The systematic study of group representations, which describe abstract groups in terms of linear transformations of vector spaces, such that group elements or their generators are represented as matrices, reducing group-theoretic problems to linear-algebraic ones.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

30
votes
3answers
2k views

Idea of Covering Group

$SU(2)$ is the covering group of $SO(3)$. What does it mean and does it have a physical consequence? I heard that this fact is related to the description of bosons and fermions. But how does it ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Mathematically, what is color charge?

A similar question was asked here, but the answer didn't address the following, at least not in a way that I could understand. Electric charge is simple - it's just a real scalar quantity. Ignoring ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “the ${\bf N}$ of a group” mean?

In the context of group theory (in my case, applications to physics), I frequently come across the phrase "the ${\bf N}$ of a group", for example "a ${\bf 24}$ of $SU(5)$" or "the ${\bf 1}$ of $SU(5)$"...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Proof that the One-Dimensional Simple Harmonic Oscillator is Non-Degenerate?

The standard treatment of the one-dimensional quantum simple harmonic oscillator (SHO) using the raising and lowering operators arrives at the countable basis of eigenstates $\{\vert n \rangle\}_{n = ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the difference between a spinor and a vector or a tensor?

Why do we call a 1/2 spin particle satisfying the Dirac equation a spinor, and not a vector or a tensor?
20
votes
1answer
533 views

Why exactly do sometimes universal covers, and sometimes central extensions feature in the application of a symmetry group to quantum physics?

There seem to be two different things one must consider when representing a symmetry group in quantum mechanics: The universal cover: For instance, when representing the rotation group $\mathrm{SO}(...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Dimension of Dirac $\gamma$ matrices

While studying the Dirac equation, I came across this enigmatic passage on p. 551 in From Classical to Quantum Mechanics by G. Esposito, G. Marmo, G. Sudarshan regarding the $\gamma$ matrices: $$\...
10
votes
2answers
487 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
783 views

Why does spin have a discrete spectrum?

Why is it that unlike other quantum properties such as momentum and velocity, which usually are given through (probabilistic) continuous values, spin has a (probabilistic) discrete spectrum?
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Hypercharge for $U(1)$ in $SU(2)\times U(1)$ model

I understand that the fundamental representation of $U(1)$ amounts to a multiplication by a phase factor, e.g. EM. I thought that when it is extended to higher dimensional representations, it would ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the relationship between $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$, $SU(2)\times SU(2)$ and $SO(1,3)$?

I'm a beginner of QFT. Ref. 1 states that [...] The Lorentz group $SO(1,3)$ is then essentially $SU(2)\times SU(2)$. But how is it possible, because $SU(2)\times SU(2)$ is a compact Lie group ...
13
votes
3answers
1k 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}} = \...
5
votes
1answer
688 views

How to get result $3 \otimes 3 = 6 \oplus \bar{3}$ for $SU(3)$ irreducible representations?

Let's have $SU(3)$ irreducible representations $3, \bar{3}$. How to get result that $$ 3\otimes 3 =6 \oplus \bar{3}~? $$ I'm interested in $\bar{3}$ part. It's clear that for $3 \otimes 3$ we can use ...
3
votes
1answer
232 views

What is the physical importance of the commutation relations of angular momentum?

What is the physical meaning of these commutation relations: $$[L_{z},L_{\pm}]=\pm\hbar L_{\pm}\tag{1}$$ and $$[L_{+},L_{-}]=2\hbar L_{z} ~?\tag{2}$$
3
votes
1answer
155 views

Why is orbital angular momentum quantized according to $I= \hbar \sqrt{\ell(\ell+1)}$?

I simply have no idea how this result is found $$I=\hbar \sqrt{\ell(\ell+1)}.$$ The result seems to just be dumped in textbooks rather than explained. I can get the result that $I_z=\hbar m_j$. ...
1
vote
1answer
123 views

How to find the remaining subgroup after some Higgs field gets a VEV?

Say we have a group $G$ and a set of Higgs fields in a representation $R$ of $G$. One of the Higgs fields in $R$ gets a VEV, how can I determine the remaining subgroup after this symmetry breaking? ...
3
votes
1answer
347 views

How does $SU(2)$ group enters quantum mechanics?

What is the reason that $SU(2)$ group enters quantum mechanics in the context of rotation but not $SO(3)$? What really rotates and which space it rotates? It cannot be the physical electron that ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

Irreducible tensors concept

This might be a little naive question, but I am having difficulty grasping the concept of irreducible tensors. Particularly, why do we decompose tensors into symmetric and anti-symmetric parts? I have ...
2
votes
2answers
304 views

Representations of Lie algebras in physics

Why is an invariant vector subspace sometimes called a representation? For example in Lie algebras, say su(3), the subspace characterized by the highest weight (1,0) is an irreducible representation ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

How to construct fields from from unitary representation of the Poincaré group?

I want to construct fields from unitary representation of the Poincaré group but I do not know how. In Weinberg book he proposed that the Hamiltonian should be of certain kind and from that he derived ...
3
votes
1answer
655 views

Matrix order in Dirac equations

The trace of matrix is always sum of its eigen values , which can be seen if $\hat{U}$ transforms the matrix $\alpha_i$ into it's diagonal form . $$ \begin{pmatrix} A_1 & 0 & \cdots & 0 \...
31
votes
3answers
1k views

Lie theory, Representations and particle physics

This is a question that has been posted at many different forums, I thought maybe someone here would have a better or more conceptual answer than I have seen before: Why do physicists care about ...
18
votes
1answer
642 views

Vibrational anharmonic coupling and noise-induced spontaneous symmetry breaking in a hexagonal finite mechanical lattice

Happy holidays, everyone! The following is part question, part visual gallery, and part classical mechanics problem. Inspired by snow over the weekend I began simulating the vibrations of the ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What really are superselection sectors and what are they used for?

When reading the term superselection sector, I always wrongly thought this must have something to do with supersymmetry ... DON'T laugh at me ... ;-) But now I have read in this answer, that for ...
9
votes
1answer
694 views

Different representations of the Lorentz algebra

I've found many definitions of Lorentz generators that satisfy the Lorentz algebra: $$[L_{\mu\nu},L_{\rho\sigma}]=i(\eta_{\mu\sigma}L_{\nu\rho}-\eta_{\mu\rho}L_{\nu\sigma}-\eta_{\nu\sigma}L_{\mu\rho}+\...
12
votes
2answers
334 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 $...
10
votes
1answer
907 views

Boosts are non-unitary!

The boost transformations are not unitary unlike rotations, the boost generators are not Hermitian. When this induces transformations in the Hilbert space, will those transformation be unitary? I ...
3
votes
2answers
357 views

Covariant derivative applied to a vector vs. applied to a matrix?

I know there are (say) two different definitions/representations of the covariant derivative: one is the covariant derivative applied to a vector $F$, which reads as $$DF=\partial F+iAF$$ (...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do many people say vector fields describe spin-1 particle but omit the spin-0 part?

We know a vector field is a $(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ representation of Lorentz group, which should describe both spin-1 and spin-0 particles. However many of the articles(mostly lecture notes) I've ...
4
votes
4answers
742 views

How do you find a particular representation for Grassmann numbers?

This question is more general in the sense that I want to know how one finds a particular (say matrix) representation for any object. For the case of Grassmann numbers we have from Wikipedia the ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Can one show that ${\gamma^5}^\dagger = \gamma^5$ directly from the anticommutation relations?

Is it possible to show that ${\gamma^5}^\dagger = \gamma^5$, where $$ \gamma^5 := i\gamma^0 \gamma^1 \gamma^2 \gamma^3,$$ using only the anticommutation relations between the $\gamma$ matrices, $$ \...
2
votes
2answers
637 views

Why does a Lorentz scalar field transform as $U^{-1}(\Lambda)\phi(x)U(\Lambda) = \phi(\Lambda^{-1}x)$?

This problem is from Srednicki page 19. Why $U^{-1}(\Lambda)\phi(x)U(\Lambda) = \phi(\Lambda^{-1}x)$? Can anyone derive this? $\phi$ is a scalar and $\Lambda$ Lorentz transformation.
5
votes
2answers
336 views

Problem counting spin states

I can't figure out how many different spin states I can create with a four-electron system. I think I can create a spin-zero state, three spin-one states, and five spin-two states. That gives me nine ...
1
vote
2answers
715 views

Quantization of Electron Spin

Why is electron spin quantized? I've seen the derivation for the Hydrogen atom's energy levels, but my professor jumped to electrons having spin 1/2 or -1/2 as experimental. Why do electrons obey the ...
1
vote
1answer
259 views

The role of SO(3) and SU(2) in quantum mechanics [duplicate]

When studying the irreducible representations of SO(3) one usually looks at the irreps of the infinitesimal rotations instead, i.e. the ones of so(3), the Lie Algebra of SO(3). The Irreps of so(3) can ...
0
votes
1answer
108 views

Eigenvalues of Angular Momentum in Quantum Mechanics

The eigenvalue equation of the $L^2$ operator is given by $$L^2f_l^m = \hbar ^2l(l+1)f_l^m$$ Side: So a determinate state for some observable $Q$ is a state where every measurement of $Q$ returns ...
6
votes
1answer
437 views

Intersecting Wilson loops in 2D Yang-Mills

I am currently trying to understand 2D Yang-Mills theory, and I cannot seem to find an explanation for calculation of the expectation value of intersecting Wilson loops. In his On Quantum Gauge ...
8
votes
1answer
170 views

How do you build a Lagrangian in particle/nuclear physics? (A specific example)

I know that the terms in the Lagrangian needs to be scalars (with respect to Lorentz symmetry etc.). Also I know that [see C. G. Tully (EPP) p. 85] in general, for $\psi$ in the fundamental ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Can any rank tensor be decomposed into symmetric and anti-symmetric parts?

I know that rank 2 tensors can be decomposed as such. But I would like to know if this is possible for any rank tensors?
5
votes
0answers
346 views

How to calculate $3\otimes 3$ and $3\otimes 3\otimes 3$ in $SU(3)$? [closed]

EDIT: I have boiled my question down to How many independent components does a rank three totally symmetric tensor have in $n$ dimensions? A derivation would be nice too. OP: I know that I can ...
8
votes
2answers
633 views

What does it mean to transform as a scalar or vector?

I'm working through an introductory electrodynamics text (Griffiths), and I encountered a pair of questions asking me to show that: the divergence transforms as a scalar under rotations the ...
8
votes
1answer
344 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?
5
votes
1answer
311 views

Branching rules for $SU(3)$

How does one compute the branching rules for $SU(3)\to SU(2)\times U(1)$.? In particular, I do not know how to put the abelian charges. Take for example the adjoint $\mathbf{8}$ of $SU(3)$. I can ...
4
votes
2answers
231 views

What guarantees the existence of unitary operators implementing Lorentz Transformations?

This should be a very basic question. In introductory QFT books, often one of the first things we see is the following claim: for every Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$, we can associate an unitary ...
3
votes
0answers
131 views

Decomposing a representation under a subgroup [closed]

I am trying to understand what is the method for decomposing representations of a group under one of its subgroups. I already had a look in Slansky, but I could not extract a concrete set of rules/...
1
vote
1answer
300 views

General definition of vector, spinor, and spin

I am looking for basic and exact definitions of fundamental physical concepts in graduate level. I reach this following definitions. Could you please help to improve these definitions. Spin: ...
7
votes
3answers
625 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
375 views

Grassmann Variables Representation?

It might be a silly question, but I was never mathematically introduced to the topic. Is there a representation for Grassmann Variables using real field. For example, gamma matrices have a ...
5
votes
0answers
234 views

explicit matrix elements for a representation decomposed into subgroup by branching rules

I'm looking for a way to construct a representation for a simple Lie group such that one particular subgroup is manifest. I learned the branching rules from Cahn, Georgi and Slansky, but I'm still not ...