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Physics 451 Fall 2004

Homework Assignment #1 — Solutions

Textbook problems: Ch. 1: 1.1.5, 1.3.3, 1.4.7, 1.5.5, 1.5.6


Ch. 3: 3.2.4, 3.2.19, 3.2.27

Chapter 1

1.1.5 A sailboat sails for 1 hr at 4 km/hr (relative to the water) on a steady compass heading
of 40◦ east of north. The saiboat is simultaneously carried along by a current. At the
end of the hour the boat is 6.12 km from its starting point., The line from its starting
point to its location lies 60◦ east of north. Find the x (easterly) and y (northerly)
components of the water velocity.

This is a straightforward relative velocity (vector addition) problem. Let ~vbl


denote the velocity of the boat with respect to land, ~vbw the velocity of the boat
with respect to the water and ~vwl the velocity of the water with respect to land.
Then
~vbl = ~vbw + ~vwl

where
~vbw = 4 km/hr @ 50◦ = (2.57x̂ + 3.06ŷ) km/hr
~vbl = 6.12 km/hr @ 30◦ = (5.3x̂ + 3.06ŷ) km/hr

Thus
~vwl = ~vbl − ~vbw = 2.73x̂ km/hr

1.3.3 The vector ~r, starting at the origin, terminates at and specifies the point in space
(x, y, z). Find the surface swept out by the tip of ~r if
(a) (~r − ~a ) · ~a = 0

The vanishing of the dot product indicates that the vector ~r − ~a is perpendicular
to the constant vector ~a. As a result, ~r − ~a must lie in a plane perpendicular
to ~a. This means ~r itself must lie in a plane passing through the tip of ~a and
perpendicular to ~a

r−a
r
a
(b) (~r − ~a ) · ~r = 0

This time the vector ~r − ~a has to be perpendicular to the position vector ~r itself.
It is perhaps harder to see what this is in three dimensions. However, for two
dimensions, we find

r−a
a
r

which gives a circle. In three dimensions, this is a sphere. Note that we can also
complete the square to obtain

(~r − ~a ) · ~r = |~r − 12 ~a |2 − | 12 ~a |2

Hence we end up with the equation for a circle of radius |~a |/2 centered at the
point ~a/2
|~r − 12 ~a |2 = | 12 ~a |2

~ × B)
1.4.7 Prove that (A ~ · (A
~ × B)
~ = (AB)2 − (A
~·B
~ )2 .

This can be shown just by a straightforward computation. Since


~×B
A ~ = (Ay Bz − Az By )x̂ + (Az Bx − Ax Bz )ŷ + (Ax By − Ay Bx )ẑ

we find
~×B
|A ~ |2 = (Ay Bz − Az By )2 + (Az Bx − Ax Bz )2 + (Ax By − Ay Bx )2
= A2x By2 + A2x Bz2 + A2y Bx2 + A2y Bz2 + A2z Bx2 + A2z By2
− 2Ax Bx Ay By − 2Ax Bx Az Bz − 2Ay By Az Bz
= (A2x + A2y + A2z )(Bx2 + By2 + Bz2 ) − (Ax Bx + Ay By + Az Bz )2

where we had to add and subtract A2x Bx2 +A2y By2 +A2z Bz2 and do some factorization
to obtain the last line.
However, there is a more elegant approach to this problem. Recall that cross
products are related to sin θ and dot products are related to cos θ. Then
~×B
|A ~ |2 = (AB sin θ)2 = (AB)2 (1 − cos2 θ) = (AB)2 − (AB cos θ)2
= (AB)2 − (A~·B~ )2
1.5.5 The orbital angular momentum L~ of a particle is given by L
~ = ~r × p~ = m~r ×~v where p~
is the linear momentum. With linear and angular velocity related by ~v = ω ~ × ~r, show
that
~ = mr2 [~
L ω − r̂(r̂ · ω
~ )]

Here, r̂ is a unit vector in the ~r direction.


~ = m~r × ~v and ~v = ω
Using L ~ × ~r, we find

~ = m~r × (~
L ω × ~r )

Because of the double cross product, this is the perfect opportunity to use the
“BAC–CAB” rule: A ~ × (B~ × C)
~ = B(
~ A~ · C)
~ − C(~ A
~ · B)
~

~ = m[~
L ω (~r · ~r ) − ~r(~r · ω ω r2 − ~r(~r · ω
~ )] = m[~ ~ )]

Using ~r = r r̂, and factoring out r2 , we then obtain

~ = mr2 [~
L ω − r̂(r̂ · ω
~ )] (1)

1.5.6 The kinetic energy of a single particle is given by T = 21 mv 2 . For rotational motion
this becomes 21 m(~
ω × ~r )2 . Show that

T = 12 m[r2 ω 2 − (~r · ω
~ )2 ]

We can use the result of problem 1.4.7:

ω × ~r )2 = 12 m[(ωr)2 − (~
T = 21 m(~ ω · ~r )2 ] = 12 m[r2 ω 2 − (~r · ω
~ )2 ]

Note that we could have written this in terms of unit vectors

T = 21 mr2 [ω 2 − (r̂ · ω
~ )2 ]

Comparing this with (1) above, we find that

~ ·ω
T = 21 L ~

which is not a coincidence.


Chapter 3

3.2.4 (a) Complex numbers, a + ib, with a and b real, may be represented by (or are
isomorphic with) 2 × 2 matrices:
 
a b
a + ib ↔
−b a

Show that this matrix representation is valid for (i) addition and (ii) multiplica-
tion.

Let us start with addition. For complex numbers, we have (straightforwardly)

(a + ib) + (c + id) = (a + c) + i(b + d)

whereas, if we used matrices we would get


     
a b c d (a + c) (b + d)
+ =
−b a −d c −(b + d) (a + c)

which shows that the sum of matrices yields the proper representation of the
complex number (a + c) + i(b + d).
We now handle multiplication in the same manner. First, we have

(a + ib)(c + id) = (ac − bd) + i(ad + bc)

while matrix multiplication gives


    
a b c d (ac − bd) (ad + bc)
=
−b a −d c −(ad + bc) (ac − bd)

which is again the correct result.

(b) Find the matrix corresponding to (a + ib)−1 .

We can find the matrix in two ways. We first do standard complex arithmetic

1 a − ib 1
(a + ib)−1 = = = 2 (a − ib)
a + ib (a + ib)(a − ib) a + b2

This corresponds to the 2 × 2 matrix


 
−1 1 a −b
(a + ib) ↔
a + b2
2 b a
Alternatively, we first convert to a matrix representation, and then find the inverse
matrix  −1  
−1 a b 1 a −b
(a + ib) ↔ = 2
−b a a + b2 b a

Either way, we obtain the same result.

3.2.19 An operator P~ commutes with Jx and Jy , the x and y components of an angular


momentum operator. Show that P~ commutes with the third component of angular
momentum; that is,
[P~ , Jz ] = 0

We begin with the statement that P~ commutes with Jx and Jy . This may be
expressed as [P~ , Jx ] = 0 and [P~ , Jy ] = 0 or equivalently as P~ Jx = Jx P~ and
P~ Jy = Jy P~ . We also take the hint into account and note that Jx and Jy satisfy
the commutation relation
[Jx , Jy ] = iJz

or equivalently Jz = −i[Jx , Jy ]. Substituting this in for Jz , we find the double


commutator
[P~ , Jz ] = [P~ , −i[Jx , Jy ]] = −i[P~ , [Jx , Jy ]]

Note that we are able to pull the −i factor out of the commutator. From here,
we may expand all the commutators to find

[P~ , [Jx , Jy ]] = P~ Jx Jy − P~ Jy Jx − Jx Jy P~ + Jy Jx P~
= Jx P~ Jy − Jy P~ Jx − Jx P~ Jy + Jy P~ Jx
=0

To get from the first to the second line, we commuted P~ past either Jx or Jy as
appropriate. Of course, a quicker way to do this problem is to use the Jacobi
identity [A, [B, C]] = [B, [A, C]] − [C, [A, B]] to obtain

[P~ , [Jx , Jy ]] = [Jx , [P~ , Jy ]] − [Jy , [P~ , Jx ]]

The right hand side clearly vanishes, since P~ commutes with both Jx and Jy .

3.2.27 (a) The operator Tr replaces a matrix A by its trace; that is


X
Tr (a) = trace(A) = aii
i

Show that Tr is a linear operator.


Recall that to show that Tr is linear we may prove that Tr (αA+βB) = α Tr (A)+
β Tr (B) where α and β are numbers. However, this is a simple property of
arithmetic
X X X
Tr (αA + βB) = (αaii + βbii ) = α aii + β bii = α Tr (A) + β Tr (B)
i i i

(b) The operator det replaces a matrix A by its determinant; that is

det(A) = determinant of A

Show that det is not a linear operator.

In this case all we need to do is to find a single counterexample. For example, for
an n × n matrix, the properties of the determinant yields

det(αA) = αn det(A)

This is not linear unless n = 1 (in which case A is really a single number and
not a matrix). There are of course many other examples that one could come up
with to show that det is not a linear operator.