Geometric object with magnitude (length) and direction.

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17
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8answers
1k views

Is it foolish to distinguish between covariant and contravariant vectors?

A vector space is a set whose elements satisfy certain axioms. Now there are physical entities that satisfy these properties, which may not be arrows. A co-ordinate transformation is linear map from a ...
15
votes
3answers
868 views

Representing forces as one-forms

First of all, sorry if any of those things are silly or nonsense, I'm just trying to understand better how the concepts of forms, exterior derivative and so on can be used in physics. This question ...
3
votes
2answers
117 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, $V$, ...
16
votes
5answers
891 views

When is it useful to distinguish between vectors and pseudovectors in experimental & theoretical physics?

My understanding of pseudovectors vs vectors is pretty basic. Both transform in the same way under a rotation, but differently upon reflection. I might even be able to summarize that using an ...
14
votes
6answers
31k views

What is the physical significance of dot & cross product of vectors? Why is division not defined for vectors?

I get the physical significance of vector addition & subtraction. But I don't understand what do dot & cross products mean? More specifically, why is it that dot product of vectors ...
5
votes
3answers
581 views

Meaning of the direction of the cross product

I was doing calculations with torque and then I came across something very confusing: I understand that the magnitude of the torque is given by product of the displacement(from the center of ...
1
vote
4answers
562 views

Vectors with more than 3 components

I have some confusion over Vectors, Its components and dimensions. Does the number of vector components mean that a vector is in that many dimensions? For e.g. $A$ vector with 4 components has 4 ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Torque definition and right hand rule not arbitrary

I have read the following: http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/I_20.html#Ch20-S1 The formula for $\tau_{xy}$ is derived in this chapter: http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/I_18.html#Ch18-S2. ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Direction of Magnetic force from a current running through a coil of wire

What is the direction is the magnetic force vectors pointing from a coil of wire that has current running through it? ...
9
votes
6answers
668 views

In coordinate-free relativity, how do we define a vector?

Relativity can be developed without coordinates: Laurent 1994 (SR), Winitzski 2007 (GR). I would normally define a vector by its transformation properties: it's something whose components change ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

How is it that angular velocities are vectors, while rotations aren't?

Does anyone have an intuitive explanation of why this is the case?
2
votes
3answers
220 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
712 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
196 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
7k views

Why is current a scalar quantity?

Current has both magnitude and direction. As per the definition of vector defined in encyclopedia, current should be a vector quantity. But, we know that current is a scalar quantity. What is the ...
3
votes
3answers
63k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
221 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Vertical component of moving weight at a 45 degree angle

Here's an easier one. I use the leg press machine at the gym so I don't have to worrying about hurting myself while lifting heavier weight. The weight glides on a track that looks to be 45 degrees. ...
0
votes
2answers
727 views

Understanding weight on an inclined plane

I'm trying to solve a problem where I have an object resting on an inclined plane, with the angle of the plan being alpha, and the weight being w. I'm having trouble figuring out how I can calculate ...
7
votes
5answers
768 views

Where am I confused about force addition?

As far as my knowledge is concerned, a vector quantity should possess magnitude and direction & more over it should also obey the laws of vector addition. As we all know that the vector sum of 3 ...
15
votes
5answers
11k views

How can area be a vector?

My professor told me recently that Area is a vector. A Google search gave me the following definition for a vector: Noun: A quantity having direction as well as magnitude, esp. as determining ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

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 $$\pmb{H}=\pmb{\nabla} \phi +\pmb{\nabla} \times \pmb{G},$$ ...
6
votes
4answers
436 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
4answers
3k views

Direction of angular velocity

Angular velocity is the rate of angular displacement about an axis. Its direction is determined by right hand rule. According to right hand rule, if you hold the axis with your right hand and rotate ...
4
votes
2answers
513 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
254 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
151 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} & ...
0
votes
1answer
95 views

Finding resultant and direction of resultant

In this question- A motorboat is racing towards north at 25km/h and the water current in that region is 10km/hr in the direction of 60 degree east of south. Find the resultant velocity of the ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How to calculate roll, yaw and pitch angles from 3D co-ordinates (Euler Angles)

I have digitized a video of a flying fly in a 3-dimensional space. At all instants I know the x, y, and z co-oridinates of the following points on the fly's body --- The points are my choice, and ...
4
votes
4answers
875 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.
2
votes
2answers
179 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
755 views

What is the general approach to calculating time of impact in 3D?

Given two objects a and b moving at fixed velocities, how would you determine (a) whether they will collide at all, and if so, (b) time of impact? (Let us assume these are spherical bodies each with ...
1
vote
2answers
103 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 ...
1
vote
7answers
24k views

What does the magnitude of the acceleration mean?

I am a little confused as to what the magnitude of acceleration is and what it means.
1
vote
2answers
286 views

Angular position vector?

I'm a mathematician, so I like my angular velocities to be vectors. It makes my angular momenta and torques vectors as well, and so they have nice operations I can do on them. Because of that, I pick ...
1
vote
1answer
215 views

Spinor formalism in QFT

We can describe fields by two formalisms: vector and spinor. This is the result of possibility of representation of the Lorentz's group irreducible rep as straight cross product of two $SU(2)$ or two ...
1
vote
2answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

Determine the flow and amplitude equation for thermal energy (with Del operator)

It is a question vector calculus and Maxwell's laws. I put it this way. Let's say, we are working in a $3$-Dimensional space ( e.g $x\cdot y\cdot z = 4\cdot3\cdot2$, a certain room/class of that size ...
0
votes
2answers
115 views

Applying the right-hand rule for magnetic forces

I am confused about the right-hand rule for the Lorentz force. I am using same method as Brightstorm.com is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK7hv4LX3ys But for some reason it does not match op with ...
0
votes
2answers
4k views

Confused on how to properly use right hand rule

I am having trouble using the right hand rule properly and often find myself putting my hand in awkward orientations. I know you point your hand in the direction of $r$ and then point your fingers in ...
0
votes
2answers
908 views

Vector Nature Of Angular Velocity

I am currently reading about angular position, angular velocity, and angular acceleration. I came across this paragraph that was particularly confusing, and was wondering if someone could perhaps help ...
-1
votes
1answer
62 views

Determine the number of days with North-East wind direction from the number of days with North and East wind direction? [closed]

I have some data like: Wind flow from north direction = “X” Numbers of days. Wind flow from east direction = “Y” Numbers of days. Then is there any formula to know numbers of days wind flows ...
-2
votes
4answers
153 views

What is the direction of dot product and cross product of vector A and B? [closed]

What is the direction of the dot product and the cross product of vectors A and B?