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
217 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
154 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
983 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
892 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
777 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
732 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
253 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
604 views

Representations of SO(3) and the classification of relativistic massive particles as in Weinberg's “The Quantum Theory of Fields”

I'm reading about the classification of relativistic massive particles in Weinberg's "The Quantum Theory of Fields", and I found something that doesn't convince me. In Chapter 2, paragraph 5, having ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Existence of spin-$\frac{1}{2}$ representation corresponds to $\text{SO}(3)$ having double cover?

I come across this article: https://skullsinthestars.com/2016/03/29/1975-neutrons-go-right-round-baby-right-round/ I quote here a part of this article: Spin 1/2 particles like the electron, ...
3
votes
1answer
329 views

Helicity quantization of massless particles

In Appendix B of QFT in a nutshell by Zee, a review of group theory is given. In the last paragraph of the appendix on page 533, he briefly discusses the helicity quantization of massless particles. ...
7
votes
1answer
646 views

How to construct an isomorphism between the Complexified Special Linear Lie Group and the Special Unitary Group? [duplicate]

This may be an unenlightening question, but I'm just not sure about the result and hoping someone can help me varify it. $\\$ This question is related to these three questions. $\\$ I want to ...
0
votes
2answers
374 views

Reasons for choosing $SU(3)$ as the color group vs. $SO(4)$

What are the reasons that $SU(3)$ is used for QCD? Why wouldn't the simpler & smaller group $SO(4)$ make a better candidate?
2
votes
2answers
359 views

Half-integer spin and infinitesimal rotations

On p. 692 of 'Quantum Mechanics' by Cohen-Tannoudji, he states that: Every finite rotation can be decomposed into an infinite number of infinitesimal rotations, since the angle of rotation can vary ...
3
votes
1answer
349 views

Quantization of angular momentum in $SO(3)$

When hermitian operators $L_1, L_2, L_3$ follow the commutation relations: $$ [L_1,L_2]=i\;L_3 \\ [L_2,L_3]=i\;L_1 \\ [L_3,L_1]=i\;L_2 $$ one can show that, assuming they are in finite number, their ...
2
votes
0answers
425 views

Non-physical representations of double group

In group theory, to account for electron spin, double group is introduced. The key difference between an ordinary point group and a double group is an extra element $\bar{E}$ with the meaning of a $2\...
4
votes
0answers
327 views

Why the Universal Covering Space of a (Spacetime) Symmetry Group?

Potential philosophical issues notwithstanding, it is commonly said that the definition of an elementary particle is an irreducible, unitary representation of the Poincaré group (times a gauge group ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

Which matrices represent unitary projective representations of ${\rm SO(3)}$?

I was reading this post which triggered the following question. The group ${\rm SO(3)}$ is real orthogonal. However, it is possible to consider representations of ${\rm SO(3)}$ on a complex vector ...
2
votes
0answers
342 views

Relation between projective representations, connectivity of a group manifold and number of equivalence classes of paths

The projective unitary representations of a multiply-connected group $G$ is defined as $$U(g_1)U(g_2)=c(g_1,g_2)U(g_1g_2)$$ where $c(g_1,g_2)$ is phase. Reading various articles, and this old post of ...
0
votes
1answer
223 views

Why are half integer and full integer spin properties of elementary particles, not of all points in space?

Tensors and spinors arise mathematically from the representation of the rotation group $SO(3)$ as a ball in 4D with all antipodal points on the surface identified. In this picture it is shown that ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

$\mathrm{SU}(2)$ as a representation of the rotation group

I have read in a book that the group $\mathrm{SU}(2)$ is one of the irreducible representations of the rotation group. The book begin saying that the rotation group has 3 generators $J_{1}, J_{2}$ and ...
0
votes
0answers
152 views

What is the physical implication of a homomorphism between SU(2) and SO(3)?

It can be shown that there exists a homomorphism between $SU(2)$ and $SO(3)$. What is the physical implication of a homomorphism actually? I know that in physics $SU(2)$ acts on a space of spin 1/2 ...