We say that something is symmetric if there is some transformation we can perform on that object that leaves some property unchanged. The set of symmetry transformations of an object form a group, and the name of this group is used as the name of the symmetry of the object.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

9
votes
2answers
439 views

When “unphysical” solutions are not actually unphysical

When solving problems in physics, one often finds, and ignores, "unphysical" solutions. For example, when solving for the velocity and time taken to fall a distance h (from rest) under earth gravity: ...
3
votes
1answer
354 views

Constructing the “most general” two-particle spin interaction with $SU(2)$ symmetry

Suppose I want to write down an interaction term for an action for spin 1/2 fermions that is $SU(2)$-symmetric. I start from the most naive general form of such an action: $$S_{int} ~=~ \int_{4321} ...
6
votes
2answers
860 views

Deriving Birkhoff's Theorem

I am trying to derive Birkhoff's theorem in GR as an exercise: a spherically symmetric gravitational field is static in the vacuum area. I managed to prove that $g_{00}$ is independent of t in the ...
1
vote
1answer
290 views

Conserved quantum observables from symmetries *with density matrix*

I’ve read Ballentine where he derives the conserved observable operators (momentum, energy, ...) from symmetries of space-time. Can I read up such a derivation in more detail somewhere else or even ...
2
votes
1answer
672 views

Weinberg's way of deriving Lie algebra related to a Lie group

I was reading the second chapter of the first volume of Weinberg's books on QFT. I am quite confused by the way he derives the Lie algebra of a connected Lie group. He starts with a connected Lie ...
2
votes
2answers
304 views

Correlation Functions, Symmetries and Measurements

Is there a book that goes deep into correlation functions? What I'm interested in a book/article that explains in the detail the relation of the correlation functions with symmetries and how one can ...
5
votes
2answers
763 views

What's the importance of Noether's theorem in Physics

The Noether's theorem that I want to mention is the following: Noether's theorem. I know the importance of Noether's contribution to modern algebra. Can anyone write about Noether's theorem in ...
7
votes
2answers
550 views

Why are conformal transformations so prevalent in physics?

What is it about conformal transformations that make them so widely applicable in physics? These preserve angles, in other words directions (locally), and I can understand that might be useful. Also, ...
2
votes
2answers
220 views

What are the limitations of the FLRW metric?

I was wondering, given how in any other area of life making an explosion spherically symmetric is more or less impossible is there any reason to expect that the universe is? I appreciate that the FLRW ...
2
votes
1answer
189 views

Similar masses and lifetimes of the $\Delta$ baryons

Why do the four spin 3/2 $\Delta$ baryons have nearly identical masses and lifetimes despite their very different $u$ and $d$ quark compositions?
3
votes
0answers
244 views

Symmetries of separable potential

For separable potential, say $x^4+y^4$, its symmetry are degenerate. Is that a generic case to every separable potential? I will explain my question: The potential $x^4+y^4$ has $A_1, B_1, A_2, B_2, ...
2
votes
1answer
348 views

How to perform a scale (invariance) transformation?

According to this wikipedia article in the $\phi^4$ section, the equation $$\frac{1}{c^2}\frac{∂^2}{∂t^2}\phi(x,t)-\sum_i\frac{∂^2}{∂x_i^2}\phi(x,t)+g\ \phi(x,t)^3=0,$$ in 4 dimensions is invariant ...
2
votes
2answers
457 views

Which symmetry is associated with conservation of flux?

Which symmetry is associated with conservation of flux (e.g., in electromagnetism)? For example, when working with Gauss's law in electromagnetism, net flux through an arbitrary volume element ...
11
votes
0answers
749 views

Gauge redundancies and global symmetries

It is often said that local (gauge) transformation is only redundancy of description of spin one massless particles, to make the number degrees of freedom from three to two. It is often said that ...
1
vote
1answer
370 views

Understanding P-, CP-, CPT-violation etc. in field theory and in relation to the principle of relativity

I can never get my head around the violations of $P-$, $CP-$, $CPT-$ violations and their friends. Since the single term "symmetry" is so overused in physics and one has for example to watch out and ...
3
votes
2answers
809 views

The Energy-Momentum Tensor and the Ward Identity

I have a question regarding a homework problem for my quantum field theory assignment. For the purposes of the question, we can just assume the Lagrangian is that of a real scalar field: ...
10
votes
2answers
520 views

The Ozma Problem

The "Ozma problem" was coined by Martin Gardner in his book "The Ambidextrous Universe", based on Project Ozma. Gardner claims that the problem of explaining the humans left-right convention would ...
7
votes
2answers
233 views

Particles mass determined by SO(D-2) vs SO(D-1)

I've recently come across this statement that massless particles arise from $SO(D-2)$ symetry and massive particles from $SO(D-1)$. I would have guessed that it would be the exact opposite way, but ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Poincare group vs Galilean group

One can define the Poincare group as the group of isometries of the Minkowski space. Is its Lie algebra given either by the equations 2.4.12 to 2.4.14 (..as also given in this page - ...
2
votes
3answers
417 views

About symmetry, and about electron density in crystals in particular

The book Introduction to Solid State Physics by Kittel says: "We have seen that a crystal is invariant under any translation of the form T [...]. Any local physical property of the crystal, such as ...
1
vote
3answers
624 views

Noether's theorem and “translations” of the Hamiltonian function

In a nutshell, Noether's theorem states that for every continuous symmetry a corresponding conserved quantity exists. Now, the Hamiltonian equations of motion (let's talk about a classical system ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Relation between total orbital angular momentum and symmetry of the wavefunction

My question essentially revolves around multi-electron atoms and spectroscopic terms. I understand the idea that the total wavefunction for Fermions should be antisymmetric. Consider as an example, ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

If all conserved quantities of a system are known, can they be explained by symmetries?

If a system has $N$ degrees of freedom (DOF) and therefore $N$ independent1 conserved quantities integrals of motion, can continuous symmetries with a total of $N$ parameters be found that deliver ...
2
votes
1answer
584 views

SU(N) symmetry and its representations

If a Lagrangian containing an N-multiplet of fields is invariant under global $\mathbf{SU}(N)$ transformations, does that necessarily imply it is invariant under $\mathbf{SU}(N-1)$, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “soft” in “soft symmetry breaking” mean?

For example it is stated that if supersymmetry breaking is soft then stability of gauge hierarchy can be still maintained.
7
votes
3answers
548 views

Noether theorem with semigroup of symmetry instead of group

Suppose You have semigroup instead of typical group construction in Noether theorem. Is this interesting? In fact there is no time-reversal symmetry in the nature, right? At least not in the same ...
5
votes
2answers
740 views

Expansion in spherical harmonics in cubic symmetry

suppose I have an electrostatic potential which I expand in spherical harmonics via $$\sum_{l,m} A^l_m r^n P_l^{|m|}(\cos \theta) e^{im\varphi}$$ and I know that the field has cubic symmetry. Is ...
4
votes
2answers
225 views

How do you derive Noether's theorem when the action combines chiral, antichiral, and full superspace?

How do you derive Noether's theorem when the action combines chiral, antichiral, and full superspace?
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why must the deuteron wavefunction be antisymmetric?

Wikipedia article on deuterium says this: The deuteron wavefunction must be antisymmetric if the isospin representation is used (since a proton and a neutron are not identical particles, ...
4
votes
2answers
392 views

Symmetry breaking

What is a good place to learn the details of symmetry breaking? What I am looking for is a more serious exposition than the wiki-article, which explains the details, especially the mathematical part, ...
1
vote
4answers
395 views

Is “real” antimatter (odd under C, P, T) unphysical?

A positron is odd under charge conjugation and parity reversal but nevertheless even with respect to time reversal. Is a theoretical positron which would be odd under all three symmetries (C, P, T) ...