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20
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
2k 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" ...
13
votes
7answers
702 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
2k 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. ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
739 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
174 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
373 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
1answer
161 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
4answers
608 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
98 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
513 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? ...
5
votes
3answers
82 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
4answers
296 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
156 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
188 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
220 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
2answers
116 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
179 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
108 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
172 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
2answers
500 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
252 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
169 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
301 views

What is the gamma five matrix $\gamma_5$?

This Wikipedia page explains that for each of the four main gamma matrices $\gamma^{\mu}$, you can find the covariant matrices $\gamma_{\mu}$ with the equation $\gamma_{\mu} = ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
341 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Higgs mechanism in QED

I'm trying to understand the Higgs mechanics. For that matter, I'm exploring the possibility of giving mass to the photon in a gauge-invariant way. So, if we introduce a complex scalar field: $$ ...
4
votes
1answer
254 views

Clarifications about Poisson brackets and Levi-Civita symbol

I need some clarifications about Poisson brackets. I know canonical brackets and the properties of Poisson Brackets and I also know something about Levi-Civita symbol (definition and basic ...
4
votes
0answers
89 views

Tensor fields and vector bundles [migrated]

Let $M$ be a differentiable manifold, $TM$ and $T^*M$ a tangent and cotangent bundle of $M$ and let $\Gamma (TM),\ \Gamma (T^*M)$ be spaces of smooth sections of $TM$ and $T^*M$. Let $T_s^r (M)$ ...
3
votes
6answers
844 views

Is H=H* sloppy notation or really just incorrect, for Hermitian operators?

I saw it in this pdf, where they state that $P=P^\dagger$ and thus $P$ is hermitian. I find this notation confusing, because an operator A is Hermitian if $\langle \Psi | A \Psi \rangle=\langle A ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What does $\Psi^*$ mean in Schrodinger's formulation of Quantum Mechanics?

I am not a physics student. In one of my courses, some fundamental concepts of Quantum mechanics were needed, so I was going through them when I stumbled upon this. It says $$\text{probability} = ...
3
votes
2answers
169 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
251 views

What are $\partial_t$ and $\partial^\mu$?

I'm reading the Wikipedia page for the Dirac equation: $\rho=\phi^*\phi\,$ ...... $J = -\frac{i\hbar}{2m}(\phi^*\nabla\phi - \phi\nabla\phi^*)$ with the conservation of probability ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

How to deal with the notation of a function $f$ vs its value $f(x)$ in Physics?

This doubt is very silly, but anyway, I think it's worth asking. The problem is: when we work with mathematics, in many situations we want to consider sets $A$ and $B$ and functions $f : A \to B$. ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Notations for statistical / systematic / numeric errors?

I constantly see the notation $$ 5.143(13) $$ for specifying that a value was measures / calculated to be 5.143 with an estimated error of 0.013. I have come to wonder though, just how commonly ...
3
votes
0answers
39 views

Group Theory - quotient group notation? [migrated]

What is the difference between the following terms: $\mathbb{Z}_{4}$ , $\mathbb{Z}/4$ and $\mathbb{Z}/{4}\mathbb{Z}$ ? I am pretty sure the first one is the cyclic group with addition modulo 4... ...
3
votes
0answers
129 views

Group theory notation used in physics (AdS/CFT)

This in the context of the AdS/CFT correspondence. I am reading this review on AdS/CFT Aharony et. al. (The MAGOO review) The abstract can be found here Equation (2.50) of the above paper lists the ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Notation for anti-symmetric part of a tensor

I know that $A_{[a} B_{b]} = \frac{1}{2!}(A_{a}B_{b} - A_{b}B_{a})$ But how can write $E_{[a} F_{bc]}$ like the above? Can you provide a reference where this notational matter is discussed?
2
votes
3answers
289 views

How to distinguish 4D and 3D vectors in handwriting?

Usually vectors are denoted with bold font in printbooks and with arrows above in handwriting. In Thorn's e al. Gravitation, 4D vectors are denoted with bold and 3D vectors with bold italic. How to ...
2
votes
1answer
313 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
124 views

Bracket Notation on Tensor Indices

I know about the () symmetrisation and [] anti-symmetrisation brackets on tensor indices so long as they appear on their own, such as : $$V_{[\alpha \beta ]}=\frac{1}{2}\left ( V_{\alpha \beta ...
2
votes
3answers
175 views

Ordering of differential operators

If we write something like: $\partial_a X_{\mu} \partial^a X^{\mu}$ Does that mean the first derivative is only applied to the first X? ($\partial_a X_{\mu})( \partial^a X^{\mu}$) Or is the ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Question on index notation and metric tensor

I found this expression in my SR notes: $$ (\Lambda^{-1})^{\lambda}_{\ \ \ \sigma} = g^{\lambda\mu}~\Lambda^{\rho}_{\ \ \ \mu} ~g_{\rho\sigma} = \Lambda_\sigma^{\ \ \ \lambda}$$ I know where it ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

Affine connection notation

Can ${g}^{\mu\sigma}{\Gamma}^{\rho}_{\sigma\nu}$ be written as ${\Gamma}^{\mu\rho}_{\nu}$? If so how come this symbol never appears in any GR book?
2
votes
3answers
184 views

On Einstein notation with multiple indices

On Einstein notation with multiple indices: For example, consider the expression: $$a^{ij} b_{ij}.$$ Does the notation signify, $$a^{00} b_{00} + a^{01} b_{01} + a^{02} b_{02} + ... $$ i.e. you ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

What does the notation $c = [1:\beta]$ mean?

I have been reading a online-book/blog/material on Quantum Mechanics, when I encountered a notation on a page and I have no idea what it means. See if you can help. Here's the link and follows the ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

Double Pendulum

The equations of motions for the double pendulum is given by $$\dot{\theta_1} = \frac{6}{ml^2}\frac{2p_{\theta1} - 3\cos(\theta_1 - \theta_2)p_{\theta2}}{16 - 9\cos^2(\theta_1 - \theta_2)}$$ and ...
2
votes
1answer
299 views

Meaning of $d\Omega$ in basic scattering theory?

In basic scattering theory, $d\Omega$ is supposed to be an element of solid angle in the direction $\Omega$. Therefore, I assume that $\Omega$ is an angle, but what is this angle measured with respect ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Scalar top quark (stop) pair production

A rather simple question: Starting from an electrically neutral state, pairs of top quarks are produced as top and anti-top, and denoted as $t\bar t$. Now the production of pairs of scalar top ...