What exactly is $\hat{\psi}^\dagger(x)$? An operator or a function?

I've recently read Cohen-Tannoudji on quantum mechanics to try to better understand Dirac notation. A homework problem is giving me some trouble though. I'm unsure if I've learned enough yet to ...
10
votes
4answers
627 views

How to indicate that a unit is dimensionless [duplicate]

For my dissertation I am preparing a list of symbols used in the text, which basically is a table that consists of the symbol, a short explanation and the dimension it has as indicated below: ...
9
votes
3answers
205 views

Why is the $dx$ right next to the integral sign in QFT literature?

I've noticed that in QFT literature, integrals are usually written as $\int \!dx ~f(x)$ instead of $\int f(x) dx$. Why?
9
votes
1answer
138 views

Group notation $\otimes$ and $\oplus$ used for representations of quarks and mesons

I've been trying to figure out this statement from the PDG quark model summary (PDF). Following $\mathrm{SU}(3)$, the nine possible $q\bar{q}′$ combinations containing the light $u$, $d$, and $s$ ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a physical or mathematical symbol for “happens when”?

How would you denote symbolically, "Equilibrium happens given that ..."?
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Is 'amp' a technically invalid term?

I've been told to use the term ampere in exams and class (I'm in high school), instead of amp as it's not a valid unit, although I've been using the amp for years along with all of my friends who do ...
7
votes
4answers
713 views

How are electric flux calculations not double integrals?

A disk of radius 0.10 m is oriented with its normal unit vector $\hat{n}$ at 30$^{\circ}$ to a uniform electric field $\vec{E}$ of magnitude 2000 N/C. What is the electric flux through the disk? ...
7
votes
4answers
797 views

Is there a recognised standard for typesetting quantum mechanical operators?

Firstly, I wasn't sure exactly where to put this. It's a typesetting query but the scope is greater than $\TeX$; however it's specific also to physics and even more specific to this site. I've ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Derivative with respect to a vector is a gradient?

I've encountered in some books (and even completed an exercise from the Goldstein by using it), a strange notation that seems to work exactly like a gradient, I have tried to look for an explanation ...
7
votes
1answer
269 views

ket vector with two “entries”

This is a very simple question. I am learning about angular momentum. In my lecture notes, the symbol $|\lambda,m_l \rangle$ was defined as a eigenfunction of a central potential. Two assumptions are ...
7
votes
1answer
239 views

Why is the Lane-Emden equation written the way it is as opposed to some other typical form?

The Lane-Emden equation is typically written as $$\frac{1}{\xi^2} \frac{d}{d\xi} \left( \xi^2 \frac{d\theta}{d\xi} \right) = -\theta^n,$$ which makes sense given the derivation on the Wikipedia page. ...
7
votes
1answer
429 views

Ж (“zhe”) in string theory?

I was just recently watching a TED talk about string theory, by Thad Roberts, and at around 11:10 into the video he mentions a constant for maximum spacial curvature called "zhe" (the Cyrillic symbol ...
7
votes
4answers
932 views

Are covariant vectors representable as row vectors and contravariant as column vectors

I would like to know what are the range of validity of the following statement: Covariant vectors are representable as row vectors. Contravariant vectors are representable as column vectors. ...
7
votes
2answers
271 views

Historical reason behind using $ν$ instead of $f$ to stand for frequency in the equation $E=hν$?

Normally, we use the letter $f$ to stand for frequency in equations. $$T = 1/f$$ $$v = \lambda f$$ $$Φ +E_k = h f$$ So I'm curious as why the letter $ν$ (nu) is used to represent frequency in the ...
6
votes
5answers
956 views

What is the meaning of following expression $C=\frac{\delta Q}{dT}$ mathematically?

Our professor raised the following question during our lecture in Statistical Physics (even so it's related to Thermodynamics): Many text books (even Wikipedia) writes wrong expressions (from ...
6
votes
1answer
739 views

Difference between $\partial$ and $\nabla$ in general relativity

I read a lot in Road to Reality, so I think I might use some general relativity terms where I should only special ones. In our lectures we just had $\partial_\mu$ which would have the plain partial ...
6
votes
2answers
609 views

What the circled integral?

What the circled integral $$ \oint $$ means? I saw this symbol in a lot of books about advanced physics. How is his definition? What kind of integral it is? It is used only in physics or also in ...
6
votes
5answers
165 views

Is $ds^2$ just a number or is it actually a quantity squared?

I originally thought $ds^2$ was the square of some number we call the spacetime interval. I thought this because Taylor and Wheeler treat it like the square of a quantity in their book Spacetime ...
6
votes
2answers
527 views

Why isn't invariant notation common?

In principle, one can write quantities in a manifestly invariant - rather than covariant - fashion in e.g. special relativity. For example, rather than writing just $x^\mu$, we could write the basis ...
6
votes
1answer
268 views

How are the definitions of a coherent state equivalent?

I am trying to understand coherent states. As far as I could find there are three equivalent definitions and in general many sources start from a different one, still I fail to see their equivalence. ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Derivatives of operators

How do derivatives of operators work? Do they act on the terms in the derivative or do they just get "added to the tail"? Is there a conceptual way to understand this? For example: say you had the ...
6
votes
2answers
302 views

Why distinguish between row and column vectors?

Mathematically, a vector is an element of a vector space. Sometimes, it's just an n-tuple $(a,b,c)$. In physics, one often demands that the tuple has certain transformation properties to be called a ...
6
votes
1answer
128 views

$\pm$ (light-cone?) notation in supersymmetry

I would like to know what is exactly meant when one writes $\theta^{\pm}, \bar{\theta}^\pm, Q_{\pm},\bar{Q}_{\pm},D_{\pm},\bar{D}_{\pm}$. {..I typically encounter this notation in literature on ...
5
votes
4answers
743 views

Does bra-ket always assume all space?

One thing I never understood about the bracket notation is the limits of the inner product. Given $ \langle \psi∣\psi \rangle$, what can I say about the limits of integration of the inner product? ...
5
votes
3answers
96 views

which letter to use for a CFT?

In math, one says "let $G$ be a group", "let $A$ be an algebra", ... For groups, the typical letters are $G$, $H$, $K$, ... For algebras, the typical letters are $A$, $B$, ... I want to say ...
5
votes
2answers
311 views

When can I use $\wedge$ instead of curl?

It seems in some circles the wedge product is used in preference to curl. I have a basic understanding of Green and Stokes' formula, I wish to use the $\wedge$ notation from now on. Can someone tell ...
5
votes
2answers
292 views

A confusion about notation in Goldstein

On treating systems of particles, Goldstein starts with the consideration that whenever there are $k$ particles on a system, the $i$-th one obeys the relation $$\dfrac{d}{dt}{\bf p}_i = {\bf ...
5
votes
1answer
221 views

Why the speed of light is represented by $c$? [closed]

In almost every textbook, I've found that the speed of light is $c \approx 3 \times 10^8\: \mathrm{m/s}$. I wonder why it's just $c$ ?
5
votes
3answers
305 views

Error in books of conformal field theory?

If you look at the book Conformal Field Theory (by Philippe Francesco, Pierre Mathieu and David Senechal) or the lecture notes Applied Conformal Field Theory (by Paul Ginsparg), and many other places: ...
5
votes
2answers
671 views

Bra-ket notation and linear operators

Let $H$ be a hilbert space and let $\hat{A}$ be a linear operator on $H$. My textbook states that $|\hat{A} \psi\rangle = \hat{A} |\psi\rangle$. My understanding of bra-kets is that $|\psi\rangle$ is ...
5
votes
3answers
322 views

Tensor product notation convention?

For two particle state, the Dirac ket is writren as $$\lvert\textbf{r}_1\rangle \otimes \lvert\textbf{r}_2 \rangle. $$ Then how do we write its bra vector, $$\langle\textbf{r}_1\rvert \otimes ...
5
votes
2answers
221 views

Unknown letter ℑ used in an equation

I need to write by hand the equation from the attached snapshot but I really don't know what letter is that seen in the front of square brackets [ . Can anyone help ...
5
votes
2answers
291 views

In what order should unit symbols appear?

I am trying to represent the result of a dimensional analysis calculation and I can't find an official document that lists the order that unit symbols should appear. For example, when I google ...
5
votes
1answer
470 views

Why is $L^2$ norm of the gradient called kinetic energy?

I'm reading Lieb-Loss's book 'Analysis', chapter 7. The authors refer to the following integral: $$\tag{1} \lVert \nabla f\rVert_2^2=\int_{\Omega}\lvert \nabla f(x)\rvert^2\, d^nx $$ as the kinetic ...
5
votes
0answers
136 views

Is it correct to sum over either index of the metric the same way?

I don't know if the following is correct, i want to compute the following derivative $$\frac{\partial }{\partial (\partial_{\mu}A_{\nu})}\left(\partial^{\alpha}A^{\beta}\partial_{\alpha}A_{\beta} ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the symbol Å?

I saw this symbol like: $$\lambda=3000\overset{\circ}{\text{A}}$$ and I don't know what this means. Is it a frequency? (since $\lambda$ is usually used for frequency)
4
votes
2answers
487 views

Schroedinger equation for hydrogen atom

I have got a problem understanding the meaning of the Laplace operator in the Schrödinger equation for the hydrogen atom. $$\Big(-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m_e} \Delta_{r_e} - \frac{\hbar^2}{2M_P} \Delta_{r_p} ...
4
votes
4answers
273 views

What is the right order of creation operators?

I started to learn some basics of second quantisation and specifically its use in quantum chemistry. Currently I'm reading this book by Péter R. Surján, and here is small excerpt from it. If one ...
4
votes
2answers
246 views

Difference between slanted indices on a tensor

In my class, there is no distinction made between, $$ C_{ab}{}^{b} $$ and $$ C^{b}{}_{ab}. $$ All I know, and read about so far, is the distinction of covariant and contravariant, form/vector, etc. ...
4
votes
3answers
191 views

In what subfields and how far can the naive limit $c\rightarrow\infty$ of special relativity be carried?

Even if many interesting similarities between the classical and the quantum mechanical framework have been worked out, e.g. in the subject of deformation quantization, in general, there are some ...
4
votes
2answers
101 views

Tensors, indices and matrix notation - is there a common convention?

For a tensor named T with two indices, there are four possibilities: $T_{ij}$ , $T_i^{\ j}$, $T^i{\ _j}$ and $T^{ij}$. Is there a common convention as to how these tensors would be represented as ...
4
votes
2answers
342 views

Standard notation reference

I'm searching for a compresensive and somewhat complete list of suggested standard notation (the symbols one ought to use in (theoretical) physics and also mathematics). Is there such a collection, ...