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5
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1answer
169 views

How is the direction of time determined in general relativity?

In special relativity every frame has its own unique time axis, represented in Minkowski diagrams by a fan-out of time vectors that grows infinitely dense as you approach the surface of the light cone ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

In QFT, why does a vanishing commutator ensure causality?

In relativistic quantum field theories (QFT), $$[\phi(x),\phi^\dagger(y)] = 0 \;\;\mathrm{if}\;\; (x-y)^2<0$$ On the other hand, even for space-like separation $$\phi(x)\phi^\dagger(y)\ne0.$$ ...
0
votes
3answers
378 views

What was wrong with action a distance?

It is usually said that the idea of fields was introduced (electric and magnetic fields) in electricity and magnetism after Coulomb's law to cure the conceptual problems of action at a distance. ...
21
votes
3answers
8k views

How does faster than light travel violate causality?

Let's say I have two planets that are one hundred thousand lightyears away from each other. I and my immortal friend on the other planet want to communicate, with a strong laser and a tachyon ...
7
votes
1answer
286 views

Theories with non-vanishing commutators outside the lightcone

I'm reading Weinberg's new book on Quantum Mechanics, and in Chapter 8.7 "Time-Dependent Perturbation Theory" he derives the usual Dyson series for the $S$ matrix when the interaction Hamiltonian ...
4
votes
1answer
487 views

Time-ordering in QFT

In Srednicki QFT page 37. In the derivation of LSZ reduction formula, he introduces the time-order operator $T$, so no time-dependent creation/annihilation operators are left in the transition ...
-1
votes
1answer
110 views

Grandfather Paradox [closed]

This question related to the Grandfather Paradox. Assume that time travel to the past is a reality. What experiment/test could the time traveler perform in order to determine if he is in his own ...
6
votes
1answer
623 views

Tachyonic antitelephone vs messaging through a wormhole

From the wikipedia article on tachyons: Most physicists think that faster-than-light particles cannot exist because they are not consistent with the known laws of physics.[3][5] If such particles ...
6
votes
3answers
935 views

Extended Rigid Bodies in Special Relativity

I was reading Landau & Lifshitz's Classical Theory of Fields and I noticed that they mention that an extended rigid body isn't "relativistically correct". For example, if you consider a rigid ...
15
votes
1answer
653 views

How is quantum mechanics compatible with the speed of light limit?

Consider a free electron in space. Let us suppose we measure its position to be at point A with a high degree of accuracy at time 0. If I recall my QM correctly, as time passes the wave function ...
1
vote
2answers
221 views

Causality in a gedanken experiment on the hydrogen atom

Consider a gedanken(=thought) experiment where I am tracking the motion of the electron in a hydrogen atom with a time resolution of (say) $\Delta t = 10^{-20}$ seconds. Further assume (for ...
8
votes
1answer
99 views

Hamilton operator in absence of causal order?

I hope, this question isn't too broad or vague. In a recent paper, Ognyan Oreshkov et al. worked out a theory of quantum correlations in absence of any causal order, dropping the assumptions of a ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

An issue about the compactness and the existence of CTCs

There is a well known fact that a compact spacetime necessarily contains a closed timelike curve (CTC). Proof can be found in several books on GR (e.g. Hawking, Ellis, Proposition 6.4.2), and in ...
0
votes
1answer
193 views

Information faster-than-light and GR vs. QM

What is meant by the statement that information cannot travel faster than light? If I write down something on a paper, isn't there according to QM a non-zero probability that an identical paper can ...
3
votes
2answers
169 views

Could we get rid of explicit fields derivatives in Quantum Field Theories?

For instance, if we choose the following scalar field Lagrangian, which is (I hope) Lorentz-invariant, where $l$ is a a length scale, and with a $(-1,1,1,1)$ metric: $$ \mathfrak{L}(x) \sim ...
4
votes
2answers
651 views

The order of seeing event in different spacetimes

Assume this question: Three events A, B, C are seen by observer O to occur in the order ABC. Another observer O$^\prime$ sees the events to occur in the order CBA. Is it possible that a third ...
5
votes
2answers
975 views

The Lagrangian in Scalar Field Theory

This is perhaps a naive question, but why do we write down the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\eta^{\mu\nu}\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial_{\nu}\phi - \frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2$$ as the simplest ...
0
votes
1answer
295 views

What would it take for a physical phenomenon to be telekinetic?

I've just watched an episode by MinutePhysics called "Real World Telekinesis". In it, Neil Turok (I wonder if that is his actual name; I remember playing a game called "Turok: Dinosaur Hunter" on ...
2
votes
3answers
354 views

Acausality in solving time-domain inhomogeneous differential equations with Fourier transforms?

I was always wondering about the acausal nature of solutions obtained by Fourier transforms in the case of inhomogeneous equations. The solution usually revolves around the integration of the ...
-1
votes
3answers
937 views

Using quantum entanglement to send messages back to the past [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Entanglement in time I heard that there is an experiment that uses quantum entanglement to try to send messages back to the past. I am having a hard time understanding ...
8
votes
3answers
393 views

Is the commutation of all possible operators sufficient to identify a spacelike interval?

It has been claimed (e.g. here) and apparently already been established, that the interval $x - y$ being (called) "spacelike" implies that $\bigl[\hat O (x),\, \hat O' (y)\bigr]=0$ for any two (not ...
4
votes
1answer
148 views

Causality without light

Related to my prior question: Would a species insensitive to light have developed special relativity? Imagine a species insensate to light and other em radiation. They are very attuned to sound ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the Feynman's $i\epsilon$-prescription make the Feynman propagator causal?

The Feynman propagator is non-vanishing outside the light cone, but still manages to be in accord with causality. How is this achieved? What does the $i\epsilon$-prescription have to do with this?
8
votes
8answers
837 views

Is “Causality” the equivalent of a claim that the future is predictable based on the present and the past?

In classical (Newtonian) mechanics, every observer had the same past and the same future and if you had perfect knowledge about the current state of all particles in the universe, you could ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Definitions: 'locality' vs 'causality'

I'm having trouble unambiguously interpreting many answers here due to the fact that the terms locality and causality are sometimes used interchangeably, while other times seem to mean very different ...
9
votes
9answers
1k views

What criteria distinguishes causality from retrocausality?

The brilliant philosopher David Hume remarked that if two events are always found to be correlated to each other with one event happening prior to the other, we call the earlier event the cause and ...
1
vote
3answers
132 views

How can one know if a theory allow action at a distance effects or not?

1-In general, if a theory has action at a distance effects, where can that appear exactly in the theory? 2-Does it appear in the dynamical law of the theory? (does it appear in Newton's 2nd law? ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How do electrons know which path to take in a circuit?

The current is maximum through those segments of a circuit that offer the least resistance. But how do electrons know beforehand that which path will resist their drift the least?
3
votes
0answers
105 views

experiment proposal to validate microcausality

I've been wondering about microcausality for some time now (a recent question of mine regarding the topic) and i'm wondering if its possible to devise an experiment to detect potential violations I ...
0
votes
0answers
278 views

Hardy's Theorem

https://perimeterinstitute.ca/psi_portal/sites/perimeterinstitute.ca.psi_portal/files/hardyphysrevlett.68.2981.pdf Some researchers in Bohmian Mechanics have hoped to make the theory Lorentz ...
1
vote
1answer
127 views

Cosmic Background Radiation: How did planets form before the CBR could reach us?

I've understood that the Cosmic Background Radiation(CBR) is an electromagnetic wave that originated from the big bang. However, we now live on a planet which that is also originating from the big ...
8
votes
4answers
699 views

Event horizons without singularities

Someone answered this question by saying that black hole entropy conditions and no-hair theorems are asymptotic in nature -- the equations give an ideal solution which is approached quickly but never ...
13
votes
1answer
549 views

Backward causality: A question/extension to Ma et al.'s “Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping”

In a philosophically rather interesting experiment, Ma et al. show that backward causality exists in quantum physics. An Ars Technnica-article gives a less technical account. From Ars Technica: ...
5
votes
3answers
227 views

Analyticity and Causality in Relativity

A few weeks ago at a conference a speaker I was listening to made a comment to the effect that a function (let's say scalar) cannot be analytic because otherwise it would violate causality. He didn't ...
6
votes
4answers
850 views

What is the physical definition of causality?

Maxwell's equations give a physical relationship between the electric and magnetic fields $\vec E$, $\vec B$ at the same time, which some interpret as changes in one causes changes in the other etc. I ...
3
votes
2answers
102 views

What is wrong in this representation of relative reference systems?

Up until now I've explained relative time to myself as looking at the 3D world from different four-dimensional perspectives, analogous to how looking at a 2D-ish object (eg. a sheet of paper) from ...
7
votes
2answers
644 views

the causality and the anti-particles

How can I quantitatively and qualitatively understand the fact that there is a relevence between the existence of anti-particles and the causality?
5
votes
3answers
407 views

How can we know, today, that there's something from 100 light-years from here?

In my understanding, to take a picture of something that is 100 light-years from here, our "camera" would have to travel 100 years at light speed, take the picture, send to us, and 100 years later we ...
0
votes
3answers
229 views

Do we know how matter moves matter?

I was surprised when reading an apologetics book recently that attempted a rebuttal of the claim that "An immaterial mind cannot interact with the physical order." Here was the response: How could ...
5
votes
1answer
106 views

Quantum causal structure

We take causal structure to be some relation defined over elements which are understood to be morphisms of some category. An example of such a relation is a domain, another is a directed acyclic ...
13
votes
3answers
906 views

Does a Weak Energy Condition Violation Typically Lead to Causality Violation?

In the answer to this question: ergosphere treadmills Lubos Motl suggested a straightforward argument, based on the special theory of relativity, to argue that light passing through a strong ...
8
votes
2answers
489 views

Is eternal inflation and the multiverse compatible with causal patch complementarity?

The argument for eternal inflation is we have some patch of metastable vacuum with positive cosmological constant, and so it expands exponentially a la de Sitter. Most of the patch decays to something ...
4
votes
4answers
685 views

Causality and Determinism

If one has a deterministic model of physics, why is causality so important? Let's work in a fixed frame. Suppose that event A in the future causes event B, which happens before event A. Now, given ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

on causality and The Big Bang Theory

With the notion of causality, firmly fixed by GR, we derived the concept of a singular point from where space-time begun. Causality alone gives us the possibility to talk about a known past (i.e. ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

In superluminal phase velocities, what is it that is traveling faster than light?

I understand that information cannot be transmitted at a velocity greater than speed of light. I think of this in terms of the radio broadcast: the station sends out carrier frequencies $\omega_c$ but ...
4
votes
3answers
296 views

Is causality synonymous with continuity?

In general relativity, we use the term "time-like" to state that two events can influence one another. In fact, in order for an event to physically interact with another one, they have to be ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Does magnetic propagation follow the speed of light?

Does magnetic propagation follow the speed of light? E.g. if you had some magnet of incredible strength and attached an iron wire that is one light year long to it, would the other end of the iron ...
1
vote
4answers
384 views

Does time have a special status in general relativity?

In a lot of laymen explanations of general relativity it is implied that the four dimensions of the space-time are equivalent, and we perceive time as different only because it is embedded in our ...
62
votes
8answers
6k views

The speed of gravity?

Sorry for the layman question, but it's not my field. Suppose this thought experiment is performed. Light takes 8 minutes to go from the surface of the Sun to Earth. Imagine the Sun is suddenly ...
9
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9answers
1k views

Is causality a formalised concept in physics?

I have never seen a “causality operator” in physics. When people invoke the informal concept of causality aren’t they really talking about consistency (perhaps in a temporal context)? For example, if ...