DO NOT USE THIS TAG just because your question involves math! If your question is on simplification of a mathematical expression, please ask it at math.stackexchange.com Mathematical physics is the mathematically rigorous study of the foundations of physics, and the application of advanced ...

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4answers
2k views

Where is the Atiyah-Singer index theorem used in physics?

I'm trying to get motivated in learning the Atiyah-Singer index theorem. In most places I read about it, e.g. wikipedia, it is mentioned that the theorem is important in theoretical physics. So my ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Jauch, Piron, Ludwig -> QFT? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is a complete book for quantum field theory? At the moment I am studying Piron: Foundations of Quantum Physics, Jauch: Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, and ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

A pedestrian explanation of conformal blocks

I would be very happy if someone could take a stab at conveying what conformal blocks are and how they are used in conformal field theory (CFT). I'm finally getting the glimmerings of understanding ...
20
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10answers
4k views

Applications of Algebraic Topology to physics

I have always wondered about applications of Algebraic Topology to Physics, seeing as am I studying algebraic topology and physics is cool and pretty. My initial thoughts would be that since most ...
25
votes
8answers
3k views

Classical mechanics without coordinates book

I am a math grad student who would like to learn some classical mechanics. The caveat is I am not to interested in the standard coordinate approach. I can't help but think of the fields that arise in ...
5
votes
2answers
878 views

Separation of variables, eigenfunctions of the Dirac operator

Disclaimer: I am not a physicist; I am a geometer (and a student!) trying to learn some physics. Please be gentle. Thanks! When solving the Schrödinger equation for a particle in a spherical ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Spherical wave as sum of plane waves

How can we do this computation? $\iiint_{R^3} \frac{e^{ik'r}}{r} e^{ik_1x+k_2y+k_3z}dx dy dz$ where $r=\sqrt{x^2+y^2+z^2}$ ? I think we must use distributions... Physically, it's equivalent to ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Hubble's law and conservation of energy

If all distances are constantly increasing, as Hubble's law say, then lots of potential energies of form ~$\frac{1}{r}$ changes, so how is the total energy of the Universe conserved with Hubble's ...
24
votes
6answers
3k views

Why does calculus of variations work?

How does it make sense to vary the position and the velocity independently? Edit: Velocity is the derivative of position, so how can you treat them as independent variables? Doesn't every physics ...
13
votes
2answers
711 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. ...
25
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13answers
3k views

Suggested reading for renormalization (not only in QFT)

What papers/books/reviews can you suggest to learn what Renormalization "really" is? Standard QFT textbooks are usually computation-heavy and provide little physical insight in this regard - after my ...
4
votes
5answers
584 views

If the size of universe doubled

My question is silly formulated, but I want to know if there is some sensible physical question buried in it: Suppose an exact copy of our universe is made, but where spatial distances and sizes are ...
5
votes
3answers
304 views

What is necessary for a causal set to be manifold-like?

A causal set is a poset which is reflexive, antisymmetric, transitive and locally finite. As a motivation, there is a programme to model spacetime as fundamentally discrete, with causal sets ...
51
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14answers
5k views

Number theory in Physics

As a Graduate Mathematics student, my interest lies in Number theory. I am curious to know if Number theory has any connections or applications to physics. I have never even heard of any applications ...
45
votes
13answers
9k views

Best books for mathematical background?

What are the best textbooks to read for the mathematical background you need for modern physics, such as, string theory? Some subjects off the top of my head that probably need covering: ...
14
votes
2answers
501 views

How do physicists use solutions to the Yang-Baxter Equation?

As a mathematician working the area of representation of Quantum groups, I am constantly thinking about solutions of the Yang-Baxter equation. In particular, trigonometric solutions. Often research ...
6
votes
3answers
587 views

Impressions of Topological field theories in mathematics

There have been recent results in mathematics regarding Conformal field theories and topological field theories. I am curious about the reaction to such results in the physics community. So I guess a ...
33
votes
8answers
3k views

Is there something similar to Noether's theorem for discrete symmetries?

Noether's theorem states that, for every continuous symmetry of a system, there exists a conserved quantity, e.g. energy conservation for time invariance, charge conservation for $U(1)$. Is there any ...