Explorations in Mathematical Physics: The Concepts Behind an Elegant Language

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Springer Science & Business Media, Nov 30, 2006 - Science - 539 pages
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Have you ever wondered why the language of modern physics centres on geometry? Or how quantum operators and Dirac brackets work? What a convolution really is? What tensors are all about? Or what field theory and lagrangians are, and why gravity is described as curvature?

This book takes you on a tour of the main ideas forming the language of modern mathematical physics. Here you will meet novel approaches to concepts such as determinants and geometry, wave function evolution, statistics, signal processing, and three-dimensional rotations. You'll see how the accelerated frames of special relativity tell us about gravity. On the journey, you'll discover how tensor notation relates to vector calculus, how differential geometry is built on intuitive concepts, and how variational calculus leads to field theory. You will meet quantum measurement theory, along with Green functions and the art of complex integration, and finally general relativity and cosmology.

The book takes a fresh approach to tensor analysis built solely on the metric and vectors, with no need for one-forms. This gives a much more geometrical and intuitive insight into vector and tensor calculus, together with general relativity, than do traditional, more abstract methods.

Don Koks is a physicist at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation in Adelaide, Australia. His doctorate in quantum cosmology was obtained from the Department of Physics and Mathematical Physics at Adelaide University. Prior work at the University of Auckland specialised in applied accelerator physics, along with pure and applied mathematics.

 

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Contents

The Language of Physics
1
The Natural Language of Random Processes
77
A Roundabout Route to Geometric Algebra
147
Special Relativity and the Lorentz Transform
185
FourVectors and the Road to Tensors
213
Onward to the Principle
233
The Elegance and Power of Tensor Notation 271
270
Curvature and Differential Geometry
349
in Euclidean 3Space
382
The Green Function Approach to Solving Field Equations
445
Index
531
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About the author (2006)

"With enjoyable and sometimes surprising excursions along the way, the journey provides a fresh look at many familiar topics, as it takes us from basic linear mathematics to general relativity... look forward to having your geometric intuition nourished and expanded by the author’s intelligent commentaries."

Eugen Merzbacher, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Have you ever wondered why the language of modern physics centres on geometry? Or how quantum operators and Dirac brackets work? What a convolution really is? What tensors are all about? Or what field theory and lagrangians are, and why gravity is described as curvature?

This book takes you on a tour of the main ideas forming the language of modern mathematical physics. Here you will meet novel approaches to concepts such as determinants and geometry, wave function evolution, statistics, signal processing, and three-dimensional rotations. You will see how the accelerated frames of special relativity tell us about gravity. On the journey, you will discover how tensor notation relates to vector calculus, how differential geometry is built on intuitive concepts, and how variational calculus leads to field theory. You will meet quantum measurement theory, along with Green functions and the art of complex integration, and finally general relativity and cosmology.

The book takes a fresh approach to tensor analysis built solely on the metric and vectors, with no need for one-forms. This gives a much more geometrical and intuitive insight into vector and tensor calculus, together with general relativity, than do traditional, more abstract methods.

Don Koks is a physicist at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation in Adelaide, Australia. His doctorate in quantum cosmology was obtained from the Department of Physics and Mathematical Physics at Adelaide University. Prior work at the University of Auckland specialised in applied accelerator physics, along with pure and applied mathematics.

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