In a paper by Zimmerman [JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS 114, 044907 (2013)], it is stated that the Lorenz gauge in electromagnetism is the only gauge with real physical meaning. How do I reconcile this statement with the quantum electrodynamics, where gauge transformations are only mathematical tricks used to simplify the calculations?

  • $\begingroup$ It might be that Zimmerman means to say that the Lorenz gauge is the only one which makes a intuitive physical interpretation possible... $\endgroup$
    – Danu
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 9:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Lorenz gauge has the added benefit of maintaining manifest Lorentz invariance, as opposed to, for example, Coulomb gauge. $\endgroup$
    – JamalS
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ Could you elaborate on what is meant by "real physical meaning" ? Gauge is a choice of potentials which are auxiliary mathematical functions. There are many gauges that lead to the same electric and magnetic field. Forces on charged particles are determined by electric and magnetic fields, values or choice of potentials do not matter. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2014 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ @JánLalinský: Robert Zimmerman states that in the Lorentz gauge there is the possibility to transmit vector potential signals. google.com/patents/US20090034657, so the Lorentz gauge has 'physical meaning', while the other gauges don't. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2014 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ I found no reference to Lorenz gauge. I did not read the whole text, but the statement "To date, there is no known technology reported in the scientific and engineering literature, which can unambiguously prove that the coupled electrodynamic potentials A and Φ (often referred to as the 4-vector potential) have any physical significance, i.e., that they are measurable." seems correct. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:18


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.