Questions related to understanding line integrals, vector fields, surface integrals, the theorems of Gauss, Green and Stokes. Some related tags are (multivariable-calculus) and (differential-geometry).

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41
votes
3answers
798 views

Is Stokes' Theorem natural in the sense of category theory?

Stokes' Theorem asserts that for a compactly-supported differential form $\omega$ of degree $n-1$ on a smooth oriented $n$-dimensional manifold $M$ we have the marvellous equation $$\int_M d\omega = ...
40
votes
5answers
3k views

The Meaning of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

I am currently taking an advanced Calculus class in college, and we are studying generalizations of the FTC. We just started on the version for Line Integrals, and one can see the explicit symmetry ...
34
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a vector field that is equal to its own curl?

I was wondering if there is a vector field that satisfies the following condition: $$\vec F=\nabla \times \vec F$$
20
votes
2answers
279 views

Can a gradient vector field with no equilibria point in every direction?

Suppose that $V:\mathbb{R}^n \to \mathbb{R}$ is a smooth function such that $\nabla V : \mathbb{R}^n \to \mathbb{R}^n$ has no equilibria (i.e. $\forall x \in \mathbb{R}^n : \nabla V (x) \not = 0$). ...
17
votes
3answers
517 views

Does taking $\nabla\times$ infinity times from an arbitrary vector exists?

Is it possible to get the value of: \begin{equation} \underbrace{\left[\nabla\times\left[\nabla\times\left[\ldots\nabla\times\right.\right.\right.}_{\infty\text{-times taking curl ...
12
votes
5answers
39k views

Surface Element in Spherical Coordinates

In spherical polars, $$x=r\cos(\phi)\sin(\theta)$$ $$y=r\sin(\phi)\sin(\theta)$$ $$z=r\cos(\theta)$$ I want to work out an integral over the surface of a sphere - ie $r$ constant. I'm able to derive ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Why vector calculus seems inconsistent and vague

I am a senior student of engineering and I have been studying calculus for a while when I reached the part of vector calculus I felt that this part is inconsistent and there is a multiple questions ...
12
votes
2answers
18k views

What is the proof that covariance matrices are always semi-definite?

Suppose that we have two different discreet signal vectors of $N^\text{th}$ dimension, namely $\mathbf{x}[i]$ and $\mathbf{y}[i]$, each one having a total of $M$ set of samples/vectors. ...
12
votes
3answers
313 views

Arnold Trivium Problem 39

We find in Arnold's Trivium the following problem, numbered 39. (The double integral should have a circle through it, but the command /oiint does not work here.) Calculate the Gauss integral ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Vector Calculus Identities Using Differential Forms

Is there a nice way to derive $$ \nabla (\vec{F} \cdot \vec{G}) = \vec{F} \times (\nabla \times \vec{G} ) + \vec{G} \times (\nabla \times \vec{F}) + (\vec{F} \cdot \nabla ) \vec{G} + (\vec{G} \cdot ...
11
votes
5answers
341 views

Why does $\oint\mathbf{E}\cdot{d}\boldsymbol\ell=0$ imply $\nabla\times\mathbf{E}=\mathbf{0}$?

I am looking at Griffith's Electrodynamics textbook and on page 76 he is discussing the curl of electric field in electrostatics. He claims that since $$\oint_C\mathbf{E}\cdot{d}\boldsymbol\ell=0$$ ...
11
votes
1answer
340 views

Intuition behind curl identity

Is there any clear intuition behind the identity $$ \nabla\times (\nabla\times A)=\nabla (\nabla \cdot A)-\nabla ^2A $$ Though the result is useful and not difficult to derive, it doesn't quite ...
11
votes
1answer
168 views

Non-divergence form of a 2nd order PDE

This might be a trivial question but I'm very rusty with regards to calculus and am new to PDEs. How would you write the following second order quasilinear equation in it's non-divergence form: The ...
10
votes
3answers
555 views

How is “area” a vector?

"We consider Area as a vector." How is an area a vector? Why is that the vector is always normal to the area element?
10
votes
5answers
9k views

Proof for the curl of a curl of a vector field

For a vector field $\textbf{A}$, the curl of the curl is defined by $$\nabla\times\left(\nabla\times\textbf{A}\right)=\nabla\left(\nabla\cdot\textbf{A}\right)-\nabla^2\textbf{A}$$ where $\nabla$ is ...
9
votes
3answers
773 views

parallelizable manifolds

I know a differentiable manifold $M$ of dimension $n$ is parallelizable if there exist (smooth of course) vector fields $\{X_i\}_{j=1}^n$ which are linearly independent in $T_pM$ at each point $p \in ...
9
votes
2answers
163 views

The “inverse” of $\nabla\times$ operator

From physics, just to use a well known example, we know that the relationship between the magnetic induction $\mathbf{B}$ and the potential vector $\mathbf{A}$ is given by: $$\mathbf{B} = ...
9
votes
3answers
15k views

Gradient of a dot product

The wikipedia formula for the gradient of a dot product is given as $$\nabla(a\cdot b) = (a\cdot\nabla)b +(b\cdot \nabla)a + a\times(\nabla\times b)+ b\times (\nabla \times a)$$ However, I also ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Geometric intuition behind gradient, divergence and curl

I learned vector analysis and multivariate calculus about two years ago and right now I need to brush it up once again. So while trying to wrap my head around different terms and concepts in vector ...
9
votes
1answer
148 views

Green's identity contradicts Helmholtz theorem

Let F be a vector field on a bounded domain $V \subset \mathbb{R}^3$, which is twice differentiable, let $S := \partial V$. According to the Helmholtz Theorem, F can be decomposed, such that: $$ ...
9
votes
1answer
194 views

Evaluating the Surface Integral $\iint_{x^3+y^3+z^3=a^3} \frac{\bf{x}}{||\bf{x}||} \cdot d\bf{S}$

Compute the surface integral: $$\int_S({x\over \sqrt{x^2+y^2+z^2}}, {y\over \sqrt{ x^2+y^2+z^2}}, {z\over \sqrt{x^2+y^2+z^2}}) \cdot \vec n \ dS$$ where $S: x^3+y^3+z^3=a^3$ The first ...
8
votes
6answers
221 views

coordinate free proof that $\text{div}(\nabla f \times \nabla g) = 0$

Let $V$ be a Euclidean $3$-dimensional space. Does there exist a coordinate-free proof that for any two $C^1$-functions $f, g: \mathbb{R}^3 \to \mathbb{R}$ we have $$\text{div}(\nabla f \times \nabla ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Do the BAC-CAB identity for triple vector product have some intepretation?

As in the title, I was wondering if the formula: $$a\times (b\times c)=b(a\cdot c)-c(a \cdot b)$$ for $\mathbb R ^3$ cross product has some geometrical interpretation. I've recently seen a proof (from ...
8
votes
3answers
110 views

Why is Green's theorem asymmetric in $x$ and $y$?

Green's theorem is $$\oint_{\partial D} (P\, dx+Q\, dy) = \iint_D dx\,dy \: \left ( \frac{\partial Q}{\partial x} - \frac{\partial P}{\partial y}\right)$$ where one can see that the RHS is ...
8
votes
2answers
10k views

mathematical difference between column vectors and row vectors

I'm writing a mathematical library; and I have an idea where I want to automatically turn column matrices and row matrices to vectors, with all of the mathematical properties of a vector. Answer I'm ...
8
votes
1answer
454 views

The proof of the Helmholtz decomposition theorem through Neumann boundary value problem

As you know, the Helmholtz decomposition theorem is as follows. Let $\Omega$ be open and simply connected, and bounded region in $\mathbb R^3$. Then the smooth vector field $E : \Omega \to ...
8
votes
3answers
256 views

Intuitive explanation of div(curlF)=0 [duplicate]

If we consider $\mathbf{F}$ as a vector field, then we say that $\mathrm{div}(\mathrm{curl}(\mathbf{F}))=0$. We can prove this in mathematics easily. But I' am not getting an intuitive explanation due ...
8
votes
2answers
216 views

real meaning of divergence and its mathematical intuition

how does divergence which means sink or source equal to ∂Fx/∂x+∂Fy/∂y +∂Fz/∂z.I have been thinking it for a long time and i think "divergence tells us how fast the vector increases when we move apart ...
7
votes
3answers
937 views

What is the name for a vector field that is both divergence-free and curl-free?

Consider a smooth vector field $\mathbf u\colon\Omega\to\mathbb R^3$ defined on an open domain $\Omega\subseteq\mathbb R^3$ such that $\mathbf u$ has zero divergence and zero curl on $\Omega$, that ...
7
votes
2answers
296 views

How would one arrive at the formulas for divergence and curl?

It has been some years since I've taken multivariable calculus now, but there's something I really never understood: how people would discover the expressions for divergence and curl. I mean, the ...
7
votes
1answer
67 views

Local coordinates near point such that $X= \partial_1$ is relative to those coordinates, vector field with isolated s.t. coordinates do not exist?

Let $M$ be a finite-dimensional smooth manifold, and let $X$ be a smooth vector field on $M$. Let $X(p) \neq 0$ for some $p \in M$. How do I show that I can find local coordinates near $p$ such that ...
7
votes
1answer
135 views

What is the average length of all integral curves of a vector field?

Considering a vector field with a source and a sink in a finite comact space, are there any bounds on the length of the integral curves? Specifically, I am interested in the average length of ...
6
votes
5answers
8k views

What's the geometrical interpretation of the magnitude of gradient generally?

In the following picture, the author of the Field and Wave Electromagnetics shows the geometrical meaning of the direction of the gradient. That is, only by following the direction of the normal ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

Proof of vector calculus identities

Here is the all identities : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_calculus_identities I need help concerning vector functions and indexing notations. Let $\overrightarrow{a}$ be a (smooth) vector ...
6
votes
2answers
20k views

Derivative of cross-product of two vectors

In finding the derivative of the cross product of two vectors $\frac{d}{dt}[\vec{u(t)}\times \vec{v(t)}]$, is it possible to find the cross-product of the two vectors first before differentiating?
6
votes
1answer
448 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Geometric proof for triple vector product Jacobi identity

I believe the vector identity $\vec{a} \times (\vec{b} \times \vec{c}) + \vec{b} \times (\vec{c} \times \vec{a}) + \vec{c} \times (\vec{a} \times \vec{b}) = 0$ is called the Jacobi identity and I know ...
6
votes
1answer
552 views

Is the helix the unique path with constant curvature and constant torsion?

If a path has both curvature and torsion constant why it is necessarily a helix? How to prove it?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Directional Derivatives using Polar Coordinates

I am having a hard time with this problem on my homework assignment. Here is the problem, and i will show my work below: If $f( x, y) = -2 x^{2} + 3 y^{2}$, find the value of the directional ...
6
votes
2answers
754 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
2answers
8k views

What is the difference between Green's Theorem and Stokes Theorem?

I don't quite understand the difference between Green's Theorem and Stokes Theorem. I know that Green's Theorem is in $\mathbb{R}^2$ and Stokes Theorem is in $\mathbb{R}^3$ and my lecture notes give ...
6
votes
3answers
148 views

A Weird Contradiction about angular momentum operator in quantum mechanics

I am starting with the standard definition of an angular momentum operator in quantum mechanics given as $$\mathbf{L} = k(\mathbf{r}\times\mathbf{p}) = k(\mathbf{r}\times\nabla),$$ where ...
6
votes
2answers
24k views

Find the equation of a line which is perpendicular to a given vector and passing through a known point

There is given a vector $2 \vec i + \vec j - 3 \vec k$ and now I want to find the equation of a line that is perpendicular to the given vector and passing through a known point $(1,1,1)$. How can I ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Fourier transform of gradient

I encountered in a physics book the Fourier transform $F$ of the gradient of a function $g$ smooth with compact support on $\mathbb R^3$. Up to some multiplicative constants: $F(\nabla ...
6
votes
0answers
126 views

Stokes' Theorem and Vector Fields with Jump Discontinuities

What are the continuity requirements on a vector field $\boldsymbol{A}$ such that Stokes' theorem, $$ \iint_S\nabla\times\left[(\boldsymbol{\hat{x}}\cdot\nabla\phi)\boldsymbol{A}\right]\cdot ...
6
votes
0answers
133 views

basic question from vector analysis

Let $\vec v = (a,b,c)$ be a constant vector and let $\vec r = (x,y,z)$ denote the position vector. Consider the vector field $\vec v \times \vec r$. A straightforward calculation (using determinants ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the intuition behind the unit normal vector being the derivative of the unit tangent vector?

I've seen the math, but... It just doesn't make sense to me. How is the slope going to point perpendicular to the vector that is clearly a straight line not going in that direction?
5
votes
2answers
12k views

Proof relation between Levi-Civita symbol and Kronecker deltas in Group Theory

In order to prove the following identity: $$\sum_{k}\epsilon_{ijk}\epsilon_{lmk}=\delta_{il}\delta_{jm}-\delta_{im}\delta_{jl}$$ Instead of checking this by brute force, Landau writes thr product of ...
5
votes
2answers
151 views

How does curl relate to rotation?

The operation mathematically means $$(\nabla \times \vec A)\cdot\hat n = \lim_{\Delta S\to\ 0} \frac{\oint\vec A\cdot\ d\vec l }{\left | \Delta S \right |}$$ and the proof of this is quite logical. ...
5
votes
3answers
706 views

Dot Product of a Non-Zero vector with a Null Vector

The dot product of two vectors let us say $\vec{A}$ and $\vec{B}$ is defined as $$\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B} \equiv AB\cos\theta,$$ where $A$ and $B$ are the magnitudes of the vectors $\vec{A}$ and ...