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.

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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 ...
30
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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 ...
25
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4answers
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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 ...
21
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5answers
279 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 $|\phi\rangle=...
20
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1answer
573 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}(...
18
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1answer
658 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 ...
16
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1answer
3k 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 ...
16
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4answers
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: $$\...
16
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2answers
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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 ...
16
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2answers
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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 ...
16
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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 ...
14
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3answers
784 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?
14
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4answers
6k 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?
13
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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 ...
13
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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}} = \...
12
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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
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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?
12
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2answers
344 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 $...
12
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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 = ...
12
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1answer
220 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 ...
12
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2answers
568 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 ...
11
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1answer
265 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 ...
10
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1answer
920 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 ...
10
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2answers
2k 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 $P^{...
10
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1answer
313 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 ...
10
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2answers
501 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 ...
10
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1answer
347 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 ...
9
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1answer
699 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}+\...
9
votes
2answers
331 views

Why are usually 4x4 gamma matrices used? [duplicate]

As far as I understand gamma matrices are a representation of the Dirac algebra and there is a representation of the Lorentz group that can be expressed as $$S^{\mu \nu} = \frac{1}{4} \left[ \gamma^\...
9
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1answer
202 views

Group notation $\otimes$ and $\oplus$ used for representations of quarks and mesons

I've been trying to figure out this statement from the PDG quark model summary (PDF). Following $\mathrm{SU}(3)$, the nine possible $q\bar{q}′$ combinations containing the light $u$, $d$, and $s$ ...
9
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2answers
826 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 ...
9
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1answer
616 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
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2answers
237 views

If $v_{a \dot{b}}$ transforms like a four-vector, what does $v_{a}^{\dot{b}}$ describe?

The $( \frac{1}{2}, 0)$ representation of the Lorentz group acts on left-chiral spinors $\chi_a$, the $( 0,\frac{1}{2} )$ representation on right-chiral spinors $\chi^{\dot a}$. The $( \frac{1}{2}, \...
9
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1answer
826 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
235 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
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2answers
656 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
3answers
995 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
439 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
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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, $$ \...
8
votes
2answers
274 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 32,0)\...
8
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1answer
350 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?
8
votes
3answers
723 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
2answers
293 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
173 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 ...
8
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2answers
625 views

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

Why the lowest order of matrices in Dirac equation (Relativistic Quantums) are 4x4 matrices (and can not be 2x2 matrices)? How to prove it?
7
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4answers
556 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.
7
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2answers
174 views

Normalising Generators of a Lie Algebra

Ok, so I'm asking this in physics because I'm currently working through part of Srednicki's text on QFT, even though it's really a maths question. In Srednicki's chapter on non-Abelian gauge theory, ...
7
votes
3answers
648 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} \...
7
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2answers
226 views

Does the $\bf{1+3}$ representation of $SU(2)$ also represent $SU(2)\times SU(2)$?

I'm a bit confused about this following issue concerning representations of $SU(2)$. Denote by 1 the 1-dimensional representation of the group $SU(2)$ (=the spin 0). Similarly, denote by 2 and 3 the ...
7
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2answers
1k 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 ...