Vector-fields are vector valued functions which define a vector at each point in space. Examples of the vector field include the electric field and the velocity of a fluid.

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Why are Killing fields relevant in physics?

I'm taking a course on General Relativity and the notes that I'm following define a Killing vector field $X$ as those verifying: $$\mathcal{L}_Xg~=~ 0.$$ They seem to be very important in physics ...
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Why is there no Gravitational Magnetic Field?

We think that the electric field and gravitational field operate similarly with their corresponding charges/masses. With just a difference that the electric field is sometimes attractive and sometimes ...
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Lie derivative vs. covariant derivative in the context of Killing vectors

Let me start by saying that I understand the definitions of the Lie and covariant derivatives, and their fundamental differences (at least I think I do). However, when learning about Killing vectors I ...
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How can a set of components fail to make up a vector?

Many books in Physics insist to define vectors are objects with components with the property that the components transform in a proper way under a change of coordinates. Now, in mathematics, on the ...
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What do the names “E mode” and “B mode” mean? Where do they come from?

This has been bugging me a bit since the BICEP announcement, but if there are any resources that answer my question in a simple way, they've been buried in a slew of over-technical or over-popularized ...
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Electromagnetic field and continuous and differentiable vector fields

We have notions of derivative for a continuous and differentiable vector fields. The operations like curl,divergence etc. have well defined precise notions for these fields. We know electrostatic and ...
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Field created by varying Gravitational field

Changing Electric Field causes Magnetic filed and changing Magnetic Field causes Electric Field. Is there anything similar in relation to Gravitational Field? What sort of field is created by varying ...
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Is there a fourth component to the electric field and magnetic field?

The Question If the three vector electric and magnetic fields come from the four component four-potential, then is there a fourth component to the electric and magnetic field? Related Question I ...
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What is a Killing vector field?

I recently read a post in physics.stackexchange that used the term "Killing vector". What is a Killing vector/Killing vector field?
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Must every isometry have an associated Killing vector?

I understand that the flows of Killing vector fields are isometries, and that one-parameter groups of isometries have an associated Killing vector which generates them, but are your Killing vectors ...
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350 views

Does Hamilton Mechanics give a general phase-space conserving flux?

Hamiltonian dynamics fulfil the Liouville's theorem, which means that one can imagine the flux of a phase space volume under a Hamiltonian theory like the flux of an ideal fluid, which doesn't change ...
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Physical significance of Killing vector field along geodesic

Let us denote by $X^i=(1,\vec 0)$ the Killing vector field and by $u^i(s)$ a tangent vector field of a geodesic, where $s$ is some affine parameter. What physical significance do the scalar quantity ...
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Killing vector fields

I am facing some problems in understanding what is the importance of a Killing vector field? I will be grateful if anybody provides an answer, or, refer me to some review or books.
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Decomposition of a vectorial field in free-curl and free-divergence fields

Is it always possible to do that decomposition? I'm asking it because Helmholtz theorem says a field on $\mathbb{R}^3$ that vanishes at infinity ($r\to \infty$) can be decomposed univocally into a ...
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Uniqueness of Helmholtz decomposition?

Helmholtz theorem states that given a smooth vector field $\pmb{H}$, there are a scalar field $\phi$ and a vector field $\pmb{G}$ such that $$\pmb{H}=\pmb{\nabla} \phi +\pmb{\nabla} \times \pmb{G},$$ ...
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Conservative vector fields

I was always told that to find whether or not a vector field is conservative, see if the curl is zero. I have now been told that just because the curl is zero does not necessarily mean it is ...
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How to show that every Killing vector field is a matter collineation?

Various texts make this claim, but no proof is given. Explicitly, let $L$ denote the Lie derivative. Suppose $L_X g_{ab} = 0$ for some vector field $X$, called a Killing vector field. Suppose that ...
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How can we describe the polarization (of light) coming from an arbitrary angle?

In an optics lab, where all optical beams pretty much reside in a plane, it is fairly simple to describe (linear) polarizations as vertical or horizontal (or s and p). When we start talking about ...
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Bondi-Metzner-Sachs (BMS) symmetry of asymptotically flat space-times

I started studying the BMS symmetry in connection with the paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.2229 and there are a few strange things I noticed. First of all, from reading the original papers by Bondi, ...
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Are conformal, Killing and homothetic vector fields the same in pseudo-riemannian manifolds?

I work in the Lorentzian manifolds, more generally in pseudo Riemannian manifolds and applications to general relativity. I know the definitions of conformal, Killing and homothetic vector fields in ...
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Difference between spinor and vector field [duplicate]

How do we distinguish spinors and vector fields? I want to know it in terms of physics with mathematical argument.
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4answers
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Divergence of $\frac{\hat{r}}{r^2}$

In David J. Griffiths's Introduction to Electrodynamics, the author gave the following problem in an exercise. Sketch the vector function $$ \vec{v} ~=~ \frac{\hat{r}}{r^2}, $$ and compute ...
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Are the field lines the same as the trajectories of a particle with initial velocity zero

Is it true that the field lines of an electric field are identical to the trajectories of a charged particle with initial velocity zero? If so, how can one prove it? The claim is from a german ...
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Wind's Sources and Drains (see live map!!)

I was pointed out by a friend to this website that shows live map of wind in US. It sometimes show interesting places where all the wind seems to converge and vanish. What's the origin of such "wind ...
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1answer
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Finding diffeomorphism given vector fields [closed]

Given a vector field how do you find the associated diffeomorphisms? Say I am given a vector field in Minkowski space $$\xi = x \frac{\partial}{\partial t} + t \frac{\partial}{\partial x}.$$ How do ...
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Geometric meaning of parallel transport

The definition of parallel transport of a vector $v^b$ along a curve $C$ with tangent field $\it{t}^a$ is given by Wald's GR as $$t^a \nabla_a v^b = 0$$ Is it correct to think of $\nabla_a v^b$ as ...
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Irrotational fluid

Often, when threating some problem of fluid dynamics I have read that people make the approximation of irrotational fluid, i.e. the velocity field is assumed irrotational: $$ \nabla \times \vec{v}=0 ...
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Is electromagnetic vector field a sum of E and B?

I have a hard time to fully understand (classical) electromagnetic field theory with respect to Helmholtz's decomposition. Let me start from Helmholtz's theorem: Any vector field of class ...
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If a Killing vector field is timelike, can it be set to $\partial/\partial t$?

If one has a Killing vector that turned out to be a timelike Killing vector field because of negative norm. Can we set this Killing vector field equal to $\partial/\partial t$?
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Concrete example of divergence of a vector field

I'm studying vector analysis and it is hard for me to understand what divergence of a vector field really is. I know that $divF=\nabla\cdot F$ but I don't understand what kind of quantity it gives and ...
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1answer
188 views

Why are densities not fields?

I have read (in Statistical mechanics of lattice system 2: exact, series and renormalization group methods by D.A. Lavis and G.M. Bell pg 2 ), that intrinsic variables are either fields or densities. ...
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199 views

A wonky gravitational potential and its critical points

I have tough problem I am not sure how to solve: For this question, we are confined to a plane. Consider a gravitational field that is proportional to $\frac{1}{r^3}$ instead of $\frac{1}{r^2}$, and ...
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Are Field Lines an accurate depiction of reality?

Field lines are used for explaining a wide variety of phenomenon. But is it really an accurate depiction of reality? Is it more accurate to imagine a field in a different manner. For instance, using ...
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Why the heat flux vector at a point must be perpendicular to the temperature isothermal surface? Is it a definition or a deduction?

Before the question: I am working on numerical calculation of three dimension parabolic equation that based on Fourier's Law of which I am a little confused. Here comes the law in modern mathematics ...
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field solutions for covariant derivative of vector field constrained to zero

Question: What do the solutions of $\nabla_\mu A^\nu = 0 $ look like? And is it possible for spacetime curvature to somehow restrict the solution to $A^\nu = 0$? Here is my current ...
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Calculate divergence of vector in curvilinear coordinates using the metric

In a curved $(3+1)$ dimensional spacetime with metric components $g_{\mu \nu}$, the covariant derivative of a $4$ vector $\mathbf V = (V^0, \vec V)$ is given by $$\nabla_\mu~ V^\mu = ...
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Hilbert action's invariance under general coordinate changes

In an article, when considering invariance of the Hilbert action under a general coordinate change this formula appears for how the metric changes ...
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Where does energy in a field come from?

Let us consider for example Earth's gravitational field. If we put a ball somewhere in this field, the ball starts to accelerate due to the gravitational force exerted on it. I understand the ...
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1answer
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What are the generators of spherical symmetry?

The title says it all. I think this should be a pretty simple question but I just couldn't find the answer. Ok -- I'll give a bit more context to my question. I'm encountering this in the context of ...
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1answer
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Gradient one-form [duplicate]

I am trying to understand what gradient one-form means actually. In the book that I'm following (A first course on General Relativity by Schutz) it's told that gradient is a one-form and it's ...
4
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1answer
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Conformal Killing fields on Schwarzschild

I am trying to understand which are the conformal Killing Fields on the Schwarzschild spacetime. I say that $X$ is a conformal Killing field on $S$ ($S$ is Schwarzschild) if there exists a function ...
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Relation between component and algebraic definition of covariant vectors

I studied contravariance and covariance concepts in following way: For any vector if we get its components by parallelogram way we achieve contravariant components, and if we want to get its ...
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3answers
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Is it possible to have a non conservative vector field, such that the closed loop integral is $0$ for only some specific path(s)?

I was wondering whether there exists some non conservative field in which the closed loop integral over some specific path(s) is $0$, even if it's not $0$ for all the closed loop integrals. Or to put ...
3
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2answers
680 views

Time-like Killing vector in FRW metric?

The spatially flat FRW metric in cartesian co-ordinates is given by: $$ds^2 = -dt^2 + a^2(t)(dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2)$$ As I understand it there are Killing vectors in the $x$, $y$, $z$ directions implying ...
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'Easy way' of finding out the Killing vector fields?

Is there a way for calculating the Killing vector fields of a given metric in a quick way? Sure I can guess looking at the metric at the symmetries, and then guess some of them, but, for instance, in ...
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2answers
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Metric coefficients in rotating coordinates

Let $(t,x,y,z)$ be the standard coordinates on $\mathbb{R}^4$ and consider the Minkowski metric $$ds^2 = -dt^2+dx^2+dy^2+dz^2.$$ I am trying to compute the metric coefficients under the change of ...
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1answer
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What is the physical cause that circulation on a closed surface is zero?

This is quoted from Feynman's Lectures: We would like to see what happens when the loop shrinks down to a point, so that surface boundary disappears - the surface becomes closed. Now, if the ...
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Why can a killing vector field be determined globally by its value and first derivative at one point?

It is said in Weinberg's Book, Gravitation and Cosmology, page 377, that a killing vector field (which we a priori assume exists globally) can be uniquely determined by its value and first derivative ...
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Helmholtz decomposition allows incompressible flow with an irrotational component?

A vector field can be written in terms of irrotational and a divergence-free components. Using a 2D velocity field as an example, $ \vec v = -\nabla \phi + \nabla \times \vec \Psi$ Where $\vec \Psi$ ...
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1answer
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contravariant and covariant vectors and their orthogonality in Euclidean space

I am reading this paper Sigma Coordinate - Contravariance and covariance and I understand how covariant and contravariant vectors are defined mathematically Covariance and Contravariance and I had ...