A gauge theory has internal degrees of freedom that do not affect the foretold physical outcomes of the theory. The theory has a Lie group of *continuous symmetries* of these internal degrees of freedom, *i.e.* the predicted physics under any transformation in this group on the degrees of freedom. ...

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Gauge symmetry is not a symmetry?

I have read before in one of Seiberg's articles something like, that gauge symmetry is not a symmetry but a redundancy in our description, by introducing fake degrees of freedom to facilitate ...
16
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1answer
2k views

Diff(M) as a gauge group and local observables in theories with gravity

In a gauge theory like QED a gauge transformation transforms one mathematical representation of a physical system to another mathematical representation of the same system, where the two mathematical ...
16
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4answers
2k views

To which extent is general relativity a gauge theory?

In quantum mechanics, we know that a change of frame -- a gauge transform -- leaves the probability of an outcome measurement invariant (well, the square modulus of the wave-function, i.e. the ...
16
votes
2answers
968 views

argument about fallacy of diff(M) being a gauge group for general relativity

I want to outline a solid argument (or bulletpoints) to show how weak is the idea of diff(M) being the gauge group of general relativity. basically i have these points that in my view are very solid ...
7
votes
3answers
765 views

What is the basis of gauge theory?

I’m learning about gauge concepts. I’ve always had the idea that by looking at a phenomenon from different viewpoints, that symmetries could be derived – in fact, that was what an equal sign signified....
15
votes
1answer
989 views

What is the conclusion from Aharonov-Bohm Effect?

What is the conclusion that we can draw from the Aharonov-Bohm effect? Does it simply suggest that the vector potential has measurable effects? Does it mean that it is a real observable in quantum ...
14
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3answers
3k views

Gravity as a gauge theory

Currently, (classical) gravity (General Relativity) is NOT a gauge theory (at least in the sense of a Yang-Mills theory). Why should "classical" gravity be some (non-trivial or "special" or extended)...
18
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2answers
1k views

What is (meant by) a non-compact $U(1)$ Lie group?

In John Preskill's review of monopoles he states on p. 471 Nowadays, we have another way of understanding why electric charge is quantized. Charge is quantized if the electromagnetic $U(l)_{\rm em}...
6
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3answers
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Counting degrees of freedom of gauge bosons

Gauge bosons are represented by $A_{\mu}$, where $\mu = 0,1,2,3$. So in general there are 4 degrees of freedom. But in reality, a photon (gauge boson) has two degrees of freedom (two polarization ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Is it really proper to say Ward identity is a consequence of gauge invariance?

Many (if not all) of the materials I've read claim Ward identity is a consequence of gauge invariance of the theory, while actually their derivations only make use of current conservation $\partial_\...
7
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1answer
1k views

Why mass terms are forbidden?

I would like to clarify my understanding on why mass terms in Lagrangians of gauge theories are forbidden. It's often repeated that particle masses are forbidden by electroweak symmetry because it is ...
4
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2answers
468 views

How many physical degrees of freedom does the $\mathrm{SU(N)}$ Yang-Mills theory have?

The $\mathrm{U(1)}$ QED case has two physical degrees of freedom, which is easy to understand because the free electromagnetic field must be transverse to the direction of propagation. But what are ...
5
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2answers
3k views

Gauge Invariance of the Hamiltonian of the electromagnetic field

The Hamiltonian for an electron of mass $m$ and charge $e$ in an exterior electromagnetic field is $$H=\frac{1}{2m}(p-(e/c)A)^2+e\varphi.$$ The corresponding (via canonical quantization) quantum ...
9
votes
2answers
633 views

Why do we like gauge potentials so much?

Today I read articles and texts about Dirac monopoles and I have been wondering about the insistence on gauge potentials. Why do they seem (or why are they) so important to create a theory about ...
3
votes
2answers
306 views

The meaning of potential in Bohm-Aharonov experiment

The Bohm-Aharonov experiment involves a magnetic field inside a cylinder which is zero outside that cylinder. Nonetheless it affects the electrons moving outside the cylinder. The explanation for this ...
3
votes
1answer
384 views

Reduction of Nambu Goto action to true degrees of freedom

First consider the particle $$S=m\int\sqrt{-\dot{X}^2}d\tau$$ if you choose the static gauge $\tau=X^0$ and replace it in the action you get $$=m\int\sqrt{1-\dot{X}^j\dot{X}^j}d\tau$$ So now, you ...
1
vote
1answer
259 views

Has a metric formulation of electromagnetism ever been attempted? [duplicate]

I understand that electromagnetic fields carry energy, and this energy curves spacetime gravitationally. That's not my question. I'm asking if anyone has tried to formulate electromagnetism in such ...
3
votes
2answers
405 views

Two puzzles on the Projective Symmetry Group(PSG)?

Recently I'm studying PSG and I felt very puzzled about two statements appeared in Wen's paper. To present the questions clearly, imagine that we use the Shwinger-fermion $\mathbf{S}_i=\frac{1}{2}f_i^\...
8
votes
2answers
941 views

How does non-Abelian gauge symmetry imply the quantization of the corresponding charges?

I read an unjustified treatment in a book, saying that in QED charge an not quantized by the gauge symmetry principle (which totally clear for me: Q the generator of $U(1)$ can be anything in $\mathbb{...
3
votes
2answers
504 views

primary constraints for constrained Hamiltonian systems

I would be most thankful if you could help me clarify the setting of primary constraints for constrained Hamiltonian systems. I am reading "Classical and quantum dynamics of constrained Hamiltonian ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Counting degrees of freedom for gravitational waves as a gauge field

Sean Carroll has a new popularization about the Higgs, The Particle at the End of the Universe. Carroll is a relativist, and I enjoyed seeing how he presented the four forces of nature synoptically, ...
7
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4answers
616 views

Why gauge theories have such a success?

[This question was inspired by a identical question asked on a other forum] Note that we may morally include general relativity in the gauge theories. We may have several (some are deliberately ...
9
votes
2answers
574 views

Is electric charge truly conserved for bosonic matter?

Even before quantization, charged bosonic fields exhibit a certain "self-interaction". The body of this post demonstrates this fact, and the last paragraph asks the question. Notation/ Lagrangians ...
4
votes
1answer
252 views

What is the constraint on the Gauge Potential in the Covariant Gauges?

One of the most common gauges in QED computations are the $R_{\xi}$ gauges obtained by adding a term \begin{equation} -\frac{(\partial_\mu A^{\mu})^2}{2\xi} \end{equation} to the Lagrangian. ...
10
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2answers
697 views

What is the origin of the factor of $-1/4$ in the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I have seen numerous 'derivations' of the Maxwell Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} ~=~ -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu},$$ but every one has sneakily inserted a factor of $-1/4$ without explaining why. ...
3
votes
1answer
126 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} = \...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

Hamiltonian lattice gauge theory with physically observable local degrees of freedom

In my answer at What, in simplest terms, is gauge invariance?, I mentioned that in certain contexts there can be a "gauge theory" with a local symmetry that leave the Lagrangian/Hamiltonian invariant ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Lagrangian gauge theory with physically observable local degrees of freedom

In my answer at What, in simplest terms, is gauge invariance?, I mentioned that in certain contexts there can be a "gauge theory" with a local symmetry that leave the Lagrangian/Hamiltonian invariant ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Gauge fields — why are they traceless hermitian?

A gauge field is introduced in the theory to preserve local gauge invariance. And this field (matrix) is expanded in terms of the generators, which is possible because the gauge field is traceless ...
22
votes
1answer
418 views

What, to a physicist, are instantons and the Donaldson invariants?

I study gauge theory from a mathematical perspective. To me, one of the most fundamental ideas is the notion of an instanton on a 4-manifold. To be precise, I have a Riemannian 4-manifold and a ...
11
votes
2answers
938 views

Understanding Elitzur's theorem from Polyakov's simple argument?

I was reading through the first chapter of Polyakov's book "Gauge-fields and Strings" and couldn't understand a hand-wavy argument he makes to explain why in systems with discrete gauge-symmetry only ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Gauge redundancies and global symmetries [closed]

It is often said that local (gauge) transformation is only redundancy of description of spin one massless particles, to make the number degrees of freedom from three to two. It is often said that ...
18
votes
2answers
894 views

Hilbert Space of (quantum) Gauge theory

Since quantum Gauge theory is a quantum mechanical theory, whether someone could explain how to construct and write down the Hilbert Space of quantum Gauge theory with spin-S. (Are there something ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Why is the Yang-Mills gauge group assumed compact and semi-simple?

What is the motivation for including the compactness and semi-simplicity assumptions on the groups that one gauges to obtain Yang-Mills theories? I'd think that these hypotheses lead to physically "...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Large and small gauge transformations?

I've a questions about the difference between small and large gauge transformations (a small gauge transformation tends to the identity at spatial infinity, whereas the large transformations don't). ...
7
votes
3answers
602 views

Is there any relationship between gauge field and spin connection?

For a spinor on curved spacetime, $D_\mu$ is the covariant derivative for fermionic fields is $$D_\mu = \partial_\mu - \frac{i}{4} \omega_{\mu}^{ab} \sigma_{ab}$$ where $\omega_\mu^{ab}$ are the spin ...
13
votes
4answers
914 views

Can we measure an electromagnetic field?

As far as I can check, the Aharonov-Bohm effect is not -- contrary to what is claimed in the historical paper -- a demonstration that the vector potential $A$ has an intrinsic existence in quantum ...
16
votes
2answers
498 views

Coulomb gauge fixing and “normalizability”

The Setup Let Greek indices be summed over $0,1,\dots, d$ and Latin indices over $1,2,\dots, d$. Consider a vector potential $A_\mu$ on $\mathbb R^{d,1}$ defined to gauge transform as $$ A_\mu\to ...
10
votes
1answer
236 views

Intuition for S-duality

first of all, I need to confess my ignorance with respect to any physics since I'm a mathematician. I'm interested in the physical intuition of the Langlands program, therefore I need to understand ...
9
votes
3answers
486 views

Chern-Simons degrees of freedom

I'm currently reading the paper http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9405171 by Banados. I am just getting acquainted with the details of Chern-Simons theory, and I'm hoping that someone can explain/elaborate ...
6
votes
2answers
228 views

Gauge fields and strings: Loop equations

I am trying to derive Eq. (7.25) (p. 117) of Polyakov's book: $$ \delta \Psi (C) ~=~ \int_{0}^{2\pi} {\rm P} \left(F_{\mu\nu}(x(s)) \exp \oint_C A_\mu dx^\mu \right)\dot{x}_\nu \delta x_\mu(x) \, {\...
6
votes
1answer
293 views

Weak isospin confinement?

According to the Wikipedia article on color confinement: The current theory is that confinement is due to the force-carrying gluons having color charge [...], i.e. because the gauge group is ...
3
votes
2answers
373 views

Covariant derivative applied to a vector vs. applied to a matrix?

I know there are (say) two different definitions/representations of the covariant derivative: one is the covariant derivative applied to a vector $F$, which reads as $$DF=\partial F+iAF$$ (...
7
votes
2answers
992 views

Faddeev-Popov Ghosts

When quantizing Yang-Mills theory, we introduce the ghosts as a way to gauge-fix the path integral and make sure that we "count" only one contribution from each gauge-orbit of the gauge field $A_\mu\,^...
4
votes
2answers
552 views

Diff(M) and requirements on GR observables

This question is kind of inspired in this one: Diff(M) as a gauge group and local observables in theories with gravity The conundrum i'm trying to understand is how is derived the (quite) ...
7
votes
2answers
700 views

Vector Potential for Magnetic field when the field is not in simply-connected region

According to Poincare's Lemma, if $U\subset \mathbb{R}^n$ is a star-shaped set and if $\omega$ is a $k$-form defined in $U$ that is closed, then $\omega$ is exact, meaning that there's some $(k-1)$-...
7
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2answers
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Decomposition of a vectorial field in free-curl and free-divergence fields

Is it always possible to do that decomposition? I'm asking it because Helmholtz theorem says a field on $\mathbb{R}^3$ that vanishes at infinity ($r\to \infty$) can be decomposed univocally into a ...
6
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2answers
231 views

What exactly is the weak portion of the SM gauge group?

This Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left%E2%80%93right_symmetry states that the weak part of the SM gauge group is not $SU(2)_L \times U(1)_Y$ but $ \frac{ SU(2)_L \times U(1)_Y}{\bf{...
4
votes
1answer
656 views

Clarifications needed on Gauge Fixing and Ghosts [closed]

The first time some kind of gauge fixing appears is during the Gupta-Bleuler procedure, which is used to be able to quantize the photon field: The basic gauge invariant Lagrangian leads to $\Pi_0=0$ ...
6
votes
2answers
832 views

Gauge fixing and equations of motion

Consider an action that is gauge invariant. Do we obtain the same information from the following: Find the equations of motion, and then fix the gauge? Fix the gauge in the action, and then find the ...