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As Lubos Motl mentions in a comment, for all practical purposes, the sought-for equation (v1) is proved via Wick's Theorem. It is interesting to try to generalize Wick's Theorem and to try to minimize the number of assumptions that goes into it. Here we will outline one possible approach. I) Assume that a family $(\hat{A}_i)_{i\in I}$ of operators ...
Essentially, what the Wick theorem tells you is that the moments of a multivariate gaussian distribution are determinate by the second moments; for instance, for a $3D$ gaussian in $(x,y,z)$ space, the quantity $$\langle xyzx \rangle$$ can be calculated in terms of $\langle xy\rangle$, $\langle xz \rangle$, $\langle xx\rangle$ and $\langle yz\rangle ... 6 I) It is true that operator ordering procedures are idempotent operations $$\tag{1} T(T(\ldots))~=~T(\ldots)\quad\text{and}\quad N(N(\ldots))~=~N(\ldots).$$ But it is not true that the outermost ordering cancels the effect of the innermost ordering $$\tag{2} T(N(\ldots))~=~T(\ldots)\quad\text{and}\quad N(T(\ldots))~=~N(\ldots). \quad (\longleftarrow ... 6 Applying \partial_1\overline{\partial}_1, we have the following. First term:$$\partial_1\overline\partial_1 G_1 = -\pi\alpha' \eta^{\mu_1\mu_2} \delta^2 (z_1-z_2,\overline z_1-\overline z_2) X^{\mu_3} (z_3,\overline z_3) X^{\mu_4} (z_4,\overline z_4) +\text{ } {\rm permutations~of~indices~} (2,3,4).$$In the second term, z_1 can be the logarithm or ... 6 If the operators X_i can be written as a sum of an annihilation and a creation part$$X_i~=~A_i + A_i^\dagger, \qquad A_i|0\rangle~=~0,$$where$$ [A_i(t),A_j(t^\prime)] ~=~ 0, $$and$$ [A_i(t),A_j^\dagger(t^\prime)] ~=~ (c~{\rm numbers}) \times {\bf 1}, $$i.e. proportional to the identity operator {\bf 1}, then one may prove that$$ ... 4 We can use $$\begin{split} : F : : G: = \exp \left( - \frac{\alpha'}{2} \int d^2 z_1 d^2 z_2 \log|z_{12}|^2\frac{\delta }{\delta X_F^\mu(z_1, {\bar z}_1)} \frac{\delta }{\delta X_{G\mu}(z_2, {\bar z}_2)} \right) :F G: \end{split}$$ This gives \begin{split} : \frac{i}{\alpha'} \partial X^\mu(z) : : e^{i k \cdot ... 4 I think there is a typo in the first formula. Let me propose this (partial) answer for the$3$first formulae: Because$H(z)H(0) \sim -ln(z)$, we may write the OPE for any pair of operators$F(H), G(H)$functions of$H$(in analogy with formula$2.2.10$p.$39$vol$1$) $$:F::G: = e^{- \large \int dz_1 dz_2 ln z_{12} \frac{\partial}{\partial ... 4 Here we will outline a strategy to prove the sought-for operator identity (4) from the following definitions of what the commutator and the normal order of two mode operators \alpha_m and \alpha_n mean:$$ [\alpha_m, \alpha_n]~=~ \hbar m~\delta_{m+n}^0, \qquad\qquad(1) :\alpha_m \alpha_n:~=~\Theta(n-m) \alpha_m \alpha_n ~+~ \Theta(m-n) \alpha_n ... 4 Right, one is only supposed to put the sources$J=0$to zero after the very last$J$-differentiation has been performed. Figuratively speaking, short of writing out the calculation in full detail: Some of the$J$s downstairs can "couple" to the$J$s upstairs in the exponential. 4 The case with the linear term is obtained from the original one by a simple shift, i.e. the substitution $$x = X + A^{-1} B$$ Substitute it to the exponent in your more general integral: $$-\frac 12 x^T A x + B^T x = -\frac 12 (X^T+B^T A^{-1}) A(X+A^{-1}B)+B^T (X+A^{-1}B)=\dots$$ I used$A=A^T$. Now, all the terms that are schematically$BX$i.e. linear ... 3 The physical limit is$a\to 0$so the terms in the operator that are subleading in$a/L$go to zero and may be neglected. This is a different situation from computing various sums and integrals (in Green's functions and scattering amplitudes) whose leading terms in an expansion diverge. The leading divergent piece may be unphysical and get subtracted by ... 3 Wick's theorem tells us that $$\mathcal{T}(\phi_1\dots\phi_N) =\ :\phi_1\dots\phi_N: + :\text{pairwise contractions}:$$ where$:\ :$is normal ordering. Immediately from the definition of normal ordering (all annihilators to the right, all creators to the left), the expectation value of anything that is normal-ordered and not a constant vanishes because the ... 3 The normal ordening is a way to say: ''we throw away the zero-point energy'' (since it becomes infinity and wa say we only look at energy-differences), or to put it in the words of A. Zee: ''Create before you annihalite''. The chronological ordening comes in when you calculate the Feynman propagator (also called the Green's function), which is basically the ... 3 You don't need to use that. You can simply do the cross-contractions by hand. Let's do that. Note that I only care about the the$\frac{1}{z^4}$term to evaluate the central charge. We have \begin{split} T(z) T(w) & =\left( : \partial_z b c(z): - \lambda \partial_z : b c (z): \right) \left( : \partial_w b c(w): - \lambda \partial_w : ... 2 In the particular case where$f(\vec x)$is a sum of expressions, where each expression has a total even power of the$x^i$like :$f(x) = x_1x_2 + x_1^2 x_2 x_3 + ...$, . we may present general expressions. we have : $$I(\Sigma)=\int d^{n} x\, e^{-\frac{1}{2} \vec x \cdot \Sigma^{-1}\cdot \vec x}\tag{1} = \sqrt{(2 \pi)^ndet \Sigma}$$ We have : ... 2 The main point is that in the context of the Dyson series it is by definition implicitly assumed that the time ordering operator$T$does not act/operate/re-order operators inside the interaction Hamiltonian$H_I(t)$. In plain English: It does not 'see' what operators that$H_I(t)$consists of. It only re-orders between different appearances of the ... 2 An other way is to begin with (2.2.1.4) $$:e^{i k_1.X(z,\bar z)}:~ :e^{i k_2.X(0,0)}: ~\sim ~|z|^{\alpha' k_1.k_2} ~:e^{i (k_1 + k_2).X(0,0)}:$$ Now, derive this expression relatively to$k_1^\mu$, then doing$k_1=0$, we get : $$:i X_\mu(z, \bar z):~:e^{i k_2.X(0,0)}: ~\sim(\alpha' (k_2)_{\mu} \ln|z| + i :X_\mu(0,0):):e^{i k_2.X(0,0)}:$$ Now, we derive ... 2 In the operator$^1$formulation, the vital assumption, which makes the standard Wick's theorem hold, is the assumption that the contractions are in the center of the pertinent operator algebra. This is often stated casually as the contractions should be$c$-numbers, meaning that the contractions should (super)commute with all pertinent operators.$^1$A ... 2 You can always use Wick's theorem when you're describing expectation values with respect to free field states (that is, non-interacting, like a single Slater determinant state). For example, in Hubbard-Stratonovich or (generally) Variational Mean-Field Theory (like Bogliubov-deGennes) you take the interaction terms and decouple them into a model that is ... 2 The first term in your second equation does not contain any singularities and is hence part of the "non-singular terms" at the end of the last expression. To find the final form you just need to perform the derivatives of the logarithm terms and Taylor expand the term$:\!\partial X^\mu(z)\partial'X_\mu(z')\!:$around$z=z'$. The singular contributions from ... 2 Hints: Note that radial ordering${\cal R}$and normal-ordered/non-singular terms are implicitly implied in OP's eq. (2), see eq. (A) below. From (i) the OPEs $${\cal R} [\beta(z)\gamma(w)]~=~\frac{1}{z-w} ~+~ :\beta(z)\gamma(w):,\tag{A}$$ $${\cal R} [\beta(z)\beta(w)]~=~ :\beta(z)\beta(w):, \qquad{\cal R} [\gamma(z)\gamma(w)]~=~:\gamma(z)\gamma(w):, ... 2 Computing time-ordered products via Wick's theorem is fairly straightforward, schematically,$$\mathcal{T} \left\{ \phi_1 \phi_2 \dots \phi_n\right\} = \; : \sum \mathrm{all \;possible \; contractions}:$$where colons denote normal-ordering, and for simplicity we have chosen a real scalar field, and the notation \phi_n denotes a field evaluated at the ... 2 Comment to the question (v2): Yes, the authors of Ref. 1 are cheating. They are not using Wick's theorem (although one in principle could do so). They know that the modified Bessel function I_0 of first kind has an asymptotic series expansion in terms of a generalized hypergeometric function^1$$e^{\frac{1}{4g}} ... 2 Lubos Motl has already provided a correct answer. This answer uses a different approach in the spirit of perturbation theory with$j$-sources: $$\int_{\mathbb{R}^n} \! d^nx ~f(x)~e^{-\frac{1}{2}x^TAx +j^Tx}$$ $$~=~f\left(\frac{\partial}{\partial j}\right) \int_{\mathbb{R}^n} \! d^nx ~e^{-\frac{1}{2}x^TAx +j^Tx}$$ $$~\stackrel{\begin{matrix}\text{Gauss.}\\ ... 2 In classical physics, quantities are ordinary, commuting c-numbers. The order in which we write terms in expressions is of no consequence. In quantum field theory (QFT), on the other hand, quantities are described by operators that, in general, don't commute. Classical physics is a low-energy approximation of quantum physics - the road from quantum to ... 2 The choice of normal ordering prescription :~: is typically adjusted to the choice of vacuum state |\Omega\rangle so that the bra-ket-sandwich of normal-ordered operators$$\langle \Omega|:\hat{\cal O}_1\ldots \hat{\cal O}_n : |\Omega\rangle~=~0$$vanishes. The relation of normal ordering prescription to Wick theorem and other operator ordering ... 2 First of all, note that the radial operator ordering${\cal R}$is implicitly implied in many textbooks of CFT (e.g. Ref. 1). For instance, eq. (2.2.7) on p. 39 in Ref. 1 is discussing Wick's theorem between two operator ordering prescriptions. In this case between normal ordering$:~:$and radial ordering${\cal R}$. See also e.g. this Phys.SE post. The ... 1 As other answers mention, it was originally (in QED) about getting a neutral vacuum. It is useful to go back to Schwinger's old version of QED, before Dyson's approach became accepted. See Pauli: Selected topics in field quantization. Pauli presents both ways of looking at it: 1) define the electric current as sum of two terms (p.20 [6.4]), such that the ... 1 Equation (2.4.6):$T(z)X^\mu(0)\sim \frac{1}{z}\partial X^\mu(0)$means that the RHS is the most singular term of the LHS.$T(z) = -\frac{1}{\alpha'} :\partial X^{\mu} \partial X_{\mu}:\tag{2.4.4}So \begin{align*} T(z)X^{\mu}(0) & =-\frac{1}{\alpha'}:\partial X^{\nu}(z)\partial X_{\nu}(z):X^{\mu}(0)\\ & =-\frac{2:\partial ... 1 Normal ordering is an ordering of a product of field operators, in which all the annihilation operators are placed in to the right of all creation operators. This mean that the expectation value of a normal ordering in relation to the vacuum state is zero. Ifc_a^\dagger c_b = \rho_{ba} + :c_a^\dagger c_b:$and$|\Phi\rangle\$ is the vacuum state, then ...