Geometric object with magnitude (length) and direction.

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Can vectors in physics be represented by complex numbers and can they be divided? [closed]

Below is attached for reference, but the question is simply about whether vectors used in physics in a vector space can be represented by complex numbers and whether they can be divided. In ...
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5answers
1k views

What is the direction of a point vector. A vector with magnitude 0? [closed]

A simple question : Can a point on a piece of paper represent a vector ? Can i say that a point "B" ( magnitude =0, because it's a point) , is having direction towards +x axis ? Thanks
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420 views

Why consider only direction cosines?

Why are these called direction angles? Why do we consider only direction cosines and not direction sines or tans. What is its actual significance? And How to use them? Why are they called ...
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2answers
99 views

More Vector Product Possibilities?

There seem to be two primary means of "multiplying" vectors in physics, the cross product and the dot product. Assuming the angle between vectors is defined as $(a)$, the dot product between vectors ...
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211 views

If an asteroid were threatening the Earth, could I deviate it just by jumping on it?

An impact by a 10 kilometres asteroid on the Earth has historically caused an extinction-level event due to catastrophic damage to the biosphere. There is also the threat from comets coming ...
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151 views

Inner products with orthonormal bases

Probably a stupid question here - I think it's a case of me not having sufficient mathematical background to follow this through. In Leonard Susskind's Theoretical Minimum book, he represents the ...
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256 views

A simple way of calculating Euler Angles from Rotation Matrix — help!

This is a follow up of this question : I have the rotation matrix $$ \left( \begin{matrix} a_{11} & a_{12} & a_{13}\\ a_{21} & a_{22} & a_{23}\\ a_{31} & a_{32} & ...
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324 views

Point charge potential (sign problem)

I'm a bit embarrassed, but I'm not able to compute the electric potential at point $P$ (at a distance $R$ from the origin) generated by a positive unitary point charge in the origin with the right ...
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72 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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1answer
62 views

Coulomb's law with an $r^3$, not $r^2$, in the denominator [duplicate]

I am reading an older physics book that my professor gave me. It is going over Coulomb's law and Gauss' theorem. However, the book gives both equations with an $r^3$, not $r^2$, in the denominator. ...
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90 views

What does it mean by saying the generators of translations transform as vectors under the Lorentz Group?

The commutator of generators of Lorentz transformation and translation is as follow: $$[M^{\mu\nu},P^\sigma]=i(P^\mu\eta^{\nu\sigma}-P^\nu\eta^{\mu\sigma} ).$$ Then from this we usually say that the ...
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529 views

Is instantaneous velocity a scalar or a vector?

So this is a simple question that I have been confused about. Last night I was in a discussion with a friend, and we somehow ended up on this topic. He believes that instantaneous velocity is a ...
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232 views

General definition of vector, spinor, and spin

I am looking for basic and exact definitions of fundamental physical concepts in graduate level. I reach this following definitions. Could you please help to improve these definitions. Spin: ...
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1answer
151 views

What kind of physical quantity is angular displacement?

Angular Displacement is neither a vector nor a scalar. What type of physical quantity it is? Are there any other examples of that physical quantity?
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1answer
82 views

Curl of a vector field with two different systems of coordinates

Let $$\mathbf{H} = H_x \mathbf{u}_x + H_y \mathbf{u}_y + H_z \mathbf{u}_z$$ be a vector field whose components are defined with respect to the unit vectors $\mathbf{u}_x$, $\mathbf{u}_y$ and ...
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1answer
659 views

Intuitive meaning of Dot Product [duplicate]

I know intuitively that the Cross Product of two vectors $\vec{A}$ and $\vec{B}$ represents another vector $\vec{A \times B}$ perpendicular to it. In study of physics we come across this situation a ...
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Electromagnetic wave propagation through two lossless dielectrics

In Elements of Electromagnetics (Sadiku, 3rd edition, Section 10.8), the author says to consider two lossless dielectric materials joined at an interface $z=0$. Here two lossless dielectric materials ...
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4k views

Angular displacement and the displacement vector

I've been recently introduced to angular displacement, and I'm a little bit confused about it. I think that displacement which is a vector and which is defined as the shortest distance between any two ...
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131 views

Points in Spacetime

Assume there are two points in spacetime $a=(t,x,y,z)$ and $a'=(t',x',y',z')$. Let's say that the first one is in the origin of spacetime i.e. $a=(0,0,0,0)$. The point $a'$ has two possibilities ...
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299 views

Conservation of Linear Momentum with respect to a given direction

Is linear momentum conserved in any direction? More specifically, if you project all momentum vectors in a system onto another vector, will momentum be conserved? I know that momentum is conserved ...
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273 views

Question on notation in Shankar's Quantum Mechanics - math intro on vector spaces

I'm just beginning Shankar's 2nd edition Quantum Mechanics and having some trouble with notation. He defines his vectors as "$\left|V\right>$" . And with a scalar multiplier as "$a\left|V\right>$" . ...
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425 views

Why no basis vector in Newtonian gravitational vector field?

In my textbook, the gravitational field is given by$$\mathbf{g}\left(\mathbf{r}\right)=-G\frac{M}{\left|\mathbf{r}\right|^{2}}e_{r}$$ which is a vector field. On the same page, it is also given as a ...
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591 views

Vectors, Component Addition, and Significant Figures

I have two vectors $\vec{A}$ and $\vec{B}$ and I need to find the x- and y-components of $\vec{C} = \vec{A} + \vec{B}$. Here's what I have so far: $$|\vec{A}| = 50.0 \mathrm{m}, \theta = ...
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801 views

Acceleration vector - deceleration vs direction

If acceleration of something $= - 10 \text{ m s}^{-2}$ And forwards is define as north. Does that mean the object is getting slower (decelerating) or accelerating in the reverse direction (south) ...
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9k views

The resultant of two forces acting at any angle?

I am studying about forces as vectors. And they give me this equation: $c^2 = a^2 + b^2 - 2ab \cos C$ Can anybody explain me the second part of the equation? I perfectly understand $c^2 = a^2 + b^2$ ...
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1answer
70 views

Newton's third law of motion versus Work

Newton third law of motion says that "To every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction". The vector study tells us that if two vectors are of same nature and equal magnitude but ...
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39 views

Change of vectors [closed]

We have two vectors $F1$ and $F2$ as shown in figure. The change of vectors is shown as $F2-F1$. Why it is it rather than taking negative of vector $F2$ i.e. $-F2$ and then adding it by head-to-tail ...
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1answer
239 views

Vectors in non-orthogonal systems

In a non-orthogonal coordinate system, what is the physically significant difference between the components of a vector on the skew axes and its projection onto each axis? Why would one want to find ...
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138 views

Why should multiplication of a ket vector by a complex number change only its “direction”?

Dirac argues on page 17 of his book, The Principles of Quantum Mechanics, that multiplication of a ket by a complex number shouldn't change the state this ket represents. But then concludes: Thus ...
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5answers
111 views

Why is the independence of orthogonal vector-quantities always implicit in books/lectures?

The "theorem" that I can "just" separately deal with orthogonal quantities (like horizontal and vertical force or velocity, etc), I never found explicitly mentioned, but just implicitly in the ...
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1answer
203 views

Understanding vectors in physics: notation

We have the formula for the Lorentz force $$\textbf{F} = q \space(\textbf{E} + \textbf{v} \times \textbf {B})$$ This is a simple formula you learn in high school, but I'm interested to self-study ...
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213 views

rotation matrix - why am I thinking this wrong?

The rotation given in Question 1 part ii) doesn't match with this wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotation_matrix. $$ \begin{array}{lcl} x' &=& x \cos\theta - y \sin\theta \\ y' ...
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110 views

Currents and magnets

I've watched this video on YouTube by Sixty Symbols entitled "Currents and Magnets". In the video, the professor demonstrates the expansion of a wire due to current heating it up and he also ...
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582 views

Potential of surface charge

I have a question about the $ \hat{n} $ in this formula $\sigma = P \dot{}\hat{n}$. Why do sometime in my book they get $\sigma = P \cos{\theta}$ for a sphere. Isn't $\hat{n} = r$ ? And then in ...
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1answer
403 views

Is there a more clever way to apply the cross product of two vectors to magnetism?

I am just beginning to learn magnetism and my book used two ways to define the force caused by the magnetic field, brushing over the latter. The first: $$F = q v B \sin (\theta).$$ And: ...
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1answer
50 views

Clarifying some notation, the square of a vector derivative

I'm reading a text which asserts that, if $\vec{F}(\vec{x})=-\nabla V(\vec{x})$ then we define $$E = \frac{m}{2} \left( \frac{d\vec{x}}{dt}\right)^2-V(\vec{x}) \, .$$ However, I don't understand how ...
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78 views

Clarification on meaning of scalar in math and scalar in physics

When a mathematician says something is a scalar, say on the plane, they mean that it associates to points on the plane real numbers. When a physicist says something is a scalar, they mean that if we ...
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3answers
228 views

Why do we need both dot product and cross product?

I was looking for an intuitive definition for dot product and cross product. I have found two similar quesitions in SO, but I am not satisfied with the answers. Finally I found a possible answer here. ...
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2answers
156 views

Derivation of Jefimenko's Equation in Jackson's EMT book

I have been trying to understand the derivation of Jefimenko's equation in Jackson on p.246-247 which can be seen in the photographs attached. First of all I did not fully comprehend the ...
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1answer
317 views

Difference between Speed and Velocity

What is the difference between Speed, Velocity and Acceleration? Could any one describe it pictorially?. I am more over confused even after investigating many times. I am unable to relate myself ...
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2answers
141 views

Relation between Vector space $V$ and its dual $V^{*}$ [closed]

I asked the same question in Math.SE, but I was suggested to ask it here as well. I am studying relativity, and as you know the theory extensively uses the notion of covariant and contravariant ...
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2answers
55 views

Can one representation of a projector operator be re-arranged to get another?

I have a vector space $V$ and a subspace of $V$, $W$. Let $P$ be the projection operator for subspace $W$. Also let the dimension of $W$ be $d$. Also I have two orthonormal basis $(a_1,a_2,...a_d)$ ...
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5answers
2k views

How to find total force on an object?

If there are a multitude of forces acting on an object in different directions, how do we find the TOTAL force? I know we add up the $ x $- and $ y $-components of the forces individually, but how do ...
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270 views

Free vs bound vectors and torque

When considering basic Newtonian mechanics, we can treat vector as free and move their point of application at will. This is consistent with the affine nature of Euclidean space. However, when ...
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1answer
116 views

Interpretations of (r,s) tensors [duplicate]

A tensor of type (r,s) on a vector space V is a C-valued function T on V×V×...×V×W×W×...×W (there are r V's and s W's in which W is dual space of V) which is linear in each argument. We take (0, 0) ...
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419 views

Rate of change of a vector

I'm studying the book "Classical Mechanics" by Goldstein together with a coursebook my professor provided. I'm having trouble grasping how to intuitively determine what the rate of change of a vector ...
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1answer
144 views

What are some good resources for learning how to apply vectors in physics?

Although I don't have any problems with vectors when using them in Mathematics but I am having a hard time using them in physics. It is really frustrating me. Can you please recommend me some good ...
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391 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 ...
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474 views

Angle needed for object A to intercept with object B

Object B is 15 degrees East of North at a distance of 20km/h. Object B is moving at an average speed of 30km/h in the direction 40 degrees East of North. If object A is capable of moving at 100km/h, ...
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1answer
116 views

Commutation of abstract $O(3)$ generators and vectors [closed]

I've been given the following problem, and I'm quite lost with it. Let $L_1$, $L_2$, and $L_3$ denote the abstract $o(3)$ algebras. You are given that $\vec{A} = (A_1, A_2, A_3)$ and $\vec{B} = ...