Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Source term in diff. equ.

  1. Feb 11, 2007 #1
    Hello everyone,

    my question is regarding the source term in ODE and PDE.
    If the region where the phenomenon (wave field, temperature,...) is observed is circumscribed to a volume not containing its source, then the differential equation becomes homogeneous (no source term) and easier.
    So why solve the inhomogeneous eqn ever, unless we are inside the source, since our volume of observation can always omit the source?
    Clearly, a source must exist somewhere to create the dusturbance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2007 #2
    Let's consider electrostatics with point charges.
    Then you are right: solving without source term is all that is needed.
    But you should realise that the domain to be considered will become more complicated if many charges are involved. And you will need to use boundary conditions around each of these charges. The simplification is a pure illusion. But there are indeed many methods to solve these problems, each with there specific advantages in specific situations.

    In the end, the quantity of information to be taken into acount remains the same.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook