Linked Questions

3
votes
3answers
1k views

$SO(3)$, $SU(2)$ and symmetries in quantum mechanics [duplicate]

A rotation in the vector space $\mathbb{R}^3$ is represented by the known 3x3-matrices. But at this point I'm really confused how to get from there to Quantum Mechanics. The group of $\mathrm{SO}(3)$...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

The role of SO(3) and SU(2) in quantum mechanics [duplicate]

When studying the irreducible representations of SO(3) one usually looks at the irreps of the infinitesimal rotations instead, i.e. the ones of so(3), the Lie Algebra of SO(3). The Irreps of so(3) can ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

$SU(2)$ vs $SO(3)$ in Quantum Mechancs [duplicate]

When we're talking about spatial rotations is quantum mechanics, why do we need to resort to $SU(2)$? Why isn't $SO(3)$ enough? I've read that $SO(3)$ isn't simply connected, and I've read about ...
1
vote
0answers
216 views

The universal covering group of a symmetry group [duplicate]

In Weinberg QFT Vol.1, it says one can enlarge the symmetry group $H$ to the universal covering group $C$ such that one obtains a trivial cocycle or $C$ is simply connected whereas $H$ is not. I get ...
1
vote
0answers
153 views

Why do we study the projective representations of SO(3) in the context of the theory of angular momentum? [duplicate]

I have been studying the group theoretic formalism of quantum mechanics and I have yet to find a satisfying explanation for the need for projective representations in the theory of angular momentum. I ...
16
votes
3answers
982 views

Why gauge $SU(N)$ and not $SO(N)$?

When building models people typically gauge $SU(N)$ but rarely try to gauge $SO(N)$ (the only example I know about is $SO(10)$, but even that isn't quite $SO(10)$ but actually its double cover). At ...
10
votes
1answer
890 views

What is the physical significance of the double connectivity of $\rm SO(3)$ group manifold?

Is there any physical significance of the fact that the group manifold (parameter space) of $SO(3)$ is doubly connected? There exists two equivalence classes of paths in the group manifold of SO(3) ...
13
votes
2answers
776 views

Can a spinor be defined as any quantity which transforms linearly under Lorentz transformations?

Recently I’ve come across a few papers from China (e.g. Xiang-Yao Wu et al., arXiv:1212.4028v1 14 Dec 2012) that make the following statement: ...any quantity which transforms linearly under ...
9
votes
3answers
730 views

Understanding Group Theory in QFT

Recently it was asked what the reason for Pauli's Exclusion Principle, and the most well-recieved response looks like hieroglyphics to me: I think that while these "explanations" are all dancing ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Scalar field transformation and generators

When we do a transformation (norm preserving one) for a given quantity, from what I have understood it seems like there is a representation of the group element for each quantity depending how they ...
6
votes
3answers
392 views

Why do we look at the representations of $SO(3)$ in QM?

I have a bit of an understanding issue why the representations of $SO(3)$ are so important for Quantum Mechanics. When looking at its Irreps one gets the Spin and Angular Momentum operators and thus ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Complex numbers in quantum mechanics and in special relativity

Is there a physical relation between the use of complex numbers for the wavefunction in (non-relativistic) quantum mechanics and in special relativity (as formulated in the setting of Minkowski space)?...
5
votes
2answers
252 views

Do the spinor transformation matrices form a matrix representation of the corresponding Lorentz group?

Suppose $\Psi$ is a Dirac spinor, then let the transformation matrix $S$ be defined as usual: $\Psi'=S(\Lambda)\Psi$, where $\Lambda$ is the Lorentz transformation matrix. Then the questions is: for ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How does $SU(2)$ group enters quantum mechanics?

What is the reason that $SU(2)$ group enters quantum mechanics in the context of rotation but not $SO(3)$? What really rotates and which space it rotates? It cannot be the physical electron that ...
4
votes
2answers
413 views

What guarantees the existence of unitary operators implementing Lorentz Transformations?

This should be a very basic question. In introductory QFT books, often one of the first things we see is the following claim: for every Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$, we can associate an unitary ...

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