Tensor calculus (tensor analysis) is a systematic extension of vector calculus to multivector and tensor fields in a form that is independent of the choice of coordinates on the relevant manifold, but which accounts for respective sub-spaces, their symmetries, and their connections.

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What is a tensor?

I have a pretty good knowledge of physics but couldn't understand what a tensor is. I just couldn't understand it, and the wiki page is very hard to understand as well. Can someone refer me to a good ...
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Mathematically, what is color charge?

A similar question was asked here, but the answer didn't address the following, at least not in a way that I could understand. Electric charge is simple - it's just a real scalar quantity. Ignoring ...
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What is the difference between a spinor and a vector or a tensor?

Why do we call a 1/2 spin particle satisfying the Dirac equation a spinor, and not a vector or a tensor?
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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 ...
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Are matrices and second rank tensors the same thing?

Tensors are mathematical objects that are needed in physics to define certain quantities. I have a couple of questions regarding them that need to be clarified: Are matrices and second rank tensors ...
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Tensor Operators

Motivation. I was recently reviewing the section 3.10 in Sakurai's quantum mechanics in which he discusses tensor operators, and I was left desiring a more mathematically general/precise discussion. ...
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Introduction to spinors in physics, and their relation to representations

First, I shall say that I am familiar with the intuitive idea that a spinor is like a vector (or tensor) that only transforms "up to a sign" when acted on by the rotation group. I have even rotated a ...
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“Vectors” (i.e. 1-tensors) their definition and motivation for relativity

I'm reading Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell (by Zee) and here he defines a vector as an object which is invariant under coordinate representation; concretely, if in one coordinate representation, $V$, $...
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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?
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Transpose of (1,1) tensor

When we transpose a (1,1) tensor, shall we simply switch the two indices while keeping their upper/lower positions or switch them and also switch their upper/lower positions? In general, would the ...
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What is the physical meaning of the connection and the curvature tensor?

Regarding general relativity: What is the physical meaning of the Christoffel symbol ($\Gamma^i_{\ jk}$)? What are the (preferably physical) differences between the Riemann curvature tensor ($R^i_{\ ...
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Motivation for tensor product in Physics

This question is about a mathematical object (the tensor product) but thinking about the motivation that comes from Physics. Algebraists motivate the tensor product like that: "given $k$ vector spaces ...
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How to get result $3 \otimes 3 = 6 \oplus \bar{3}$ for $SU(3)$ irreducible representations?

Let's have $SU(3)$ irreducible representations $3, \bar{3}$. How to get result that $$ 3\otimes 3 =6 \oplus \bar{3}~? $$ I'm interested in $\bar{3}$ part. It's clear that for $3 \otimes 3$ we can use ...
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Understanding the difference between co- and contra-variant vectors

I am looking at the 4-vector treatment of special relativity, but I have had no formal training in Tensor algebra and thus am having difficulty understanding some of the concepts which appear. One ...
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Convention of tensor indices

Let $g_{ij}$ be the diagonal Minkowski metric tensor diag$(g) = (1,-1,-1,-1)$, then $g^{ij}$ is defined to be $(g^{-1})^{ij}$, hence $$g_{ik}g^{kj} = g_i^{\ \ j} = \text{diag}(1,1,1,1)=\delta_i^{\ \ j}...
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Irreducible tensors concept

This might be a little naive question, but I am having difficulty grasping the concept of irreducible tensors. Particularly, why do we decompose tensors into symmetric and anti-symmetric parts? I have ...
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Why is stress a tensor quantity?

Why is stress a tensor quantity? Why is pressure not a tensor? According to what I know pressure is an internal force whereas stress is external so how are both quantities not tensors? I am ...
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How to prove the covariant derivative cannot be written as an eigendecomposition of the partial derivative?

The Question How does one prove that Rindler's definition of the covariant derivative of a covariant vector field $\lambda_a$ as \begin{align} \lambda_{a;c} = \lambda_{a,c} - \Gamma^{b}_{\ \ ca} \...
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Is there a physical interpretation of a tensor as a vector with additional qualities?

What is a tensor? has been asked before, with the most highly up-voted answer defining a tensor of rank $k$ as a vector of a tensor of rank $k-1$. But if a scalar is defined as a physical quantity ...
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Covariant and contravariant vectors

Reading Weinberg's Gravitation and Cosmology, I came across the sentence (p.115, above equation (4.11.8)) The partial derivative operator $\partial/\partial x^\mu$ is a covariant vector, or in ...
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1answer
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$SU(3)$ irreducible representations with tensor method

I am dealing with the tensor product representation of $SU(3)$ and I have some problems in understanding some decomposition. 1) Let's find the irreducible representation of $3\otimes\bar{3}$ we have ...
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1answer
131 views

How to compute the inertia tensor ${\bf{J}} _{\Omega}$ of a body of revolution

Suppose that $\Omega$ is a body of revolution of the function $y=f(x), a\le x \le b$ around the $x$-axis, where $f(x)>0$ is continuous. How to compute the inertia tensor ${\bf{J}} _{\Omega}$? ...
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Why is the Mixed Faraday Tensor a matrix in the algebra so(1,3)?

The mixed Faraday tensor $F^\mu{}_\nu$ explicitly in natural units is: $$(F^\mu{}_\nu)=\left(\begin{array}{cccc}0&E_x&E_y&E_z\\E_x&0&B_z&-B_y\\E_y&-B_z&0&B_x\\E_z&...
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Difference between matrix representations of tensors and $\delta^{i}_{j}$ and $\delta_{ij}$?

My question basically is, is Kronecker delta $\delta_{ij}$ or $\delta^{i}_{j}$. Many tensor calculus books (including the one which I use) state it to be the latter, whereas I have also read many ...
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The Spin Connection

Why do we need to introduce the spin connection coefficients $\omega_{\mu \space \space b}^{\space \space a} $ in General Relativity? To me, they just look (mathematically) like the Christoffel ...
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What are the local covariant tensors one can form from the metric?

Normally in differential geometry, we assume that the only way to produce a tensorial quantity by differentiation is to (1) start with a tensor, and then (2) apply a covariant derivative (not a plain ...
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Symmetry of the $3\times 3$ Cauchy Stress Tensor

When presenting the stress tensor (say in a non-relativistic context), it is shown to be a tensor in the sense that it is a linear vector transformation: it operates on a vector $n$ (the normal to a ...
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1answer
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E&M and geometry - a historical perspective

Recently, I was contemplating the beautiful formulation of electromagnetism (specifically Maxwell's equations) in terms of differential forms: $$F=\mathrm{d} A\implies \mathrm{d}F=0 \hspace{1cm}\text{...
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1answer
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Correct tetrad index notation

There seems to be some different conventions on the indexes of the tetrad. I am wondering which is the standard, which is correct, and which is an abuse of notation. In Sean Carroll's notes and in ...
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How to understand the definition of vector and tensor?

Physics texts like to define vector as something that transform like a vector and tensor as something that transform like a tensor, which is different from the definition in math books. I am having ...
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Contracting Indices

Does anyone know how to get from (1) to (2) in the system $$ \begin{align} \mathrm{g}^{\mu\nu}_{,\rho}+ \mathrm{g}^{\sigma\nu}{{\Gamma}}^{\mu}_{\sigma\rho}+ \mathrm{g}^{\mu\sigma}{{\...
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Irreducible decomposition of higher order tensors

I am familiar with the notion of irreps. My question refers simply to tensor representations (not tensor products of representations) and how can we decompose them into irreducible parts? For example, ...
3
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1answer
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How to write a generic density matrix for multi qubit system

I was reading the paper device independent outlook on quantum mechanics. The author defines a generic two qubit density matrix as $$ \rho=\frac{1}{4}\left( I \otimes I + \vec{r_{\rho}} \cdot \vec{\...
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3answers
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How to visualize the gradient as a one-form?

I am reading Sean Carrol's book on General Relativity, and I just finished reading the proof that the gradient is a covariant vector or a one-form, but I am having a difficult time visualizing this. I ...
3
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1answer
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Working with indices of tensors in special relativity

I'm trying to understand tensor notation and working with indices in special relativity. I use a book for this purpose in which $\eta_{\mu\nu}=\eta^{\mu\nu}$ is used for the metric tensor and a vector ...
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Non-local gravitational energy tensor

The well-known derivation of the Landau-Lifshitz gravitational energy pseudotensor, relies on several requirements: 1) that it be constructed entirely from the metric tensor 2) that it be index ...
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Stiffness tensor

Let's have a stiffness tensor: $$ a^{ijkl}: a^{ijkl} = a^{jikl} = a^{klij} = a^{ijlk}. $$ It has a 21 independent components for an anisotropic body. How does body symmetry (cubic, hexagonal etc.)...
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2answers
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Basic understanding of stress tensors in a fluid

So, after having spent the last 9 hours attempting to understand the basic tenets of stress tensors in fluids, I can honestly say that I think I know less now than when I began. My questions are ...
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1answer
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Physical interpretation of $Q^i = \partial _\nu T^{i \nu}$

I'm trouble with exercise 1.8 of Carroll's Space-Time and Geometry: If $\partial_\nu T^{\mu \nu} = Q^\mu$, what physically does the spatial vector $Q^i$ represent? Use the dust energy momentum ...
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Tensor product postulate [duplicate]

Non relativistic quantum mechanics assumes that a composite system should be described with the tensor product of the component systems. This is the tensor product postulate of quantum mechanics. I ...
3
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Can the two electromagnetic field tensors be combined into a more general tensor?

Given the electromagnetic field tensor $$\begin{align} F_{\mu\nu} = \begin{pmatrix} 0 & -E_{x} & -E_{y} & -E_{z} \\ E_{x} & 0 & B_{z} & -B_{y} \\ E_{y} & -B_{z} & 0 &...
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1answer
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Fermi-Propagated Jacobi equation in the book The Large scale structure of space-time

On page 81, equation (4.6), the author use the Fermi derivative to write the Jacobi equation \begin{equation} \tag{4.6} \frac{{D^2}_\text{F}}{\partial s^2} {}_{\bot}Z^a = -{R^a}_{bcd}{}_{\bot}Z^cV^bV^...
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2answers
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What is the metric tensor for?

I am wondering how to use the metric tensor, in practice? I read the book and done the exercises in A student's guide to vectors and tensors by Dan Fleisch. The concept of a tensor and their ...
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2answers
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Kronecker delta confusion

I'm confused about the Kronecker delta. In the context of four-dimensional spacetime, multiplying the metric tensor by its inverse, I've seen (where the upstairs and downstairs indices are the same): ...
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1answer
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Matrices as second order tensors proof?

I am trying to proof that all matrices are tensors. I have got to a stage where I need to proof that: $$\gamma_{li} \gamma_{kj}= \frac{\partial q_j}{\partial q_k'} \frac{\partial q'_l}{\partial q_i}...
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Why do Maxwell's equations contain each of a scalar, vector, pseudovector and pseudoscalar equation?

Maxwell's equations, in differential form, are $$\left\{\begin{align} \vec\nabla\cdot\vec{E}&=~\rho/\epsilon_0,\\ \vec\nabla\times\vec B~&=~\mu_0\vec J+\epsilon_0\mu_0\frac{\partial\vec E}{\...
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Why is the covariant derivative of the metric tensor zero?

I've consulted several books for the explanation of why $$\nabla _{\mu}g_{\alpha \beta} = 0,$$ and hence derive the relation between metric tensor and affine connection $\Gamma ^{\sigma}_{\mu \beta}...
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Is force a contravariant vector or a covariant vector (or either)?

I don't understand whether something physical, like velocity for example, has a single correct classification as either a contravariant vector or a covariant vector. I have seen texts indicate that ...
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In relativity, can/should every measurement be reduced to measuring a scalar?

Different authors seem to attach different levels of importance to keeping track of the exact tensor valences of various physical quantities. In the strict-Catholic-school-nun camp, we have Burke 1980,...
5
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1answer
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Difference between Cartesian product and tensor product on gauge groups

After a comment of John Baez to a question I asked on MathOverflow, I would like to ask what the difference between, for example, $SU(3)\times SU(2) \times U(1) $ and $SU(3) \otimes SU(2) \otimes U(1)$...