# Physical interpretation of the Laplace operator

1. Jul 1, 2011

### ralqs

"physical" interpretation of the Laplace operator

Is there a "physical" interpretation of the Laplace operator, much like there exists a physical interpretation of the divergence and curl?

2. Jul 2, 2011

### I like Serena

Re: Laplacian

The divergence of an electric field indicates how strongly the field "diverges".

But an electric field can be integrated to an electric potential.
This makes the electric field the gradient of the electric potential.

Now the laplacian of an electric potential indicates how strong the field associated with the potential diverges.

3. Jul 3, 2011

### ralqs

Re: Laplacian

Is it possible you meant that the laplacian of the potential says how much the electric field diverges?

4. Jul 3, 2011

### I like Serena

Re: Laplacian

Uhh, isn't that the same thing? :uhh:

5. Jul 3, 2011

### ralqs

Re: Laplacian

Uh, woops, yes, I misread your post.

Thanks a lot!