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Spherical co-ord notation

  1. Sep 23, 2007 #1


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    In Griffith's "Introduction to electrodynamics" he uses the following definition for spherical coordinates:

    [tex]z=r\cos{\theta} [/tex]

    However, in all previous calculus classes, I have always used the opposite with respect to [tex]\phi[/tex] and [tex]\theta[/tex]. Anyone know why there is this conflict of notation? It is confusing as hell!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2007 #2
  4. Sep 23, 2007 #3


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    Don't get hung up on the notation. Pay attention to how these angles are defined. One is the polar angle, the other is the azimuthal angle. You can represent it with any symbol that you like, or stick a picture of a cow and a donkey on it. As long as you understand how they are defined, that's all that matters.

  5. Sep 23, 2007 #4


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  6. Sep 23, 2007 #5
    I didn't even notice that mathmos do it the other way round... how the hell did I miss that all these years?!
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