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

18
votes
1answer
553 views

Why does charge conservation due to gauge symmetry only hold on-shell?

While deriving Noether's theorem or the generator(and hence conserved current) for a continuous symmetry, we work modulo the assumption that the field equations hold. Considering the case of gauge ...
20
votes
1answer
155 views

Any use for $F_4$ in hep-th?

In high energy physics, the use of the classical Lie groups are common place, and in the Grand Unification the use of $E_{6,7,8}$ is also common place. In string theory $G_2$ is sometimes utilized, ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Galilean invariance of Lagrangian for non-relativistic free point particle?

In QFT, the Lagrangian density is explicitly constructed to be Lorentz-invariant from the beginning. However the Lagrangian $$L = \frac{1}{2} mv^2$$ for a non-relativistic free point particle is ...
12
votes
1answer
154 views

Are possible gauge fields in a Lagrangian theory always determined by the structure of the charged degrees of freedom?

An elementary example to explain what I mean. Consider introducing a classical point particle with a Lagrangian $L(\mathbf{q} ,\dot{\mathbf{q}}, t)$. The most general gauge transformation is $L ...
17
votes
2answers
159 views

Can symmetry generators be used for quantization?

Take the Poincaré group for example. The conservation of rest-mass $m_0$ is generated by the invariance with respect to $p^2 = -\partial_\mu\partial^\mu$. Now if one simply claims The state where ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this Landau's other critical phenomena mistake?

There was an old argument by Landau that while the liquid gas transition can have a critical point, the solid-liquid transition cannot. This argument says that the solid breaks translational symmetry, ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

Definite Parity of Solutions to a Schrödinger Equation with even Potential?

I am reading up on the Schrödinger equation and I quote: Because the potential is symmetric under $x\to-x$, we expect that there will be solutions of definite parity. Could someone kindly ...
7
votes
2answers
225 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
302 views

Lorentz invariance of a frequency- and wavelength- dependent dielectric tensor

Suppose we have a material described by a dielectric tensor $\bar{\epsilon}$. In frequency domain, this tensor depends on the wave frequency $\omega$ and the wave vector $\vec{k}$. Clearly not all ...
9
votes
2answers
1k 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 - ...
10
votes
2answers
484 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
377 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
918 views

Invariance of Lagrangian in Noether's theorem

Often in textbooks Noether's theorem is stated with the assumption that the Lagrangian needs to be invariant $\delta L=0$. However, given a lagrangian $L$, we know that the Lagrangians $\alpha L$ ...
1
vote
3answers
537 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, ...
12
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
545 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
983 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
518 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
668 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
223 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?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Symmetric potential and the commutator of parity and hamiltonian

In one dimension - How can one prove that the Hammiltonian and the parity operator commute in the case where the potential is symmetric (an even function)? i.e. that [H, P] = 0 for V(x)=V(-x)
22
votes
6answers
3k views

Can Noether's theorem be understood intuitively?

Noether's theorem is one of those surprisingly clear results of mathematical calculations, for which I am inclined to think that some kind of intuitive understanding should or must be possible. ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the usefulness of the Wigner-Eckart theorem?

I am doing some self-study in between undergrad and grad school and I came across the beastly Wigner-Eckart theorem in Sakurai's Modern Quantum Mechanics. I was wondering if someone could tell me why ...
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, ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are snowflakes symmetrical?

The title says it all. Why are snowflakes symmetrical in shape and not a mush of ice? Is it a property of water freezing or what? Does anyone care to explain it to me? I'm intrigued by this and ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
377 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
393 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) ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the symmetry which is responsible for preservation/conservation of electrical charges?

Another Noether's theorem question, this time about electrical charge. According to Noether's theorem, all conservation laws originate from invariance of a system to shifts in a certain space. For ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the symmetry which is responsible for conservation of mass?

According to Noether's theorem, all conservation laws originate from invariance of a system to shifts in a certain space. For example conservation of energy stems from invariance to time translation. ...
6
votes
3answers
451 views

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 ...
34
votes
8answers
3k views

Is there something similar to Noether's theorem for discrete symmetries?

Noether's theorem states that, for every continuous symmetry of a system, there exists a conserved quantity, e.g. energy conservation for time invariance, charge conservation for $U(1)$. Is there any ...