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Notation issue: Grad with a vector subscript

  1. Apr 11, 2009 #1
    I'm reading a journal article at the moment which uses a piece of notation which they dont actually define. It looks like this:

    [tex]\nabla_{\vec Q}[/tex]

    (As it happens, [tex]\vec Q[/tex] is an ordinary vector indicating the orientation of a polymer.)

    I've never seen vector subscript on the gradient symbol "[tex]\nabla[/tex]" before.

    Could anyone please tell me what [tex]\nabla[/tex] with a vector subscript usually means?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2009 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    First, since you mention polymers, I am inclined to think the symbol has more to do with chemistry than mathematics. If it really is purely mathematics then I would be inclined to think "the derivative in the direction of [itex]\vec{Q}[/itex]".
  4. Apr 12, 2009 #3
    Thanks, the derivative in the direction of the vector makes sense in context.
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