Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with

^{''n''}) is critical if all of the

The discovery of the vector representation of moments and angular velocity

, Archive for History of Exact Sciences 56:151–81. * * * * Barry Spain (1965

Vector Analysis

2nd edition, link from

A historical study of vector analysis

'. Technical Report RL 915, Radiation Laboratory, University of Michigan.

A survey of the improper use of ∇ in vector analysis

(1994) Tai, Chen-To

Vector Analysis:

A Text-book for the Use of Students of Mathematics and Physics, (based upon the lectures of

Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics: Vector Analysis

{{Authority control Mathematical physics

differentiation
Differentiation may refer to:
Business
* Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products
* Product differentiation, in marketing
* Differentiated service, a service that varies with the identity o ...

and of vector field
In vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation
Differentiation may refer to:
Business
* Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products
* Product ...

s, primarily in 3-dimensional Euclidean space
Euclidean space is the fundamental space of classical geometry. Originally, it was the three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry, but in modern mathematics there are Euclidean spaces of any nonnegative integer dimension (mathematics), dimens ...

$\backslash mathbb^3.$ The term "vector calculus" is sometimes used as a synonym for the broader subject of multivariable calculus
Multivariable calculus (also known as multivariate calculus) is the extension of calculus in one Variable (mathematics), variable to calculus with function of several variables, functions of several variables: the Differential calculus, different ...

, which spans vector calculus as well as partial differentiation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

and multiple integration. Vector calculus plays an important role in differential geometry
Differential geometry is a Mathematics, mathematical discipline that studies the geometry of smooth shapes and smooth spaces, otherwise known as smooth manifolds, using the techniques of differential calculus, integral calculus, linear algebra a ...

and in the study of partial differential equation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). I ...

s. It is used extensively in physics
Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

and engineering
Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more speciali ...

, especially in the description of
electromagnetic field
An electromagnetic field (also EM field or EMF) is a classical (i.e. non-quantum) field
Field may refer to:
Expanses of open ground
* Field (agriculture), an area of land used for agricultural purposes
* Airfield, an aerodrome that lacks the in ...

s, gravitational field
In physics
Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "P ...

s, and fluid flow
In physics
Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. ...

.
Vector calculus was developed from quaternion
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities an ...

analysis by J. Willard Gibbs and Oliver Heaviside
Oliver Heaviside Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (; 18 May 1850 – 3 February 1925) was an English mathematician and physicist who brought complex numbers to Network analysis (electrical circuits), circuit analysis, invented a new technique ...

near the end of the 19th century, and most of the notation and terminology was established by Gibbs and Edwin Bidwell Wilson
Edwin Bidwell Wilson (April 25, 1879 – December 28, 1964) was an American mathematician
A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topic ...

in their 1901 book, ''Vector Analysis
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with derivative, differentiation and integral, integration of vector fields, primarily in 3-dimensional Euclidean space \mathbb^3. The term "vector calculus" is sometimes used as a synonym for ...

''. In the conventional form using cross products, vector calculus does not generalize to higher dimensions, while the alternative approach of geometric algebra
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

which uses exterior product
In topology
s, which have only one surface and one edge, are a kind of object studied in topology.
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical struc ...

s does (see below for more).
Basic objects

Scalar fields

Ascalar field
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...

associates a scalar
Scalar may refer to:
*Scalar (mathematics), an element of a field, which is used to define a vector space, usually the field of real numbers
*Scalar (physics), a physical quantity that can be described by a single element of a number field such as ...

value to every point in a space. The scalar is a mathematical number representing a physical quantity
A physical quantity is a physical property of a material or system that can be Quantification (science), quantified by measurement. A physical quantity can be expressed as a ''value'', which is the algebraic multiplication of a ''numerical value'' ...

. Examples of scalar fields in applications include the temperature
Temperature ( ) is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy
Thermal radiation in visible light can be seen on this hot metalwork.
Thermal energy refers to several distinct physical concept ...

distribution throughout space, the pressure
Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force
In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion (physics), motion of an Physical object, object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (e.g. moving fr ...

distribution in a fluid, and spin-zero quantum fields (known as scalar bosons), such as the Higgs field
The Higgs boson is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics produced by the excited state, quantum excitation of the Higgs field, one of the field (physics), fields in particle physics theory. In the Standard Model, t ...

. These fields are the subject of scalar field theory
Scalar may refer to:
*Scalar (mathematics), an element of a field, which is used to define a vector space, usually the field of real numbers
*Scalar (physics), a physical quantity that can be described by a single element of a number field such as ...

.
Vector fields

Avector field
In vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation
Differentiation may refer to:
Business
* Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products
* Product ...

is an assignment of a vector
Vector may refer to:
Biology
*Vector (epidemiology)
In epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and risk factor, determinants of health and disease conditions in defined pop ...

to each point in a space
Space is the boundless three-dimensional
Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter
A parameter (from the Ancient Greek language, Ancient Gre ...

. A vector field in the plane, for instance, can be visualized as a collection of arrows with a given magnitude
Magnitude may refer to:
Mathematics
*Euclidean vector, a quantity defined by both its magnitude and its direction
*Magnitude (mathematics), the relative size of an object
*Norm (mathematics), a term for the size or length of a vector
*Order of ...

and direction each attached to a point in the plane. Vector fields are often used to model, for example, the speed and direction of a moving fluid throughout space, or the strength and direction of some force
In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion (physics), motion of an Physical object, object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (e.g. moving from a Newton's first law, state of rest), i.e., to acce ...

, such as the magnetic
Magnetism is a class of physical attributes that are mediated by magnetic field
A magnetic field is a vector field
In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For in ...

or gravitational
Gravity (), or gravitation, is a natural phenomenon by which all things with mass
Mass is both a property
Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or with something, whether as an ...

force, as it changes from point to point. This can be used, for example, to calculate work
Work may refer to:
* Work (human activity)
Work or labor is intentional activity people perform to support themselves, others, or the needs and wants of a wider community. Alternatively, work can be viewed as the human activity that cont ...

done over a line.
Vectors and pseudovectors

In more advanced treatments, one further distinguishespseudovector
In physics and mathematics, a pseudovector (or axial vector) is a quantity that is defined as a function (mathematics), function of some vector (geometry), vectors or other geometric shapes, that resembles a vector, and behaves like a vector in ma ...

fields and pseudoscalar
In linear algebra, a pseudoscalar is a quantity that behaves like a scalar, except that it changes sign under a parity inversion while a true scalar does not.
Any scalar product between a pseudovector and an ordinary vector is a pseudoscalar. ...

fields, which are identical to vector fields and scalar fields, except that they change sign under an orientation-reversing map: for example, the curl
Curl or CURL may refer to:
Science and technology
* Curl (mathematics)
In vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation
Differentiation may refer to:
Business
* Differentiation (economics), the p ...

of a vector field is a pseudovector field, and if one reflects a vector field, the curl points in the opposite direction. This distinction is clarified and elaborated in geometric algebra
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

, as described below.
Vector algebra

The algebraic (non-differential) operations in vector calculus are referred to asvector algebraIn mathematics, vector algebra may mean:
* Linear algebra, specifically the basic algebraic operations of vector addition and scalar multiplication; see vector space.
* The algebraic operations in vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector anal ...

, being defined for a vector space and then globally applied to a vector field. The basic algebraic operations consist of:
Also commonly used are the two triple product
In geometry and algebra, the triple product is a product of three 3-dimension (vector space), dimensional vectors, usually Euclidean vectors. The name "triple product" is used for two different products, the scalar-valued scalar triple product and, ...

s:
Operators and theorems

Differential operators

Vector calculus studies variousdifferential operator
300px, A harmonic function defined on an annulus. Harmonic functions are exactly those functions which lie in the kernel of the Laplace operator, an important differential operator.
In mathematics, a differential operator is an Operator (mathe ...

s defined on scalar or vector fields, which are typically expressed in terms of the del
Del, or nabla, is an operator used in mathematics (particularly in vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with derivative, differentiation and integral, integration of vector fields, primarily in 3-dimensional ...

operator ($\backslash nabla$), also known as "nabla". The three basic vector operator
A vector operator is a differential operator used in vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with derivative, differentiation and integral, integration of vector fields, primarily in 3-dimensional Euclidean space \m ...

s are:
Also commonly used are the two Laplace operators:
A quantity called the Jacobian matrix
In vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation
Differentiation may refer to:
Business
* Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products
* Produ ...

is useful for studying functions when both the domain and range of the function are multivariable, such as a change of variables
In mathematics, a change of variables is a basic technique used to simplify problems in which the original variables are replaced with functions
Function or functionality may refer to:
Computing
* Function key
A function key is a key on a ...

during integration.
Integral theorems

The three basic vector operators have corresponding theorems which generalize thefundamental theorem of calculus
The fundamental theorem of calculus is a theorem
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and ...

to higher dimensions:
In two dimensions, the divergence and curl theorems reduce to the Green's theorem:
Applications

Linear approximations

Linear approximations are used to replace complicated functions with linear functions that are almost the same. Given a differentiable function with real values, one can approximate for close to by the formula :$f(x,y)\backslash \; \backslash approx\backslash \; f(a,b)+\backslash tfrac\; (a,b)\backslash ,(x-a)+\backslash tfrac(a,b)\backslash ,(y-b).$ The right-hand side is the equation of the plane tangent to the graph of atOptimization

For a continuously differentiablefunction of several real variables
In mathematical analysis, and applications in geometry
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematic ...

, a point ''P'' (that is, a set of values for the input variables, which is viewed as a point in Rpartial derivative
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

s of the function are zero at ''P'', or, equivalently, if its gradient
In vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation
Differentiation may refer to:
Business
* Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products
* Prod ...

is zero. The critical values are the values of the function at the critical points.
If the function is smooth
Smooth may refer to:
Mathematics
* Smooth function
is a smooth function with compact support.
In mathematical analysis, the smoothness of a function (mathematics), function is a property measured by the number of Continuous function, continuo ...

, or, at least twice continuously differentiable, a critical point may be either a local maximum
In mathematical analysis, the maxima and minima (the respective plurals of maximum and minimum) of a function, known collectively as extrema (the plural of extremum), are the largest and smallest value of the function, either within a given ra ...

, a local minimum
In mathematical analysis, the maxima and minima (the respective plurals of maximum and minimum) of a function, known collectively as extrema (the plural of extremum), are the largest and smallest value of the function, either within a given ra ...

or a saddle point
In mathematics, a saddle point or minimax point is a Point (geometry), point on the surface (mathematics), surface of the graph of a function where the slopes (derivatives) in orthogonal directions are all zero (a Critical point (mathematics), ...

. The different cases may be distinguished by considering the eigenvalue
In linear algebra, an eigenvector () or characteristic vector of a Linear map, linear transformation is a nonzero Vector space, vector that changes at most by a Scalar (mathematics), scalar factor when that linear transformation is applied to i ...

s of the Hessian matrix
In mathematic
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity
Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in t ...

of second derivatives.
By Fermat's theorem, all local maxima and minima
In mathematical analysis
Analysis is the branch of mathematics dealing with Limit (mathematics), limits
and related theories, such as Derivative, differentiation, Integral, integration, Measure (mathematics), measure, sequences, Series (math ...

of a differentiable function occur at critical points. Therefore, to find the local maxima and minima, it suffices, theoretically, to compute the zeros of the gradient and the eigenvalues of the Hessian matrix at these zeros.
Physics and engineering

Vector calculus is particularly useful in studying: *Center of mass
In physics, the center of mass of a distribution of mass
Mass is the quantity
Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of " ...

* Field theory
*Kinematics
Kinematics is a subfield of physics, developed in classical mechanics, that describes the motion
Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position
In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes it ...

*Maxwell's equations
Maxwell's equations are a set of coupled partial differential equation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), ...

Generalizations

Different 3-manifolds

Vector calculus is initially defined forEuclidean 3-space
Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter
A parameter (from the Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek wikt:παρά#Ancient Greek, παρά, ''par ...

, $\backslash mathbb^3,$ which has additional structure beyond simply being a 3-dimensional real vector space, namely: a norm
Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to:
In academic disciplines
* Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral content of a rock
* Norm (philosophy)
Norms are concepts ( sentences) of practical import, oriented to effecting an action, rat ...

(giving a notion of length) defined via an inner product
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

(the dot product
In mathematics, the dot product or scalar productThe term ''scalar product'' is often also used more generally to mean a symmetric bilinear form, for example for a pseudo-Euclidean space. is an algebraic operation that takes two equal-length seque ...

), which in turn gives a notion of angle, and an orientation
Orientation may refer to:
Positioning in physical space
* Map orientation, the relationship between directions on a map and compass directions
* Orientation (housing), the position of a building with respect to the sun, a concept in building design ...

, which gives a notion of left-handed and right-handed. These structures give rise to a volume form In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and the ...

, and also the cross product
In , the cross product or vector product (occasionally directed area product, to emphasize its geometric significance) is a on two s in a three-dimensional (named here E), and is denoted by the symbol \times. Given two and , the cross produc ...

, which is used pervasively in vector calculus.
The gradient and divergence require only the inner product, while the curl and the cross product also requires the handedness of the coordinate system
In geometry
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position o ...

to be taken into account (see for more detail).
Vector calculus can be defined on other 3-dimensional real vector spaces if they have an inner product (or more generally a symmetric nondegenerate form
In mathematics, specifically linear algebra, a degenerate bilinear form on a vector space ''V'' is a bilinear form such that the map from ''V'' to ''V''∗ (the dual space of ''V'') given by is not an isomorphism. An equivalent definition when ' ...

) and an orientation; note that this is less data than an isomorphism to Euclidean space, as it does not require a set of coordinates (a frame of reference), which reflects the fact that vector calculus is invariant under rotations (the special orthogonal group
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

SO(3)).
More generally, vector calculus can be defined on any 3-dimensional oriented Riemannian manifold
In differential geometry
Differential geometry is a Mathematics, mathematical discipline that studies the geometry of smooth shapes and smooth spaces, otherwise known as smooth manifolds, using the techniques of differential calculus, integr ...

, or more generally pseudo-Riemannian manifold
In differential geometry
Differential geometry is a Mathematics, mathematical discipline that uses the techniques of differential calculus, integral calculus, linear algebra and multilinear algebra to study problems in geometry. The Differenti ...

. This structure simply means that the tangent space
In , the tangent space of a generalizes to higher dimensions the notion of tangent planes to surfaces in three dimensions and tangent lines to curves in two dimensions. In the context of physics the tangent space to a manifold at a point can ...

at each point has an inner product (more generally, a symmetric nondegenerate form) and an orientation, or more globally that there is a symmetric nondegenerate metric tensor
In the mathematical
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities ...

and an orientation, and works because vector calculus is defined in terms of tangent vectors at each point.
Other dimensions

Most of the analytic results are easily understood, in a more general form, using the machinery ofdifferential geometry
Differential geometry is a Mathematics, mathematical discipline that studies the geometry of smooth shapes and smooth spaces, otherwise known as smooth manifolds, using the techniques of differential calculus, integral calculus, linear algebra a ...

, of which vector calculus forms a subset. Grad and div generalize immediately to other dimensions, as do the gradient theorem, divergence theorem, and Laplacian (yielding harmonic analysis
Harmonic analysis is a branch of mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained ...

), while curl and cross product do not generalize as directly.
From a general point of view, the various fields in (3-dimensional) vector calculus are uniformly seen as being ''k''-vector fields: scalar fields are 0-vector fields, vector fields are 1-vector fields, pseudovector fields are 2-vector fields, and pseudoscalar fields are 3-vector fields. In higher dimensions there are additional types of fields (scalar/vector/pseudovector/pseudoscalar corresponding to 0/1/''n''−1/''n'' dimensions, which is exhaustive in dimension 3), so one cannot only work with (pseudo)scalars and (pseudo)vectors.
In any dimension, assuming a nondegenerate form, grad of a scalar function is a vector field, and div of a vector field is a scalar function, but only in dimension 3 or 7Lizhong Peng & Lei Yang (1999) "The curl in seven dimensional space and its applications", ''Approximation Theory and Its Applications'' 15(3): 66 to 80 (and, trivially, in dimension 0 or 1) is the curl of a vector field a vector field, and only in 3 or 7 dimensions can a cross product be defined (generalizations in other dimensionalities either require $n-1$ vectors to yield 1 vector, or are alternative Lie algebra
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities an ...

s, which are more general antisymmetric bilinear products). The generalization of grad and div, and how curl may be generalized is elaborated at Curl: Generalizations; in brief, the curl of a vector field is a bivector In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and the ...

field, which may be interpreted as the special orthogonal Lie algebra of infinitesimal rotations; however, this cannot be identified with a vector field because the dimensions differ – there are 3 dimensions of rotations in 3 dimensions, but 6 dimensions of rotations in 4 dimensions (and more generally $\backslash textstyle$ dimensions of rotations in ''n'' dimensions).
There are two important alternative generalizations of vector calculus. The first, geometric algebra
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

, uses ''k''-vector fields instead of vector fields (in 3 or fewer dimensions, every ''k''-vector field can be identified with a scalar function or vector field, but this is not true in higher dimensions). This replaces the cross product, which is specific to 3 dimensions, taking in two vector fields and giving as output a vector field, with the exterior product
In topology
s, which have only one surface and one edge, are a kind of object studied in topology.
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical struc ...

, which exists in all dimensions and takes in two vector fields, giving as output a bivector (2-vector) field. This product yields Clifford algebra
In mathematics, a Clifford algebra is an algebra over a field, algebra generated by a vector space with a quadratic form, and is a Unital algebra, unital associative algebra. As algebra over a field, ''K''-algebras, they generalize the real nu ...

s as the algebraic structure on vector spaces (with an orientation and nondegenerate form). Geometric algebra is mostly used in generalizations of physics and other applied fields to higher dimensions.
The second generalization uses differential form
In the mathematical
Mathematics (from Greek
Greek may refer to:
Greece
Anything of, from, or related to Greece
Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...

s (''k''-covector fields) instead of vector fields or ''k''-vector fields, and is widely used in mathematics, particularly in differential geometry
Differential geometry is a Mathematics, mathematical discipline that studies the geometry of smooth shapes and smooth spaces, otherwise known as smooth manifolds, using the techniques of differential calculus, integral calculus, linear algebra a ...

, geometric topology
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities an ...

, and harmonic analysis
Harmonic analysis is a branch of mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained ...

, in particular yielding Hodge theory
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It h ...

on oriented pseudo-Riemannian manifolds. From this point of view, grad, curl, and div correspond to the exterior derivative
On a differentiable manifold
In mathematics, a differentiable manifold (also differential manifold) is a type of manifold
The real projective plane is a two-dimensional manifold that cannot be realized in three dimensions without self-interse ...

of 0-forms, 1-forms, and 2-forms, respectively, and the key theorems of vector calculus are all special cases of the general form of Stokes' theorem
Stokes' theorem, also known as Kelvin–Stokes theorem
Nagayoshi Iwahori, et al.:"Bi-Bun-Seki-Bun-Gaku" :ja:裳華房, Sho-Ka-Bou(jp) 1983/12Written in Japanese)Atsuo Fujimoto;"Vector-Kai-Seki Gendai su-gaku rekucha zu. C(1)"
:ja:培風館, Ba ...

.
From the point of view of both of these generalizations, vector calculus implicitly identifies mathematically distinct objects, which makes the presentation simpler but the underlying mathematical structure and generalizations less clear.
From the point of view of geometric algebra, vector calculus implicitly identifies ''k''-vector fields with vector fields or scalar functions: 0-vectors and 3-vectors with scalars, 1-vectors and 2-vectors with vectors. From the point of view of differential forms, vector calculus implicitly identifies ''k''-forms with scalar fields or vector fields: 0-forms and 3-forms with scalar fields, 1-forms and 2-forms with vector fields. Thus for example the curl naturally takes as input a vector field or 1-form, but naturally has as output a 2-vector field or 2-form (hence pseudovector field), which is then interpreted as a vector field, rather than directly taking a vector field to a vector field; this is reflected in the curl of a vector field in higher dimensions not having as output a vector field.
See also

* Analysis of vector-valued curves *Real-valued function
Mass measured in grams is a function from this collection of weight to positive number">positive
Positive is a property of Positivity (disambiguation), positivity and may refer to:
Mathematics and science
* Converging lens or positive lens, i ...

* Function of a real variable
In mathematical analysis, and applications in geometry
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. ...

* Function of several real variables
In mathematical analysis, and applications in geometry
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematic ...

* Vector calculus identities
The following are important identities involving derivatives and integrals in vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation
Differentiation may refer to:
Business
* Differentiation (economics), th ...

* Vector algebra relations
* Del in cylindrical and spherical coordinatesThis is a list of some vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with derivative, differentiation and integral, integration of vector fields, primarily in 3-dimensional Euclidean space \mathbb^3. The term "vector calculu ...

* Directional derivative
In mathematics, the directional derivative of a multivariate differentiable function, differentiable (scalar) function along a given vector (mathematics), vector v at a given point x intuitively represents the instantaneous rate of change of the ...

* Conservative vector field
In vector calculus, a conservative vector field is a vector field that is the gradient of some function (mathematics), function. Conservative vector fields have the property that the line integral is path independent; the choice of any path betwee ...

* Solenoidal vector field
In vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with derivative, differentiation and integral, integration of vector fields, primarily in 3-dimensional Euclidean space \mathbb^3. The term "vector calculus" is sometimes use ...

* Laplacian vector field
In vector calculus
Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with derivative, differentiation and integral, integration of vector fields, primarily in 3-dimensional Euclidean space \mathbb^3. The term "vector calculus" is sometimes use ...

* Helmholtz decomposition
In physics
Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "P ...

* Orthogonal coordinates In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and the ...

* Skew coordinatesA system of skew coordinates is a curvilinear coordinate system
In geometry
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest bra ...

* Curvilinear coordinates
In , curvilinear coordinates are a for in which the s may be curved. These coordinates may be derived from a set of s by using a transformation that is (a one-to-one map) at each point. This means that one can convert a point given in a C ...

* Tensor
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...

* Geometric calculus
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space that are related ...

References

Citations

Sources

* Sandro Caparrini (2002)The discovery of the vector representation of moments and angular velocity

, Archive for History of Exact Sciences 56:151–81. * * * * Barry Spain (1965

Vector Analysis

2nd edition, link from

Internet Archive
The Internet Archive is an American digital library
A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an online databaseAn online database is a database
In computing ...

.
* Chen-To Tai (1995). A historical study of vector analysis

'. Technical Report RL 915, Radiation Laboratory, University of Michigan.

External links

* *A survey of the improper use of ∇ in vector analysis

(1994) Tai, Chen-To

Vector Analysis:

A Text-book for the Use of Students of Mathematics and Physics, (based upon the lectures of

Willard Gibbs
Josiah Willard Gibbs (; February 11, 1839 – April 28, 1903) was an American scientist who made significant theoretical contributions to physics, chemistry, and mathematics. His work on the applications of thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is ...

) by Edwin Bidwell Wilson
Edwin Bidwell Wilson (April 25, 1879 – December 28, 1964) was an American mathematician
A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topic ...

, published 1902.Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics: Vector Analysis

{{Authority control Mathematical physics