In explicit symmetry breaking, the equations of motion of a physical system are variant under the broken symmetry; by contrast, for spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB), these equations are invariant, but the entire system is not because its vacuum (background) is non-invariant. Further use for the ...

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2answers
3k views

Norton's dome and its equation

Norton's dome is the curve $$h(r) = -\frac{2}{3g} r ^{3/2}.$$ Where $h$ is the height and $r$ is radial arc distance along the dome. The top of the dome is at $h = 0$. Via Norton's web. If we put ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Why do we need Higgs field to re-explain mass, but not charge?

We already had definition of mass based on gravitational interactions since before Higgs. It's similar to charge which is defined based on electromagnetic interactions of particles. Why did Higgs ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Are there massless bosons at scales above electroweak scale?

Spontaneous electroweak symmetry breaking (i.e. $SU(2)\times U(1)\to U(1)_{em}$ ) is at scale about 100 Gev. So, for Higgs mechanism, gauge bosons $Z$ & $W$ have masses about 100 GeV. But before ...
49
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11answers
7k 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 ...
18
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2answers
1k views

What is (meant by) a non-compact $U(1)$ Lie group?

In John Preskill's review of monopoles he states on p. 471 Nowadays, we have another way of understanding why electric charge is quantized. Charge is quantized if the electromagnetic $U(l)_{\rm em}...
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2answers
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What is the role of the vacuum expectation value in symmetry breaking and the generation of mass?

Consider a theory of one complex scalar field with the following Lagrangian. $$ \mathcal{L}=\partial _\mu \phi ^*\partial ^\mu \phi +\mu ^2\phi ^*\phi -\frac{\lambda}{2}(\phi ^*\phi )^2. $$ The ...
14
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1answer
474 views

Does measurement, quantum in particular, always increase the total entropy?

Measurement of a quantum observable (in an appropriate, old-fashioned sense) necessarily involves coupling to a system with a macroscopically large number of degrees of freedom. Entanglement with this ...
1
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1answer
126 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? ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Why cannot fermions have non-zero vacuum expectation value?

In quantum field theory, scalar can take non-zero vacuum expectation value (vev). And this way they break symmetry of the Lagrangian. Now my question is what will happen if the fermions in the theory ...
6
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1answer
248 views

From which dimensionful constants does proton mass arise?

It is well known that the most of the proton (or any other hadron with light quarks) mass is not made up from quark masses, but it is dynamically generated by QCD mess inside. I've also heard that, ...
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Emergent symmetries

As we know, spontaneous symmetry breaking(SSB) is a very important concept in physics. Loosely speaking, zero temprature SSB says that the Hamiltonian of a quantum system has some symmetry, but the ...
14
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1answer
618 views

Does the existence of Higgs imply the existence of Magnetic Monopoles?

I am aware that in theories with spontaneous symmetry breaking, Magnetic Monopoles can exist as topological solitons. Can the same be done with the Standard Model gauge group. I am familiar with the ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Chiral anomaly and decay of the pion

I am told that if all classical symmetries were reflected as quantum symmetries, the decay of the neutral pion $$\pi^0 ~\longrightarrow~ \gamma\gamma$$ would not happen. Why would the conservation of ...
11
votes
2answers
940 views

Understanding Elitzur's theorem from Polyakov's simple argument?

I was reading through the first chapter of Polyakov's book "Gauge-fields and Strings" and couldn't understand a hand-wavy argument he makes to explain why in systems with discrete gauge-symmetry only ...
19
votes
1answer
672 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 ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Superconductor symmetry breaking

When water freezes continuous translational symmetry is broken. When a metal becomes superconducting, what is the symmetry that gets broken?
15
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3answers
2k views

Why is the Symmetry Group for the Electroweak force $SU(2) \times U(1)$ and not $U(2)$?

Let me first say that I'm a layman who's trying to understand group theory and gauge theory, so excuse me if my question doesn't make sense. Before symmetry breaking, the Electroweak force has 4 ...
9
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2answers
568 views

Could spontaneous symmetry breaking happen again in our universe?

It is generally believed that $10^{-35}$ seconds after the Big Bang, the symmetry of a GUT was broken and after $10^{-12}$ seconds the electroweak force was broken: \begin{equation} \mathrm{SU(2)} \...
9
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4answers
720 views

What role does “spontaneously symmetry breaking” played in the “Higgs Mechanism”?

In talking about Higgs mechanism, the first part is always some introduction to the concept of spontaneously symmetry breaking (SSB), some people saying that Higgs mechanism is the results of SSB of ...
10
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3answers
1k views

How come a photon acts like it has mass in a superconducting field?

I've heard the Higgs mechanism explained as analogous to the reason that a photon acts like it has mass in a superconducting field. However, that's not too helpful if I don't understand the latter. ...
7
votes
1answer
407 views

Spontaneous symmetry breaking: How can the vacuum be infinitly degenerate?

In classical field theories, it is with no difficulty to imagine a system to have a continuum of ground states, but how can this be in the quantum case? Suppose a continuous symmetry with charge $Q$ ...
4
votes
1answer
264 views

Does the Lorentz invariance of equation of motion guarantee the Lorentz invariance of the solutions?

If I have a Lorentz invariant equation of motion, like Klein-Gordon equation, is the solution automatically guaranteed to be Lorentz invariant? I ask this question because of the discussion from Mark ...
30
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3answers
27k views

First and second order phase transitions

Recently I've been puzzling over the definitions of first and second order phase transitions. The Wikipedia article starts by explaining that Ehrenfest's original definition was that a first-order ...
17
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3answers
1k views

Spontaneous symmetry breaking in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and quantum field theory

I wondered if someone could help me understand spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. Consider a Higgs-like potential, with a local ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Spontaneous Time Reversal Symmetry Breaking?

It is known that you can break P spontaneously--- look at any chiral molecule for an example. Spontaneous T breaking is harder for me to visualize. Is there a well known condensed matter system which ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Topological order vs. Symmetry breaking: what does (non-)local order parameter mean?

Topological order are sometimes defined in opposition with the order parameter originating from a symmetry breaking. The latter one being possibly described by a Landau theory, with an order parameter....
26
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1answer
705 views

How does the Super-Kamiokande experiment falsify SU(5)?

In his book "The Trouble With Physics", Lee Smolin writes that he is still stunned by the falsification of the $SU(5)$ Georgi-Glashow model by the null results of proton decay experiments. I should ...
46
votes
3answers
6k views

Do pear-shaped nuclei really have anything to do with time travel?

Recently (in the last week or two), various articles about pear shaped nuclei have appeared, such as this one from Science Alert and this from the BBC The Science Alert article includes the quote ...
16
votes
1answer
677 views

Spontaneous breaking of Lorentz invariance in gauge theories

I was browsing through the hep-th arXiv and came across this article: Spontaneous Lorentz Violation in Gauge Theories. A. P. Balachandran, S. Vaidya. arXiv:1302.3406 [hep-th]. (Submitted on 14 ...
5
votes
1answer
392 views

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect Noethers theorem?

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect the existence of a conserved charge? And how does depend on whether we look at a classical or a quantum field theory (e.g. the weak interacting theory)? (...
11
votes
5answers
280 views

How is the ground state chosen in a spontaneous symmetry breaking process?

This question is about how the ground state is chosen in a spontaneous symmetry breaking process. Say we have a Mexican Hat potential (e.g. the one for the Higgs field) and are sitting at the unstable ...
8
votes
2answers
428 views

Do the standard cosmology models spontaneously break Lorentz symmetry?

In standard cosmology models (Friedmann equations which your favorite choice of DM and DE), there exists a frame in which the total momenta of any sufficiently large sphere, centered at any point in ...
6
votes
1answer
832 views

Who used the concept of symmetries first?

Who "invented" the concept of symmetries? This article is quite extensive, but it blurs the history with the modern understanding. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/symmetry-breaking/ Some of the ...
5
votes
1answer
893 views

Spontaneous symmetry breaking in SU(5) GUT?

At the end of this video lecture about grand unified theories, Prof. Susskind explains that there should be some kind of an additional Higgs mechanism at work, to break the symmetry between the $SU(2)$...
3
votes
2answers
651 views

masslessness of Goldstone boson, Effective action, and functional-integral measure

I have difficulty in understanding the path-integral formalism of SSB, and that of Effective Action. Let's say a complex scalar field theory has the global $U(1)$ SSB, $$L(\phi)=(\partial^\mu \phi)^2-...
8
votes
1answer
301 views

Is Elitzur's theorem valid only in lattice field theory?

Elitzur's theorem, stating that spontaneous breakdown of a gauge symmetry is impossible, was originally proved for a lattice gauge theory. Is it valid in continuum field theory? Any ref?
7
votes
1answer
225 views

Restoration of spontaneously broken symmetry at high energy

It is common to find books saying that above a certain energy, a certain symmetry in particle physics is restored, e.g. the $SU(2)\times U(1)$ electroweak symmetry was unbroken between $10^{-36}$ to $...
5
votes
1answer
328 views

Why doesn't topological phase transition break any symmetry? Hidden symmetry?

This question may be superficial. However why all people saying this without a proof? Just like the "hidden variables" assumption in quantum mechanics, can one disproof that there is no hidden ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How is Meissner effect explained by BCS theory?

Someone says we can derive the GL equations from BCS theory, which can explain Meissner effect, but I want a more clear physical picture of this phenomena.
6
votes
0answers
242 views

Breaking of Lorentz invariance

Thinking about the concept of symmetry breaking led me to the following question: Let's say that I have a theory described by a Lorentz invariant Lagrangian, and the true vacuum of the theory is not ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between gapless excitations and Goldstone bosons in Condensed matter physics

I have been looking around on the web and in books to clarify this, but can't find a good explanation describing relationship/difference between gapless modes/excitations and Goldsone modes/bosons in ...
5
votes
1answer
186 views

Georgi-Glashow model and the VEV of the scalar field

Consider the Georgi-Glashow model, an $SU(2)$ gauge theory with a real scalar in the adjoint (thus a 3-vector in the colour space) $\phi$. The Lagrangian is $$ L = -\frac{1}{4g^2} F_{\mu \nu}^{\, a} ...
2
votes
1answer
436 views

Symmetry Breaking and Vacuum Expectation Values

Consider a real scalar field $\phi$ in a theory with a Lagrangian $$ \mathcal{L}:=-\frac{1}{2}\partial _\mu \phi \partial ^\mu \phi -V(\phi ), $$ where $$ V(\phi ):= -\mu ^2\phi ^2+\frac{\lambda}{4!}\...
9
votes
3answers
569 views

Spontaneous breaking of Lorentz invariance

Is it possible to spontaneously break Lorentz invariance, i.e., have a Lagrangian that respects LI but a vacuum which does not? If it is possible, why isn't there even the slightest hint of the ...
8
votes
2answers
191 views

Quantum Anomalies and Quantum Symmetries

In Quantum Field Theories (QFT) there is a well known phenomenon of anomalies, where a classical symmetry is broken in the quantum theory due to a so called anomaly. This symmetry breaking can be ...
6
votes
1answer
770 views

Do spin-spin interactions break time reversal symmetry?

I'm sure the answer is yes, but how is this shown? Normally for a single spin-1/2 you have a time reversal operator: $-i \sigma_y \hat{K}$ where $\sigma_y$ is the second Pauli matrix and $\hat{K}$ is ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

How does Higgs Boson get the rest mass? [duplicate]

Higgs Boson detected at LHC is massive. It has high relativistic mass means it has non-zero rest mass. Higgs Boson gives other things rest mass. But, how does it get rest mass by itself?
5
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1answer
89 views

How do symmetries break in cosmology?

The way I understand spontaneous symmetry breaking in thermodynamic systems is that the symmetry is actually explicitly broken by an infinitesimally small field. The system chooses one of the non-...
4
votes
2answers
232 views

The Higgs vacuum

Srednicki's "Quantum Field Theory", an electronic copy of which is freely available here, seems to state on p 205 that the states eq. (32.3) which differ by a phase factor that can range through [0,2$\...
4
votes
1answer
211 views

Why does the minimum energy field configuration require the fields to be constant?

I am having a hard time in understanding a well known statement always made in the context of field theory. Background Consider a classical real scalar field theory with Lagrangian density given by $...