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89
votes
9answers
11k views

How fast does gravity propagate?

A thought experiment: Imagine the Sun is suddenly removed. We wouldn't notice a difference for 8 minutes, because that's how long light takes to get from the Sun's surface to Earth. However, what ...
66
votes
10answers
8k views

Quantum Entanglement - What's the big deal?

Bearing in mind I am a layman - with no background in physics - please could someone explain what the "big deal" is with quantum entanglement? I used to think I understood it - that 2 particles, say ...
61
votes
8answers
11k views

Why is quantum entanglement considered to be an active link between particles?

From everything I've read about quantum mechanics and quantum entanglement phenomena, it's not obvious to me why quantum entanglement is considered to be an active link. That is, it's stated every ...
26
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views
18
votes
5answers
2k views

What combinations of realism, non-locality, and contextuality are ruled out in quantum theory?

Bell's inequality theorem, along with experimental evidence, shows that we cannot have both realism and locality. While I don't fully understand it, Leggett's inequality takes this a step further and ...
18
votes
1answer
683 views

Can the Hubble constant be measured locally?

The Hubble constant, which roughly gauges the extent to which space is being stretched, can be determined from astronomical measurements of galactic velocities (via redshifts) and positions (via ...
17
votes
1answer
412 views

Is string theory local?

By locality I mean something like the Atiyah-Segal axioms for Riemannian cobordisms (see e.g. http://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/FQFT). I.e. to any (spacelike) hypersurface in the target we associate a ...
16
votes
3answers
304 views

Uncertainty principle - momentum so precise that uncertainty of position is outside light-cone?

Thought experiment: what happens if we measure momentum of a particle so precisely, that the uncertainty of its position becomes absurd? For example, what if the uncertainty of the position exceeds 1 ...
12
votes
2answers
513 views

Locality in the scattering amplitude

Early in this talk by Nima Arkani-Hamed, he describes what locality means for scattering amplitudes. "Locality tells you that the only poles in the scattering amplitude occur when the sum of a subset ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Bell's theorem and why nonlocality is problematic

I generally hear it assumed that Bell's inequality implies violation of counterfactual definiteness, because locality is considered sacrosanct. I understand of course that measurable violations of ...
12
votes
1answer
189 views

Explaining causal completion axiom in Haag-Kastler axioms?

There are several variants of the Haag-Kastler axioms for algebraic quantum field theory. Usually one associates an algebra $\mathcal{A}(O)$ to each open region $O$ of spacetime. An often-suggested ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Do electrostatic fields really obey “action at a distance”?

In an electromagnetic theory class, my professor introduced the concept of "action at a distance in physics". He said that: If two charges are at some very large distance, and if any one of the ...
11
votes
3answers
351 views

Can someone clarify whether the recent experiment closing all remaining loopholes to Bell's Theorem really shut the door on local realism for good?

I saw this recent article on Phys.org that purports to close all remaining loopholes that previous experiments on violations of Bell's inequality left open. My question is, does this really close the ...
10
votes
1answer
331 views

Assumptions of the Coleman-Mandula Theorem

In the original paper All Possible Symmetries of the S-Matrix, by S. Coleman and J. Mandula, they prove their famous 'no go' theorem regarding the possible extensions of Poincaré symmetry. The ...
9
votes
2answers
662 views

Algebraic/Axiomatic QFT vs Topological QFT

Can anybody please tell me a good source investigating the relation between Algebraic/Axiomatic Quantum Field Theory (AQFT) and Topological Quantum Field Theory (TQFT)? Or is there none?
9
votes
3answers
6k views

Bell's theorem for dummies, how does it work?

I've been reading up on theoretical physics for a few years now and I feel like I am starting to get an understanding of particle physics, at least as much as you can from Wikipedia pages. One thing ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Quantum entanglement and spooky action at a distance

When quantum entanglement is explained in "layman's terms", it seems (to me) that the first premise, that we have to accept on faith, is that a particle doesn't have a certain property (the particle ...
8
votes
1answer
497 views

Is this field redefinition for free scalar field theory non-local?

The action of free scalar field theory is as follows: $$ S=\int d^4 x \frac{\dot{\phi}^2}{2}-\frac{\phi(m^2-\nabla^2)\phi}{2}. $$ I have been thinking to redefine field as $$\phi'(x)=\sqrt{m^2-\nabla^...
7
votes
1answer
492 views

How is the 'cluster decomposition principle' implemented in holographic theories?

Since holographic theories are non-local by definition, how is this principle implemented? Naively, it seems to me it is not, at least, in some sense. I would appreciate an explanation as simple ...
7
votes
1answer
369 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 $V_I(...
7
votes
1answer
250 views

Lorentz invariance, energy-momentum conservation & the locality of interactions

I have been reading these notes ("Minkowski Spacetime: A Hundred Years Later", by Vesselin Petkov) 1, in which the author states (in the middle of the text on page 137) that "The only Lorentz ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is lagrangian density correct?

The textbooks I have available explain that due to the infinite degrees of freedom of a field, the relevant object in QFT is the lagrangian density. A lagrangian is then obtained for the field by ...
6
votes
4answers
953 views

Locality in Quantum Mechanics

We speak of locality or non-locality of an equation in QM, depending on whether it has no differential operators of order higher than two. My question is, how could one tell from looking at the ...
6
votes
2answers
189 views

Near Energy In the Null of a Hertzian Dipole

Since $\mathbf E = -∇Φ - ∂\mathbf A/∂t$ one expects an oscillating $\mathbf E$ field even in the null of a Hertzian Dipole unless the two right hand side terms cancel -- which they do in the far field ...
6
votes
0answers
132 views

Why don't we have logarithms or exponentials of the fields in the Lagrangians?

All tbe Lagrangian densities I have seen have always been polynomials of the fields. Is this a coincidence or is there a reason forbid, say, Lagrangians with logarithms or exponentials of the fields?
6
votes
2answers
502 views

How does locality decouple the UV and IR behaviour of a QFT?

I came a comment in this paper: Scattering Amplitudes and the positive grassmannian in the last paragraph of page 104 which says: "One of the most fundamental consequences of space-time locality is ...
5
votes
3answers
960 views

Assumptions in Bell's Theorem

It is often Stated that Bell's Theorem is equivalent to the statement: No theory of Local Hidden Variables can reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics. I see nowhere in Bell's Theorem ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

How soon that a force affect another object?

Imagine this scenario: I have 2 objects in vacuum without any force exerted upon them not even a possible gravitational force between them. Now if one of them gets a gravitational or magnetic force, ...
5
votes
2answers
316 views

Commutation relations in QFT and the principle of locality

My question is, given two space-time points $x^{\mu}$ and $y^{\mu}$, if the events that occur at these points are simultaneous, i.e. $x^{0}=y^{0}$, are the two events necessarily space-like separated? ...
5
votes
1answer
210 views

If strings are infinitely extended, are they nonlocal?

To completely localize a string within any bounded region of space, no matter how large, requires an infinite energy. Does this mean strings modes are inherently nonlocal?
5
votes
1answer
554 views

Tracking down the locality assumption in a CHSH inequality derivation

CHSH inequality requires both locality and realism. I will equate here realism with counterfactual definiteness. Now counterfactual definiteness tells us that given two different measurements on the ...
5
votes
0answers
135 views

Relation between Borchers class and the LSZ formula on S-matrix equivalence

It seems well known that different quantum fields can give rise to the same $S$-matrix. I know of two ways this is described. The first is through the Borchers class of relatively local fields, i.e. ...
4
votes
2answers
615 views

Difference between locality and causality?

I ask this question as the two seem to be very closely related and are sometimes taken to be one and the same (in the notion of microcausality in QFT), which has left me confused as to what meaning of ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is known on violations of unitarity or locality?

Recently the amplituhedron become a hot topic. I realized that two of the central pillars that QFT is based on, unitarity and locality, are no longer playing an important part (due to gravitational ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

Picture of supports

This questions stems from Axiomatic Quantum Field Theory and is mathematical in nature. However, I feel that an answer from physicists is more in line with what I will be asking. Let $\phi$ be a ...
4
votes
3answers
655 views

Special conformal transformations and locality

In the conformal symmetry, used in some QFT theories, the infinitesimal generators, applying to space-time, are all linear (translations, rotations, boosts, dilatation), except the special conformal ...
4
votes
1answer
277 views

$U(1)$ abelian/axial/chiral anomaly in 4D

I am reading $U(1)$ abelian/axial/chiral anomaly in 3+1 dimensions using the path integral method (Fujikawa). Am I wrong in assuming that the anomaly can be cancelled by introducing a counter term in ...
4
votes
2answers
297 views

Non-local structure of field theory

Can someone explain what is non-local structure of field theory? I know you cannot have $\phi(x) \phi(y)$ term in Lagrangian which indicates the non-locality. However, why I cannot have the non-local ...
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Yang and Mills' (and others') justification for local gauge invariance

In most physics textbooks, local gauge invariance is simply postulated---you start with a global symmetry, e.g. the global phase, then allow it to depend on the spacetime point, make the necessary ...
4
votes
1answer
152 views

Locality defined in terms of the Lagrangian density

I've been reading through Matthew Schwartz's book "Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model" and in chapter 24 there is a section on locality (section 24.4). In it he defines locality in terms of ...
4
votes
0answers
127 views

Coincidence of spacetime events & Lorentz invariance

Am I correct in thinking that if two spacetime events are coincident in one frame of reference, then they are coincident in all frames of reference, i.e. coincidence of spacetime events is a Lorentz ...
4
votes
0answers
103 views

Locality, unitarity & vacuum energy

I've read in a set of lecture notes that the requirement of locality and unitarity in QFT imply that the vacuum must have a non-zero energy associated with it (http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.05296 , top of ...
3
votes
1answer
305 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?
3
votes
1answer
480 views

Wavefunction in quantum mechanics and locality

Every wavefunction of a form $\Psi(x)$ can be described as a superposition of multiple free particle solutions. We can see the following Fourier transform: $$ \psi(x) = \int e^{ik\cdot x} \psi(k) dk $...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Is microcausality a statement about locality?

As far as I understand it locality is the rejection of action-at-a-distance. By this I mean that in a given frame of reference at a given instant of time (in that reference frame), two physical ...
3
votes
1answer
890 views

How to understand locality and non-locality in Quantum Mechanics?

What actually is the definition of locality and non-locality? Does non-locality in Quantum Mechanics mean however far you separate 2 entangled atoms in space, the 2 atoms can still influence each ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

Exact meaning of locality and its implications on the formulation of a QFT

As far as I understand it, locality in physics is the statement that interactions can only occur between physical objects if the spacetime interval separating them is null or time-like. Thus, if the ...
3
votes
2answers
198 views

Are locality and separability two distinct notions?

Is there any difference between locality and separability in quantum mechanics, or do they mean the same thing? It seems authors do not always agree.
3
votes
2answers
186 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 l^{-6}...