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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Symmetries of the Standard Model: exact, anomalous, spontaneously broken

There are a number of possible symmetries in fundamental physics, such as: Lorentz invariance (or actually, Poincaré invariance, which can itself be broken down into translation invariance and ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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
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Classical and quantum anomalies

I have read about anomalies in different contexts and ways. I would like to read an explanation that unified all these statements or point-views: Anomalies are due to the fact that quantum field ...
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Is the converse of Noether's first theorem true: Every conservation law has a symmetry?

Noether's (first) theorem states that any differentiable symmetry of the action of a physical system has a corresponding conservation law. Is the converse true: Any conservation law of a physical ...
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159 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, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
592 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 ...
18
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713 views

When can a global symmetry be gauged?

Take a classical field theory described by a local Lagrangian depending on a set of fields and their derivatives. Suppose that the action possesses some global symmetry. What conditions have to be ...
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Elegant approaches to quantum field theory

I have been reading Quantum Mechanics: A Modern Development by L. Ballentine. I like the way everything is deduced starting from symmetry principles. I was wondering if anyone familiar with the book ...
17
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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 ...
17
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1answer
741 views

What is the difference between scale invariance and self-similarity?

I always thought that these two terms are some kind of synonyms, meaning that if you have a self-similar or scale invariant system, you can zoom in or out as you like and you will always see the same ...
16
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854 views

When is it useful to distinguish between vectors and pseudovectors in experimental & theoretical physics?

My understanding of pseudovectors vs vectors is pretty basic. Both transform in the same way under a rotation, but differently upon reflection. I might even be able to summarize that using an ...
16
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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, ...
16
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400 views

Coulomb gauge fixing and “normalizability”

The Setup Let Greek indices be summed over $0,1,\dots, d$ and Latin indices over $1,2,\dots, d$. Consider a vector potential $A_\mu$ on $\mathbb R^{d,1}$ defined to gauge transform as $$ A_\mu\to ...
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593 views

What is precisely a Yangian symmetry?

The terms Yangian and Yangian symmetry appear in a list of physical problems (spin chains, Hubbard model, ABJM theory, $\mathcal{N}= 4$ super Yang-Mills in $d=4$, $\mathcal{N}= 8$ SUGRA in $d=4$), ...
14
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1answer
485 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 ...
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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 ...
13
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4answers
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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 ...
12
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6answers
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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. ...
12
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5answers
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Noether charge of local symmetries

If our Lagrangian is invariant under a local symmetry, then, by simply restricting our local symmetry to the case in which the transformation is constant over space-time, we obtain a global symmetry, ...
12
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4answers
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QM and Renormalization (layman)

I was reading Michio Kaku's Beyond Einstein. In it, I think, he explains that when physicsts treat a particle as a geometric point they end up with infinity when calculating the strength of the ...
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How are symmetries precisely defined?

How are symmetries precisely defined? In basic physics courses it is usual to see arguments on symmetry to derive some equations. This, however, is done in a kind of sloppy way: "we are calculating ...
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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 ...
12
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1answer
161 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 ...
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222 views

Why do we assume local conformal transformations are symmetries in 2D CFT

The global conformal group in 2D is $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$. It consists of the fractional linear transforms that map the Riemann sphere into itself bijectively and is finite dimensional. However, when ...
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Quantum symmetries that are not classical symmetries

An anomaly is a symmetry of the classical action that fails to be a symmetry of the path integral, due to non-invariance of the path integral measure. Does it ever occur that the opposite thing ...
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807 views

Why am I wrong about how to view gauge theory?

Edit: I know there have been some similar questions but I don't think any had quite articulated my particular confusion. If gauge symmetries are really just redundancies in our description accounting ...
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2answers
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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 ...
11
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1answer
708 views

Do an action and its Euler-Lagrange equations have the same symmetries?

Assume a certain action $S$ with certain symmetries, from which according to the Lagrangian formalism, the equations of motion (EOM) of the system are the corresponding Euler-Lagrange equations. Can ...
11
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3answers
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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 ...
11
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1answer
501 views

Motivation for preservation of spacetime volume by Lorentz transformation?

My favorite way of deriving the Lorentz transformation is to start from symmetry principles (an approach originated in Ignatowsky 1911; cf. Pal 2003), and one of my steps is to prove a lemma stating ...
11
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1answer
209 views

Lie group of Schrodinger Wave equation

In Ballentine's book on quantum mechanics (in 3rd chapter), he introduces the symmetry transformation of Galilean group associated with Schrodinger equation. Now the Galilean group as such has 10 ...
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447 views

Is hydrogen the same everywhere?

Silly thought. Feel free to shoot it down Does a hydrogen atom undergo any kind of change subject to it's environment? If one were to study a hydrogen atom on the surface of Mercury, another above ...
10
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583 views

Form of the Classical EM Lagrangian

So I know that for an electromagnetic field in a vacuum the Lagrangian is $\mathcal L=-\frac 1 4 F^{\mu\nu} F_{\mu\nu}$, the standard model tells me this. What I want to know is if there is an ...
10
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526 views

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 ...
10
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2answers
602 views

Why does the classical Noether charge become the quantum symmetry generator?

It is often said that the classical charge $Q$ becomes the quantum generator $X$ after quantization. Indeed this is certainly the case for simple examples of energy and momentum. But why should this ...
10
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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 ...
10
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1answer
546 views

Time reversal symmetry and T^2 = -1

I'm a mathematician interested in abstract QFT. I'm trying to undersand why, under certain (all?) circumstances, we must have $T^2 = -1$ rather than $T^2 = +1$, where $T$ is the time reversal ...
10
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674 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 ...
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754 views

Why is the Symmetry Group for the Electroweak force SU(2)xU(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
955 views

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 ...
9
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3answers
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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 ...
9
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1answer
497 views

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 ...
9
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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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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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448 views

Conformal Compactification of spacetime

I have been reading Penrose's paper titled "Relativistic Symmetry Groups" where the concept of conformal compactification of a space-time is discussed. My other references have been this and this. In ...
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363 views

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: ...