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21
votes
4answers
2k views

Could the Periodic Table have been done using group theory?

These three questions are phrased as alternative-history questions, but my real intent is to understand better how well different modeling approaches fit the phenomena they are used to describe; see 1 ...
18
votes
6answers
901 views

Tensor Operators

Motivation. I was recently reviewing the section 3.10 in Sakurai's quantum mechanics in which he discusses tensor operators, and I was left desiring a more mathematically general/precise discussion. ...
16
votes
2answers
505 views

Why are only linear representations of the Lorentz group considered as fundamental quantum fields?

As described in many Q&As around here, fundamental quantum fields are expressed as irreducible representations of the Lorentz group. This argument is entirely clear - we live in a ...
14
votes
2answers
468 views

Fundamental Representation of $SU(3)$ is a complex representation

Let in a $D(R)$ dimensional representation of $SU(N)$ the generators, $T^a$s follow the following commutation rule: $\qquad \qquad \qquad [T^a_R, T^b_R]=if^{abc}T^c_R$. Now ...
13
votes
2answers
724 views

Is the G2 Lie algebra useful for anything?

Seems like all the simpler Lie algebras have a use in one or another branch of theoretical physics. Even the exceptional E8 comes up in string theory. But G2? I've always wondered about that one. ...
13
votes
2answers
605 views

What does a $SU(2)$ doublet really mean?

What do we really mean when we say that the neutron and proton wavefunctions together form an $SU(2)$ doublet? What is the significance of this? What does this transformation really doing to the ...
13
votes
1answer
838 views

What is a general definition of the spin of a particle?

In quantum field theory, one defines a particle as a unitary irreducible representations of the Poincaré group. The study of these representations allows to define the mass and the spin of the ...
13
votes
2answers
111 views

Uniqueness of supersymmetric heterotic string theory

Usually we say there are two types of heterotic strings, namely $E_8\times E_8$ and $Spin(32)/\mathbb{Z}_2$. (Let's forget about non-supersymmetric heterotic strings for now.) The standard argument ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Trace and adjoint representation of $SU(N)$

In the adjoint representation of $SU(N)$, the generators $t^a_G$ are chosen as $$ (t^a_G)_{bc}=-if^{abc} $$ The following identity can be found in Taizo Muta's book "Foundations of Quantum ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I construct the $SU(2)$ representation of the Lorentz Group using $SU(2)\times SU(2)\sim SO(3,1)$ ?

This question is based on problem II.3.1 in Anthony Zee's book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (I'm reading this for fun- it isn't a homework problem.) Show, by explicit calculation, that ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Adding 3 electron spins

I've learned how to add two 1/2-spins, which you can do with C-G-coefficients. There are 4 states (one singlet, three triplet states). States are symmetric or antisymmetric and the quantum numbers ...
12
votes
1answer
562 views

Is this a quaternion representation of the equations of motion of General Relativity?

In The Quaternion Group and Modern Physics by P.R. Girard, the quaternion form of the general relativistic equation of motion is derived from $du'/ds = (d a / d s ) u {a_c}^* + a u ( d {a_c}^* / ...
12
votes
0answers
482 views

Wick rotation and spinors

I am quite familiar with use of Wick rotations in QFT, but one thing annoys me: let's say we perform it for treating more conveniently (ie. making converge) a functional integral containing spinors; ...
11
votes
3answers
166 views

Is the neutral pion a singlet?

In Griffiths' Introduction to Elementary Particles, it is mentioned p. 179 that the $\pi^0$ is a singlet under $SU(2)$ isospin. But it is also part of the $\pi^-,\pi^0,\pi^+$ isospin triplet. How can ...
11
votes
2answers
219 views

When are there enough Casimirs?

I know that a Casimir for a Lie algebra $\mathfrak{g}$ is a central element of the universal enveloping algebra. For example in $\mathfrak{so}(3)$ the generators are the angular momentum operators ...
11
votes
2answers
535 views

How to prove $(\gamma^\mu)^\dagger=\gamma^0\gamma^\mu\gamma^0$?

Studying the basics of spin-$\frac{1}{2}$ QFT, I encountered the gamma matrices. One important property is $(\gamma^5)^\dagger=\gamma^5$, the hermicity of $\gamma^5$. After some searching, I stumbled ...
10
votes
2answers
513 views

Groups acting on physics - a clarification on electrons and spin

My first question is fairly basic, but I would like to clarify my understanding. The second question is to turn this into something worth answering. Consider a relativistic electron, described by a ...
10
votes
2answers
422 views

$\mathrm{SU(3)}$ decomposition of $\mathbf{3} \otimes \mathbf{\bar{3}} = \mathbf{8} \oplus \mathbf{1}$?

I have a question about the tensor decomposition of $\mathrm{SU(3)}$. According to Georgi (page 142 and 143), a tensor $T^i{}_j$ decomposes as: \begin{equation} \mathbf{3} \otimes \mathbf{\bar{3}} = ...
10
votes
2answers
483 views

Introduction to spinors in physics, and their relation to representations

First, I shall say that I am familiar with the intuitive idea that a spinor is like a vector (or tensor) that only transforms "up to a sign" when acted on by the rotation group. I have even rotated a ...
9
votes
1answer
612 views

Identification of the state of particle types with representations of Poincare group

In the second chapter of the first volume of his books on QFT, Weinberg writes in the last paragraph of page 63: In general, it may be possible by using suitable linear combinations of the ...
9
votes
2answers
178 views

From representations to field theories

The one-particle states as well as the fields in quantum field theory are regarded as representations of Poincare group, e.g. scalar, spinor, and vector representations. Is there any systematical ...
9
votes
3answers
232 views

The $U(1)$ charge of a representation

My question is about the reduction of a representation of a group $SU(5)$ to irreps of the subgroup $SU(3)\times SU(2) \times U(1)$. For example the weights of the 10 dimensional representation of ...
9
votes
1answer
155 views

Why Lorentz group for fields and Poincaré group for particles?

Wigner treatment associates to particles the irreps of the universal covering of the Poincaré group $$\mathbb{R}(1,3)\rtimes SL(2,\mathbb{C}).$$ Why don't we consider finite dimensional ...
9
votes
2answers
581 views

Schwinger representation of operators for n-particle 2-mode symmetric states

A bosonic (i.e. permutation-symmetric) state of $n$ particles in $2$ modes can be written as a homogenous polynomial in the creation operators, that is $$\left(c_0 \hat{a}^{\dagger n} + c_1 ...
8
votes
1answer
244 views

link between real particles, representation of algebra and Young tableau

I know that different representations of this algebra correspond to different spin. One can sort the representation according to the casimir. For any simple Lie algebra, the operator $$ T^2 = ...
8
votes
1answer
132 views

Complex Representation of a gauge group and a Chiral Gauge Theory

In this John Preskill et al paper, a statement is made in page 1: We will refer to a gauge theory with fermions transforming as a complex representation of the gauge group as a chiral gauge ...
8
votes
1answer
213 views

Why do we classify states under covering groups instead of the group itself?

Why do we always classify states under covering group representations instead of the group itself? For example see the following picture I lifted from 'Symmetry in physics' by Gross So in the first ...
8
votes
2answers
144 views

Seeking a quality plain-language description of the Wigner-Eckart theorem

I'm a third year physics undergrad with a very cursory knowledge of quantum mechanics and the formalism involved. For instance, I understand roughly how tensors work and what it means for a tensor to ...
8
votes
0answers
371 views

Why do we identify symmetric 2nd rank tensors with spin-2 particles in string theory?

I am going through Tong's lecture notes on String Theory and came across the following irrep decomposition (Chap 2, p.43) of the bosonic string first excited states: $$\text{traceless symmetric} ...
8
votes
0answers
553 views

Decomposing a Tensor Product of $SU(3)$ Representations in Irreps

Can somebody explain in a simple way why, talking about representations, $3\otimes3=3\oplus6$, $3\otimes\bar{3}=1\oplus8$ and $3\otimes3\otimes3=1\oplus8\oplus8\oplus10$? Here $3$ and $\bar{3}$ are ...
7
votes
2answers
404 views

$(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ representation of $SU(2)\otimes SU(2)$

The representation $(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ of the Lorentz group correspond to a four- vector or a spin-one object. Right? Does it imply that any four-vector is identical to a spin-one object or ...
7
votes
2answers
847 views

Irreducible Representations Of Lorentz Group

In Weinberg's The Theory of Quantum Fields Volume 1, he considers classification one-particle states under inhomogeneous Lorentz group. My question only considers pages 62-64. He define states as ...
7
votes
2answers
672 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
263 views

Double connectivity of $SO(3)$ group manifold

Is there any physical significance of the fact that the group manifold (parameter space) of $SO(3)$ is doubly connected? EDIT 1: Let me clarify my question. It was too vague. There exists two ...
7
votes
2answers
410 views

Why does $\mathcal L = -\frac14 F^{\mu\nu} F_{\mu\nu}$ imply Photons are massless?

The Lagrangian $\mathcal L = -\frac14 F^{\mu\nu} F_{\mu\nu}$ with $F_{\mu\nu} = \partial_\mu A_\nu - \partial_\nu A_\mu$ results in the four-potential's equation of motion $$ \underbrace{\partial^\mu ...
7
votes
5answers
724 views

The role of representation theory in QM/QFT?

I need help understanding the role of representation theory in QM/QFT. My understanding of representation theory in this context is as follows: there are physical symmetries of the system we are ...
7
votes
1answer
968 views

Representation of the Galileo Group and Central Charges

I've arrived at this question because I've been reading Weinberg's Quantum Theory of Fields Volume I, and I'm in the second chapter about relativistic quantum mechanics. Weinberg discusses the ...
7
votes
2answers
926 views

Why is the string theory graviton spin-2?

In string theory, the first excited level of the bosonic string can be decomposed into irreducible representations of the transverse rotation group, $SO(D-2)$. We then claim that the symmetric ...
6
votes
2answers
682 views

Do generators belong to the Lie group or the Lie algebra?

In Physics papers, would it be correct to say that when there is mention of generators, they really mean the generators of the Lie algebra rather than generators of the Lie group? For example I've ...
6
votes
1answer
538 views

Modes of a QFT and irreducible representation of the gauge group

This is in reference to the calculation in section 3.3 starting page 20 of this paper. I came across an argument which seems to say that the "constraint of Gauss's law" enforces gauge theory on ...
6
votes
2answers
257 views

Tensor decomposition under $\mathrm{SU(3)}$

In Georgi's book (page 143), he calculates the tensor components of $3\otimes 8$ under the $\mathrm{SU(3)}$ explicitly using tensor components. Namely; $u^{i}$ (a $3$) times $v^{j}_k$ (an $8$, meaning ...
6
votes
2answers
618 views

Why does adjoint representation matter in some field theories?

Recently I am reading a paper about monopoles. In several cases, it seems that writing fields in adjoint representation of the gauge group makes a difference. Once it leads to different group after ...
6
votes
1answer
354 views

Vector and Spinor Representation in Ramond-Neveu-Schwarz Superstring Theory

I am learning Ramnond-Neveu-Schwarz Superstring theory (RNS theory). I often find the following notation, especially in the closed string spectrum etc.: $$\mathbf{8}_s,\mathbf{8}_v $$ And it is ...
6
votes
1answer
160 views

Are group representations possible when the solution space is not a vector space?

As far as I understand, the motivation for using representation theory in high energy physics is as follows. Assume that a theory has some (internal or external) symmetry group which acts on a vector ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

Why zero modes of the internal Dirac operator must be in representations of the isometry group of the compact space

Imagine a manifold $\mathbb{R}^{1,3}\times{}B$ where $B$ is a compact group-manifold with isometry group $U(1)\times{}SU(2)\times{}SU(3)$. Let's consider the Dirac equation for a massless Spinor ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

Symmetries in physics

Can you explain me some of the mathematical details of such concept as symmetries? In physics, we have some manifold, and fields are functions on this manifold. On the one hand, we have symmetries of ...
6
votes
1answer
235 views

Equivalent Representations of Clifford Algebra

I'm reviewing David Tong's excellent QFT lecture notes here and am a little confused by something he writes on page 94. We've considered the standard chiral representation of the Clifford Algebra, ...
6
votes
0answers
248 views

Coupling Coefficients in SO(4)

I have two equations (from two distinct authors) for the decomposition of a coupling coefficient of SO(4) (i.e. Wigner 3j-symbol for SO(4)). In the first: ...
5
votes
2answers
262 views

Rotation Group and Lorentz Group

It is often stated that rotations in the 3 spatial dimensions are examples of Lorentz transformations. But Lorentz transformations form a group named the Lorentz Group, $O(1,3)$ which is a group a ...
5
votes
3answers
434 views

The Asymmetry between Real and Imaginary in the three Pauli Spin Matrices

The Pauli spin matrices $$ \sigma_1 ~=~ (\begin{smallmatrix} 0 & 1 \\ 1 & 0 \end{smallmatrix}), \qquad\qquad \sigma_2 ~=~ (\begin{smallmatrix} 0 & -i \\ i & 0 ...