"}},"i":0}}]}" id="mwARg">R^{N}∖{0} so that it is constant along rays, i.e., homogeneous of degree zero.
The Laplacian is invariant under all Euclidean transformations: rotations and translations. In two dimensions, for example, this means that:
for all θ, a, and b. In arbitrary dimensions,
whenever ρ is a rotation, and likewise:
whenever τ is a translation. (More generally, this remains true when ρ is an orthogonal transformation such as a reflection.)
In fact, the algebra of all scalar linear differential operators, with constant coefficients, that commute with all Euclidean transformations, is the polynomial algebra generated by the Laplace operator.
The spectrum of the Laplace operator consists of all eigenvalues λ for which there is a corresponding eigenfunction f with:
This is known as the Helmholtz equation.
If Ω is a bounded domain in R^{n}, then the eigenfunctions of the Laplacian are an orthonormal basis for the Hilbert space L^{2}(Ω) . This result essentially follows from the spectral theorem on compact self-adjoint operators, applied to the inverse of the Laplacian (which is compact, by the Poincaré inequality and the Rellich–Kondrachov theorem).^{ [4] } It can also be shown that the eigenfunctions are infinitely differentiable functions.^{ [5] } More generally, these results hold for the Laplace–Beltrami operator on any compact Riemannian manifold with boundary, or indeed for the Dirichlet eigenvalue problem of any elliptic operator with smooth coefficients on a bounded domain. When Ω is the n-sphere, the eigenfunctions of the Laplacian are the spherical harmonics.
The vector Laplace operator, also denoted by , is a differential operator defined over a vector field.^{ [6] } The vector Laplacian is similar to the scalar Laplacian; whereas the scalar Laplacian applies to a scalar field and returns a scalar quantity, the vector Laplacian applies to a vector field, returning a vector quantity. When computed in orthonormal Cartesian coordinates, the returned vector field is equal to the vector field of the scalar Laplacian applied to each vector component.
The vector Laplacian of a vector field is defined as
In Cartesian coordinates, this reduces to the much simpler form as
where , , and are the components of the vector field , and just on the left of each vector field component is the (scalar) Laplace operator. This can be seen to be a special case of Lagrange's formula; see Vector triple product.
For expressions of the vector Laplacian in other coordinate systems see Del in cylindrical and spherical coordinates.
The Laplacian of any tensor field ("tensor" includes scalar and vector) is defined as the divergence of the gradient of the tensor:
For the special case where is a scalar (a tensor of degree zero), the Laplacian takes on the familiar form.
If is a vector (a tensor of first degree), the gradient is a covariant derivative which results in a tensor of second degree, and the divergence of this is again a vector. The formula for the vector Laplacian above may be used to avoid tensor math and may be shown to be equivalent to the divergence of the Jacobian matrix shown below for the gradient of a vector:
And, in the same manner, a dot product, which evaluates to a vector, of a vector by the gradient of another vector (a tensor of 2nd degree) can be seen as a product of matrices:
This identity is a coordinate dependent result, and is not general.
An example of the usage of the vector Laplacian is the Navier-Stokes equations for a Newtonian incompressible flow:
where the term with the vector Laplacian of the velocity field represents the viscous stresses in the fluid.
Another example is the wave equation for the electric field that can be derived from Maxwell's equations in the absence of charges and currents:
This equation can also be written as:
where
is the D'Alembertian, used in the Klein–Gordon equation.
A version of the Laplacian can be defined wherever the Dirichlet energy functional makes sense, which is the theory of Dirichlet forms. For spaces with additional structure, one can give more explicit descriptions of the Laplacian, as follows.
The Laplacian also can be generalized to an elliptic operator called the Laplace–Beltrami operator defined on a Riemannian manifold. The Laplace–Beltrami operator, when applied to a function, is the trace (tr) of the function's Hessian:
where the trace is taken with respect to the inverse of the metric tensor. The Laplace–Beltrami operator also can be generalized to an operator (also called the Laplace–Beltrami operator) which operates on tensor fields, by a similar formula.
Another generalization of the Laplace operator that is available on pseudo-Riemannian manifolds uses the exterior derivative, in terms of which the "geometer's Laplacian" is expressed as
Here δ is the codifferential, which can also be expressed in terms of the Hodge star and the exterior derivative. This operator differs in sign from the "analyst's Laplacian" defined above. More generally, the "Hodge" Laplacian is defined on differential forms α by
This is known as the Laplace–de Rham operator , which is related to the Laplace–Beltrami operator by the Weitzenböck identity.
The Laplacian can be generalized in certain ways to non-Euclidean spaces, where it may be elliptic, hyperbolic, or ultrahyperbolic.
In Minkowski space the Laplace–Beltrami operator becomes the D'Alembert operator or D'Alembertian:
It is the generalization of the Laplace operator in the sense that it is the differential operator which is invariant under the isometry group of the underlying space and it reduces to the Laplace operator if restricted to time-independent functions. The overall sign of the metric here is chosen such that the spatial parts of the operator admit a negative sign, which is the usual convention in high-energy particle physics. The D'Alembert operator is also known as the wave operator because it is the differential operator appearing in the wave equations, and it is also part of the Klein–Gordon equation, which reduces to the wave equation in the massless case.
The additional factor of c in the metric is needed in physics if space and time are measured in different units; a similar factor would be required if, for example, the x direction were measured in meters while the y direction were measured in centimeters. Indeed, theoretical physicists usually work in units such that c = 1 in order to simplify the equation.
The d'Alembert operator generalizes to a hyperbolic operator on pseudo-Riemannian manifolds.
In vector calculus, divergence is a vector operator that operates on a vector field, producing a scalar field giving the quantity of the vector field's source at each point. More technically, the divergence represents the volume density of the outward flux of a vector field from an infinitesimal volume around a given point.
In mathematics and physics, Laplace's equation is a second-order partial differential equation named after Pierre-Simon Laplace, who first studied its properties. This is often written as
In physics, the Navier–Stokes equations are partial differential equations which describe the motion of viscous fluid substances, named after French engineer and physicist Claude-Louis Navier and Anglo-Irish physicist and mathematician George Gabriel Stokes. They were developed over several decades of progressively building the theories, from 1822 (Navier) to 1842–1850 (Stokes).
In fluid dynamics, potential flow describes the velocity field as the gradient of a scalar function: the velocity potential. As a result, a potential flow is characterized by an irrotational velocity field, which is a valid approximation for several applications. The irrotationality of a potential flow is due to the curl of the gradient of a scalar always being equal to zero.
Del, or nabla, is an operator used in mathematics as a vector differential operator, usually represented by the nabla symbol ∇. When applied to a function defined on a one-dimensional domain, it denotes the standard derivative of the function as defined in calculus. When applied to a field, it may denote any one of three operators depending on the way it is applied: the gradient or (locally) steepest slope of a scalar field ; the divergence of a vector field; or the curl (rotation) of a vector field.
In mathematics and physical science, spherical harmonics are special functions defined on the surface of a sphere. They are often employed in solving partial differential equations in many scientific fields.
Linear elasticity is a mathematical model of how solid objects deform and become internally stressed due to prescribed loading conditions. It is a simplification of the more general nonlinear theory of elasticity and a branch of continuum mechanics.
In mathematical physics, scalar potential, simply stated, describes the situation where the difference in the potential energies of an object in two different positions depends only on the positions, not upon the path taken by the object in traveling from one position to the other. It is a scalar field in three-space: a directionless value (scalar) that depends only on its location. A familiar example is potential energy due to gravity.
In analytical mechanics, generalized coordinates are a set of parameters used to represent the state of a system in a configuration space. These parameters must uniquely define the configuration of the system relative to a reference state. The generalized velocities are the time derivatives of the generalized coordinates of the system. The adjective "generalized" distinguishes these parameters from the traditional use of the term "coordinate" to refer to Cartesian coordinates
In mathematics, the directional derivative of a multivariable differentiable (scalar) function along a given vector v at a given point x intuitively represents the instantaneous rate of change of the function, moving through x with a velocity specified by v.
In physics, the Hamilton–Jacobi equation, named after William Rowan Hamilton and Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi, is an alternative formulation of classical mechanics, equivalent to other formulations such as Newton's laws of motion, Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics. The Hamilton–Jacobi equation is particularly useful in identifying conserved quantities for mechanical systems, which may be possible even when the mechanical problem itself cannot be solved completely.
In mathematics, the eigenvalue problem for the Laplace operator is known as the Helmholtz equation. It corresponds to the linear partial differential equation
In differential geometry, the Laplace–Beltrami operator is a generalization of the Laplace operator to functions defined on submanifolds in Euclidean space and, even more generally, on Riemannian and pseudo-Riemannian manifolds. It is named after Pierre-Simon Laplace and Eugenio Beltrami.
In calculus, the Leibniz integral rule for differentiation under the integral sign, named after Gottfried Leibniz, states that for an integral of the form
In physics, the Green's function for Laplace's equation in three variables is used to describe the response of a particular type of physical system to a point source. In particular, this Green's function arises in systems that can be described by Poisson's equation, a partial differential equation (PDE) of the form
In fluid mechanics and mathematics, a capillary surface is a surface that represents the interface between two different fluids. As a consequence of being a surface, a capillary surface has no thickness in slight contrast with most real fluid interfaces.
In mathematics, vector spherical harmonics (VSH) are an extension of the scalar spherical harmonics for use with vector fields. The components of the VSH are complex-valued functions expressed in the spherical coordinate basis vectors.
The derivatives of scalars, vectors, and second-order tensors with respect to second-order tensors are of considerable use in continuum mechanics. These derivatives are used in the theories of nonlinear elasticity and plasticity, particularly in the design of algorithms for numerical simulations.
In fluid dynamics, the Oseen equations describe the flow of a viscous and incompressible fluid at small Reynolds numbers, as formulated by Carl Wilhelm Oseen in 1910. Oseen flow is an improved description of these flows, as compared to Stokes flow, with the (partial) inclusion of convective acceleration.
In physics, Lagrangian mechanics is a formulation of classical mechanics founded on the stationary-action principle. It was introduced by the Italian-French mathematician and astronomer Joseph-Louis Lagrange in his 1788 work, Mécanique analytique.