The research-level tag applies to questions that arise in graduate and post-secondary work. These questions often require domain-specific knowledge and could not be answered from a general source or may be beyond the level typically covered by Wikipedia and other popular sources. research-level ...

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58
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4answers
5k views

Gauge symmetry is not a symmetry?

I have read before in one of Seiberg's articles something like, that gauge symmetry is not a symmetry but a redundancy in our description, by introducing fake degrees of freedom to facilitate ...
54
votes
6answers
2k views

The Role of Rigor

The purpose of this question is to ask about the role of mathematical rigor in physics. In order to formulate a question that can be answered, and not just discussed, I divided this large issue into ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Diff(M) as a gauge group and local observables in theories with gravity

In a gauge theory like QED a gauge transformation transforms one mathematical representation of a physical system to another mathematical representation of the same system, where the two mathematical ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Reading list in topological QFT

I'm interested in learning about topological QFT including Chern Simons theory, Jones polynomial, Donaldson theory and Floer homology - basically the kind of things Witten worked on in the 80s. I'm ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Are elementary particles actually more elementary than quasiparticles?

Quarks and leptons are considered elementary particles, while phonons, holes, and solitons are quasiparticles. In light of emergent phenomena, such as fractionally charged particles in fractional ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

What does it mean for a Hamiltonian or system to be gapped or gapless?

I've read some papers recently that talk about gapped Hamiltonians or gapless systems, but what does it mean? Edit: Is an XX spin chain in a magnetic field gapped? Why or why not?
21
votes
3answers
3k views

Good reading on the Keldysh formalism

I'd like some suggestions for good reading materials on the Keldysh formalism in a condensed matter context. I'm familiar with the imaginary time, coherent state, and path integral formalisms, but ...
17
votes
1answer
418 views

Sympletic structure of General Relativity

Inspired by physics.SE: http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/15571/does-the-dimensionality-of-phase-space-go-up-as-the-universe-expands/15613 It made me wonder about symplectic structures in ...
6
votes
1answer
969 views

What is the relationship between string net theory and string / M-theory?

I've just learned from this one of Prof. Wen's answers that there exists a theory called string net theory. Since I've never heard about this before it picks my curiosity, so I`d like to ask some ...
20
votes
3answers
523 views

Regularization of the Casimir effect

For starters, let me say that although the Casimir effect is standard textbook stuff, the only QFT textbook I have in reach is Weinberg and he doesn't discuss it. So the only source I currently have ...
30
votes
10answers
3k views

What is spontaneous symmetry breaking in QUANTUM systems?

Most descriptions of spontaneous symmetry breaking, even for spontaneous symmetry breaking in quantum systems, actually only give a classical picture. According to the classical picture, spontaneous ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

geometric quantization of the moduli space of abelian Chern-Simons theory

I wish to understand the statement in this paper more precisely: (1). Any 3d Topological quantum field theories(TQFT) associates an inner-product vector space $H_{\Sigma}$ to a Riemann surface ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Simple models that exhibit topological phase transitions

There are a number of physical systems with phases described by topologically protected invariants (fractional quantum Hall, topological insulators) but what are the simplest mathematical models that ...
12
votes
0answers
464 views

Local explanation of the Aharonov-Bohm effect in terms of force fields

Here is an interesting paper for the Physics SE community: On the role of potentials in the Aharonov-Bohm effect. Lev Vaidman. Phys. Rev. A 86 no. 4, 040101 (R) (2012). arXiv:1110.6169 ...
10
votes
0answers
259 views

Magnetic monopole and electromagnetic field quantization procedure

From the Maxwell's equations point of view, existence of magnetic monopole leads to unsuitability of the introduction of vector potential as $\vec B = \operatorname{rot}\vec A$. As a result, it was ...
2
votes
2answers
193 views

Two puzzles on the Projective Symmetry Group(PSG)?

Recently I'm studying PSG and I felt very puzzled about two statements appeared in Wen's paper. To present the questions clearly, imagine that we use the Shwinger-fermion ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Topological Charge. What is it Physically?

I have seen the term topological charge defined in an abstract mathematical way as a essentially a labeling scheme for particles which follows certain rules. However I am left guessing when trying to ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

Could gravity be an emergent property of nature?

Sorry if this question is naive. It is just a curiosity that I have. Are there theoretical or experimental reasons why gravity should not be an emergent property of nature? Assume a standard model ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a resonating valence bond (RVB) state?

There's something known as a "resonating valence bond" (RVB) state, which plays a role in at least some attempts to understand physics of high-$T_c$ superconductors. This, roughly, involves a state ...
15
votes
6answers
525 views

Is there a theorem that says that QFT reduces to QM in a suitable limit? A theorem similar to Ehrenfest's theorem?

Is there a theorem that says that QFT reduces to QM in a suitable limit? Of course, it should be, as QFT is relativisitc quantum mechanics. But, is there a more manifest one? such as Ehrenfest's ...
12
votes
1answer
585 views

Entanglement in time

Quantum entanglement links particles through time, according to this study that received some publicity last year: New Type Of Entanglement Allows 'Teleportation in Time,' Say Physicists at The ...
19
votes
1answer
209 views

Asymptoticity of Pertubative Expansion of QFT

It seems to be lore that the perturbative expansion of quantum field theories is generally asymptotic. I have seen two arguments. i)There is the Dyson instability argument as in QED, that is showing ...
13
votes
2answers
420 views

Renormalization in string theory

I'm taking a course in string theory and have encountered renormalization for the first time (and I suspect it isn't the last). Specifically, while quantizing the bosonic and spinning strings, an ...
0
votes
2answers
199 views

Time Dilation in Orbits in the Schwarzschild Metric

I am wondering if there exist closed form-expressions for the time dilation experienced by an observer in different orbits around a Schwarzschild black hole, outside the event horizon, relative to ...
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 ...
16
votes
1answer
720 views

Zero modes ~ zero eigenvalue modes ~ zero energy modes?

There have been several Phys.SE questions on the topic of zero modes. Such as, e.g., zero-modes (What are zero modes?, Can massive fermions have zero modes?), majorana-zero-modes (Majorana zero ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How Non-abelian anyons arise in solid-state systems?

Recently it has been studied non-abelian anyons in some solid-state systems. These states are being studied for the creation and manipulation of qubits in quantum computing. But, how these ...
11
votes
8answers
1k views

What is the name of the principle saying it is meaningless to talk/ask questions that can not be measured/tested?

Watching quantum mechanics lectures and it was mentioned that it is pointless/meaningless to try to talk/question things that can not be tested/measured. Is this a principle? And if so what is it's ...
3
votes
2answers
276 views

Why is fractional statistics and non-Abelian common for fractional charges?

Why non integer spins obey Fermi statistics? Why is fractional statistics and non-Abelian common for fractional charges?
26
votes
11answers
2k views

Negative probabilities in quantum physics

Negative probabilities are naturally found in the Wigner function (both the original one and its discrete variants), the Klein paradox (where it is an artifact of using a one-particle theory) and the ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

How Fundamental is Spin-Orbit Coupling to Topological Insulators?

I'm well aware this is a very active area of research so the best answer one can give to this question may be incomplete. Topological states in condensed matter are well-known, even if not always ...
10
votes
4answers
585 views

On-shell symmetry from a path integral point of view

Normally supersymmetric quantum field theories have Lagrangians which are supersymmetric only on-shell, i.e. with the field equations imposed. In many cases this can be solved by introducing auxilary ...
15
votes
6answers
457 views

Which QFTs were rigorously constructed?

Which QFTs have mathematically rigorous constructions a la AQFT? I understand there are many such constructions in 2D, in particular 2D CFT has been extensively studied mathematically. But even in 2D ...
10
votes
2answers
544 views

Equivalence of definitions of ADM Mass

ADM Mass is a useful measure of a system. It is often defined (Wald 293) $$M_{ADM}=\frac{1}{16\pi} \lim_{r \to \infty} \oint_{s_r} (h_{\mu\nu,\mu}-h_{\mu\mu,\nu})N^{\nu} dA$$ Where $s_r$ is two ...
7
votes
2answers
275 views

Forcing quadrupole moments to vanish for a neutral system

For a system of electric charges $q_i$, at positions $\mathbf{r}_i$, with a nonzero net charge $Q=\sum_i q_i$, one can define a "centre of charge" in the obvious way as $$ ...
4
votes
1answer
458 views

A physical understanding of fractionalization

all! Is there a physical understanding of fractionalization in condensed matter physics? The textbook approach is theoretical, not physical. I'm thinking of spin-charge separation for electrons, the ...
8
votes
3answers
487 views

What is the most natural new physics one can expect at the TeV scale: new (supersymmetric)particles or some new (non-commutative) spacetime structure?

Up to now, nothing else than one Standard Model (SM) Higgs boson-like resonance has been found at the LHC while many predictions based on effective theories using supersymmetry require several Higgs ...
7
votes
4answers
334 views

Different kinds of S-matrices?

It seems to me that the notion of an "S-matrix" refers to several different objects One construction you can find in the literature is allowing the coupling constant to adiabatically approach 0 in ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

Massive excitations in Conformal Quantum Field Theory

Single particle states in quantum field theory appear as discrete components in the spectrum of the Poincare group's action on the state space (i.e. in the decomposition of the Hilbert space of ...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

Choice and identification of vacuums in AdS/CFT

I know how we define a vacuum in flat space QFT and also in a curved space QFT. But, can somebody tell me how do the choice of vacuum state in (say) the CFT side of AdS/CFT changes the choice of ...
10
votes
3answers
687 views

Rigorous proof of Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization

Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization provides an approximate recipe for recovering the spectrum of a quantum integrable system. Is there a mathematically rigorous explanation why this recipe works? In ...
8
votes
0answers
349 views

Measurement of Tangential Momentum Accomodation?

(this question is a crosspost from theoretical physics.) I am using atomic force microscopy (AFM) for characterizing pores of the size of nanometers for application in gas flow. For this, knowing ...
1
vote
2answers
116 views

A black torch to darken everything

Can we ever have a black colored (the color of the light and not the body's color) torch that darken (or dis-illuminates) everything? While compared to a normal torch it would function in an opposite ...
73
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the justifying foundations of statistical mechanics without appealing to the ergodic hypothesis?

This question was listed as one of the questions in the proposal (see here), and I didn't know the answer. I don't know the ethics on blatantly stealing such a question, so if it should be deleted or ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there an intuitive description of vacuum entanglement?

People often refer to the fact that the vacuum is an entangled state (It's even described as a maximally entangled state). I was trying to get a feeling for what that really means. The problem is ...
13
votes
3answers
379 views

about the Atiyah-Segal axioms on topological quantum field theory

Trying to go through the page on Topological quantum field theory - The original Atiyah-Segal axioms - "Let $\Lambda$ be a commutative ring with 1, Atiyah originally proposed the axioms of a ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is there a deep mysterious relation between string theory and number theory, elliptic curves, $E_8$ and the Monster group?

Why is there a deep mysterious relation between string theory and number theory (Langlands program), elliptic curves, modular functions, the exceptional group $E_8$, and the Monster group as in ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Wormholes & Time Machines - for *experts* in GR/maths

EDIT: Further clarification in the context of answers/comments received to 20 Jan has been appended EDIT: 21 Jan - Response to the Lubos Expansion appended [in progress, not yet complete] EDIT: 23 ...
43
votes
2answers
723 views

Analog Hawking radiation

I am confused by most discussions of analog Hawking radiation in fluids (see, for example, the recent experimental result of Weinfurtner et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 021302 (2011), ...
17
votes
5answers
425 views

direct sum of anyons?

In the topological phase of a fractional quantum Hall fluid, the excitations of the ground state (quasiparticles) are anyons, at least conjecturally. There is then supposed to be a braided fusion ...