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12
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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?
18
votes
6answers
832 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
92 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, $V$, ...
13
votes
1answer
436 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
348 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
311 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}+ ...
2
votes
0answers
120 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
119 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
91 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
888 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
371 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
448 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
376 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the physical significance of the off-diagonal moment of inertia matrix elements?

The tensor of moment of inertia contains six off-diagonal matrix elements, which vanishes if we choose the principle axis of the rotating rigid body and the components of the angular momentum vector ...
4
votes
1answer
340 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, ...
3
votes
3answers
134 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
287 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
0answers
346 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
2answers
718 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
70 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
529 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
138 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
459 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
106 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
318 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
198 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Spin tensor and Lorentz group operator in bispinor case

For infinisesimal bispinor transformations we have $$ \delta \Psi = \frac{1}{2}\omega^{\mu \nu}\eta_{\mu \nu}\Psi , \quad \delta \bar {\Psi} = -\frac{1}{2}\omega^{\mu \nu}\bar {\Psi}\eta_{\mu \nu}, ...
2
votes
1answer
539 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
270 views

Calculating electromagnetic invariant in matrix form

I'm kind of confused. I want to calculate the electromagnetic invariant $I := F^{\mu\nu}F_{\mu\nu} $, but I'm not sure what is the easiest way to do so. So, I was trying to do it in matrix form, i.e. ...
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Cubic symmetry and a stiffness tensor [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 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. ...