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, the formulas for the div ergence and curl are

(confused?)

3 F

2 F

+

1F

.)

2 F

3 F

1 F

3F

R : F

2 F

= F vid

1F

For

( = F lru c

These formulas are easy to memorize using a tool called the del operator, denoted by the nabla sy mbol

. Think of as a fake v ector composed of all the partial deriv ativ es that we use just to help us

remember the formulas:

.)

,

z

( =

Although it may not seem to make sense to just hav e the partial deriv ativ es without them acting on a

function, we won't worry about that. This is just notation.

v ector with

) 3 F , 2 F , 1 F( = F

) 3F , 2F , 1F ( )

,

z

( = F

x

=

x

If we think of each multiplication in the dot product as instead being the deriv ativ e of the corresponding

, then we hav e the formula for the div ergence. So, if y ou can remember the del operator

and how to

take a dot product, y ou can easily remember the formula for the div ergence

3F

2F

+

z

F

1F

+

y

= F = F vid

x

that the dot product is a scalar product).

The curl, on the other hand, is a v ector. We know one product that giv es a v ector: the cross product. And,

y es, it turns out that

is equal to

. To see this, let's take the cross product of the

v ector with

.

F lru c

,2

( )

( =

F , 2F ,

F( )

) 1F

2F

(k + ) 1 F

1 F

k)

y

x

3F

( + j)

x

z

F

2F

1F

x

1

3F

(i =

y

2F

( + i)

z

3F

( =

y

is the same

remember the curl formula by

2F

(j )

3F

( = F

x

k

3

This is ex actly the formula we gav e abov e. So if y ou can use the rule that multiplication by

(and similar for the other deriv ativ es), then y ou can

.F = F lru c

See also

The components of the curl

The idea of the div ergence of a v ector field

The idea of the curl of a v ector field

Cite this as

Ny kamp DQ, Div ergence and curl notation. From Math Insight. http://mathinsight.org

/div ergence_curl_notation

Key words: curl, div ergence

Div ergence and curl notation by Duane Q. Ny kamp is licensed under a Creativ e Commons AttributionNoncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. For permissions bey ond the scope of this license, please contact

us.

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