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56
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
39
votes
6answers
8k 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 ...
31
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
395 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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
778 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
416 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
253 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
1answer
573 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
662 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
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 ...
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
141 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
906 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
284 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
431 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
311 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
2answers
202 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
371 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
180 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
521 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
918 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. For a Dirac-Delta potential $V(x) = \alpha \delta (x - x_0)$, I've derived the scattering matrix and ...
5
votes
2answers
176 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
983 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
500 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
236 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
263 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
178 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) ...
4
votes
3answers
256 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
250 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
1answer
237 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
336 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
626 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
1answer
489 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
151 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
722 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
87 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
83 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
91 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
2answers
176 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
177 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
239 views

Thought experiment about no-cloning theorem and FTL information

The quantum no-cloning theorem states that one cannot "build" a perfect cloning device for arbitrary quantum systems. There also exists a famous thought experiment where Alice transmits information ...
3
votes
2answers
285 views

Feynman's $i \epsilon$ prescription in loop expansion

I have some questions about the $i\epsilon$ factor in Feynman diagrams. First, what is the physical meaning of $i\epsilon$ in loop amplitudes. Second, how does it ensures unitarity? And third, Dyson ...
3
votes
0answers
116 views

QED and anomaly

I've just started to learn anomalies in quantum field theories. I have a question. How to show that QED is free from vector current anomaly and what would happen if it were not? In other words, how ...
3
votes
0answers
100 views

How to check the unitarity of the theory by having field equation?

Let's have some field equation of some field corresponding to particles with mass $m$ and spin $s$. How to check the unitarity of the theory? May I do it without getting $S$-matrix? May the scalar ...
3
votes
0answers
125 views

How to show that higher derivative theories (mostly) breaks unitarity

How to show that higher derivative theories (mostly) breaks unitarity? Spinor field $\psi_{a_{1}...a_{n}\dot {b}_{1}..\dot {b}_{m}} $, which refer to the $\left( \frac{n}{2}, \frac{m}{2} \right)$ ...
3
votes
0answers
311 views

Validity of Cutkosky cutting rules for fermions

It is rather obvious for me that the generalized optical theorem (see e.g. Peskin&Schroeder) must hold for S-matrix elements for fermions as it is directly related to the unitarity of the ...