It seems that https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/3710/field-in-physics-vs-field-in-math was closed by the single vote of a moderator. This is unfortunate. There is an actual question there. While I do agree that it should not be tagged as math-physics it is rather rash to close a question asking for a clarification of terms. This is a question I once asked some of my friends in physics, and I believe I know a decent answer, which I alluded to in the comments.

I also am bothered that this question was confused for a linguistic issue. On other SE sites it is not uncommon to see a question of the form "Are X and X' related? The terminology suggests they are." This is hardly a linguistic issue since people picked the names of X and X'. They possibly did so because they thought that they were related, or know that they are.

Further, I find the closure of such a good faith question by a single moderator who does not seem to understand the question very troubling. It can be seen that the question was closed 5 minutes after it was asked at the same time that the moderator left a comment saying why he was closing it.

I find this situation troubling. I know I haven't been here for a while, maybe I have missed some change in the FAQ.

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    $\begingroup$ As said in comments, some other languages have different words for these terms so there is no particular relation between two. $\endgroup$ – gigacyan Feb 13 '11 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ just because some languages have a distinction does not seem to imply to me that there can be no relation. $\endgroup$ – Sean Tilson Feb 13 '11 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ just because some languages haven't a distinction does not seem to imply to me that there can be a relation. $\endgroup$ – Kostya Feb 14 '11 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ The point is that the answer to the question is that i don't think there is a relation, but that does not make it a bad question! $\endgroup$ – Sean Tilson Feb 14 '11 at 14:05
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    $\begingroup$ Using words is risky with Noldorin around (-; $\endgroup$ – user68 Feb 14 '11 at 21:53

I don't find that question very enlightening.

The distinction between a physical field and a mathematical field is the same as the distinction between a physical scalar and a mathematical scalar:

The physics one is alleged to represent something in some sense real, and is assumed to be affected by a set of rules beyond those imposed by mathematics.

But you haven't learned anything there, you've simply described physics.

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  • $\begingroup$ This does not seem like you have described a mathematical field. The term field is used frequently in physics to mean something specific: a section of some bundle. The type of field that one is interested in often determines the bundle. Also, what do you mean by physical scalar and mathematical scalar? $\endgroup$ – Sean Tilson Feb 13 '11 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ I am also confused about those scalars. What do you mean? $\endgroup$ – Marek Feb 16 '11 at 17:17

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