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24
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 ...
23
votes
3answers
749 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
197 views

Which symmetric pure qudit states can be reached within local operations?

There are two pure symmetric states $|\psi\rangle$ and $|\phi\rangle$ of $n$ qudits. Is there any known set of invariants $\{I_i:i\in\{1,\ldots,k\}\}$ which is equal for both states iff ...
15
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
611 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
1answer
564 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
242 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
990 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?
11
votes
2answers
455 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}} = ...
11
votes
2answers
792 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: ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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 = ...
11
votes
2answers
542 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
194 views

Majorana-like representation for mixed symmetric states?

Is there a generalization of the Majorana representation of pure symmetric $n$-qubit states to mixed states (made of pure symmetric $n$-qubit)? By Majorana representation I mean the decomposition of ...
11
votes
1answer
129 views

Triality and charge

I have a few questions about triality for the representations of $SU(3)$. (I have seen the wikipedia page, but it does not make the connection with physics.) What is triality, how can you compute ...
10
votes
3answers
599 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?
9
votes
2answers
279 views

What's a lepto-diquark?

This questions refers to Slansky's Group theory for unified model building, page 106 of chapter 7. He assigns the weight $(1)(01)$, which is stepwise projected from $E_6$ to $SU(2)\times SU(3)$, to a ...
9
votes
1answer
310 views

Why does the eightfold way work?

Last year I attended an introductory particle physics course, in which the Eigthfold Way for classifying hadrons has been discussed. The main idea consists in grouping hadrons in multiplets (i.e ...
9
votes
1answer
158 views

The difference between $\mathcal{N}=2$ short multiplets and BPS states

I have some questions about the construction of $\mathcal{N}=2$ supermultiplets for chiral matter. I know that the supermultiplet should not include spin one states since they are always in the ...
8
votes
2answers
547 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
281 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
282 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
3answers
419 views

Addition of spin angular momentum for massless particles

How do I add the spin angular momentum of massless particles, like photons, where only the transverse polarizations are allowed? If all three polarizations were allowed, this would be an easy ...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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?
8
votes
2answers
212 views

Does the lagrangian contain all the information about the representations of the fields in QFT?

Given the Lagrangian density of a theory, are the representations on which the various fields transform uniquely determined? For example, given the Lagrangian for a real scalar field $$ \mathscr{L} = ...
8
votes
1answer
589 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
197 views

Why are non-Abelian gauge theories Lorentz invariant quantum mechanically?

I seem to be missing something regarding why Yang-Mills theories are Lorentz invariant quantum mechanically. Start by considering QED. If we just study the physics of a massless $U(1)$ gauge field ...
7
votes
2answers
918 views

Irreducible Representations Of Lorentz Group

In Weinberg's The Theory of Quantum Fields Volume 1, he considers classification one-particle states under inhomogeneous Lorentz group. My question only considers pages 62-64. He define states as ...
7
votes
1answer
487 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
216 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
213 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
240 views

Can a spinor be defined as any quantity which transforms linearly under Lorentz transformations?

Recently I’ve come across a few papers from China (e.g. Xiang-Yao Wu et al., arXiv:1212.4028v1 14 Dec 2012) that make the following statement: ...any quantity which transforms linearly under ...
7
votes
2answers
142 views

Definition of a spinor and applications to GR

I understand the construction of the Clifford algebra $C(r,s)$ and in turn the corresponding $Pin$ and $Spin$ groups. I would like first to clarify that $Spin(r,s)^e$ is the universal covering group ...
7
votes
2answers
238 views

Why the lowest order of matrices in Dirac equation are 4x4 matrices?

Why the lowest order of matrices in Dirac equation (Relativistic Quantums) are 4x4 matrices (and can not be 2x2 matrices)? How to prove it?
6
votes
2answers
1k 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, $$ ...
6
votes
2answers
518 views

The Fifth Gamma Matrix

This is regarding $\gamma^5$, the fifth gamma matrix in quantum field theory. I know its defining properties, namely, $$\gamma^5= -i\gamma^0 \gamma^1 \gamma^2 \gamma^3 $$ with ...
6
votes
2answers
197 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
311 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
182 views

Why aren't the spin-3/2 fields in the (3/2,0)+(0,3/2) representation?

Why is it that spin-$\frac 32$ fields are usually described to be in the $(\frac 12, \frac 12)\otimes[(\frac 12,0)\oplus(0,\frac 12)]$ representation (Rarita-Schwinger) rather than the $(\frac ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

The 6-j symbol and intersecting Wilson loops, redux

This is a quite specific question continuing the problems I have with computing the expectation value of intersecting Wilson loops I laid out here. Using the tools from the answer there, I quite ...
5
votes
1answer
373 views

Different representations of the Lorentz algebra

I've found many definitions of Lorentz generators that satisfy the Lorentz algebra: ...
5
votes
2answers
882 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
202 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
549 views

Irreducible Representations of SO(n) tensors

My interest is purely in $\text{SO}(n)$ tensors and how one works out their irrep decomposition. For instance, for rank 2 tensors we simply split into an antisymmetric part, a traceless symmetric part ...
5
votes
1answer
307 views

Labelling representations using isospin and hypercharge

Can someone explain how isospin and hypercharge can be used to label representations? What is the meaning of the term singlet, doublet etc in this context? In particular how can I use it to label ...
5
votes
1answer
293 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
1answer
60 views

Spinor reps in $\mathbb{R}^{1,3}\times{}B$ space-times

I am considering spinors in a space-time which is $\mathbb{R}^{1,3}\times{}B$ being $B$ a compact manifold of $D$ dimensions. I know that in ordinary 4 dimensional space-time spinors are ...
5
votes
1answer
388 views

Intuitive understanding of the irreps like Wigner-D matrix?

Wikipedia defines Wigner D-matrix as an irreducible representation of groups SU(2) and SO(3). What is a good way to visualize this representation? Is there any physical system which can be kept in ...
5
votes
1answer
237 views

About 2+1 dimensional superconformal algebra

I would like to get some help in interpreting the main equation of the superconformal algebra (in $2+1$ dimenions) as stated in equation 3.27 on page 18 of this paper. I am familiar with supersymmetry ...
5
votes
1answer
62 views

How can one (formally) determine the particle content of a free field theory?

Here's my question: Suppose I'm given a free field theory, where my fields are functions $\phi:\mathbb{R}^4 \rightarrow V$, and the equations of motion are a system of linear Lorentz-invariant ...
5
votes
1answer
311 views

Interpretation of rank 2 spinors

While inspecting the $(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ representation of the Lorentz group and defining a right-handed spinor with upper dotted index and a left-handed spinor with lower undotted index and ...