Geometric object with magnitude (length) and direction.

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Which mathematical operation does the right hand rule for current come from?

I am currently wondering about this famous rule: Where does it come from mathematically that when you point with your thumb in the direction of the current, your curved fingers will point in the ...
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3answers
101k views

Linear acceleration vs angular acceleration equation

I'm learning about angular velocity, momentum, etc. and how all the equations are parallel to linear equations such as velocity or momentum. However, I'm having trouble comparing angular acceleration ...
4
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2answers
835 views

Nature of spacetime 4-vector and tangent space?

An entry level confusion about spacetime. I understand that a 4-vector describes a point or event in spacetime. But I've also read (Bertschinger, 1999) that re spacetime "we are discussing tangent ...
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4answers
212 views

Do $\vec r$ and $d \vec r$ have the same direction?

One question is bugging me for a long time but I couldn't make out anything nor could my friends. Here it goes: We know, $\vec r$ is regarded as the position vector. So we can say, $$\vec r \cdot\vec ...
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3answers
4k views

Is there a general rule for determining the direction of tension force?

Tension, for me, is a tricky thing. After finishing a related chapter of my book and watching a video, I still can't get a hang of it. Here is a situation: My knowledge is that tension, just like ...
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4answers
430 views

Why perpendicular vectors do not share components?

I just can picture it in my mind or on paper. Can someone explain it with examples? This is the key idea behind the uniform circular motion: if the force has a component in direction of the object's ...
4
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2answers
139 views

Sign of acceleration

I'm developing an application using accelerometer sensor. I'm not good at physics so forgive me if the question is trivial. If I have 3 values of acceleration: $x$, $y$, $z$, I find acceleration ...
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4answers
948 views

Why do physics students find vectors so difficult to deal with? [closed]

When I teach introductory physics to undergraduates, I find that although the classes are frequently split into "algebra-based" and "calculus-based" sections, the most difficult concept for any of ...
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3answers
485 views

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 ...
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3answers
387 views

How to define pseudovector mathematically?

The textbook describes pseudovector like this: Let $a,b$ be vectors and $c=a\times b$, $P$ be the parity operator. Then $P(a)=-a,P(b)=-b$ by definition. But $P(c)=c$ since both $a$ and $b$ reverse ...
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2answers
243 views

A whole lot of doubts on Lorentz representation

Can someone tell me in layman's language how the $(1/2,1/2)$ represents a vector field and $(0,1/2)$ or $(1/2,0)$ represents spinors and $(0,0)$ represents scalar field. Please don't be pedantic on ...
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514 views

Why the generators of boosts transform like a vector under rotation?

$$\left[J_i,J_j \right]=i\epsilon_{ijk}J_k$$ $$\left[J_i,M_j \right]=i\epsilon_{ijk}M_k$$ $$\left[M_i,M_j \right]=-i\epsilon_{ijk}J_k$$ where $J_i$ is the generator of rotation of Lorentz group, $M_i$ ...
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1answer
487 views

Equivalent definitions of vectors

Equivalent definitions of vectors. In maths a vector is an object that obeys some axioms of a vector space. But in physics a vector can be thought as an object which is invariant under rotations of ...
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2answers
199 views

Vector potential

I have difficulty understanding the following vector calculus example. Text can be found here. It is the 5th Q&A -- starting with equation (31.1035).It concerns finding the vector potential of a ...
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2answers
89 views

What does $(\delta\vec{r}\cdot\nabla)^2$ mean in the derivation of the Lamb shift, and how do you find its expectation?

The Wikipedia page on the Lamb shift includes the following first steps: $$\Delta V = V\bigl(\vec{r}+\delta \vec{r}\bigr)-V(\vec{r})=\delta \vec{r} \cdot \nabla V (\vec{r}) + \frac{1}{2} \bigl(\delta ...
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1answer
111 views

Are fundamental forces always attractive/repulsive, i.e. parallel to the separation?

If magnetic monopoles existed it would not be the case - the forces on an electron and a magnetic monopole passing by each other would be at right angles to the vector connecting the two particles! ...
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1answer
95 views

Show that getting parallel transported does not change angle between them- Tensors [closed]

I must tell you that I have never seen this kind of question in Tensor Analysis. Our professor had set up this question in our exam, but I don't know whether it belongs to tensors or not. The question ...
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4answers
2k views

Can we add any two vectors?

Can we add any two vectors? If not, why is that so? I think this is not true, but I am not sure. My book says it is true, but I guess it is a misprint. For example, adding acceleration to velocity.
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372 views

Why the $r$ is cubed in the vector notation for of Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation? [duplicate]

I'm learning about astrodynamics on my own and I was wondering why the $r$ is cubed in the vector notation for of Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation: $$\vec{F}_g=\frac{Gm_1m_2}{|\vec{r}|^3}\vec{r}$...
3
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3answers
263 views

Notation of vectors

It's very common to see $\text{F} = 30 \text{ N}$ when the problem is unidimensional. Yet, force is a vector. Shouldn't I write $|\overrightarrow{F}| = 30 \text{ N}$? Because if I write $\...
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3answers
390 views

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
368 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 ...
3
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2answers
384 views

Importance of Kronecker product in quantum computation

To get product state of two states $|\phi \rangle$ and $|\psi \rangle$, we use Kronecker product $|\phi \rangle \otimes |\psi \rangle$. Instead of Kronecker product $\otimes$, can we use Cartesian ...
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4answers
845 views

How to determine which one would not be the resultant?

i had a physics exam yesterday, which was all in all pretty good except for this one question which i just don't get.: ...
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2answers
382 views

Lorentz algebra and its generators

I'm reading Maggiore's book A Modern Introduction to Quantum Field Theory and I'm getting a bit confused when he writes about Lorentz algebra: $$K^i = J^{i0},$$ $$J^{i}=\frac{1}{2}\epsilon^{ijk}J^{...
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364 views

Position Representation in Quantum Mechanics

How does the 3d position operator look like in position representation? I know that in 1d the position operator $\hat{x}$ is just multiplication by $x$.
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2answers
249 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, $V$, $...
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1answer
111 views

Contradiction of a scalar product

Can anyone resolve this contradiction: $$\vec{r}\cdot\dot{\vec{r}}=\frac{1}{2}\frac{d}{dt}\left(\vec{r}^2\right)=\frac{1}{2}\frac{d}{dt}\left(\left|\vec{r}\right|^2\right)\equiv\frac{1}{2}\frac{d}{dt}...
3
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1answer
65 views

On a horizontal plane, why does $F_N=W$?

I keep seeing this definition everywhere, but I don't understand. The forces of the weight and the normal force are going in opposite directions, so shouldn't $F_N=-W$?
3
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4answers
293 views

How to apply an algebraic operator expression to a ket found in Dirac's QM book?

I've been trying to learn quantum mechanics from a formal point of view, so I picked up Dirac's book. In the fourth edition, 33rd page, starting from this:$$\xi|\xi'\rangle=\xi'|\xi'\rangle$$ (Where $\...
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2answers
189 views

The force of gravity is $F_g=+mg$ or $F_g=-mg$?

I have noticed that in my classical mechanics course and in the textbook I read for it, seem to ignore the gravitational force's position. For example, if we were dealing with a system with a ball of ...
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99 views

About reference frame in Newton's second law?

Classical physics models events occuring in the spacetime $\mathcal E\times \mathcal T$ where $\mathcal E$ is a dimension 3 euclidean point space and $\mathcal T$ is an interval of $(\mathbb R, <)$...
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1answer
64 views

Is time a vector in Minkowski space? [duplicate]

I am arguing about this topic with my school teacher in so long time, I want to finish this debate. My teacher's opinion is "Yes, Time is vector" because four-vector has $t$ component, and mine is "...
3
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3answers
178 views

4-velocities in different frames

We have an observer in an inertial frame $S$ who measures a particle's 4-velocity as $U$. We then have another inertial frame $S'$ with $X'=\Lambda{X}$, where $\Lambda$ is a matrix representing a ...
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5answers
482 views

Forces as vectors in Newtonian mechanics

I seem to be confused about the nature of forces as vectors, in the basic Newtonian mechanics framework. I know what a vector is as a mathematical object, an element of $R^3$. I understand that if a ...
3
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1answer
8k views

What does relative to something mean?

I just started learning about vector components and relative motion. I don't understand what relative to something means. I looked online but none of the explanations are helpful. If someone could ...
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2answers
130 views

Can an angle be defined as a vector?

In Classical Mechanics angular velocity, angular acceleration, torque and angular momentum can be defined as vectors with clear advantages such as the possibility to use vector product to simplify ...
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1answer
111 views

What is the difference between scalar and vector mesons?

My understanding is that vectors and pseudooscalars change sign under parity operation and pseudovectors and scalars do not. However, I don't understand what the difference between a vector and ...
3
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1answer
510 views

How is weight distributed when legs are astride?

Is there a simple and quick formula to find the weight (the force acting) on each leg, especially when legs are astride and they are not equally stretched? (or, better) not equally distant from the ...
3
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3answers
360 views

What is the relative velocity of this plane relative to the helicopter? [closed]

There is a plane moving 100 m/s due east relative to the ground without vertical motion. There is a helicopter facing north moving straight up at 20 m/s. From the perspective of the helicopter, is the ...
3
votes
1answer
508 views

What is the physical interpretation of the dot/inner/scalar product of two vectors?

What is the physical interpretation of the dot/inner/scalar product of two vectors? See, if we multiply two scalars like 2*3 we say two times three is six. I also do understand multiplication of ...
3
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2answers
104 views

Scattering geometry question

While reading up on light scattering I came across this slide: My vector maths is a bit rusty and I am having trouble understanding the last term (scattering geometry). What is the significance of ...
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2answers
2k views

Meaning of angular velocity in a rotating system

When you study the motion of a rigid body you have $\vec\omega$, the vector associated to angular velocity. In the case you are using Euler angles and want a quick formula for the rotational kinetic ...
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3answers
1k views

Negative vectors (e.g. velocity)

If you said someone had a velocity of $-12\,{\rm mph}$ and they were traveling north? Wouldn't it mean that they were traveling $12\,{\rm mph}$ south? This is a quote from here: if something [...
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2answers
86 views

Heuristic explanation of the difference between vectors and scalars in physics

I'm trying to give a student a (physically) intuitive, heuristic explanation as to why certain quantities are vectors and others are scalars. Here is what I have come up with: Scalars are quantities ...
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3answers
180 views

Geometric definition of the Lorentz inner product

In Euclidean space one can define the dot product as projecting one vector to the other and multiply the length of the projected vector with the length of the other vector. This definition doesn't ...
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1answer
154 views

How does the Lorentz group act on a 4-vector in the spinor-helicity formalism $p_{\alpha\dot{\alpha}}$?

Given a 4-vector $p^\mu$ the Lorentz group acts on it in the vector representation: $$ \tag{1} p^\mu \longrightarrow (J_V[\Lambda])^\mu_{\,\,\nu} p^\nu\equiv \Lambda^\mu_{\,\,\nu} p^\nu. $$ However, I ...
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2answers
115 views

Why scalar function of vector can only depend on norm of vector?

In Field Quantization by Greiner and Reinhardt as well as The Qunatum Theory of Fields by Weinberg, concerning the spectral function, the authors say a scalar function of the four-vector $p^\mu$ can ...
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3answers
590 views

Why does the moment of force (aka. torque) depend on the perpendicular distance?

Couyld anyone explain how the lecturer concluded that $$(\underline{r_2} - \underline{r_1}) \times \underline{H} = \underline{p} \times \underline{H}$$
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4answers
688 views

More about the right hand rule?

We started learning about electromagnetism in physics class, and the Right Hand Rule comes in handy as seems easy to use, but I'm curious as to how it actually works. I guess it's more of a math ...