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36
votes
9answers
2k views

Why are differential equations for fields in physics of order two?

What is the reason for the observation that across the board fields in physics are generally governed by second order (partial) differential equations? If someone on the street would flat out ask ...
59
votes
10answers
8k views

What is a field, really?

There was a reason why I constantly failed physics at school and university, and that reason was, apart from the fact I was immensely lazy, that I mentally refused to "believe" more advanced stuff ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Quantum Field Theory

While deriving Hamiltonian from Lagrangian density, we use the formula $$\mathcal{H} ~=~ \pi \dot{\phi} - \mathcal{L}.$$ But since we are considering space and time as parameters, why the formula ...
19
votes
1answer
699 views

Why does charge conservation due to gauge symmetry only hold on-shell?

While deriving Noether's theorem or the generator(and hence conserved current) for a continuous symmetry, we work modulo the assumption that the field equations hold. Considering the case of gauge ...
9
votes
4answers
485 views

Is the Lagrangian of a quantum field really a 'functional'?

Weinberg says, page 299, The quantum theory of fields, Vol 1, that The Lagrangian is, in general, a functional $L[\Psi(t),\dot{\Psi}(t)$], of a set of generic fields $\Psi[x,t]$ and their time ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why can't General Relativity be written in terms of physical variables?

I am aware that the field in General Relativity (the metric, $g_{\mu\nu}$) is not completely physical, as two metrics which are related by a diffeomorphism (~ a change in coordinates) are physically ...
26
votes
1answer
4k views

Differentiating Propagator, Greens function, Correlation function, etc

For the following quantities respectively, could someone write down the common definitions, their meaning, the field of study in which one would typically find these under their actual name, and most ...
29
votes
1answer
1k views

Can lightning be used to solve NP-complete problems?

I'm a MS/BS computer science guy who is wondering about why lightning can't (or can?) be used to solve NP complete problems efficiently, but I don't understand the physics behind lightning, so I'm ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

How do we know what type of gauge field to add to a theory?

I've been watching Leonard Susskind's particle physics lectures and in one lecture, he discusses a very simple gauge theory. We have a complex scalar field $\phi(x)$ with Lagrangian $$\mathscr{L} = ...
2
votes
1answer
198 views

Local versus non-local functionals

I'm new to field theory and I don't understand the difference between a "local" functional and a "non-local" functional. Explanations that I find resort to ambiguous definitions of locality and then ...
18
votes
1answer
469 views

Is there a field equation which can reduce into all three flavors of spin (zero, one, one half)?

Is there a known particle field equation of a similar form $$ \begin{equation} (\Gamma^n \pi_n)^2 \Psi = (mc)^2 \Psi \tag{1} \end{equation} $$ such that by reducing the number of degrees of freedom ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does a Field Theory mean?

What exactly is a field theory? How do we classify theories as field theories and non field theories? EDIT: After reading the answers I am under the impression that almost every theory is a ...
3
votes
2answers
128 views

Classical EM : clear link between gauge symmetry and charge conservation

In the case of classical field theory, Noether's theorem ensures that for a given action $$S=\int \mathrm{d}^dx\,\mathcal{L}(\phi_\mu,\partial_\nu\phi_\mu,x^i)$$ that stays invariant under the ...
6
votes
1answer
277 views

Noether's identities

I have some questions about the Noether's second theorem (generally not covered by field theory books): What is the most general Noether identity for (classical) field theories? Why are Noether ...
6
votes
1answer
909 views

The equipartition theorem in momentum space

Motivated by the answers to this question on turbulence, I'm interested in an explanation and/or derivation/reference of the equipartition theorem in momentum space. To formulate it as a question: ...
7
votes
3answers
304 views

If particles are excitations what are their fields?

After reading these : http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/july-2013/real-talk-everything-is-made-of-fields http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=682522 It was clear to me that all ...
6
votes
2answers
413 views

From Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Fermionic Model

While going from a given Lagrangian to Hamiltonian for a fermionic field, we use the following formula. $$ H = \Sigma_{i} \pi_i \dot{\phi_i} - L$$ where $\pi_i = \dfrac{\partial L}{\partial ...
3
votes
1answer
804 views

Need for a side book for E.Soper`s Classical Theory Of Fields.

I am reading now E Soper Classical Theory Of Fields now and sometimes it is very hard to follow the equations.So I need a side book to read it comfortably.Landau`s book is not helping as its content ...
1
vote
2answers
198 views

Is $\frac{\partial}{\partial \Phi(y)} \Phi (x) = \delta(x-y)$ correct?

As stated in the heading: Is $\frac{\partial}{\partial \Phi(y)} \Phi (x) = \delta(x-y)$ correct? Here denotes $\Phi(x)$ denotes a scalar field. And if yes, why? Any reference where I can read about ...
0
votes
2answers
240 views

Derrick’s theorem

Consider a theory in D spatial dimensions involving one or more scalar fields $\phi_a$, with a Lagrangian density of the form $$L= \frac{1}{2} G_{ab}(\phi) \partial_\mu \phi_a \partial^\mu \phi_b- ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

Definition of Local Function

Now a days I am studying Srednicki's QFT book. In its third chapter it is written that Any local function of φ(x) is a Lorentz scalar, [...] . Now my question is: What is a local function?
10
votes
1answer
406 views

Auxiliary fields in supersymmetry

I know that auxiliary fields can be used to close the supersymmetry algebra in case the bosonic and fermionic on-shell degrees of freedom do not match. Could somebody please elaborate on this concept ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

History of Electromagnetic Field Tensor

I'm curious to learn how people discovered that electric and magnetic fields could be nicely put into one simple tensor. It's clear that the tensor provides many beautiful simplifications to the ...
10
votes
1answer
284 views

Energy-Momentum Tensor in QFT vs. GR

What is the correspondence between the conserved canonical energy-momentum tensor, which is $$ T^{\mu\nu}_{can} := \sum_{i=1}^N\frac{\delta\mathcal{L}_{Matter}}{\delta(\partial_\mu f_i)}\partial^\nu ...
8
votes
1answer
258 views

Noether currents in QFT

I am trying to organize my knowledge of Noether's theorem in QFT. There are several questions I would like to have an answer to. In classical field theory, Noether's theorem states that for each ...
12
votes
1answer
698 views

Could this model have soliton solutions?

We consider a theory described by the Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L}=i\bar{\Psi}\gamma^\mu\partial_\mu\Psi-m\bar{\Psi}\Psi+\frac{1}{2}g(\bar{\Psi}\Psi)^2$$ The corresponding field equations are, ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the essence of BCFW recursion techniques?

I have recently briefly read about new methods as the Britto-Cachazo-Feng-Witten (BCFW) on-shell recursion method. Can anybody please tell me about the essence of it? What does it mean for the ...
12
votes
2answers
812 views

What is the nature of electric field? is it quantized? is it a wave?

What I seek here is to understand whether the electric field in its pure form as in between the electron and the proton is uniform or does it have some kind of wave/particle nature or both, does it ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

The Euler-Lagrange equation in special relativity

How can I derive the Euler-Lagrange equations valid in the field of special relativity? Specifically, consider a scalar field.
6
votes
3answers
569 views

What are fields?

I'm following my first course in field theory and the professor began, like many books do, by introducing the scalar field. However, I am a bit hesitant about the physical idea of fields. My question ...
4
votes
2answers
175 views

What guarantees the existence of unitary operators implementing Lorentz Transformations?

This should be a very basic question. In introductory QFT books, often one of the first things we see is the following claim: for every Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$, we can associate an unitary ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Local and Global Symmetries

Could somebody point me in the direction of a mathematically rigorous definition local symmetries and global symmetries for a given (classical) field theory? Heuristically I know that global ...
8
votes
1answer
204 views

Boundary currents for Asymptotic Symmetry Group (ASG)

In the context of asymptotic symmetry groups, what is a boundary current? Why is it called a "current"? Context: I'm reading Strominger's recent paper on Asymptotic symmetry group of Yang-Mills ...
5
votes
2answers
562 views

Winding number in the topology of magnetic monopoles

I am reading on magnetic monopoles from a variety of sources, eg. the Jeff Harvey lectures.. It talks about something called the winding $N$, which is used to calculate the magnetic flux. I searched ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Conceptual question about field transformation

(c.f Conformal Field Theory by Di Francesco et al, p39) From another source, I understand the mathematical derivation that leads to eqn (2.126) in Di Francesco et al, however conceptually I do not ...
4
votes
1answer
505 views

QED BRST Symmetry

This is a homework problem that I am confused about because I thought I knew how to solve the problem, but I'm not getting the result I should. I'll simply write the problem verbatim: "Consider QED ...
3
votes
1answer
278 views

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect Noethers theorem?

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect the existence of a conserved charge? And how does depend on whether we look at a classical or a quantum field theory (e.g. the weak interacting theory)? ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Hamiltonian field equations constraints

Let's consider the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}~=~-\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi^\nu)^2+\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi^\mu)^2+\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi_\mu \phi^\mu,$$ with Minkowski metric $\eta_{\mu\nu}={\rm ...
2
votes
2answers
145 views

Does Bell's theorem sort out local field theories?

For example the Maxwell's equations is a local theory. It's a set of differential equations that describe how should the state at a point change based on its neighbourhood. Counter example: Newtonian ...
1
vote
0answers
82 views

Sign of Feynman rules with derivative couplings

Feynman rules for derivative couplings always make me confused. For example, the derivative in $gV^\mu\phi^+\partial_\mu\phi^-$ will give you $\pm ip_{-\mu}$, where $\pm$ depends on whether the ...
8
votes
2answers
334 views

Does Noether's theorem also give rise to quantities conserved over space?

Noether's theorem gives rise to quantities that are conserved over time. But does it also give rise to quantities that are conserved over space?
6
votes
3answers
997 views

Gauge fixing choice for the gauge field $A_0$

In many situations, I have seen that the the author makes a gauge choice $A_0=0$, e.g. Manton in his paper on the force between the 't Hooft Polyakov monopole. Please can you provide me a ...
5
votes
3answers
462 views

Meaning of kinetic part in the Lagrangian density?

What is the physical meaning of the kinetic term in the classical scalar field Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}_{kin}~=~\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi)(\partial^\mu\phi)~?$$ It gives how does the field change ...
5
votes
2answers
593 views

Are there solitary waves in $\phi^4$ theory in 3+1 dimensions?

In 3+1 dimensions with signature +1 -1 -1 -1, $$ \mathcal{L}= \frac{1}{2}\partial^\mu\phi\partial_\mu\phi -\phi^2/2 -\phi^4/4$$ field equation: $$\square\phi+\phi+\phi^3=0$$ (check this) ...
4
votes
2answers
878 views

Coordinate Transformation of Scalar Fields in QFT

By definition scalar fields are independent of coordinate system, thus I would expect a scalar field $\psi [x]$ would not change under the transformation $x^\mu \to x^\mu + \epsilon^\mu $. Correct? ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Lagrangian description of Brownian motion?

I'm interested in the existence of a Lagrangian field theory description of Bronwnian motion, does such a thing exist? Given a particle of some spin $\sigma$, which has a Lagrangian associated with ...
3
votes
0answers
479 views

The connection between classical and quantum spins

I have two questions, which are connected with each other. The first question. In a classical relativistic (SRT) case for one particle can be defined (in a reason of "antisymmetric" nature of ...
2
votes
1answer
49 views

What is it that Lagrangian density with only bilinear terms always corresponds to free field theory?

Is there an intuitive proof of this fact? (Maybe connected in some way to Central Limit Theorem?).
2
votes
4answers
342 views

Poincare invariant Lagrangians

The Lagrangian density of a Poincare invariant theory should not depend explicitly on the space-time coordinates. Does this mean $$ \partial_\mu \mathcal{L}=0~? $$ If this is the case doesn't the ...