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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Providing an intuitive description of scalar and vector quantities in physics [closed]

Often the standard introduction to the concept of scalars and vectors in physics is something along the lines of: A scalar is a quantity that is completely described by a single number (it has no ...
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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 ...
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Scalar fields and general coordinate transformations

In classical mechanics, a scalar field is characterised by the fact that its value at a particular point must be invariant under rotations and reflections of coordinates. That is, one requires that $\...
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2k views

Trace of a Tensor

What is the significance of defining the trace of a tensor as $g^{\alpha\beta} R_{\alpha\beta}$ instead of $R_{\alpha\alpha}$ on a Riemannian manifold?
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Covariant Taylor Series

I am reading the following lecture notes of Avramidi https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255565392_Analytic_and_geometric_methods_for_heat_kernel_applications_in_finance I want to understand ...
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Why is speed defined as coordinate derivative over proper time rather than observer's time in STR?

In special theory of relativity, why is 4-velocity defined as: $$ u^\mu = \frac{dx^\mu}{d\tau} $$ and not as $$ u^\mu = \frac{dx^\mu}{dt} $$ where ${\tau}$ is proper-time and t is time in some ...
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457 views

Lorentz Transformations in Minkowski space

If $\Lambda$ represents the Lorentz transformation matrix, then the transformation of contravariant components $x^\mu$ is given by $$x'^\mu=\Lambda^{\mu}{}_{\nu} x^\nu$$ and that of the covariant ...
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275 views

Relation between differentiation of one-form basis and Christoffel Symbols

If I want to covariantly differentiate a one form then I can write: $\nabla_\beta \tilde p = \dfrac{\partial p_\alpha}{\partial x^\beta} \tilde \omega^\alpha + p_\alpha \dfrac{\partial \tilde \omega^...
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What is “a general covariant formulation of newtonian mechanics”?

I am a little confused: I read that there are general covariant formulations of Newtonian mechanics (e.g. here). I always thought: 1) A theory is covariant with respect to a group of transformations ...
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Einstein Summation Convention: One as Upper, One as Lower?

My question refers to the often specified rule defining Einstein Summation Notation in that summation is implied when an index is repeated twice in a single term, once as upper index and once as lower ...
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Four Vectors in SR and QFT

I'm covering both special relativity and quantum field theory in the summer. I'm currently using Spacetime Physics by Taylor and Wheeler to cover SR. Since I'm covering SR on the side with QFT, I'm ...
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Is Young's Modulus a Lorentz Scalar?

If a spring is at rest and lies along $X$ axis in a frame $O$ with a spring constant $k_{0}$ then its spring constant in a frame $O'$ which is moving with a speed $v$ at an angle $\theta$ with the $X$ ...
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Second covariant derivative, computation problem

I am having a question on the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_covariant_derivative Using the notation therein I don't get why $(\nabla_{u}\nabla_{v}w )^a=u^c\nabla_{c}v^b\nabla_{...
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Commuting of the covariant derivative: Menzel's Mathematical Physics

Menzel defines covariant differentiation as equivalent to partial differentiation with respect to the general coordinates. “To indicate the covariant nature of the differential operator, set $$\frac{\...
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Deriving $A^{\mu}_{;\nu}$ from $A_{\mu ; \nu}$

We have a covariant derivative of a covariant tensor: $$ A_{\mu ; \nu} = A_{\mu , \nu} - \Gamma^{\alpha}_{\mu \nu} A_{\alpha} $$ The covariant derivative of a contravariant tensor is: $$ A^{\mu}_{;\nu}...
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How is 4-current a 4-vector?

I am looking at Jackson sec 11.9, where he states that the $\rho,\bf{J}$ form the 4-current $$J^\alpha=(c\rho,\bf{J})$$ Jackson says this is from the invariant of the 4-divergence $\partial^\alpha ...
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Using $\sqrt{-g}$ in integrals of proper volume

I am a little confused over integration using proper volume element. When do we use $\sqrt{-g}$ in calculations? For example, in many calculations involving stars, say when using TOV equation, this ...
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456 views

Behaviour of Dirac Bilinears

Dirac bilinears transform in the Lorentz indices as, $\bar{\psi}\psi$ scalar $\bar{\psi}\gamma^\mu\psi$ vector $\bar{\psi}\sigma^{\mu\nu}\psi$ 2nd rank (antisymmetric) tensor $\bar{\psi}\gamma^{\mu}\...
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Is Newton second law covariant or invariant?

Is Newton second law covariant or invariant between two inertial frames, moving with uniform traslational motion with respect to each other? If it is invariant then, indipendently from the frame, $\...
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351 views

Killing equation manipulation

Why does the killing equation $$K_{\mu;\nu}+ K_{\nu;\mu} = 0$$ equal $$K_{\mu,\nu}+ K_{\nu,\mu} -2\Gamma^{\rho}_{\mu\nu}K_{\rho} = 0 $$ when in general a covariant derivative $V_{\beta;\alpha} = (\...
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457 views

Why is the spatial term for contravariant 4-gradient negative, whereas for other 4-vectors it is the covariant part that is negative spatially?

The contravariant 4-displacement is: $${x}^{\alpha} = (ct,\mathbf{r})$$ And the contravariant 4-gradient is: $${\partial}^{\alpha} = (\frac{1}{c}\frac{\partial}{\partial{t}},-\nabla)$$ From what I ...
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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 "...
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Tensor manipulation and showing equality

Im taking GR for the first time and it is definitely throwing me for a loop. The question I am working on is this: Prove that if a contravariant tensor $A^{uv}$ is symmetric, then it remains ...
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Identifying Lorentz Covariant Equations

Statement: $\phi , A^{\mu}, T^{\mu \nu}$ are a Lorentz scalar, vector, and tensor. Which of the following equations are Lorentz covariant. a. $\phi = A_{0}$ b. $\phi = A^{\mu}A_{\mu}$ c. $\phi = ...
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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 ...
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674 views

What does coordinate invariance mean?

I would like to really understand what the mathematical as well as Physical meaning of coordinate invariance is. I have pretended to know what this means, but upon thinking a little harder today, I am ...
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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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Canonical second quantization vs canonical quantization with multisymplectic form in AQFT

First of all, I'm a mathematician that knows less than the basics of QFT, so forgive me if this question is trivial. Please, keep in my mind that my background in physics is very poor. 1) The usual ...
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How does one show Maxwell's equations in vector calculus form describe the same motion in all reference frames?

The covariant form of Maxwell's equations is Lorentz invariant. $$\partial_{\alpha}F^{\alpha\beta} = \mu_{0} J^{\beta}$$ $$\partial_{\alpha}F_{\beta\gamma} + \partial_{\beta}F_{\gamma \alpha} + \...
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Covariant and contravariant 4-vector in special relativity

I've just learned about contra- and covariant vector in the context of special relativity (in electrodynamic) and I'm struggling with some concept. From what I found, an intuitive definition of ...
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608 views

Understanding Tensor-operations, covariance, contravariance, … in the context of Special Relativity

I'm currently learning about special relativity but I'm having a really hard time grasping the Tensor-operations. Let's take the Minkowski scalar product of 2 four-vectors: $$\pmb U . \pmb V = U^0V^...
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Is there a general procedure for covariantizing equations?

I am currently attempting to derive covariant forms of equations whose domains are D=3 space. I am considering Lorentzian $(\mathbb{R}^4, \Omega, x, \nabla)$, where $\Omega \subset\mathbb{R}^4$ has a ...
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solutions of wave equation with cubic term

Does the following equation $$ \nabla^\mu \nabla_\mu \psi + a \psi^3 = b \psi $$ where $\psi$ is a real function, $a$ and $b$ are real constants, have other solutions that extend beyond a one ...
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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. ...
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766 views

Invariance and conservation

Why in a collision between particles is the four-momentum conserved within a frame of reference but not invariant between frames of reference?
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Proving the invariance of the inner product

If we define the inner product as ${\textbf{u}\cdot\textbf{v}=g_{ij}u^{i}v^{j}}$, where ${g_{ij}}$ is the metric tensor, ${S}$ and ${T}$ are transformation matrices, ${S}$-for covariant indices and ${...
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Difference between symmetry and invariance

I'm wondering what's the real difference between symmetry and invariance in Physics? I believe that sometimes the two words are given the same meaning and some other times they are used in a different ...
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What does it mean to differentiate a spinor-valued field?

Peskin and Schroeder, equation 3.28, states that the Klein-Gordon equation $$(\partial^2+m^2)\psi=0 \tag{3.28}$$ is a valid choice of equation for a Dirac spinor field. Their explanation makes sense (...
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What does the first postulate of specially relativity really say?

I know these two versions of the same postulate is saying the same thing. But I failed to connect them. Please help me understand the links between them. version1 The laws of physics are the same ...
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Lorentz Symmetry

Quick question about Lorentz symmetry. From the wiki page the feature of nature that says experimental results are independent of the orientation or the boost velocity of the laboratory through ...
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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, ...
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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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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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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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Parameterisation of the equation of motion for a relativistic massive point particle

The equation of motion for a relativistic massive point particle is given by: $$\frac{dp_{\mu}}{d \tau} = 0,$$ where $p_{\mu}$ is the four-momentum defined by $p_{\mu} = m \frac{dx_{\mu}}{ds/c}$, ...
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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 ...
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Invariant equations of motion under Lorentz transformations

My question regards the statement that an equation of motion may be invariant under a Lorentz transformation I just finished watching the Stanford University special relativity lectures on special ...
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Problem understanding Lorentz invariance [duplicate]

So they usually started with "...This is obviously Lorentz invariant, because of the 4-vector character of the quantity,..., (and after a two page long derivation) another quantity is also obviously ...
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What is the correct terminology for a “symplectic covariant” equation?

A Lorentz covariant equation is one that takes the same form even when a Lorentz transformation is applied to each variable. Lorentz covariance is generally made manifest by writing the equation with ...
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Making sense out of covariance and contravariance

I just read about co- and contravariant vectors and I am not sure that I got it right: If we imagine that we have a n-dimensional manifold $M$ then a tangent space is spanned by the vectors $\...