Meaning of totally antisymmetric tensor

  1. Simple question I am confused on. If I have a tensor [itex]M^{\alpha\beta\gamma}[/itex] that is totally antisymmetric in its indices then is it the case that M changes sign under the exchange of any two indices? And as a followup, a totally symmetric tensor has no sign changes on any pair exchange of indices?


  2. jcsd
  3. quasar987

    quasar987 4,773
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    What is your definition of a tensor, and of a totally antisymmetric tensor (resp. totally symmetric tensor)?
  4. Damn I think I figured out my problem. I was going off Carroll's definition/discussion of (anti-) symmetry (Spacetime and Geometry) which implies that an exchange of a pair of indices in a totally antisymmetric tensor yields a sign change. This is fine I realize now, what is not fine is the following.

    I was looking at [itex]\partial_{\alpha}F_{\beta\gamma}[/itex]. I know that [itex]\partial_{\[\alpha}F_{\beta\gamma\]}=0[/itex] and I then INCORRECTLY assumed that [itex]\partial_{\alpha}F_{\beta\gamma}[/itex] was totally symmetric which was leading me into errors....argh....noob mistake.
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