In quantum mechanics, a unitary operator satisfies U† U = UU† = I, where † denotes Hermitean conjugation; such operators then specify Hilbert space automorphisms and preserve state norms, so then probability amplitudes and hence probabilities. Use for conservation of probability questions under ...

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101
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2answers
11k views

Why do we not have spin greater than 2?

It is commonly asserted that no consistent, interacting quantum field theory can be constructed with fields that have spin greater than 2 (possibly with some allusion to renormalization). I've also ...
61
votes
8answers
5k views

Is there a symmetry associated to the conservation of information?

Conservation of information seems to be a deep physical principle. For instance, Unitarity is a key concept in Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory. We may wonder if there is an underlying ...
43
votes
6answers
10k views

Why is information indestructible?

I really can't understand what Leonard Susskind means when he says that information is indestructible. Is that information that is lost, through the increase of entropy really recoverable? He ...
32
votes
1answer
2k views

Is general relativity holonomic?

Is it meaningful to ask whether general relativity is holonomic or nonholonomic, and if so, which is it? If not, then does the question become meaningful if, rather than the full dynamics of the ...
15
votes
2answers
432 views

Determine if Theory is Unitary from Lagrangian

Question: Given a quantum theory specified with a Lagrangian and the degrees of freedom to be varied, what is the procedure to determine if the theory is unitary or not? Concrete example to aid ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Unitary quantum field theory

What do physicists mean when they refer to a quantum field theory being unitary? Does this mean that all the symmetry groups of the theory act via unitary representations? I would appreciate if one ...
11
votes
1answer
863 views

How does the Ward-Takahashi Identity imply that non-transverse photons are unphysical in QED?

Peskin and Schroeder say that the Ward Identity of QED proves that non-transverse photon polarizations can be consistently ignored, but I'm confused about the details. Setup One starts by ...
10
votes
1answer
643 views

Is it possible to derive Schrodinger equation in this way?

Let's have wave-function $\lvert \psi \rangle$. The full probability is equal to one: $$\langle \Psi\lvert\Psi \rangle = 1.\tag{1}$$ We need to introduce time evolution of $\Psi $; we know it in ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Irreducible Representations Of Lorentz Group

In Weinberg's The Theory of Quantum Fields Volume 1, he considers classification one-particle states under inhomogeneous Lorentz group. My question only considers pages 62-64. He define states as $P^{...
10
votes
1answer
455 views

Scale invariance plus unitarity implies conformal invariance?

What has the reaction been towards the recent paper claiming to have a proof that scale invariance plus unitarity implies conformal invariance in 4d?
10
votes
1answer
300 views

Probability conservation in WKB tunneling

Suppose we have quantum mechanical plane waves of energy $E$ incident upon a one-dimensional potential barrier $V(x)$ with sloping sides. One can compare the WKB solutions in the three relevant ...
9
votes
2answers
724 views

Why do Faddeev-Popov ghosts decouple in BRST?

Why do Faddeev-Popov ghosts decouple in BRST? What is the physical reason behind it? Not just the mathematical reason. If BRST quantization is specifically engineered to make the ghosts decouple, how ...
9
votes
4answers
455 views

Where does the $i$ come from in the Schrödinger equation?

I am currently trying to follow Leonard Susskind's "Theoretical Minimum" lecture series on quantum mechanics. (I know a bit of linear algebra and calculus, so far it seems definitely enough to follow ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Information encoded on the surface of a black hole

If an object that enters a black hole has its information content frozen at the event horizon, in what sense is it frozen? The usual analogy is of a hologram encoded in 2d which can be decoded into a ...
8
votes
2answers
275 views

Why does the action have to be hermitian?

The hermiticity of operators of observables, e.g. the Hamiltonian, in QM is usually justified by saying that the eigenvalues must be real valued. I know that the Lagrangian is just a Legendre ...
8
votes
2answers
222 views

How do derivative couplings affect canonical quantization?

Consider a Lagrangian for a scalar field $\phi$ with an interaction term $$\mathcal{L}_{int} = (\partial^2 \phi)^2 \phi.$$ Here I'm suppressing all indices for brevity. Now, this is just a three-...
8
votes
2answers
142 views

Could you theoretically map the internal distribution of mass in a black hole using Hawking radiation?

Assuming you could measure the qualities of the radiation emanating from all around a black hole, could this be used to determine the internal geometry or makeup of the mass inside?
7
votes
3answers
954 views

Does Wick rotation work for quantum gravity?

Does Wick rotation work for quantum gravity? The Euclidean Einstein-Hilbert action isn't bounded from below.
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Relation between unitarity and conservation of probability

In a seminar, I heard that the unitary aspect of representations was important physically, because in quantum mechanics unitarity is closely tied to the conservation of probability. Could someone ...
7
votes
1answer
346 views

Sign in front of QFT kinetic terms

I'd like to know if the sign in front of a kinetic term in QFT important. For the scalar field we conventionally write (in the $ + --- $ metric), \begin{equation} {\cal L} _{ kin} = \frac{1}{2} \...
7
votes
1answer
475 views

Basic question about the S-Matrix, Unitarity and Effective Field Theory

Consider scattering some particles in a state collectively denoted by $i$ to a final state denote by $f$. The scattering amplitude, S-matrix is then defined by: $S_{fi}\equiv \langle f|e^{-iHt}|i\...
6
votes
3answers
303 views

What experiment supports the axiom that quantum operations are reversible?

Among the axioms of quantum mechanics there is one axiom that says transformations of a quantum state need to be continuous, linear, and reversible (and this together with the other axioms results in ...
6
votes
1answer
337 views

Why is $SU(3)$ chosen as the gauge group in QCD?

Why is $SU(3)$ chosen as the gauge group. Why not $U(3)$? Why does it even have to be unitary?
6
votes
1answer
393 views

Why is $R^2$ gravity not unitary?

I have often heard that $R^2$ gravity (as studied by Stelle) is renormalisable but not unitary. My question is: what is it that causes the theory to suffer from problems with unitarity? My naive ...
6
votes
3answers
183 views

why nontrivially space-like connected event horizons do not respect unitarity?

I want to understand the assertion that the gluing between distant event horizons is forbidden by unitarity. What is exactly the argument that unitarity will necessarily forbid topological nontrivial ...
5
votes
3answers
606 views

Does unitarity imply conservation of energy?

Not too long ago, someone began to discuss the thinking and motivation behind the Lagrangian and its formalism for the Newtonian framework and an intuitive understanding of such formalism. Somehow, it ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Unitarity of S-matrix in QFT

I am a beginner in QFT, and my question is probably very basic. As far as I understand, usually in QFT, in particular in QED, one postulates existence of IN and OUT states. Unitarity of the S-matrix ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are scattering matrices unitary?

In Griffith's QM book, he introduces scattering matrices as an end-of-the-chapter Problem 2.52. For a Dirac-Delta potential $V(x) = \alpha \delta (x - x_0)$, I've derived the scattering matrix and ...
5
votes
2answers
199 views

How can an inverted anharmonic potential $V(x)=-x^4$ have discrete bound states?

I've been watching the lectures on mathematical physics by Carl Bender on youtube where he uses the non-Hermitian Hamiltonian methods to prove that the inverted anharmonic potential $V(x)=-x^4$ has a ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Help with Cutkosky cutting rules for fermions

I know that a cut boson propagator is replaced with the mass shell delta function. But what happens when you cut a fermion propagator? Do you just replace the denominator with a mass shell delta ...
5
votes
2answers
514 views

using a unitary matrix to transpose

A unitary matrix U is a matrix such that the conjugate transpose of U, when multiplied on the right with U, yields identity. My question is, is it possible to obtain the transpose of any density ...
5
votes
2answers
270 views

Proof of conservation of information [duplicate]

After listening of some lectures of Leonard Susskind about black holes, he mentioned that conservation of information is one of the foundations of physics. After searching the web I cannot seem to ...
5
votes
2answers
271 views

Information Loss in annihilation

The concept of information loss is usually discussed with respect to a black hole. My understanding is that whatever matter you put into the black hole, it has only 3 "hairs" and so one doesn't know, ...
5
votes
1answer
110 views

Reality of the action in QFT [duplicate]

Following Ramond, 1.5 Field Theory, it is mentioned that the classical Lagrangian density in (workable for HEP) QFT theories has to be Real, otherwise total probability is not conserved. Can someone ...
5
votes
1answer
206 views

Why is the Yang-Mills Comparator unitary?

In chapter 15.2 of Peskin, the comparator is defined, as some object $U\left(y,\,x\right)$ which transforms as: $$ U\left(y,\,x\right) \mapsto V\left(y\right) U\left(y,\,x\right) \left[V\left(x\right)^...
4
votes
2answers
274 views

Why is wavefunction collapse always non unitary?

The 'wavefunction collapse' upon measurement is usually referred to as being a non-unitary transformation, since it does not preserve the norm of the state vector. Indeed, if a linear superposition ...
4
votes
2answers
324 views

Unitarity and renormalizability

What is the difference between the unitarity of the theory and its renormalizability? Can we say that renormalizable theory is unitary after renormalization? The questions have arisen after I have ...
4
votes
2answers
121 views

What exactly does No cloning mean, in the context of Quantum Computing?

I am trying to get an intuitive idea of how the No-Cloning theorem affects Quantum computation. My understanding is that given a qubit $Q$ in superposition $Q_0 \left| 0 \right> + Q_1 \left| 1 \...
4
votes
1answer
261 views

Lorentz transformation implemented by a non-unitary operator.

One often come across in QFT sentences like the following, for instance: ...under a Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$ implemented by the unitary operator $U(\Lambda)$, a Dirac field transforms ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is known on violations of unitarity or locality?

Recently the amplituhedron become a hot topic. I realized that two of the central pillars that QFT is based on, unitarity and locality, are no longer playing an important part (due to gravitational ...
4
votes
1answer
351 views

When can a classical field theory be quantized?

Given a classical field theory can it be always quantized? Put in another way, Does there necessarily need to exist a particle excitation given a generic classical field theory? By generic I mean all ...
4
votes
1answer
721 views

About Boltzmann H-theorem

What is the assumption for Boltzmann H-theorem? One can derive it just from the unitarity of quantum mechanics, so this should be generally true, does it imply a closed system will always thermalize ...
4
votes
2answers
94 views

Path Integral Quantization in General Relativity

In Ref. 1 I have seen that the action must contain only the first derivative of the metric as required by the path integral approach. I don't understand why. I mean why the path integral approach of ...
4
votes
1answer
627 views

Clarifications needed on Gauge Fixing and Ghosts [closed]

The first time some kind of gauge fixing appears is during the Gupta-Bleuler procedure, which is used to be able to quantize the photon field: The basic gauge invariant Lagrangian leads to $\Pi_0=0$ ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

Why does S-matrix unitarity imply the cross section $\sigma$ $\propto$ $\frac {1}{s}$?

I'm currently learning for an oral exam in theoretical physics and as a learning aid protocols of older exams exist. In one protocol the question was asked: Why is the scattering cross section $\...
4
votes
1answer
862 views

Holstein-Primakoff and Dyson-Maleev representation

In Holstein-Primakoff and Dyson-Maleev representation, spin operators are represented by bosonic operators. Roughly speaking, a state with $S^z=S-m$ corresponds to a state containing $m$ bosons. In ...
4
votes
0answers
100 views

Unitarity of the S-matrix and Feynman Diagrams

There are several questions on the unitarity of the S matrix, but unfortunately non of them answers directly the following question. The S matrix is unitary and that can be proven by the fact that ...
4
votes
0answers
103 views

Locality, unitarity & vacuum energy

I've read in a set of lecture notes that the requirement of locality and unitarity in QFT imply that the vacuum must have a non-zero energy associated with it (http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.05296 , top of ...
4
votes
0answers
108 views

Non-Hermitian Lagrangian in Quantum Field Theory

I have seen more than once non-Hermitian Lagrangian densities being used in effective field theories. Usually the problem of unitarity is explained away with decays into some degree of freedom not ...
3
votes
1answer
180 views

Supersymmetry and non-compact $R$-symmetry group?

The $R$-symmetry for $N$ supercharges is $U(N)$. Is it possible to generalize $R$-symmetry [let's take $U(4)$) to be something like $U(2,2)$ (maybe analogous to Wick rotation of $SO(3,1)$ to $SO(4)$...