Group theory is a branch of abstract algebra. A group is a set of objects, together with a binary operation, that satisfies four axioms. The set must be closed under the operation and contain an identity object. Every object in the set must have an inverse, and the operation must be associative. ...

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Why is the “real” gauge group of the standard model $SU(3) \times SU(2) \times U(1) /N$?

In this paper John Baez says the real gauge group of the standard model is $SU(3) \times SU(2) \times U(1) /N$. Can someone explain the logic behind this line of thought? Firstly, does this group ...
9
votes
1answer
692 views

Representations of Lorentz Group

I'd be grateful if someone could check that my exposition here is correct, and then venture an answer to the question at the end! $SO(3)$ has a fundamental representation (spin-1), and tensor product ...
9
votes
1answer
200 views

What exactly do we mean by symmetry in physics?

I'm referring here to invariance of the Lagrangian under Lorentz transformations. There are two possibilities: Physics does not depend on the way we describe it (passive symmetry). We can choose ...
9
votes
2answers
729 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
344 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
2answers
2k views

Definition of Casimir operator and its properties

I'm not sure which is the exact definition of a Casimir operator. In some texts it is defined as the product of generators of the form: $$X^2=\sum X_iX^i$$ But in other parts it is defined as an ...
8
votes
2answers
474 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
762 views

Modern and complete references for the $k\cdot p$ method?

I've recently started studying the $k\cdot p$ method for describing electronic bandstructures near the centre of the Brillouin zone and I've been finding it hard to find any pedagogical references on ...
8
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2answers
303 views

Lie algebra in simple terms [closed]

My question is regarding a vector space and Lie algebra. Why is it that whenever I read advanced physics texts I always hear about Lie algebra? What does it mean to "endow a vector space with a lie ...
8
votes
3answers
482 views

What are particle multiplets in the Standard Model?

The particles of the standard model are often displayed in groupings known as multiplets. I know that this somehow relates to the underlying symmetries of the standard model, which can be viewed as ...
8
votes
4answers
322 views

What does “carry a representation” mean (in SUSY algebra)?

I come from a maths background and am struggling with some of the more physical texts on SUSY. In particular they claim that the fermionic generators $Q_A^i$ carry a representation of the Lorentz ...
8
votes
1answer
190 views

Why $SU(3)$ and not $U(3)$?

Is there a good reason not to pick $U(3)$ as the colour group? Is there any experiment or intrinsic reason that would ruled out $U(3)$ as colour group instead?
8
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1answer
258 views

Rank of the Poincare group

There are two Casimirs of the Poincare group: $$ C_1 = P^\mu P_\mu, \quad C_2 = W^\mu W_\mu $$ with the Pauli-Lubanski vector $W_\mu$. This implies the Poincare group has rank 2. Is there a way to ...
8
votes
1answer
365 views

Vector spaces for the irreducible representations of the Lorentz Group

EDIT: The vector space for the $(\frac{1}{2},0)$ Representation is $\mathbb{C}^2$ as mentioned by Qmechanic in the comments to his answer below! The vector spaces for the other representations remain ...
8
votes
2answers
246 views

Wilson Loops in Chern-Simons theory with non-compact gauge groups

VEVs of Wilson loops in Chern-Simons theory with compact gauge groups give us colored Jones, HOMFLY and Kauffman polynomials. I have not seen the computation for Wilson loops in Chern-Simons theory ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does photon have only two possible eigenvalues of helicity?

Photon is a spin-1 particle. Were it massive, its spin projected along some direction would be either 1, -1, or 0. But photons can only be in an eigenstate of $S_z$ with eigenvalue $\pm 1$ (z as the ...
8
votes
0answers
524 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
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0answers
305 views

Extended Born relativity, Nambu 3-form and ternary (n-ary) symmetry

Background: Classical Mechanics is based on the Poincare-Cartan two-form $$\omega_2=dx\wedge dp$$ where $p=\dot{x}$. Quantum mechanics is secretly a subtle modification of this. By the other hand, ...
8
votes
1answer
848 views

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

Can somebody explain in a simple way why, talking about representations $$3\otimes3\otimes3=1\oplus8\oplus8\oplus10~?$$ Here $3$ and $\bar{3}$ are the fundamental and anti-fundamental of $SU(3)$, in ...
7
votes
1answer
488 views

Different representations of the Lorentz algebra

I've found many definitions of Lorentz generators that satisfy the Lorentz algebra: ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

How to prove that proper orthochronous Lorentz transformations form a group?

Proper orthochronous Loentz transform are Lorentz transforms that satisfy the conditions (sign convention of Minkowskian metric $+---$) $$\det \Lambda=+1, \qquad \Lambda^0{}_0 \geq +1.$$ How to prove ...
7
votes
3answers
288 views

Basic Spin or Double Cover Experiment

We know that Spin is described with $SU(2)$ and that $SU(2)$ is a double cover of the rotation group $SO(3)$. This suggests a simple thought experiment, to be described below. The question then is in ...
7
votes
2answers
787 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
4answers
376 views

Coadjoint orbits in physics

I am looking for some application of coadjoint orbits in physics. If you know some of them please let me know.
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2answers
625 views

Lie group Homomorphism $SU(2) \to SO(3)$

The Lie algebra of $ \mathfrak{so(3)} $ and $ \mathfrak{su(2)} $ are respectively $$ [L_i,L_j] = i\epsilon_{ij}^{\;\;k}L_k $$ $$ [\frac{\sigma_i}{2},\frac{\sigma_j}{2}] = ...
7
votes
1answer
112 views

what compactifications of the Poincare group have been studied?

as we know the Poincare group is non-compact. Poincare invariance have been observed in velocities and energies up to $10^{20}$ eV in cosmic rays. The other day i was thinking in how $SU(2)$ ...
7
votes
1answer
60 views

Are lens spaces classified via a Weinberg angle?

I am thinking about Kaluza Klein theory in the 3 dimensional lens spaces. These have an isometry group SU(2)xU(1), generically, and in some way interpolate between the extreme cases of manifolds $S^2 ...
7
votes
2answers
437 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
1answer
267 views

Representations of the Poincare group

Which type of states carry the irreducible unitary representations of the Poincare group? Multi-particle states or Single-particle states?
7
votes
1answer
321 views

A Puzzle about $SO(3)$

Lie algebra of nonabelian group is $[T^a,T^b]=if^{abc}T^c$. For $SO(3)$ case, is the representation $T^a_{ij}=-i\epsilon^{aij}$ fundamental or adjoint? The fundamental representation is defined as ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
134 views

Group of symmetries of Lagrange's equations

Consider the following statements, for a classical system whose configuration space has dimension $d$: Lagrange equations admit a smaller group of "symmetries" (coordinate change under which ...
7
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2answers
318 views

Coherent $U(N)$ intertwiners in Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG) and a measure on the Grassmannian

This is a detailed question about $U(N)$ intertwiners in LQG, and it comes from the the paper by Freidel and Livine (2011 - archive). It is very specific but related to finding a measure on a quotient ...
7
votes
1answer
190 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
438 views

Dirac spinors under Parity transformation or what do the Weyl spinors in a Dirac spinor really stand for?

My problem is understanding the transformation behaviour of a Dirac spinor (in the Weyl basis) under parity transformations. The standard textbook answer is $$\Psi^P = \gamma_0 \Psi = ...
7
votes
1answer
176 views

Group representations as vectors and isomorphism between weights and matrix generators

This might be something basic, but it is unclear to me. So I am used to work with representations of groups as matrices. These matrices represent the structure of the Lie algebra by satisfying the ...
6
votes
2answers
293 views

Is this a simple Lie algebra?

This question comes from Georgi, Lie Alegbras in Particle Physics. Consider the algebra generated by $\sigma_a\otimes1$ and $\sigma_a\otimes \eta_1$ where $\sigma_a$ and $\eta_1$ are Pauli matrices ...
6
votes
2answers
141 views

$su(1,1) \cong su(2)$?

The three generators of $su(2)$ satisfy the commutation relations $$ [J_0 , J_\pm] = J_\pm , \quad [J_+, J_- ] = +2J_0 .$$ The three generators of $su(1,1)$ satisfy the commutation relations $$ ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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
4answers
1k views

Calculating the commutator of Pauli-Lubanski operator and generators of Lorentz group

The Pauli-Lubanski operator is defined as $${W^\alpha } = \frac{1}{2}{\varepsilon ^{\alpha \beta \mu \nu }}{P_\beta}{M_{\mu \nu }},\qquad ({\varepsilon ^{0123}} = + 1,\;{\varepsilon _{0123}} = - ...
6
votes
2answers
277 views

Galilean, SE(3), Poincare groups - Central Extension

After having learnt that the Galilean (with its central extension) with an unitary operator $$ U = \sum_{i=1}^3\Big(\delta\theta_iL_i + \delta x_iP_i + \delta\lambda_iG_i +dtH\Big) + ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Infinitesimal Lorentz transformation is antisymmetric

The Minkowski metric transforms under Lorentz transformations as \begin{align*}\eta_{\rho\sigma} = \eta_{\mu\nu}\Lambda^\mu_{\ \ \ \rho} \Lambda^\nu_{\ \ \ \sigma} \end{align*} I want to show that ...
6
votes
1answer
347 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
157 views

Decomposition of Representation Multiplication

How can the multiplication of spinor representations (of $SO(8)$) $8_+ \otimes 8_-$ be decomposed into $8_v \oplus 56_v$? Where can I read more about the decomposition rule of different ...
6
votes
1answer
166 views

Group transformations on $H_2O$

In my readings of Mirman (1995), "Group Theory: An Intuitive Approach", on p.35 he asks me to consider a so-called "water group" that has 4 transformations. I'll list them for completeness, but I'm ...
6
votes
3answers
487 views

Integrating the generator of the infinitesimal special conformal transformation

(c.f Di Francesco, Conformal Field Theory chapters 2 and 4). The expression for the full generator, $G_a$, of a transformation is $$iG_a \Phi = \frac{\delta x^{\mu}}{\delta \omega_{a}} \partial_{\mu} ...
6
votes
1answer
286 views

Why is $SU(3)$ chosen as the gauge group in QCD?

Why is $SU(3)$ chosen as the gauge group. Why not $U(3)$? Why does it even have to be unitary?
6
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2answers
507 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
106 views

Why is $\theta \over 2$ used for a Bloch sphere instead of $\theta$?

I'm a beginner in studying quantum info, and I'm a little confused about the representation of a qubit with a Bloch Sphere. Wikipedia says that we can use $$\lvert\Psi\rangle=\cos\frac{\theta}{2} ...
6
votes
1answer
112 views

In which field theories with fermions do string- and fivebrane structures not come up?

A year ago, username @Greg Graviton asked in a thread here about the Spin group as covering of the spatial rotations. A subquestion was: What other groups, even larger than SU(2) are there that ...