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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92
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6answers
4k 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 ...
47
votes
5answers
6k 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, ...
21
votes
2answers
764 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
858 views

Proof of $\det(\textbf{ST})=\det(\textbf{S})\det(\textbf{T})$ in Penrose graphical notation

For two matrices $\textbf{S}$ and $\textbf{T}$, a proof of $\det(\textbf{ST})=\det(\textbf{S})\det(\textbf{T})$ is given below in the diagrammatic tensor notation. Here $\det$ denotes the ...
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 ...
14
votes
5answers
6k 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?
14
votes
5answers
333 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
452 views

Book on tensors

Can anyone recommend me a book on tensors with an intuitive approach? I have some course notes on that subject, but it's really abstract and theoretical. I want to understand why tensors were ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Intuitive way to understand covariance and contravariance in Tensor Algebra

I'm trying to understand basic tensor analysis. I understand the basic concept that the valency of the tensor determines how it is transformed, but I am having trouble visualizing the difference ...
9
votes
2answers
753 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
491 views

A user's guide to Penrose graphical notation?

Penrose graphical notation seems to be a convenient way to do calculations involving tensors/ multilinear functions. However the wiki page does not actually tell us how to use the notation. The ...
8
votes
2answers
604 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
492 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
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
623 views

Are matrices rank 2 tensors?

I know that this is sometimes the case, but that some matrices are not tensors. So what is the intuitive and specific demands of a matrix to also be a tensor? Does it need to be quadratic, singular or ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
348 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
161 views

Reference for densities and pseudoforms and non-tensorial representations of $\operatorname{GL}(n)$ and associated vector bundles

I'm looking for a reference that will set me straight on a few things. It started out with densities. In John Lee's book, "Introduction to Smooth Manifolds", densities on vector spaces are functions ...
6
votes
1answer
79 views

Tensor fields and vector bundles

Let $M$ be a differentiable manifold, $TM$ and $T^*M$ a tangent and cotangent bundle of $M$ and let $\Gamma (TM),\ \Gamma (T^*M)$ be spaces of smooth sections of $TM$ and $T^*M$. Let $T_s^r (M)$ ...
6
votes
1answer
308 views

Vectors, Basis, Dual Vectors, Dual Basis and Tensors

I'm trying to understand tensors and I know they have something to do with the basis and the dual basis of a vector space and a dual space. First I will give a concrete example to make clear what I ...
6
votes
2answers
379 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
741 views

Vorticity equation in index notation (curl of Navier-Stokes equation)

I am trying to derive the vorticity equation and I got stuck when trying to prove the following relation using index notation: $$ {\rm curl}((\textbf{u}\cdot\nabla)\mathbf{u}) = ...
6
votes
1answer
148 views

Tensor product of algebra

Can we find define a norm on tensor product $C(X) \otimes C(Y)$ such that the norm completion of $C(X)\otimes C(Y)=C(X\times Y)$ And can we define a norm on tensor product $L^1(X)\otimes L^1(Y)$ such ...
6
votes
0answers
37 views
+50

Invariant tensors in adjoint representation

Suppose we have a simple Lie group $G$ with algebra $\mathfrak{g}=\{X_a\}$, where the generators $X_a$ are in some matrix representation. Is it true that the only invariant rank $n$ tensor in the ...
6
votes
0answers
142 views

Mnemonic device for relationships between Hom and Tensor

Probably this is a stupid question, but nevertheless... Let $A$, $B$, $C$ and $D$ be rings, and $M$, $N$ and $K$ be appropriate bimodules between them. There are extremely well-known canonical ...
5
votes
3answers
324 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
254 views

$e_1\otimes e_2 \otimes e_3$ cannot be written as a sum of an alternating tensor and a symmetric tensor

Let $(e_1,e_2,e_3)$ be the standard dual basis for $(\mathbb{R}^3)^\ast$. How can I show that $e_1\otimes e_2 \otimes e_3$ cannot be written as a sum of an alternating (or antisymmetric) tensor and a ...
5
votes
3answers
558 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 $q$ ...
5
votes
2answers
629 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^* ...
5
votes
2answers
68 views

Exact meaning of “Not every matrix is a tensor”.

I've recently begun reading about tensors and am trying to understand the second order variety in the context of euclidean $\mathbb{R}^n$ with orthonormal basis {$e_1, e_2,\ldots, e_n$}. This seems ...
5
votes
2answers
277 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: ...
5
votes
3answers
652 views

Multiplying 3D matrix

I was wondering if it is possible to multiply a 3D matrix (say a cube $n\times n\times n$) to a matrix of dimension $n\times 1$? If yes, then how. Maybe you can suggest some resources which I can read ...
5
votes
1answer
472 views

Tensor product and Kronecker Product

Is there any difference between tensor product and Kronecker Product?
5
votes
1answer
61 views

Space of Alternating $k$-Tensors Notation

I will be taking a Differential Geometry class in the Fall, so I decided to get somewhat of a head start by going through Spivak's "Calculus on Manifolds." Before reading, though, I saw the Addenda at ...
5
votes
1answer
62 views

The derivative of the determinant of a Kronecker product

For an invertible matrix $A$, we have the identity \begin{align} \dfrac{\partial \det A}{\partial A} = \det A (A^{-1})^T \end{align} where the $T$ denotes the transpose operation. How does this ...
5
votes
1answer
209 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
1answer
178 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. $g^{ij}$ ...
4
votes
2answers
274 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
2answers
272 views

Is there such a thing as discrete Riemannian geometry?

General relativity expresses gravity as a curvature in space time, created by the stress energy tensor. $$T_{\mu\nu} \approx R_{\mu\nu} - \frac{R}{2} g_{\mu\nu}$$ Given I put the fact that energy is ...
4
votes
2answers
146 views

For covariant tensors, why is it $\bigwedge^k(V)$, not $\bigwedge^k(V^*)$?

In learning the very basics of differential geometry, I have seen the exterior product defined a couple of ways: First, I have seen it as the image of the covariant tensors (which I believe are ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

Basic property of a tensor

In Jost's Riemannian Geometry and Geometric Analysis (6th ed.) on page 142 there is the following remark concerning the torsion tensor. Remark. It is not difficult to verify that [the torsion ...
4
votes
2answers
193 views

Confusion when dealing with tensors.

I don't understand how tensors work, can someone please explain? In particular, in the context of Electromagnetism, the dual of the field tensor $F$ is $$(*F)^{\mu\nu}:={1\over ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

Connection between dual space V* and negation P^c

Notice the following similarity between the vector space dual and negation in propositional logic: $$ V^* \equiv V \rightarrow F $$ $$ P^c \equiv P \rightarrow \bot $$ Is there some general notion ...
4
votes
2answers
207 views

Tensor operation on a vector space

From the various definitions provided in the article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tensor, the tensor seems always to be defined, even in the more abstract forms, as a multilinear map, from a product ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

How to generalize symmetry for higher-dimensional arrays?

@BrianM.Scott 's answer to this question Q: 3-dimensional array suggests that there is no standard concept of symmetry for 3-, 4-, N-dimensional arrays, in constrast to the case for 2-D arrays, as in ...
4
votes
1answer
228 views

The divergence of the Weyl tensor

First, the Weyl tensor is given by $$W_{ijkl}=R_{ijkl}-\frac{1}{n-2}(g_{ik}A_{jl}-g_{il}A_{jk}-g_{jk}A_{il}+g_{jl}A_{ik})$$ where, $A_{ij}$ is the Schouten tensor, given by ...
4
votes
1answer
254 views

Derivation or Intuition of Formula for Levi-Civita Symbol

http://www.ees.nmt.edu/outside/courses/GEOP523/Docs/index-notation.pdf spouted off and threw out with no motivation $$\epsilon_{ijk} = \frac{1}{2}(i - j)(j - k)(k - i) \, \forall \, \, k \in \{1, 2, ...
4
votes
1answer
143 views

How to transform one nonsquare matrix into another

I am modeling the effect of neural activity on synaptic strength. My question, though, is mathematical. I have the following differential equation: $ \tau_{W} ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

Classical tensor analysis and Tensors on Manifolds

I learned tensors the bad way (Cartesian first, then curvilinear coordinate systems assuming a Euclidean background) and realize that I am in very bad shape trying to (finally) learn tensors on ...