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 ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
1answer
234 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
487 views

Interesting topics to research in mathematical physics for undergraduates

I'm planning on getting into research in mathematical physics and was wondering about interesting topics I can get into and possibly make some progress on. I'm particularity fond of abstract algebra ...
7
votes
1answer
107 views

Simple question on the foundations of spin foam formalism

To make it simple, take the spin foam formalism of ($SU(2)$) 3D gravity. My question is about the choice of the data that will replace the (smoothly defined) fields $e$ (the triad) and $\omega$ (the ...
7
votes
1answer
520 views

Divergent Series

Why is it that divergent series make sense? Specifically, by basic calculus a sum such as $1 - 1 + 1 ...$ describes a divergent series (where divergent := non-convergent sequence of partial sums) ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Why can't any term which is added to the Lagrangian be written as a total derivative (or divergence)?

All right, I know there must be an elementary proof of this, but I am not sure why I never came across it before. Adding a total time derivative to the Lagrangian (or a 4D divergence of some 4 ...
7
votes
3answers
716 views

What is a basis for the Hilbert space of a 1-D scattering state?

Suppose I have a massive particle in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Its wavefunction can be written in the position basis as $$\vert \Psi \rangle = \Psi_x(x,t)$$ or in the momentum basis as ...
7
votes
1answer
378 views

Spin-Statistics Theorem (SST)

Please can you help me understand the Spin-Statistics Theorem (SST)? How can I prove it from a QFT point of view? How rigorous one can get? Pauli's proof is in the case of non-interacting fields, how ...
7
votes
2answers
99 views

What are the linear maps which preserve the time-like cone?

I'm looking at the set of time-like vectors: $\mathcal{T}_+ = \{ x \in \mathbb{R}^4 \mbox{ s.t. } x^T \eta x \geq 0 \:, x^0\geq 0\} $, where $\eta = \mbox{diag}(1, -1, -1, -1)$. I want to be able to ...
7
votes
1answer
212 views

Are identity types interpreted physically in an infinity-topos formulation of equations of motion?

In reference to Urs Schreibers paper/book on foundations of field theory Differential cohomology in a cohesive infinity-topos I wonder: are identity types there used "only" for the computations, or ...
7
votes
2answers
263 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
244 views

alternatives to supersymmetry and Coleman-Mandule theorem

Humour me for a minute here and let's imagine that all interesting and plausible supersymmetry models have been "cornered" out by the experimental data; what sort of alternatives are there for having ...
7
votes
2answers
302 views

Quantum mechanics on Cantor set?

Has quantum mechanics been studied on highly singular and/or discrete spaces? The particular space that I have in mind is (usual) Cantor set. What is the right way to formulate QM of a particle on a ...
7
votes
1answer
216 views

Fourier Methods in General Relativity

I am looking for some references which discuss Fourier transform methods in GR. Specifically supposing you have a metric $g_{\mu \nu}(x)$ and its Fourier transform $\tilde{g}_{\mu \nu}(k)$, what does ...
7
votes
1answer
109 views

Recommendation on mathematical physics book of Symplectic geometry

I want to learn the applications of symplectic geometry in physics. Which mathematical physics textbook will have a detailed and heuristic explanation of this aspect?
7
votes
2answers
178 views

How should I throttle my rocket to reach highest altitude? [closed]

"Real world" problem. Suppose we want to launch a rocket equipped with an engine which can be throttled as we prefer. Suppose also that the amount of fuel burnt per time is directly proportional ...
7
votes
1answer
122 views

The curvature of the space of commuting hermitian matrices

This is a question that I asked in the mathematics section, but I believe it may get more attention here. I am working on a project dedicated to the quantisation of commuting matrix models. In the ...
7
votes
1answer
138 views

Are there cases in which we should consider tensors as equivalence classes?

Usually in texts about Physics that uses tensors defines them as multilinear maps. So if $V$ is a vector space over the field $F$, a tensor is a multilinear mapping: $$T:V\times\cdots\times V\times ...
7
votes
4answers
862 views

Bounded and Unbounded (Scattering) States in Quantum Mechanics

I understand that bounded states in quantum mechanics imply that the total energy of the state, $E$, is less than the potential $V_0$ at + or - spatial infinity. Similarly, the scattering state ...
7
votes
0answers
105 views

Role of physics in the zeta function $\zeta$ and the Riemann hypothesis

Hilbert and Polya suggested a physical way to verify the Riemann hypotesis about $\zeta(x)$. If the Riemann hypotesis is true, we can state all eigenvalues of physical problems are real. What is the ...
7
votes
0answers
178 views

Understanding and deriving ellipsoidal coordinates geometrically

If one were to read old texts on mathematical physics, like Maxwell, Morse & Feshbach, Hilbert and Courant, Jacobi, etc... they'd find ellipsoidal coordinates popping up, but the authors derive ...
7
votes
0answers
284 views

When can we take the Brillouin zone to be a sphere?

When reading some literatures on topological insulators, I've seen authors taking Brillouin zone(BZ) to be a sphere sometimes, especially when it comes to strong topological insulators. Also I've seen ...
7
votes
0answers
150 views

The Integral Trick and An Equality in Nakajima's Lecture

In Nekrasov et al's series papers MNS, they calculate such kinds of integral $$ \frac{E_1 E_2}{N(2\pi i)^N(E_1+E_2) }\oint d\phi_1 \wedge d\phi_2\wedge \ldots\wedge d\phi_N \prod_{i<N} (-\phi_i) ...
7
votes
0answers
262 views

Noether currents for the BRST tranformation of Yang-Mills fields

The Lagrangian of the Yang-Mills fields is given by $$ \mathcal{L}=-\frac{1}{4}(F^a_{\mu\nu})^2+\bar{\psi}(i\gamma^{\mu} D_{\mu}-m)\psi-\frac{1}{2\xi}(\partial\cdot A^a)^2+ ...
7
votes
1answer
232 views

Reference Request: Classical Mechanics with Symplectic Reduction

I am trying to find a supplement to appendix of Cushman & Bates' book on Global aspects of Classical Integrable Systems, that is less terse and explains mechanics with Lie groups (with dual of Lie ...
7
votes
0answers
175 views

Electric potential of a spheroidal gaussian

I'm looking for results that compute the electrostatic potential due to a spheroidal gaussian distribution. Specifically, I'm looking for solutions of equations of the form $$ ...
7
votes
0answers
261 views

1-form formulation of quantized electromagnetism

In a perpetual round of reformulations, I've put quantized electromagnetism into a 1-form notation. I'm looking for references that do anything similar, both to avoid reinventing the wheel and perhaps ...
6
votes
3answers
586 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
668 views

What is the meaning of following expresion $C=\frac{\delta Q}{dT}$ mathematicly

Our professor raised the following question during our lecture in Statistical Physics (even so it's related to Thermodynamics): Many text books (even wikipedia) writes wrong expressions (from ...
6
votes
2answers
728 views

How important is mathematical proof in physics?

How important are proofs in physics? If something is mathematically proven to follow from something we know is true, does it still require experimental verification? Are there examples of things that ...
6
votes
2answers
281 views

(Un)countability in QFT

I am a mathematician self-studying physics, and a currently working on QFT with Srednicki's book. One thing that bothers me is that for a scalar field (in the Hamiltonian version) there is a ...
6
votes
2answers
345 views

Can auxiliary fields be thought of as Lagrange multipliers?

In the BRST formalism of gauge theories, the Lautrup-Nakanishi field $B^a(x)$ appears as an auxiliary variable $$\mathcal{L}_\text{BRST}=-\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}^a F^{a\,\mu\nu}+\frac{1}{2}\xi B^a B^a + ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Interesting topics to research in mathematical physics for undergraduates

I'm planning on getting into research in mathematical physics and was wondering about interesting topics I can get into and possibly make some progress on. I'm particularity fond of abstract algebra ...
6
votes
4answers
800 views

Is QFT mathematically self-consistent?

After recently going through a short program of self-study in quantum mechanics, I was surprised to find a quote attributed to Feynman essentially saying he was extremely bothered by the computational ...
6
votes
2answers
135 views

Exponential of a differential operator

I have a differential operator $L$, $\displaystyle L = i (t\frac{\partial}{\partial z} - z\frac{\partial}{\partial t})$ I can trivially hit this operator to $x,y,z$ and $t$ as $L x$, $L t$, $L y$, ...
6
votes
4answers
709 views

Connection between Poisson Brackets and Symplectic Form

Jose and Saletan say the matrix elements of the Poisson Brackets (PB) in the $ {q,p} $ basis are the same as those of the inverse of the symplectic matrix $ \Omega^{-1} $, whereas the matrix elements ...
6
votes
2answers
956 views

complex numbers in optics

I have recently studied optics. But I feel having missed something important: how can amplitudes of light waves be complex numbers? I suppose this is quite fundamental, but I do not find the answer ...
6
votes
2answers
245 views

How does the proof of operator commutativity work with non-continuous operators?

In some books, a proof that if two self-adjoint operators $A$ and $B$ share a common eigenbasis $\{\phi_n\}$, then they commute is given as follows : For any $\phi_n$, $$AB\ \phi_n = a_n\ ...
6
votes
2answers
170 views

fitting free QFTs into the Haag-Kastler algebraic formulation

Has the free Klein-Gordon quantum field theory been fitted into the Haag-Kastler algebraic framework? (Actually, John Baez told me "yes", and he should know.) If so, can you describe the basic ...
6
votes
3answers
784 views

Implications of unbounded operators in quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanical observables of a system are represented by self - adjoint operators in a separable complex Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$. Now I understand a lot of operators ...
6
votes
2answers
748 views

The derivation of fractional equations

Recently I saw some physical problems that can be modeled by equations with fractional derivatives, and I had some doubts: is it possible to write an action that results in an equation with fractional ...
6
votes
1answer
132 views

Supersymmetric generalisation of the bosonic $\sigma$ model in QM

I am reading some lecture notes which demonstrate how various models in SUSY QM can be used to obtain topological invariants such as the Euler characteristic from the Witten Index. The following ...
6
votes
3answers
191 views

Can eigenstates of a Hilbert space be thought of as delta functions?

Say we have an observable that describes a Hilbert space and that observable acts on state kets. Lets take the position observable for example. Then $\langle y|x\rangle = \delta(y - x)$. But can the ...
6
votes
2answers
255 views

Is the Green function a prescription for a connection?

I'm trying to learn connection on principal fibre bundle. As far as I can see, the connection is just a given prescription for the displaced field/function on the base space to remains on the ...
6
votes
2answers
161 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.
6
votes
2answers
175 views

When can we assume that the wavefunction is separable

While working out the stationary states of a single particle in a 3d infinite potential box ($V=0$ inside a cuboid of known dimensions, $V=\infty$ everywhere else), I realized I had to assume the ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

Determining the Hodge numbers of some orbifold examples

I'm currently reading about complex geometry in order to get a feeling of how to determine the Hodge numbers, e.g. of certain orbifold constructions. Since I'm a physicist with no deeper mathematical ...
6
votes
1answer
173 views

Physical intuition for deformation quantization of Poisson manifolds

First of all, I know almost nothing about physics. I was reading Kontsevich´s paper on Deformation quantization of Poisson manifolds, however I could not figure out what´s the intuition for such ...
6
votes
2answers
468 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
253 views

How to understand worldsheet fermion as a section?

I am reading Witten's paper on topological string, and I found some mathematical notation is hard to understand for me. Consider the nonlinear sigma model in 2 dimensions governed by maps $\Phi : ...
6
votes
1answer
159 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 ...