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17
votes
7answers
3k views

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 ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

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?
12
votes
2answers
747 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
152 views

“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, $V$, ...
20
votes
7answers
1k views

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. ...
10
votes
5answers
489 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
547 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?
4
votes
1answer
373 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
789 views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
834 views

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 ...
12
votes
4answers
248 views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
512 views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
918 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
223 views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
365 views

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}+ ...
5
votes
3answers
8k views

What does this quote about the four dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric tensor mean?

In the beginning, God said that the four dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric second rank tensor equals zero and there was light. Can someone explain what is the meaning of this quote by ...
4
votes
1answer
598 views

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, ...
2
votes
3answers
235 views

Dimension of vector resulting from tensorial product

I'm quoting what I found in a book about quantum computation: Individual state spaces of $n$ particles combine quantum mechanically through the tensor product. If $X$ and $Y$ are vectors, then ...
2
votes
2answers
142 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
145 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
128 views

Einstein +Maxwell 's tensor

Why is it true that we can deduce that Einstein's GR equations coupled with Maxwell's EM equations may be written in the form $$R_{ij}=C(F_{ik}F_j^{\,\,k}-{1\over 4}g_{ij}F_{mn}F^{mn})$$ without ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Square of a tensor

I think, $$\sigma_{ij}\sigma^{ij} = \sigma^2.$$ However, on the Wikipedia page on Raychaudhuri equation, It was mentioned: $$\sigma^2=\frac{1}{2}\sigma^{ij}\sigma_{ij}$$ I am confused, but I think ...
0
votes
2answers
6k views

Center of a mass of a hemisphere [closed]

How can I show that position vector of the center of a mass of a hemisphere is $(0,0,\frac{3a}{8})$ where $a$ is radius of a hemisphere, $x$ and $y$ axis are laying on the base and $z$-axis is ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
16
votes
2answers
403 views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
567 views

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 ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
6
votes
5answers
561 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
577 views

Do Dirac Gamma Matrices act like Tensors?

Do Dirac Gamma Matrices act like Tensors? Is it true that $$ \gamma_\mu = \eta_{\mu\nu}\gamma^\nu~? $$ Also what about $\sigma_{\mu\nu}$, where $\sigma_{\mu\nu}$ is defined to be: \begin{align*} ...
6
votes
4answers
658 views

Is the covariance or contravariance of vectors/tensors something that can be “visualized”?

I'm taking an undergrad GR course, and our text (Lambourne) mentions covariant and contravariant vectors and tensors ad-nauseum, but never really gives a formal definition for what they are, and how ...
5
votes
3answers
844 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Coordinate Transformation of Scalar Fields in QFT

By definition scalar fields are independent of coordinate system, thus I would expect a scalar field $\psi [x]$ would not change under the transformation $x^\mu \to x^\mu + \epsilon^\mu $. Correct? ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

Type/Valence of the stress tensor

In classical continuum mechanics, the stress tensor is said to be of type/valence (1,1) and I do not see why. If I am correct, its maps a vector $n$ defined in $\mathbb{R}^3$ (which is the normal to ...
0
votes
2answers
452 views

What is pseudo tensor?

What is the pseudo tensor in relativity? How do we transform tensor and pseudo tensor under parity?
3
votes
0answers
523 views

The connection between classical and quantum spins

I have two questions, which are connected with each other. The first question. In a classical relativistic (SRT) case for one particle can be defined (in a reason of "antisymmetric" nature of ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

$SU(3)$ 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
518 views

Tensor Product vs. Direct Product for three spin-1/2 particles

Let us consider three spin-1/2 particles and only focusing on their intrinsic spin $S$. The Hilbert space has then to be $\mathcal H = ℂ^2 ⊗ ℂ^2 ⊗ ℂ^2$. The spin can be described by $V ∈ \text{SU(2)}$ ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Why do derivatives act on vector fields on a worldsheet?

The covariant derivative of a vector $A^{\mu}$ at a point $x$ is defined as $$D_z A^{\mu}=\partial_zA^{\mu}+\Gamma^{\mu}_{\rho\sigma}(x)\partial_{z}x^{\rho}A^{\sigma}$$ where Greek symbols are ...
2
votes
4answers
235 views

Nature of Fields in QFT

I'm not exactly an expert in quantum physics, but this seems to be a simple question, and I can't find an answer anywhere! There are specific types of fields used in physics: scalar fields (i.e. as ...
2
votes
2answers
957 views

Tensor product notation [closed]

In the image there is a tensor product: $$F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}=2(B^2-\frac{E^2}{c^2})$$ It's about how this operation on the co- and contravariant field strength tensors can give one of the ...
1
vote
0answers
82 views

Equivalence of simple formulations of qubit entanglement

I'm reading some very elementary treatments of quantum computation and am unsure about the correspondence among "definitions" of qubit entanglement. One definition states that (1) the bits of a ...
1
vote
1answer
729 views

Levi-Civita symbol in Euclidean space

Suppose a component of tensor field is described by $B^k=\varepsilon^{kij} \phi_{ij}$. If we define $B^k$ in an Euclidean space then does the rising or lowering of the indices of the Levi-Civita ...
0
votes
0answers
118 views

Covariant Derivative Chain rule? [duplicate]

I want to prove that a covariant derivative of a vector $A^{\mu}(x(z))$ at the point $x(z)$ in general would be defined as $$D_z ...
7
votes
1answer
148 views

Are there cases in which we should consider tensors as equivalence classes?

Usually in texts about Physics that uses tensors defines them as multilinear maps. So if $V$ is a vector space over the field $F$, a tensor is a multilinear mapping: $$T:V\times\cdots\times V\times ...
6
votes
1answer
728 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
428 views

When a variation of a tensor is not a tensor?

In a comment about variation of metric tensor it was shown that $$\delta g_{\mu\nu}=-g_{\mu\rho}g_{\nu\,\sigma}\delta g^{\rho\,\sigma}$$ which is contrary to the usual rule of lowering indeces of a ...
3
votes
3answers
96 views

Rotation in the x-t plane

I am currently studying special relativity using tensors. My lecture notes (which happen to be publicly accessible, see top of page 99) say that the standard configuration can be viewed as a rotation ...
3
votes
2answers
471 views

Tensor Product of Hilbert spaces

This question is regarding a definition of Tensor product of Hilbert spaces that I found in Wald's book on QFT in curved space time. Let's first get some notation straight. Let $(V,+,*)$ denote a set ...
3
votes
1answer
247 views

How quantum field transforms in case of some particular spin

Except when a particle is spin-0, field of all particles transforms when frame of reference is changed, and this defines what spin is. The question is, specifically how does the quantum field ...