For questions about differential forms which commonly arise in differential geometry, and sometimes in multivariable calculus.

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4
votes
5answers
911 views

How to calculate gradient of $x^TAx$

I am watching the following video lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_p4QJrjdOw In there, he talks about calculating gradient of $ x^{T}Ax $ and he does that using the concept of exterior ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

What is a covector and what is it used for?

From what I understand, a covector is an object that takes a vector and returns a number. So given a vector $v \in V$ and a covector $\phi \in V^*$, you can act on $v$ with $\phi$ to get a real number ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Geometric interpretation of connection forms, torsion forms, curvature forms, etc

I have just begun learning about the connection 1-forms, torsion 2-forms, and curvature 2-forms in the context of Riemannian manifolds. However, I am finding it hard to relate these notions to any ...
9
votes
1answer
478 views

Information captured by differential forms

My advanced calculus class is currently doing differential forms and I have a hard time really understanding what they are all about. I can read the proofs of the theorems given in Rudin's PMA chapter ...
6
votes
1answer
288 views

Reference for Lie-algebra valued differential forms

I am learning about vector-valued differential forms, including forms taking values in a Lie algebra. On Wikipedia there is some explanation about these Lie algebra-valued forms, including the ...
7
votes
2answers
269 views

Deriving BAC-CAB from differential forms

I've recently begun reading up on differential forms in a physics context, and my resources said that one can often derive vector identities from differential forms. For instance, $\nabla \cdot ...
4
votes
1answer
746 views

Problem book on differential forms wanted

I want to get used to differential forms. Thus I would like to solve a bunch of problems, especially on integration of differential forms. So I need a collection of problems with answers/solutions, ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Why do all solutions to this equation have the same form?

In this paper on page 45, the authors state that Let's assume we know that $$ w \times dw = d\varphi + \sum_{j=1}^3\alpha_jdx_j, \tag{1}$$ where $\varphi \in H^1(\mathbb{R}^3, \mathbb{R})$, ...
10
votes
5answers
263 views

Is line element mathematically rigorous?

I know differentials (in a way of standard analysis) are not very rigorous in mathematics, there are a lot of amazing answers here on the topic. But what about line element? $$ds^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 ...
7
votes
1answer
842 views

How to calculate the pullback of a $k$-form explicitly

I'm having trouble doing actual computations of the pullback of a $k$-form. I know that a given differentiable map $\alpha: \mathbb{R}^{m} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^{n}$ induces a map $\alpha^{*}: ...
48
votes
5answers
4k views

Exterior Derivative vs. Covariant Derivative vs. Lie Derivative

In differential geometry, there are several notions of differentiation, namely: Exterior Derivative, $d$ Covariant Derivative/Connection, $\nabla$ Lie Derivative, $\mathcal{L}$. I have listed them ...
65
votes
2answers
3k views

Direct proof that the wedge product preserves integral cohomology classes?

Let $H^k(M,\mathbb R)$ be the De Rham cohomology of a manifold $M$. There is a canonical map $H^k(M;\mathbb Z) \to H^k(M;\mathbb R)$ from the integral cohomology to the cohomology with coefficients ...
11
votes
3answers
669 views

Geometric understanding of differential forms.

I would like to understand differential forms more intuitively. I have yet to find a book which explains how the use of the exterior product in differential forms ties into the geometrical ...
10
votes
1answer
363 views

Writing Integrals using Differential Forms

Consider some smooth curve $C \subset \mathbb{R^n}$ and $\gamma:[a,b] \subset\mathbb{R}\rightarrow C$ a parametrisation of $C$ and a continuous vector field $K:\mathbb{R^n} \rightarrow \mathbb{R^n}$. ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Intuition behind $dx \wedge dy=-dy \wedge dx$

I was re-reading this old book of mine; and I noticed that in defining the rules of differential forms, it "makes sense" that we have the rule $dx \wedge dx=0$ because if $dx$ is infinitesimal, then ...
11
votes
3answers
520 views

What is the motivation for differential forms?

I am that point in my mathematical career where I am learning differential forms. I am reading from M.Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds. So far I have gone over the tensor and wedge products and their ...
8
votes
0answers
117 views
+200

Symmetric and wedge product in algebra and differential geometry

I have been struggling with this issue for a while (and asked a similar question here), but still not found a satisfying answer. The question boils down to: which is the correct identity? $dx \, dy ...
8
votes
1answer
201 views

When can a functional be written as the integral of a 1-form?

Let a real, smooth manifold $M$ be given. Let $\Gamma$ denote the set of all path segments on $M$, namely the set of all paths of the form $\gamma:[a,b]\to M$. Let $Q:\Gamma\to\mathbb R$ be a ...
8
votes
1answer
411 views

Closed not exact form on $\mathbb{R}^n\setminus\{0\}$

I'd like to construct a closed but not exact $n-1$-form $\omega$ on $\mathbb{R}^n\setminus\{0\}$ in analogy to the winding form: $$\frac{x~dy-y~dx}{x^2+y^2}$$ I think something like ...
6
votes
1answer
432 views

how to understand the tensor product canonical line bundle $\otimes$ dual bundle

Suppose we have a Riemann surface $M$ together with a holomorphic vector bundle $E \to M$ of rank n. let $K$ denote the canonical line bundle and let $E^*$ denote the dual bundle I am trying to ...
3
votes
3answers
344 views

Exterior derivative of a complicated differential form

Let $\omega$ be a $2$-form on $\mathbb{R}^3\setminus\{0\}$ defined by $$ \omega = \frac{x\,dy\wedge dz+y\,dz\wedge dx +z\,dx\wedge dy}{(x^2+y^2+z^2)^{\frac{3}{2}}} $$ Show that $\omega$ is closed but ...
10
votes
1answer
516 views

Is there a Stokes theorem for covariant derivatives?

A $V$-valued differential form on $M$ is a smooth map $\omega : TM \to V$ such that $\omega$ restricted to any tangent space $T_p M$ is an element of the $V$-valued exterior algebra $\Lambda^n (T_p M, ...
7
votes
2answers
169 views

Interpretation of $p$-forms

Let $M$ be a smooth manifold, let $C^{\infty}(M)$ be set of all smooth functions from $M$ to $\mathbb R$ and let $Vec(M)$ denote the set of all vector fields on $M$. A $1$-form on $M$ is a ...
6
votes
3answers
474 views

Differential Forms and Vector Fields correspondence

Barrett O'Neill's Differential Geometry book says that Classical vector analysis avoids the use of differential forms on $\mathbb{R}^3$ by converting 1-forms and 2-forms into vector fields via the ...
5
votes
3answers
358 views

$\Omega=x\;dy \wedge dz+y\;dz\wedge dx+z\;dx \wedge dy$ is never zero when restricted to $\mathbb{S^2}$

We define a 2-form $\Omega$ on $\mathbb{R^3}$ by $\Omega=x\;dy \wedge dz+y\;dz\wedge dx+z\;dx \wedge dy$. How can I show that $\Omega|_\mathbb{S^2}$ is nowhere zero? Before proving that how can I ...
4
votes
0answers
61 views

show that $\omega$ is exact if and only if the integral of $\omega$ over every p-cycle is 0

Let $M$ be an oriented smooth manifold and $\omega$ a closed $p$-form on $M$. Show that $\omega$ is exact if and only if the integral of $\omega$ over every $p$-cycle is $0$. In particular, how to ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

Why generalize vector calculus with $k$-forms instead of $k$-vectors?

The motivation usually given to differential forms is that they generalize vector calculus nicely. That's true, but there are also $k$-vectors, i.e., objects from $\Lambda^k(V)$ instead of ...
10
votes
2answers
257 views

checking if a 2-form is exact

Consider the 2-form $$\sigma=\frac{x_1 dx_2 \wedge dx_3 + x_2dx_3\wedge dx_1+ x_3 dx_1 \wedge dx_2}{(x_1^2+x_2^2+x_3^2)^{3/2}}.$$ I need to show if it is exact or not. Suppose it is exact, then there ...
5
votes
2answers
752 views

Relationship Between Differential Forms and Vector Fields

I am trying reach an understanding of precisely how the space of differential forms is related to the space of vector fields. These are the definitions that I understand and am using for these ...
4
votes
2answers
177 views

Orientations on Manifold

This is a very basic definition of orientable and very basic example 20.5 however ı could not understand definition in an good way so ı want you to explain my green writing please :) and my example ...
5
votes
2answers
270 views

Why is arc length not a differential form?

I read that the arc length is not a differential form. But I don't understand why it isn't. I understand that differential forms are integrands and arc length is an expression which is integrable. ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

Integral Definition of Exterior Derivative?

Is there a rigorous integral definition of the exterior derivative analogous to the way the gradient, divergence & curl in vector analysis can be defined in integral form? Furthermore can it be ...
3
votes
1answer
178 views

Computing the restriction of a differential form

Define $\omega$ on $\mathbb{R}^3$ by $\omega = x\,dy\wedge dz + y\,dz\wedge dx + z\,dx\wedge dy$. Thus far I have computed $\omega$ in spherical coordinates $(\rho,\phi,\theta)$, as well as computed ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

Independence of $H(f)=\int_M \alpha \wedge f^* \beta$ on choice of $d\alpha=f^*\beta$?

I came across the following UCLA qual question while studying for my upcoming qual: Let $f: M^{4n-1} \to N^{2n}$ be a smooth map between closed connected oriented manifolds of the indicated ...
0
votes
1answer
148 views

Averaging differential forms

Let $M$ be a manifold with a circle action, i.e. with a 1-parameter group of diffeomorphisms $\phi_t:M\to M$ of period 1. I think of the average of a differential form $\omega \in \Omega^n(M)$ with ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

What do we mean when we say a differential form “descends to the quotient”?

Let $S$ be a surface and let $f:S\rightarrow S$ be a diffeomorphism. We define the mapping torus $M_f$ of the pair $(S,f)$ to be the quotient $$(S\times I) /\sim \quad \text{ where } \ (1,x) \sim ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Algorithm/Procedure for finding $\sigma$ such that $\omega=d\sigma$

I know that the Poincare's lemma asserts that under certain conditions a differential form $\omega$ is exact, i.e. it possesses an antiderivative $\sigma$, such that $\omega=d\sigma$. But as ...
3
votes
2answers
105 views

Proving that a particular submanifold of the cotangent space is Lagrangian

I have the following problem in my differential topology class: Let $M$ be an $n$-dimensional manifold and let $\omega$ denote the standard symplectic form on the cotangent space $T^*M$. Let $f \in ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Pullback distributes over wedge product

I'm looking to prove that the pullback of a smooth function distributes over wedge product, i.e. $$\varphi^*(\omega \wedge \eta) = \varphi^* \omega \wedge \varphi^* \eta. $$ Here the question is ...
2
votes
3answers
425 views

When does a null integral implies that a form is exact?

It is trivial to prove that the integration of a $(n-1)$ exact form on the boundary of a $n$-manifold is 0. What about the contraposative ? If the integration of a $(n-1)$-form on the boundary of a ...
2
votes
0answers
406 views

Top deRham cohomology group of a compact orientable manifold is 1-dimensional

Let $M$ be a compact smooth orientable manifold of dimension $n$. I am looking for a simple proof that $H_{dR}^n(M) \cong \mathbb R$. Equivalently, an $n$-form which integrates to 0 is exact. I can ...
2
votes
1answer
262 views

Differential forms and a chain rule

Let $U$ be a Riemann surface and let $z:U\longrightarrow B(0,1)$ be a diffeomorphism, where $B(0,1)$ is the open unit disc in $\mathbf{C}$. So $z$ is a coordinate around $P=z^{-1}(0)$. Let $Q\in U$ ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Visualizing Non-Zero Closed-Loop Line Integrals Via Sheets?

How do I visualize $\dfrac{xdy-ydx}{x^2+y^2}$? In other words, if I visualize a differential forms in terms of sheets: and am aware of the subtleties of this geometric interpretation as regards ...
1
vote
1answer
109 views

Relation between de Rham cohomology and integration

This question is a follow-up to When does a null integral implies that a form is exact? . As mentionned in the selected answer, given certain conditions it is possible to find an isomorphism between ...
1
vote
2answers
166 views

Closed forms and a simple relation with Cauchy-Riemann

I have a very basic question, sorry for that )=. Let's fix some notation first. Let $ dz = dx + i \; dy $ . Given $f \in C^1$, $f : D \subset \mathbb C \to \mathbb C$, we define $df = f_x \; dx + ...
1
vote
1answer
234 views

The chain rule for a function to $\mathbf{C}$

Let $f:U\longrightarrow \mathbf{C}$ be a holomorphic function, where $U$ is a Riemann surface, e.g., $U=\mathbf{C}$, $U=B(0,1)$ or $U$ is the complex upper half plane, etc. For $a$ in $\mathbf{C}$, ...
1
vote
1answer
206 views

If $S^{2n+1}$ is covering space of $X$, then $X$ is orientable.

Is there any direct way to prove that $n$-manifold is orientable? In AT we can just calculate $n$'th homology group and check whether it's $\mathbb Z$ or $0$. But I want a geometric method, using ...
0
votes
2answers
92 views

Writing a diffEQ as $P(x,y)dx + Q(x,y)dy = 0$ instead of in terms of $dy/dx$

I'm reading in Tenenbaum and Pollard's Ordinary Differential Equations where they introduce the concept of the differential. Suppose $y=f(x)$ is differentiable. He defines the differential by $dy(x, ...
0
votes
2answers
141 views

Pullback of a Volume Form Under a Diffeomorphism.

I have an exercise here, which I have no idea how to do. Problem: Let $ U $ and $ V $ be open sets in $ \mathbb{R}^{n} $ and $ f: U \to V $ an orientation-preserving diffeomorphism. Then show that ...
0
votes
1answer
317 views

Integrating factor and differential 1-forms

I am working on the following exercise: The function $f$ is called an integrating factor for the 1-form $\omega$ if $f({\bf x}) \neq 0$ for all $\bf x$ and $d(f\omega) = 0$. If the 1-form $\omega$ ...