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.

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How can one see that the Hydrogen atom has $SO(4)$ symmetry?

For solving hydrogen atom energy level by $SO(4)$ symmetry, where does the symmetry come from? How can one see it directly from the Hamiltonian?
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Groups acting on physics - a clarification on electrons and spin

My first question is fairly basic, but I would like to clarify my understanding. The second question is to turn this into something worth answering. Consider a relativistic electron, described by a ...
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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.
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What is meant by the phrase “the mass is protected by a symmetry”?

In a particle physics context I've heard this phrase used. I guess it means that the mass of a particle is less than you'd naively expect from $E=mc^2$ after computing the momentum uncertainty ...
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How are anyons possible?

If $|ψ\rangle$ is the state of a system of two indistinguishable particles, then we have an exchange operator $P$ which switches the states of the two particles. Since the two particles are ...
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423 views

When do phase space functions' Poisson brackets inherit the Lie algebra structure of a symmetry?

I've seen several examples of phase space functions whose Poisson brackets (or Dirac brackets) have the same algebra as the Lie algebra of some symmetry. For example, for plain old particle motion in ...
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396 views

Invariance of Functional Integration Measure

Let us consider the functional integral: \begin{equation} \int \mathcal{D} A e^{iS[A]} \end{equation} where $S[A]$ is the action for $U(1)$ gauge field and \begin{equation} \mathcal{D}A\equiv ...
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608 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 ...
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297 views

Why do we classify states under covering groups instead of the group itself?

Why do we always classify states under covering group representations instead of the group itself? For example see the following picture I lifted from 'Symmetry in physics' by Gross So in the first ...
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467 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 ...
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What is the exact meaning of homogeneity in cosmology?

I understand that, in general, homogeneity is the physical attribute of being uniform in composition (" of the same form at every point"), but I'm slightly confused when it is used in cosmology as ...
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Deriving the action and the Lagrangian for a free point particle in Special Relativity

My question relates to Landau & Lifshitz, Classical Theory of Field, Chapter 2: Relativistic Mechanics, Paragraph 8: The principle of least action. As stated there, to determine the action ...
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Can someone give a simple expose on Coleman Mandula theorem and what Mandelstam variables are?

Can someone give a simple expose on Coleman Mandula theorem and what Mandelstam variables are? Coleman-Mandula is often cited as being the key theorem that leads us to consider Supersymmetry for ...
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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 - ...
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Noether Theorem and Energy conservation in classical mechanics

I have a problem deriving the conservation of energy from time translation invariance. The invariance of the Lagrangian under infinitesimal time displacements $t \rightarrow t' = t + \epsilon$ can be ...
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Why is the stress-energy tensor symmetric?

The relativistic stress-energy tensor $T$ is important in both special and general relativity. Why is it symmetric, with $T_{\mu\nu}=T_{\nu\mu}$? As a secondary question, how does this relate to the ...
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Global symmetry in string theory

It is often stated that in quantum gravity only charges coupled to gauge fields can be conserved. This is because of the no hair theorem. If a charge is coupled to a gauge field then when it falls ...
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Symmetries of a Free Massless Scalar in Two Dimensions

On p. 49 of Polchinski's book, he says: "Incidentally, the free massless scalar in two dimensions has a remarkably large amount of symmetry -- much more than we will have occasion to mention." Does ...
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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: ...
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How to model a symmetry using Lie Groups?

I have been reading lately about Lie groups, and although all books keep listing the groups, and talk about Lie algebras and all that, one thing I still don't know how is it made, and I guess it's the ...
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More general invariance of the action functional

I will formulate my question in the classical case, where things are simplest. Usually when one discusses a continuous symmetry of a theory, one means a one-parameter group of diffeomorphisms of the ...
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Confusion about two definitions of anomalies

As I am currently studying for an exam about quantum field theory and string theory, I got confused about the notion of "anomalies" and how they are actually defined. Similar questions have already ...
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473 views

Why does a transformation to a rotating reference frame NOT break temporal scale invariance?

Naively, I thought that transforming a scale invariant equation (such as the Navier-Stokes equations for example) to a rotating reference frame (for example the rotating earth) would break the ...
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242 views

Is there a mathematical reason for the Lagrangian to be Lorentz invariant?

The Hamiltonian is the energy, which is just one component of a four-vector and therefore not Lorentz invariant. The Lagrangian is the Legendre transform of the Hamiltonian and I was wondering if ...
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Seeking a quality plain-language description of the Wigner-Eckart theorem

I'm a third year physics undergrad with a very cursory knowledge of quantum mechanics and the formalism involved. For instance, I understand roughly how tensors work and what it means for a tensor to ...
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Degenaracy in mass of $8$ and $27$ reps of $SU(3)$ in Coleman's Aspects of Symmetry [closed]

In Coleman's Aspect of symmetry he proposes an amusing problem in the first chapter. It asks us to consider a set of eight pseudo-scalar fields transforming in the adjoint representation of $SU(3)$. ...
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Does Noether's theorem also give rise to quantities conserved over space?

Noether's theorem gives rise to quantities that are conserved over time. But does it also give rise to quantities that are conserved over space?
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What sort of experiment would directly test time reversal invariance?

I guess the title says it all: how could/would you experimentally test whether our universe is truly time reversal invariant, without relying on the CPT theorem? What experiments have been proposed to ...
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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 ...
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486 views

Must every isometry have an associated Killing vector?

I understand that the flows of Killing vector fields are isometries, and that one-parameter groups of isometries have an associated Killing vector which generates them, but are your Killing vectors ...
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Precise statement of Mermin–Wagner theorem

Roughly speaking, Mermin-Wagner theorem states that continuous symmetries cannot be spontaneously broken at finite temperature in systems with sufficiently short-range interactions in dimensions ...
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Physical significance of Killing vector field along geodesic

Let us denote by $X^i=(1,\vec 0)$ the Killing vector field and by $u^i(s)$ a tangent vector field of a geodesic, where $s$ is some affine parameter. What physical significance do the scalar quantity ...
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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 ...
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What is difference between homogeneous vs isotropic material?

When we say a material is isotropic? When properties such as density, Young's modulus etc. are same in all directions. If these properties are direction dependent, then we can say that the material is ...
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Why are these two definitions for symmetries in the Lagrangian equivalent?

I have heard the following two definitions for a symmetry of the Lagrangian: If under a coordinate transformation the form of the Lagrangian remains unchanged then there is a symmetry. If $\delta ...
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What does the statement “the laws of physics are invariant” mean?

In the first paragraph of Wikipedia's article on special relativity, it states one of the assumptions of special relativity is the laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial ...
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Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations?

Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations? Is this statement true? I have only seen examples of this, like the invariance of Electromagnetic action under Lorentz ...
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641 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, ...
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Is Conformal Symmetry Local or Global?

I'm just brushing up on a bit of CFT, and I'm trying to understand whether conformal symmetry is local or global in the physics sense. Obviously when the metric is viewed as dynamical then the ...
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What is kappa symmetry?

On page 180 David McMohan explains that to obtain a (spacetime) supersymmetric action for a GS superstring one has to add to the bosonic part $$ S_B = -\frac{1}{2\pi}\int d^2 \sigma ...
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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 ...
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Boundary currents for Asymptotic Symmetry Group (ASG)

In the context of asymptotic symmetry groups, what is a boundary current? Why is it called a "current"? Context: I'm reading Strominger's recent paper on Asymptotic symmetry group of Yang-Mills ...
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Conjugate Variables, Noether's Theorem and QM

What is the underlying reason that the same pairs of conjugate variables (e.g. energy & time, momentum & position) are related in Noether's theorem (e.g. time symmetry implies energy ...
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366 views

If a symmetry operator S in a QFT annihilates the vacuum, why does S preserve the space of 1-particle states?

In the paper "Supersymmetry and Morse Theory", on the third page (p. 663 in the journal version), Witten says: "Now in any quantum field theory if a symmetry operator (an operator which commutes ...
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377 views

Tadpole symmetry factor

Can someone help me with symmetry factor of one-loop tadpole diagram (one loop correction to one point Green function in phi-3 theory)?
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Explaining chirality for spin 1/2 particle

I found the following explanation for chirality for spin 1/2 particles here What happens when you rotate a left- vs right-chiral fermion 360 degree about its direction of motion. Both ...
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Noether currents in QFT

I am trying to organize my knowledge of Noether's theorem in QFT. There are several questions I would like to have an answer to. In classical field theory, Noether's theorem states that for each ...
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245 views

What is the symmetry associated with the local particle number conservation law for fluid?

According to Noether's theorem, every continuous symmetry (of the action) yields a conservation law. In fluid, there is a local particle number conservation law, which is ...
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703 views

Relativistic center of mass

Recently I realized the concept of center of mass makes sense in special relativity. Maybe it's explained in the textbooks, but I missed it. However, there's a puzzle regarding the zero mass case ...
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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 ...