Talk:Vector calculus identities

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The other vector identities can be found in the apendices of a lot of textbooks. These particular ones came from "Advanced Engineering Electromagnetics" by Constantine A. Balanis.

Restate identities using div, grad, curl (names) ?[edit]

Hello. I wonder if anyone is opposed to rewriting the identities as curl grad foo = 0, etc, i.e., using the words curl, div, and grad. As Wikipedia is a reference work, it seems safe to assume that we are going to get many readers who are capable of understanding the identities, but are only occasional users of the notation. Yes, no, maybe? Keep up the good work, 03:59, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Collect identities from other pages here[edit]

Another thing to think about -- it would be a good idea to look at the other pages in Category:Vector calculus and see if there are some identities which can be copied here. 04:01, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Reversions of identities using Feynman notation[edit]

Hello User talk:Crowsnest: You reverted these entries; why?

Occasionally I come to this page for a quick reference of vector calculus identities. Feynman notation, while fine enough in itself, is not helpful. (We get it -- you can understand the notation.) The fact is that Feynman notation has not caught on as large as say, Einstein notation, and so to include it the vector calculus identity page in Wikipedia is just confusing. Keep it, fine, but put it as an "oh by the way, here's the same stuff in different notation" at the end of the page. It would be very helpful to just include the formulas that most of us work with at the beginning when we just come for a quick reference -- otherwise your page is gonna get passed right over. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jkedmond (talkcontribs) 15:29, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

In simpler form, using Feynman subscript notation:

where the notation A means the subscripted gradient operates on only the factor A.

where the Feynman subscript notation B means the subscripted gradient operates on only the factor B.

Point 1: The notation is defined and is useful - why delete it? It's only notation - use it or don't; suit yourself. So why not show how it works and give the reader a choice?

Point 2: Feynman's notation is used; for example, see: "following Feynman , introduce a partial operator ∇A in the latter identity (14), where the subscript denotes the quantity to be differentiated. p. 4

Point 3: Quote from Feynman: "Here is our new convention: we show by a subscript, what a differential operator works on; the order has no meaning." etc. The guy introduced it in his undergrad lectures - he must think its useful. Hey, he's a Nobel Prize winner; why trust his judgment, eh?? Reference: R P Feyman, & Leighton & Sands (1964). The Feynman Lecture on Physics. Addison-Wesley. p. Vol II p. 27-4. ISBN 0805390499. 

Point 4: They are identities, for Pete's sake. They are here for reference only - no great wisdom attaches. You can prove them yourself, there is no question of validity. It's just to save some time, or provide a little smörgåsbord for browsing when solving a problem. What possible purpose or rationale is there for these reverts??? Brews ohare (talk) 05:35, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Hello Brews. I reverted them because they are not common vector calculus and unreferenced. Not because they are wrong, not useful, etc. This article starts with " vector calculus". So that says something of what people may expect on this page. Different branches of science develop different tools and notation they use, depending on their needs (which may spread out to other branches later on).
You cannot expect everybody to know Feynman notation, and things have to be verifiable on Wikipedia: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth".
So please re-instate them, with the references mentioned above (or others). And if you like, start an article on Feynman notation and its use (that sounds at least interesting to me, I came across some variational problems in fluid dynamics where use of Feynman notation would have shortened the writing-up considerably). Best regards, Crowsnest (talk) 09:51, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
OK - I've done that. I think you'll find that the overdot notation is the convenient one. I stumbled across it yesterday by accident. Brews ohare (talk) 15:23, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Ambiguity in A.nabla[edit]

I think A.nabla should be made clearer. In cartesian coordinates its easy to understand but in other coordinate systems, one might wonder if it is referring to nabla treated as a vector operator as it appears in the gradient or in the divergence which are of course different. The answer is as it appears in the divergence but since A.nabla is sometimes used as a notation for the directional derivative in the direction of A, one may think the gradient form should be used. I think it is definitely worth making this clearer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:55, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

See the discussion on Talk:Navier–Stokes equations#Convection Vs Advection. A copy of the relevant part for your question:
Provided for ∇ the covariant derivative is taken in a curvilinear coordinate system. -- Crowsnest (talk) 16:56, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Using Cartesian tensors to derive identities[edit]

I think it would be good to mention how Cartesian tensors in rectangular coordinates (a condition which I didn't state in a previous edit) can be used to derive the vector calculus identities stated in this article. This method is much easier and more elegant than laboriously expanding curls of curls etc. and then grouping terms. However, detailing how this is done might expand the article a substantial amount. Any thoughts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Breeet (talkcontribs) 07:25, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Merging with List of vector identities[edit]

Hello ... I have extended this article by adding a few more identities. Now, I think this article is superset of the other article!. So, I would like to suggest to delete(or something equivalent) the article "List of vector identities". If anybody has objection, please let us discuss. zinka 09:30, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Removal of overlap with Vector algebra relations[edit]

The present article Vector calculus identities describes identities involving integration and derivative operations like the curl and gradient. The article Vector algebra relations involves only algebraic relations like the dot and cross products, and no calculus. Inasmuch as the subsection of Vector calculus identities titled "Addition and Multiplication" does not involve any calculus (and so is not properly part of the subject of Vector calculus identities), and inasmuch as the material of this section is contained (and expanded upon) in Vector algebra relations, I have removed this section and replaced it with a link to Vector algebra relations. Brews ohare (talk) 15:18, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

As seen in the section immediately above this one this article is the result of a merge, between Vector calculus identities and List of vector identities, i.e. it contains both vector calculus and more general identities. This makes sense as the the calculus and non-calculus identities are closely related, while the article with both of them in is not by any measure too long. There is no need now to split off this content into a separate article, undoing an uncontentious merge, forcing readers to search though two articles for closely related identities.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 15:38, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
The two different types of identity are not closely related. Repeating the non-calculus related identities here is unnecessary. Moreover, the purely algebraic identities here are only a subset of the useful identities reported at Vector algebra relations, so the reader will possibly have to go to Vector algebra relations even with this repetition. It makes no sense to duplicate. Brews ohare (talk) 16:28, 14 September 2010 (UTC)


Should duplicate material in Vector calculus identities be removed?

The article Vector calculus identities describes identities involving integration as well as derivative operations like the curl and gradient. The article Vector algebra relations contains only algebraic relations involving the dot and cross products, and no calculus. Inasmuch as the subsection of Vector calculus identities titled "Addition and Multiplication" does not involve any calculus (and so is not properly part of the subject of Vector calculus identities), and inasmuch as the material of this section is contained (and expanded upon) in Vector algebra relations, should this section of Vector calculus identities be removed? Brews ohare (talk) 17:19, 14 September 2010 (UTC)


Please add your comments below beginning with an asterisk *

  • Remove: The inclusion here of a shortened subset of algebraic identities from Vector algebra relations serves no purpose in the listing of unrelated differential and integral identities in Vector calculus identities. Brews ohare (talk) 17:36, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
  • keep There is no reason for removing perfectly good content which makes this a good list of vector identities. Calculus and non-calculus identities are closely related: many of the identities from vector algebra have parallels in vector calculus, so it is good to list them side by side. They are in the same article as the result of a merge that was carried out earlier this year and was uncontentious at the time. If a reader is looking for a list of "vector identities" this is it. The duplicate material is only there as you have just forked it, i.e. you have in the last couple of days created a new article and populated it with a poorly formatted list of relations, definitions, properties, identities, inequalities and proofs with no clear criteria for inclusion. This is after having proposing it at this ongoing AfD then not waited for the proper conclusion of the AfD, so preempting the outcome of the AfD.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 17:35, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
There is no "close relation" between the two sets of equations, and no parallels are pointed out. The earlier merge was between this article and a hodge-podge mixture of differential, integral and algebraic relations. The algebraic relations should have been separated from the rest at that time, rather than merge the whole lot under a misnomer. That separation now is the case with Vector algebra relations. Brews ohare (talk) 17:42, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
Listing algebraic identities in an article devoted to calculus identities makes Vector calculus identities a miscellany improperly named. Brews ohare (talk) 19:19, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Remove or alternately find some way to merge the two articles, though I think something like Vector identities might be too vague to be useful. The identities that are not the result of calculus don't belong here, as is indicated clearly by the article title. siafu (talk) 20:33, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep and merge any non-duplicative content into this article. Keeping the information in the same article is very useful from a "trying to find something" point of view -- I'm reminded of Glossary of graph theory, which probably could be split into a few different articles but the advantage of it being a single article is that there is a single place to turn. Readers interested in the properties of vector shouldn't have to first determine whether they are interested in calculus identities or algebraic relations, they should be able to go to Properties of Vectors -- or it looks like Euclidean_vector#Basic_properties -- and get what they are looking for. In general, I share the OP's concern of duplicate content in different places. This leads to incomplete content in many places, rather than complete content in one. Consider the overlap in:
And lastly, while I understand the interest in naming the articles correctly, and then the logical next step of creating a fork of content that doesn't exactly belong in one article, the need to be clear, correct, and easy to find for the average reader is much more important (IMO) -- so if that means combining the two articles and renaming it Vector properties or Vector identities or Vector relations -- and consolidating the material, then I strongly suggest that. jheiv talk contribs 08:58, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
jheiv: The issue you raise is whether a miscellany of topics under a broad heading like Vector properties is an easier place to find results than a number of accurately named more specialized sections (appropriately cross-linked) such as Vector calculus identities and Vector algebra relations. That issue may be difficult to decide, falling under the rubric of personal preferences.
As you have noted, the present article Vector calculus identities is a specialized header, and so the material here that is related to Vector algebra relations and unrelated to calculus is incorrectly included here, especially as it is already found where it belongs in the more complete listing of Vector algebra relations. Brews ohare (talk) 18:01, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep. Why? Because storing information like this in Wikipedia is useless unless it is convenient and easy to work with. While the basic algebra relations aren't strictly calculus identities, one would specifically expect to use these basic identities when performing vector calculus. More complicated algebra relations, such as the cross product of two cross products, are derivative from the basic ones, and thus may be left for a dedicated article on algebra relations, yet it is rare that one needs to perform vector calculus, yet doesn't need at least one of the elementary algebra relations listed on the page at this moment.
I notice that nobody has continued this discussion since almost a year ago. This may have been due to poor formatting, content, etc, of this article. The way I see it, this article should serve as a convenient reference page for those working on problems involving vector calculus, such as fluid dynamics. As such, the article should select appropriate content based on typical applications, rather than a strict adherence to the title. I have already started working addressing such weaknesses. Aielyn (talk) 14:22, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
In a further effort to streamline and improve the page, I've just spent some time reorganising the page. As part of this, I am considering removing the overly-fundamental rules of vector operations, restricting the ones listed to only the important-but-not-obvious triple products (and any others that people might think are important enough to include). Anyone who knows enough about vectors to be doing anything at all with vector calculus will inevitably know the more fundamental ones, and a direct link to the algebra relations page should be enough for anyone who doesn't. Aielyn (talk) 15:44, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
The discussion was concluded a year ago with a consensus to keep the basic products in after a (now banned) editor tried to remove them. They are here because of a merge of Vector identities with Vector calculus identities, done over a year ago without objection. So anyone looking for Vector identities would expect to find them here and they should not be removed against the consensus already established to keep them.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 15:55, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I see. In that case, should I re-add the four-vector identities (dot and cross products of cross products), which I removed while working on the article? I really do think they're superfluous on this page. Aielyn (talk) 17:10, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
They may seem superfluous if this page is considered in isolation but they are here as this page is also linked from Vector identities/List of vector identities because of the merge. That also contained some vector calculus identities, so there was a lot of overlap, but without them it would have been so short so as to be of little use.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 17:23, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

deleted section[edit]

I deleted the useless template + section in this edit [1], is it really that necessary to expand on this? An integral is an integral, if there really are widespread wacky notations in use just add as and when, instead of leaving it empty...-- F = q(E + v × B) 00:05, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Conditions on second partial derivatives needed[edit]

The identities curl(grad(f)) = 0 and div(curl(F)) = 0 need conditions on the scalar field f and the vector field F, namely continuous second partials in a connected open set. This article says that the identities hold unconditionally. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Removal of Feynman subscript notation[edit]

I have never seen Feynman subscript notation before. In this article it is introduced as if it is just a convenient abbreviation for a two-term operation in vector calculus, but then it is used only once! Perhaps I am dense but it just seems unintuitive, and it sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise beautifully concise page of identities written using the standard nabla notation. The introduction of Hestenes overdot notation is even more strange as it is not used at all.

To be clear I'm not saying alternative notations/operators don't belong on wikipedia, just that they don't fit in here. It would be nice to see an article about these, as I think there are probably many many more variants worth mentioning as long as the intuition and the gain is made obvious. --Nanite (talk) 10:48, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Dyadic calculus identites[edit]

I know there are a few vector calculus identities involving dyadics, i.e. , but I'm not sure if they should be included in this page or the dyadics wikipedia page. Thoughts? (talk) 00:48, 22 February 2016 (UTC)