Questions tagged [covariance]

How a quantity behaves under a change of basis vectors. This tag covers relativistic covariance, as well as contravariant and covariant tensors not necessarily in the context of relativity. DO NOT USE THIS TAG for statistical covariance.

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43
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9answers
6k 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 ...
21
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3answers
17k views

Galilean covariance of the Schrodinger equation

Is the Schrodinger equation covariant under Galilean transformations? I am only asking this question so that I can write an answer myself with the content found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:...
13
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1answer
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Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations?

Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations? Is this statement true? I have only seen examples of this, like the invariance of Electromagnetic action under Lorentz ...
13
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4answers
6k views

Definitions and usage of Covariant, Form-invariant & Invariant?

Just wondering about the definitions and usage of these three terms. To my understanding so far, "covariant" and "form-invariant" are used when referring to physical laws, and these words are ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Covariance of Euler-Lagrange equations under change of generalized coordinates

Suppose I have an inertial frame with coordinate $\{q\}$. Now I define another reference frame with coordinate $\{q'(q,\dot q,t)\}$. I obtain the equation of motion in $\{q'\}$ in two different ways: ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Transpose of (1,1) tensor

When we transpose a (1,1) tensor, shall we simply switch the two indices while keeping their upper/lower positions or switch them and also switch their upper/lower positions? In general, would the ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Why is the "canonical momentum" for the Dirac equation not defined in terms of the "gauge covariant derivative"?

The canonical momentum is always used to add an EM field to the Schrödinger/Pauli/Dirac equations. Why does one not use the gauge covariant derivative? As far as I can see, the difference is a factor <...
18
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4answers
1k views

Difference between matrix representations of tensors and $\delta^{i}_{j}$ and $\delta_{ij}$?

My question basically is, is Kronecker delta $\delta_{ij}$ or $\delta^{i}_{j}$. Many tensor calculus books (including the one which I use) state it to be the latter, whereas I have also read many ...
12
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4answers
5k 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 ...
21
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3answers
1k views

Why does the analogy between electromagnetism and general relativity differ if you consider them as gauge theories or fiber bundles?

Electromagnetism and general relativity can both be thought of as gauge theories, in which case there is a natural analogy between them: (Strictly speaking, the gauge symmetry of diffeomorphism ...
15
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2answers
4k views

Invariance, covariance and symmetry

Though often heard, often read, often felt being overused, I wonder what are the precise definitions of invariance and covariance. Could you please give me an example from field theory?
7
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7answers
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Why should a (physical) principle be applicable to different systems in different positions in space and time?

This is a question with a philosophical, as well as physical, flavor. Why should a physical principle (or a description of one), be applicable to different systems that can be in different positions ...
8
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3answers
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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 ...
8
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3answers
4k views

How to show the spacetime interval is invariant in general?

I understand how to derive the spacetime interval being invariant for Minkowski space, but I've never seen any derivation of it in general curved spacetime. Is the invariance just derived for ...
8
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2answers
2k 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 ...
5
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2answers
744 views

Under what representation do the Christoffel symbols transform?

I often read the statement, that the Christoffel symbols aren't tensors. But then, under which representation do they transform?
5
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1answer
1k views

Explicitly show covariance of Euler Lagrange equations

I know that the Euler Lagrange equation (here only in 1D) $$ \left(\frac{d}{dt}\frac{\partial}{\partial\dot{x}}-\frac{\partial}{\partial x}\right)L\left(x,\dot{x},t\right)=0 $$ is invariant under (...
16
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3answers
17k views

D'Alembertian for a scalar field

I have read that the D'Alembertian for a scalar field is $$ \Box = g^{\nu\mu}\nabla_\nu\nabla_\mu = \frac{1}{\sqrt{-g}}\partial_\mu (\sqrt{-g}\partial^\mu). $$ Exactly when is this correct? Only for $...
13
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2answers
6k views

What does it mean to transform as a scalar or vector?

I'm working through an introductory electrodynamics text (Griffiths), and I encountered a pair of questions asking me to show that: the divergence transforms as a scalar under rotations the ...
11
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5answers
3k views

Is partial derivative a vector or dual vector?

The textbook(Introduction to the Classical Theory of Particles and Fields, by Boris Kosyakov) defines a hypersurface by $$F(x)~=~c,$$ where $F\in C^\infty[\mathbb M_4,\mathbb R]$. Differentiating ...
4
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1answer
945 views

Is spacetime symmetry a gauge symmetry?

In previous questions of mine here and here it was established that Special Relativity, as a special case of General Relativity, can be considered as the theory of a (smooth) Lorentz manifold $(M,g)$ ...
21
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3answers
69k views

Is time a Scalar or a Vector?

In Wikipedia it's said that time is a scalar quantity. But its hard to understand that how? As stated that we consider only the magnitude of time then its a scalar. But on basis of time we define ...
2
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2answers
255 views

Geometrical representation of Contravariant and covariant vectors

After cruising through a lot of material online, and answers over here, my understanding of contravariant and covariant vectors are, in a finite-dimensional vector space, suppose we have a vector, ...
16
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10answers
5k views

What does the statement "the laws of physics are invariant" mean?

In the first paragraph of Wikipedia's article on special relativity, it states one of the assumptions of special relativity is the laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial ...
5
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2answers
688 views

Momentum vector transformation

I am confused about the way momentum vector transforms in the following case: $$q_k \to q_k'= q_k + \epsilon f_k(q)$$ The Jacobian is thus $\Lambda_{ij} = \frac{\partial q'_i}{\partial q_j} \approx \...
2
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1answer
1k views

How to check if a tensor transform a tensor?

Suppose $A^{\mu_1 \cdots \mu_n}_{\nu_{n+1}\cdots \nu_m}$ is a tensor. That means it transforms a tensor. How do I show that it transforms as a tensor? How do I see that $\cos (A^{\mu_1 \cdots \mu_n}_{\...
5
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2answers
491 views

Is there any way to justify or derive the form of the Lorentz force from relativity theory?

Lorentz force is in this form: $$\vec{F}=q[\vec{E}+\vec{u}\times\vec{B}]$$ As we know, it is Lorentz-invariant. Is there any way to justify or derive its form from relativity theory?
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2answers
212 views

Geometrical picture of change of coordinates in case of Lagrangian

I was reading the part that Euler-Lagrange equation holds even on changing the coordinates. In the book by David Morin, the author talks of geometrical picture of the change of coordinates. He makes ...
11
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2answers
7k 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? ...
12
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1answer
10k views

What is the Difference between Lorentz Invariant and Lorentz Covariant? [duplicate]

Like my title, I sometimes see that my books says something is Lorentz invariant or Lorentz covariant. What's the difference between these two transformation properties? Or are they just the same ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Inconsistency with partial derivatives as basis vectors?

I have been trying to convince myself that it is consistent to replace basis vectors $\hat{e}_\mu$ with partial derivatives $\partial_\mu$. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that the basis ...
10
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5answers
8k views

Gradient, divergence and curl with covariant derivatives

I am trying to do exercise 3.2 of Sean Carroll's Spacetime and geometry. I have to calculate the formulas for the gradient, the divergence and the curl of a vector field using covariant derivatives. ...
8
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2answers
4k views

The definition of transpose of Lorentz transformation (as a mixed tensor)

In the appendix of the textbook of Group Theory in Physics by Wu-Ki Tung, the transpose of a matrix is defined as the following, Eq.(I.3-1) $${{A^T}_i}^j~=~{A^j}_i.$$ This is extremely confusing for ...
4
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2answers
5k views

When can two quantities be added together?

Whenever two things are to be added together, one typically needs to check whether this actually makes sense, and an addition is said to make sense, in principle, when the units match up. Yet, ...
10
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0answers
182 views

Can cut-off regularisation cause a Poincaré anomaly?

Momentum cut-off regularisation leads to non-covariant results, i.e., it breaks the Poincaré covariance of the theory. Is there any guarantee that Poincaré covariance is always restored when we remove ...
1
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2answers
863 views

Covariant and contravariant permutation tensor

I have been reading up on the permutation tensor, and have come across the following expression (in 'Generalized Calculus with Applications to Matter and Forces' by L.M.B.C Campos page 709): $$e_{i_1,\...
7
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6answers
3k views

Why define four-vectors to be quantities that transform only like the position vector transforms?

A four-vector is defined to be a four component quantity $A^\nu$ which transforms under a Lorentz transformation as $A^{\mu'} = L_\nu^{\mu'} A^\nu$, where $L_\nu^{\mu'}$ is the Lorentz transformation ...
4
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2answers
3k views

The wave equation in general relativity, special relativity, and Cartesian coordinates

The relativistic wave equation is $$\square\varphi=\rho$$ where $\varphi$ is the field, $\rho$ is the source, and $\square$ is the D'Alembert operator, defined by $$\square=\nabla_\mu\nabla^\mu=g^{\mu\...
2
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1answer
358 views

Why aren't Christoffel symbols tensors? - asked from a fibre bundle perspective

I've been reading about connections on fibre bundles recently and it's made me think about the exact nature of the Christoffel symbols in GR. If we have a vector bundle $E$ over $M$ and put a ...
8
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1answer
3k views

Levi Civita covariance and contravariance

I read some older posts about this question, but I don't know if I'm getting it. I'm working with a Lagrangian involving some Levi Civita symbols, and when I calculate a term containing $\epsilon^{ijk}...
2
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2answers
5k views

Proof of the invariance of the Levi-Civita tensor

My question is related with the proof of the following: the Levi Civita tensor, $\epsilon _{\mu \nu \rho \sigma}$ is an invariant tensor, that is, if we make a change between one reference frame with ...
2
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0answers
60 views

Which postulate of GR requires that $ds^2=g_{\mu\nu}(x)dx^\mu dx^\nu$ must be invariant? [duplicate]

The postulate that the velocity of light in a vacuum is the same in all inertial frames, can be exploited to establish that the spacetime interval between two events $x^\mu=(ct,{\bf r})$ and $x^\mu+dx^...
2
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0answers
114 views

What if the Lagrangian $\mathscr{L}$, a Lorentz scalar, is replaced by a Lorentz vector?

As an answer to this post, I made an impression that if $\mathscr{L}$ were not a Lorentz scalar in Eq.$(1)$ (see below), then Eq.$(1)$ would not be covariant. But now I think that is wrong! I state ...
1
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1answer
174 views

Raised index of partial derivative

I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around component notation for tensor fields. For example, I do not know exactly what the following expression means $$\partial_\mu\partial^\nu \phi, \...
3
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0answers
351 views

composition of space expansion and movement as a gauge invariance

suppose i have a space-time where we have one point-like object* which we will call movement space probe or $\mathbf{M}_{A}$ for short, and it will be moving with constant velocity $V^A_{\mu}$ in ...
0
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1answer
82 views

Must the action be a coordinate scalar?

I know that an action must be locally-Lorentz invariant based on physical reasons, but is there any requirement for it to be a coordinate pseudo-scalar (up to surface terms)? In particular, would an ...
41
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5answers
4k views

Why do we need coordinate-free descriptions?

I was reading a book on differential geometry in which it said that a problem early physicists such as Einstein faced was coordinates and they realized that physics does not obey man's coordinate ...
17
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5answers
8k views

What problems with Electromagnetism led Einstein to the Special Theory of Relativity?

I have often heard it said that several problems in the theory of electromagnetism as described by Maxwell's equations led Einstein to his theory of Special Relativity. What exactly were these ...
20
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2answers
1k views

Lagrange's equation is form invariant under ANY coordinate transformation. Hamilton's equations are not under ANY phase space transformation. Why?

When we make an arbitrary invertible, differentiable coordinate transformation $$s_i=s_i(q_1,q_2,...q_n,t),\forall i,$$ the Lagrange's equation in terms of old coordinates $$\frac{d}{dt}\left(\frac{\...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Covariant vs contravariant vectors

I understand that, in curvilinear coordinates, one can define a covariant basis and a contravariant basis. It seems to me that any vector can be decomposed in either of those basis, thus one can have ...