The Stack Overflow podcast is back! Listen to an interview with our new CEO.

Questions tagged [mathematical-physics]

DO NOT USE THIS TAG just because your question involves math! If your question is on simplification of a mathematical expression, please ask it at math.stackexchange.com. Mathematical physics is the mathematically rigorous study of the foundations of physics, and the application of advanced mathematical methods to problems in physics. Examples include partial differential equations (PDEs), variational calculus, functional analysis, and potential theory.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Axiomatic statistical mechanics

Ive read a few courses on statistical mechanics, and while their textual explanations and example choices differ, the flow of information from microscopy to macroscopy seems the same, and reading ...
6
votes
2answers
505 views

Is there a 1-1 correspondence between symmetry and group theory?

The professor in my class of mathematical physics introduces the definition of groups and said that group theory is the mathematics of symmetry. He gave also some examples of groups such as the set ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

generation of arbitrary potentials

Suppose you have as many electrically charged particles as needed (even countably many) and consider the open unit ball centered at some point in space. For every continuous real valued function on ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Implications of unbounded operators in quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanical observables of a system are represented by self - adjoint operators in a separable complex Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$. Now I understand a lot of operators ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Path integral formulation of quantum mechanics

I'm a mathematics student with not much background in physics. I'm interested in learning about the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. Can anyone suggest me some books on this topic with ...
35
votes
10answers
3k views

Readable books on advanced topics [closed]

I realise that there are already a few questions looking for general book recommendations, but the motivation and type of book I'm looking for here is a little different, so I hope you can indulge me. ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Why can't General Relativity be written in terms of physical variables?

I am aware that the field in General Relativity (the metric, $g_{\mu\nu}$) is not completely physical, as two metrics which are related by a diffeomorphism (~ a change in coordinates) are physically ...
3
votes
2answers
263 views

Why, intuitively, must a solution in physics be unique?

When solving Laplace's equation or Poisson's equation say, we require that the solution must be unique, which can be shown. In general, what is the physics behind seeking a unique solution? Are ...
1
vote
1answer
428 views

A quantum particle in a box (with a catch)

I am reading Shankar's Quantum Mechanics and I am looking at the case where there is one particle inside a box, where the potential is zero inside the wall and abruptly goes to infinity outside the ...
2
votes
1answer
828 views

Is it a total or an explicite time derivative in the Schrödinger equation?

I am always dubious when I need write Schrödinger equation: do I write $\partial / \partial t$ or $d/dt$ ? I suppose it depends on the space in which it is considered. How?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the symmetry that corresponds to conservation of position?

We know that conserved quantities are associated with certain symmetries. For example conservation of momentum is associated with translational invariance, and conservation of angular momentum is ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Applications of Geometric Topology to Theoretical Physics

Geometric topology is the study of manifolds, maps between manifolds, and embeddings of manifolds in one another. Included in this sub-branch of Pure Mathematics; knot theory, homotopy, manifold ...
5
votes
2answers
132 views

Homogenous vector bundles

In the definition of homogenous vector bundles, an equivalence class is defined. Briefly: G is a lie group and H a (lie) subgroup. Define $$ \rho : H \rightarrow GL(V) $$ where V is a vector ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Mathematical Physics Book Recommendation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Best books for mathematical background? I want to learn contemporary mathematical physics, so that, for example, I can read Witten's latest paper without checking other ...
9
votes
3answers
233 views

“tmf$(n)$ is the space of supersymmetric conformal field theories of central charge $-n$”

I read this intriguing statement in John Baez' week 197 the other day, and I've been giving it some thought. The post in question is from 2003, so I was wondering if there has been any progress in ...
2
votes
1answer
454 views

Vanishing Ricci flow on a curved manifold

If I understand this right the Ricci flow on a compact manifold given by $\partial g_{\mu \nu} = - 2R_{\mu \nu} + \frac{2}{n}\!R_{\alpha}^{\alpha} \,g_{\mu \nu}$ tends to expand negatively curved ...
2
votes
1answer
180 views

Spinors in more dimensions and new degeneracies?

As you more than probably know spinors dimensions go as $2^{\frac{D}2}$ in D spacetime dimensions. If we look at the peculiar case of D=2*4, spinors have 4 components and we usually say that's related ...
12
votes
2answers
138 views

Numerical Analysis of Elliptic PDEs

I am looking for an elementary reference regarding issues of stability in numerical analysis of non-linear elliptic PDEs, particularly using the finite difference method (but something more ...
7
votes
1answer
144 views

Simple question on the foundations of spin foam formalism

To make it simple, take the spin foam formalism of ($SU(2)$) 3D gravity. My question is about the choice of the data that will replace the (smoothly defined) fields $e$ (the triad) and $\omega$ (the ...
38
votes
11answers
2k views

Examples of number theory showing up in physics [duplicate]

Are there any interesting examples of number theory showing up unexpectedly in physics? This probably sounds like rather strange question, or rather like one of the trivial to ask but often unhelpful ...
3
votes
2answers
236 views

Infinitesimal input, macroscopic output

I must admit that I never got well how physicists handle infinitesimal quantities, mainly because of my education as a mathematician. So the following lines (taken from the preface of Berezin and ...
4
votes
3answers
352 views

Guessing what a simple partial differential equation is describing physically

Is there an easy way to look at a partial different equation and get a sense of what kind of phenomena it is physically describing? I have an equation that looks like this: $\partial_tA=C_3\partial^...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

Spekkens Toy Model, Internal Comonoids

I have been thinking about Spekkens Toy model in terms of interfaces. The Spekkens paper concerns a physics based on only being able to receive answers to half the number of questions necessary to ...
66
votes
14answers
9k views

Why can't $ i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}$ be considered the Hamiltonian operator?

In the time-dependent Schrodinger equation, $ H\Psi = i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\Psi,$ the Hamiltonian operator is given by $$\displaystyle H = -\frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\nabla^2+V.$$ Why can't we ...
13
votes
2answers
278 views

How much of the Capelli-Itzykson-Zuber ADE-classification of su(2)-conformal field theories can one see perturbatively?

In their celebrated work, Capelli Itzykson and Zuber established an ADE-classification of modular invariant CFTs with chiral algebra $\mathfrak{su}(2)_k$. How much of that classification can one ...
5
votes
1answer
219 views

Quantum causal structure

We take causal structure to be some relation defined over elements which are understood to be morphisms of some category. An example of such a relation is a domain, another is a directed acyclic ...
3
votes
1answer
368 views

Angular Momentum Operator

I'm looking at a review question I was given and it quite frankly has me stumped. "Using matrix representations find $L^{3}_{x},L^{3}_{y},L^{3}_{z}$ and from these show that $L_{x}, L_{y},L_{z}$ ...
11
votes
2answers
118 views

Examples of heterotic CFTs

I'm trying to get a global idea of the world of conformal field theories. Many authors restrict attention to CFTs where the algebras of left and right movers agree. I'd like to increase my intuition ...
2
votes
2answers
946 views

Taylor approximation in physics

In a textbook about semicoductor physics, I came across a passage about deriving the carrier concentration at thermal equilibrium in semiconductors I didn't quite grasp: The recombination $R(T,n,p)$...
1
vote
1answer
758 views

Differential Equation in Spherical Harmonics Derivation

I've been reviewing derivations of the spherical harmonics in quantum mechanics; mostly as review but also to make sure I understand where the concepts arise from. However, every derivation I've ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

Rigorous proof of Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization

Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization provides an approximate recipe for recovering the spectrum of a quantum integrable system. Is there a mathematically rigorous explanation why this recipe works? In ...
2
votes
0answers
160 views

Convergence and well-definedness of Lorentzian path integrals

Wick rotation of quantum field theories to Euclidean path integrals with a nonnegative measure everywhere is a wonderful tool. Not so with Lorentzian path integrals. Events far separated in ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Simplified partial trace of two operators

If I have two operators A and B living in the Composite Hilbert Space $H_I \bigotimes H_{II} $ and I want to take the partial trace of $C=AB$ over the subspace $H_I$, i.e., $Tr_I[AB]$, is there any ...
10
votes
1answer
612 views

False vacuum in axiomatic QFT

There is an elegant way to define the concept of an unstable particle in axiomatic QFT (let's use the Haag-Kastler axioms for definiteness), namely as complex poles in scattering amplitudes. Stable ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Generating Pink Noise

I've generated some white noise in Excel by using the formula $$2*\mathrm{Math.RAND}()-1$$ I would now like to create some pink noise. I believe this is done by applying some sort of filter to the ...
4
votes
2answers
738 views

Why is the Dirac operator so important - in both physics and mathematics?

Why is the Dirac operator considered so important - in both physics and (pure) mathematics?
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Quivers in String Theory

Why do a physicist, particularly a string theorist care about Quivers ? Essentially what I'm interested to know is the origin of quivers in string theory and why studying quivers is a natural thing ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Use of advanced mathematics in astronomy, like topology, abstract algebra, or others

I know that topology, abstract algebra, K-theory, Riemannian geometry and others, can be used in physics. Are some of these areas used in astronomy, and are some astronomical theories based on them? ...
18
votes
2answers
626 views

Geometric quantization of identical particles

Background: It is well known that the quantum mechanics of $n$ identical particles living on $\mathbb{R}^3$ can be obtained from the geometric quantization of the cotangent bundle of the manifold $M^...
23
votes
0answers
326 views

Minimal strings and topological strings

In http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0206255 Dijkgraaf and Vafa showed that the closed string partition function of the topological B-model on a Calabi-Yau of the form $uv-H(x,y)=0$ coincides with the free ...
2
votes
2answers
219 views

Movement of a nudged block on a high friction surface

If I apply a single force to an object ‘floating in free space’, then it will either translate (if the force is in line with the Cof G ) or more generally it‘ll rotate about the C of G due to the ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

AGT conjecture and WZW model

In 2009 Alday, Gaiotto and Tachikawa conjectured an expression for the Liouville theory conformal blocks and correlation functions on a Riemann surface of genus g and n punctures as the Nekrasov ...
6
votes
2answers
265 views

A wonky gravitational potential and its critical points

I have tough problem I am not sure how to solve: For this question, we are confined to a plane. Consider a gravitational field that is proportional to $\frac{1}{r^3}$ instead of $\frac{1}{r^2}$, and ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Using supersymmetry outside high energy/particle physics

Are there applications of supersymmetry in other branches of physics other than high energy/particle physics?
2
votes
1answer
218 views

What determine whether the dynamical equations are tensor equations or vector equations?

Newton's 2nd law which is central to Newtonian dynamics, is a vector equation $\sum\textbf{F}_{external}=m\textbf{a}$ Same with Maxwell's equations in the covariant form. On the other hand, ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Inverted Harmonic oscillator

what are the energies of the inverted Harmonic oscillator? $$ H=p^{2}-\omega^{2}x^{2} $$ since the eigenfunctions of this operator do not belong to any $ L^{2}(R)$ space I believe that the spectrum ...
11
votes
1answer
389 views

Characters of $\widehat{\mathfrak{su}}(2)_k$ and WZW coset construction

I am currently studying affine Lie algebras and the WZW coset construction. I have a minor technical problem in calculating the (specialized) character of $\widehat{\mathfrak{su}}(2)_k$ for an affine ...
15
votes
1answer
488 views

Miura transform for W-algebras of exceptional type

Miura transform for W-algebras of classical types can be found in e.g. Sec. 6.3.3 of Bouwknegt-Schoutens. Is there a similar explicit Miura transform for W-algebras of exceptional types, say, E6? It's ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is QFT mathematically self-consistent?

After recently going through a short program of self-study in quantum mechanics, I was surprised to find a quote attributed to Feynman essentially saying he was extremely bothered by the computational ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Can Laplace's equation be solved using Fourier transform instead of Fourier series?

Sorry for the long text, but I am unable to make my question more compact. Any periodic function can be Fourier expanded. Usually, they say in mathematical physics books, if the function is not ...