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20
votes
1answer
3k 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" ...
15
votes
8answers
875 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
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. ...
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
862 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
229 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
210 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
384 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
2answers
464 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
175 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
660 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
2answers
139 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
1answer
102 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
543 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
87 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
354 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
169 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
213 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
235 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
193 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
111 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
190 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
513 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
3answers
174 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
262 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
2answers
330 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
358 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
2answers
125 views

Conventions regarding partial derivatives

Look at this expression: $$\frac{\partial}{\partial t} (V-\mathbf{v}\cdot\mathbf{A}).$$ This expression occurs in Griffiths EM book (4th ed, p.444). $V=V(\mathbf{r},t)$is the scalar potential, ...
4
votes
1answer
78 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
278 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
915 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
230 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
1answer
102 views

What is the difference between $\nabla _{\sigma} $ and $ \nabla^{\sigma}$?

What is the difference between: $\nabla _{\sigma} $ and $ \nabla^{\sigma}$? I've been told that the first is the covariant derivative, however I'm just starting a course on spacetime geometry and ...
3
votes
1answer
166 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
221 views

Notation for Standard Model Charges?

Does anybody know what these following numbers describing an electron $(1, 1, -1)$ represent in $SU(3) \times SU(2) \times U(1)$? Or, these numbers that describe an up quark: $(3, 1, 2/3)$? I'm ...
3
votes
2answers
202 views

Inner Product Spaces

I am trying to reconcile the definition of Inner Product Spaces that I encountered in Mathematics with the one I recently came across in Physics. In particular, if $(,)$ denotes an inner product in ...
3
votes
2answers
265 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
96 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
74 views

What does $\int_C V \,d\mathbf{l}$ mean?

What does $$\int_C V \,d\mathbf{l}$$ mean? I initially thought it was simply a line integral around $C$, that is, if $\mathbf{r}: [0,1] \longrightarrow \mathbb{R}^3$ is a paremetrization of $C$, then ...
3
votes
1answer
106 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
68 views

What decides the signs and coefficients of terms in superfield?

I'm working on a problem in 3d field theory and I'm confused about how to write the superfields. Specifically, I'm not sure if the signs and coefficients of terms are purely a matter of convention or ...
3
votes
0answers
137 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
5answers
892 views

Why aren't powered units surrounded by parentheses?

Since $\renewcommand{\unit}[1]{\,\mathrm{#1}} 1\unit{dm} = 10^{-1}\unit{m}$, it follows that $1\unit{dm^3} = 10^{-1} \times 10^{-1} \times 10^{-1} \unit{m^3} = 10^{-3} \unit{m^3}$. However, in ...
2
votes
2answers
263 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
296 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
502 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 ...