Use this tag for questions about specific tensors (curvature tensor, stress tensor), or questions regarding tensor computations as they appear in multivariable calculus and differential/Riemannian geometry (specifically, when it is amenable to be treated as objects with multiple indices that ...

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72
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5answers
10k views

An Introduction to Tensors

As a physics student, I've come across mathematical objects called tensors in several different contexts. Perhaps confusingly, I've also been given both the mathematician's and physicist's definition, ...
104
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7answers
6k views

Does a “cubic” matrix exist?

Well, I've heard that a "cubic" matrix would exist and I thought: would it be like a magic cube? And more: does it even have a determinant - and other properties? I'm a young student, so... please ...
5
votes
1answer
311 views

Metric on an open subset of $\mathbb{R}^d$ and Christoffel symbol of the second kind

I need to prove the following identity. $\Omega \subset \mathbb{R}^d$ is open and $g$ is a metric field on $\Omega$. Further $\Gamma_{\,kl}^j$ denotes the Christoffel symbol of second kind. $g^{ij}$ ...
25
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the practical difference between abstract index notation and “ordinary” index notation

I understand that in "normal" index notation the indexes can be thought of as coordinates of scalar values inside a tabular data structure, while in the abstract index notation they can not. However, ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it misleading to think of rank-2 tensors as matrices?

Having picked up a rudimentary understanding of tensors from reading mechanics papers and Wikipedia, I tend to think of rank-2 tensors simply as square matrices (along with appropriate transformation ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Tensors, what should I learn before?

Here I will be just posting a simple questions. I know about vectors but now I want to know about tensors. In a physics class I was told that scalars are tensors of rank o and vectors are tensors of ...
11
votes
1answer
314 views

How can I determine the number of wedge products of $1$-forms needed to express a $k$-form as a sum of such?

This question was motivated by this related one: How "far" a differential form is from an exterior product . Let $\mathbb{V}$ be a vector space of dimension $n$ with underlying field ...
5
votes
1answer
210 views

Tensor notation (practicing)

I'm praticing tensor notation, and I want to prove this way that given vectors $A,B,C,D$ then $(A \times B) \times (C \times D) = \det(A,C,D)B - \det(B,C,D)A$, where $\det$ means the triple product. ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Definition of a tensor for a manifold

While reading Nakahara's geometry, topology and physics. I came across the following definition of a tensor. A tensor $T$ of type $(p, q)$ is a multilinear map that maps $p$ dual vectors and $q$ ...
2
votes
0answers
30 views

Tensor formula in SU(3) representations

I am trying to understand the Georgi chapter of tensor methods in $SU(3)$ representations, and I don't know how to resolve the tensor product of 2 matrices in a 2 heavy quark + 2 light antiquark ...
5
votes
1answer
112 views

What does shear mean?

As I understand it, the gradient of a vector field can be decomposed into parts that relate to the divergence, curl, and shear of the function. I understand what divergence and curl are (both ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

$k$-space tensor integral in statistical physics

$$Q=\int_{\text{all space}} \frac{\hbar \nu_g \mathbf{k}\mathbf{k}}{\exp[(\hbar \nu_g |\mathbf{k}|-\mathbf{k}\cdot\mathbf{u})/k_B T]-1}d\mathbf{k} $$ Please help me to integrate the above tensor ...
5
votes
2answers
348 views

Unique symmetric covariant $k$-tensor satisfying $(\operatorname{Sym} T)(A,…,A)=T(A,…,A)$ for all $A \in V$

Let $T$ be a covariant $k$-tensor on a finite dimensional vector space $V$. I want to prove that the symmetrization of $T$ is the unique symmetric $k$-tensor satisfying the following condition: ...
4
votes
3answers
828 views

Index notation for inverse matrices

I have a question: There is an standard way to write the inverse of a matrix in index notation?. The reason is that I don't want to write $(A^{-1})_{ij}$ or $(A^{-1})_i^j$ or $(A^{-1})^{ij}$ using ...
1
vote
1answer
728 views

How to prove that the Kronecker delta is the unique isotropic tensor of order 2?

Is there a way to prove that the Kronecker delta $\delta_{ij}$ is indeed the only isotropic second order tensor (i.e. invariant under rotation), i.e. so we can write $T_{ij} = \lambda \delta_{ij}$ ...
37
votes
5answers
24k views

Differences between a matrix and a tensor

What is the difference between a matrix and a tensor? Or, what makes a tensor, a tensor? I know that a matrix is a table of values, right? But, a tensor?
17
votes
5answers
1k views

What, Exactly, Is a Tensor?

I've repeatedly read things that reference tensors, and despite reading the wiki page and other answers here on stackexchange I still don't know what a tensor is. I'm fine with hearing things in the ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Tensors as matrices vs. Tensors as multi-linear maps

So I read the answers in this question, and don't feel that much closer to an answer about how tensors as multi-linear maps and tensors as "multi-dimensional" matrices are truly related. For ...
4
votes
0answers
431 views

Tensors as mutlilinear maps

I am aware that many books on differential geometry define tensors as multilinear maps. Namely $$ V\otimes W := L_2(V^*\times W^*,\Bbb F) $$ I am also aware that this space is isomorphic to the tensor ...
7
votes
3answers
435 views

Why is the Riemann curvature tensor the technical expression of curvature?

According to my textbook on general relativity (Sean Carrol's book) and differential geometry, the Reimann curvature tensor is the technical expression of curvature. What makes the tensor so special? ...
5
votes
3answers
474 views

Are vectors and covectors the same thing?

In Euclidean space, we usually don't distinguish between vectors and covectors (or dual vectors or 1-forms or whatever you want to call them) -- because the spaces overlap. However, a physicist ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Do I understand metric tensor correctly?

So I've been studying vectors and tensors, and I'm trying to understand metric tensors. As I understand them, besides a vast array of explanations, they provide an invariant distance between vectors ...
6
votes
2answers
718 views

Special case of the Hodge decomposition theorem

I am trying to prove the following special case of the Hodge decomposition theorem in differential geometry for an $n$ component vector field $V_i$ in $\mathbb{R}^n$. I have very little knowledge of ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Rotation invariant tensors

It is often claimed that the only tensors invariant under the orthogonal transformations (rotations) are the Kronecker delta $\delta_{ij}$, the Levi-Civita epsilon $\epsilon_{ijk}$ and various ...
3
votes
1answer
327 views

How to translate between differential forms and tensor index notation

The books on Manifold theory & geometry that I studied introduce connection and curvature in the language of differential forms. But Physics books on the other hand like (General Relativity by ...
2
votes
5answers
169 views

How to Prove $(A \times B) \otimes C + (B \times C) \otimes A + (C \times A) \otimes B = [(A \times B) \cdot C] \bf{I}$?

Question Assume that $A$, $B$, $C$, and $D$ are four vectors in $\mathbb{R}^3$. Then I want to show that $$ {\bf{M}} \equiv (A \times B) \otimes C + (B \times C) \otimes A + (C \times A) \otimes ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

How to visualize a rank-2 tensor?

The notion (rank-2) "tensor" appears in many different parts of physics, e.g. stress tensor, moment of inertia tensor, etc. I know mathematically a tensor can be represented by a 3x3 matrix. But I ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the metric tensor on the n-sphere (hypersphere)?

I am considering the unit sphere (but an extension to one of radius $r$ would be appreciated) centered at the origin. Any coordinate system will do, though the standard angular one (with 1 radial and ...
5
votes
2answers
303 views

$\det(A \otimes B - B \otimes A) = 0$ why? Why $rk(M) = n^2-n$ ? Why x and -x in Spec(M) ?

Let $A$, $B$ be $n\times n$ matrices. It seems $\det(A \otimes B - B \otimes A) = 0$. Moreover it seems that the kernel of $A \otimes B - B \otimes A$ contains $n$ vectors. Here is MatLab code to ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Trace of tensor product vs Tensor contraction

I have come across various sources that talk about traces of tensors. How does that work? In particular, there seem to be such an equality: $$ \text{Tr}(T_1\otimes ...
8
votes
1answer
672 views

I feel that (physics) notation for tensor calculus is awful. Are there any alternative notations worth looking into?

I am reading through Fung and Tong's "Classical and Computational Solid Mechanics", and feel that the Einstein summation convention saves a few symbols, at the expense of a lot of clarity. Along with ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

Christoffel symbol transformation law

It is known that the transformation rule when you change coordinate frames of the Christoffel symbol is: $$ \tilde \Gamma^{\mu}_{\nu\kappa} = {\partial \tilde x^\mu \over \partial x^\alpha} \left [ ...
6
votes
2answers
495 views

Index notation for tensors: is the spacing important?

While reading physics textbooks I always come across notation like: $$J_{\alpha}^{\quad\beta},\ \Gamma_{\alpha \beta}^{\quad \gamma}, K^\alpha_{\quad \beta}.$$ Notice the spacing in indices. I can't ...
5
votes
1answer
258 views

A tensor calculus problem

If the relation $a_{ij}u^iu^j=0$ holds for all vectors $u^i$ such that $u^i\lambda_i=0$ where $\lambda_i$ is a given covariant vector, show that $$a_{ij}+a_{ji}=\lambda_iv_j+\lambda_j v_i$$ where ...
5
votes
2answers
834 views

What is the definition of tensor contraction?

According to Wikipedia's page on tensor contraction: In general, a tensor of type $(m,n)$ (with $m \geq 1$ and $n \geq 1$) is an element of the vector space $V \otimes \ldots \otimes V \otimes V^* ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Quotient theorem for tensors

Can somebody please explain to me how the following statement is true? The Riemann curvature tensor $R^c_{dab}$ is given by the Ricci identity $$(\nabla_a\nabla_b-\nabla_b\nabla_a)V^c\equiv ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Simple question on symmetric tensors

This question seems to be silly, but i am really confused. Suppose we have a symmetric $2$-tensor $\omega$, I want to prove $$\omega(X,Y)=0\ \ \ \forall \ \ \ X,Y \iff \omega(X,X)=0 \ \ \forall \ \ \ ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the divergence of a matrix valued function?

According to Wikipedia: The divergence of a continuously differentiable tensor field $\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}$ is: ...
5
votes
2answers
106 views

Curvature tensors and bivectors

At the beginning of the paper "The curvature of 4-dimensional Einstein spaces", by Singer and Thorpe, the authors define the space $\mathcal{R}$ of curvature tensors of the vector space $V$ as the set ...
4
votes
1answer
271 views

Comparing metric tensors of the Poincare and the Klein disk models of hyperbolic geometry

I was trying to compare the metric tensor at the wikipedia pages of the Beltrami Klein model https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein_disk_model and the metric tensor of the Poincare disk model at ...
3
votes
3answers
408 views

Covariant derivative geometric interpretation

I'm having some trouble understanding what the covariant derivative means geometrically. I know the definition which states that for a tensor T with any number of indices: $ \nabla_j T = ...
3
votes
1answer
150 views

Rank of tensors in terms of ranks of associated linear maps

Let $V$ be a vector space over a field $k$, let $w \in \otimes^l V$ be a tensors. We call $w$ a simple tensor if it can be written as $$ w=w_1 \otimes w_2 \otimes \ldots \otimes w_l, $$ where $w_i \in ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

The Dimension of the Symmetric $k$-tensors

I want to compute the dimension of the symmetric $k$-tensors. I know that a covariant $k$-tensor $T$ is called symmetric if it is unchanged under permutation of arguments. Also, I know that the ...
2
votes
0answers
84 views

Connections and Ricci identity

Given $\nabla$ a torsionless connection, the Ricci identity for co-vectors is $$\nabla_a \nabla_b \lambda_c - \nabla_b \nabla_a \lambda_c = -R^d_{\,\,cab}\lambda_d.$$ Prove $R^a_{[bcd]} = 0$ by ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

When is a symmetric 2-tensor field globally diagonalizable?

Suppose that $\mathbb{R}^n$ has a Riemannian metric $g$. Let $h$ be a smooth symmetric 2-tensor field on $\mathbb{R}^n$. At any point $p \in \mathbb{R}^n$, there is a basis of $T_p \mathbb{R}^n$ in ...
2
votes
1answer
590 views

Where is the tensor product of two unit vectors projection onto?

I know that $\bar{e} \otimes \bar{e}$ is a projection onto $\bar{e}$. Then, I start to think where is then $\bar{e}_{i} \otimes \bar{e}_{j}$ projection onto. Where is the expression $\bar{e}_{i} ...
2
votes
1answer
178 views

Question about stiffness tensor

Let's have a stiffness tensor $$ a^{ijkl}: a^{ijkl} = a^{jikl} = a^{klij} = a^{ijlk}. $$ It has a 21 independent components for anisotropic body. How does body symmetry (cubic, hexagonal etc.) ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

The space of alternating multilinear maps and existence of a bilinear map [duplicate]

Before, I ask similar this. But here I change question settings since it was incomplete. I hope receive good ideas. Let $E$ be a finite dimensional vector space over field $\mathbb R$ with $E^*$ as ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

Question concerning tensors

As some of you may have seen from my previous question(s), I am working through Spivak's Calc on Manifolds and this happens to be the first time I've been introduced to tensors formally, though I have ...