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Questions tagged [field-theory]

For questions where the dynamical variables are fields, that is, functions of several variables (typically, one time coordinate and several space coordinates). Comprises both classical field theory and quantum field theory. Use this tag when the question applies to both classical and quantum phenomena. Otherwise, use the specific tag instead.

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10
votes
1answer
429 views

Lagrangian for Goldstone mode + topological excitation

The XY-model Hamiltonian is the following, $${\cal H}~=~-J\sum_{\langle i,j\rangle} \cos (\theta_i -\theta_j).$$ The Goldstone mode corresponds to term $(\nabla \theta)^2$ in the effective ...
3
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2answers
3k views

Need for a side book for E. Soper's Classical Theory Of Fields

I am reading now E. Soper, Classical Theory Of Fields, now and sometimes it is very hard to follow the equations. So I need a side book on classical field theory to read it comfortably. Landau & ...
12
votes
4answers
416 views

What makes an equation an 'equation of motion'?

Every now and then, I find myself reading papers/text talking about how this equation is a constraint but that equation is an equation of motion which satisfies this constraint. For example, in the ...
2
votes
4answers
330 views

Cubic term in gauge theories

In ordinary classical gauge theories the term $-\frac{1}{2}\mathrm{Tr}(F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu})=-\frac{1}{4}F^a_{\mu\nu}F_a^{\mu\nu}$ in the Lagrangian is completely natural. A somehow rare term would be ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

How to tell local and non-local in QFT?

I'm taking QFT course in this term. I'm quite curious that in QFT by which part of the mathematical expression can we tell a quantity or a theory is local or non-local?
2
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2answers
2k views

Partial derivative of Lagrangian density for vector field

The lagrangian density of a massless vector field is $ \mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$, where $F_{\mu\nu}=\partial_{\mu}A_{\nu}-\partial_{\nu}A_{\mu}$ Expanding out gives $\mathcal{...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

What happens to the Lagrangian of the Dirac theory under charge conjugation?

Consider a charge conjugation operator which acts on the Dirac field($\psi$) as $$\psi_{C} \equiv \mathcal{C}\psi\mathcal{C}^{-1} = C\gamma_{0}^{T}\psi^{*}$$ Just as we can operate the parity operator ...
5
votes
1answer
739 views

What's the difference between background field and dynamical gauge field?

Dynamical gauge fields are assumed to be able to respond to sources. What's the difference in the Lagrangians between a background field and a dynamical field?
0
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1answer
127 views

Retarded field interaction

I was doing the following thought experiment: imagine a particle that moves at a certain velocity. Imagine also that the particle generates a field that propagates at velocity $v_f$. Well, if the ...
6
votes
1answer
757 views

Electromagnetic 4-potential and basic index contraction

I'm trying to learn about relativistic electrodynamics on my own, and I am struggling with derivatives of the 4-potential and index (Einstein) notation. I think I understand expressions such as $\...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Field theory:functional derivative involving Fourier Transform

I have to solve the following functional derivative $$ \frac{\delta}{\delta \Lambda(\mathbf{x})}\log[A-\mathbf{k}^2\Lambda(\mathbf{k})] $$ where $\Lambda(\mathbf{k})$ is the Fourier transform of $\...
4
votes
3answers
850 views

Particles as a limit of classical field theory

A common academic exercise has been to show that classical mechanics is a limit of quantum mechanics, usually by putting $\hbar \rightarrow 0$. Similarly is it possible to show that a limit to field ...
6
votes
1answer
623 views

Quantum Field Theory: why fields are equal to zero on the boundary?

One of the first assumptions, when introducing the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian in an undergraduate course on QFT is $$ \phi(x)=0\,\text{on the boundary} $$ and this is widely used in many situations (e....
18
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4answers
9k views

Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Quantum Field Theory

While deriving Hamiltonian from Lagrangian density, we use the formula $$\mathcal{H} ~=~ \pi \dot{\phi} - \mathcal{L}.$$ But since we are considering space and time as parameters, why the formula $$\...
8
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1answer
2k views

What is the essence of BCFW recursion techniques?

I have recently briefly read about new methods as the Britto-Cachazo-Feng-Witten (BCFW) on-shell recursion method. Can anybody please tell me about the essence of it? What does it mean for the ...
2
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1answer
837 views

Classical scalar field correlation function

How should I interpret the left-hand side of this expression $$ \langle \phi(k)\phi(-k) \rangle ~=~ \frac{\mathrm{i}}{k^2 -m^2},$$ which appears on pg. 3 of Matt Strassler's TASI 2001 notes: http://...
1
vote
1answer
101 views

Do field and potential energy always come together?

Is energy directly due to a field always potential energy? Is potential energy always due to a field? From the two Wikipedia links: a field is a physical quantity that has a value for each point ...
9
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5answers
4k views

Are the field lines the same as the trajectories of a particle with initial velocity zero

Is it true that the field lines of an electric field are identical to the trajectories of a charged particle with initial velocity zero? If so, how can one prove it? The claim is from a german ...
2
votes
1answer
130 views

Is it possible to describe the entire universe with the behavior of an $\mathbb{R}^n$ field?

Suppose every phenomena in this universe (of course most are reducible to some particular general ideal ones - basically I'm talking about those!) could be described as disturbances/waves/ripples/...
4
votes
1answer
461 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Massless limit of the Klein-Gordon propagator

I am working with the propagator associated to the Klein-Gordon equation, as derived in "Quantum Physics a functional integral point of view", James Glimm, Arthur Jaffe or as derived here: http://www....
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Counting degrees of freedom in presence of constraints

In a $N$ dimensional phase space if I have $M$ 1st class and $S$ 2nd class constraints, then I have $N-2M-S$ degrees of freedom in phase space. How can I calculate the degrees of freedom in ...
14
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5answers
11k views

Deriving Lagrangian density for electromagnetic field

In considering the (special) relativistic EM field, I understand that assuming a Lagrangian density of the form $$\mathcal{L} =-\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} + \frac{1}{c}j_\mu A^\mu$$ and ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

First class and second class constraints

Hello I am working on a project that involves the constraints. I checkout the paper of Dirac about the constraints as well as some other resources. But still confuse about the first class and second ...
7
votes
1answer
795 views

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect Noethers theorem?

Does spontanous symmetry breaking affect the existence of a conserved charge? And how does depend on whether we look at a classical or a quantum field theory (e.g. the weak interacting theory)? (In ...
8
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3answers
3k views

Gauge fixing choice for the gauge field $A_0$

In many situations, I have seen that the the author makes a gauge choice $A_0=0$, e.g. Manton in his paper on the force between the 't Hooft Polyakov monopole. Please can you provide me a ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Inverse square law in 2+1 dimensional universe from a Yukawa coupling?

There is a nice result that in 3+1 space time, a Yukawa coupling leads to an inverse square law force as the mass of the scalar field goes to zero. I was wondering what the corresponding force in a 2+...
6
votes
2answers
995 views

Winding number in the topology of magnetic monopoles

I am reading on magnetic monopoles from a variety of sources, eg. the Jeff Harvey lectures.. It talks about something called the winding $N$, which is used to calculate the magnetic flux. I searched ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Is String Theory a Field Theory?

Is String Theory a Field or Quantum Mechanical Theory of the String rather than a Particle? I should know this having studied this for a term, but we jumped into the deep end, without really ...
2
votes
1answer
251 views

Crushing a magnetic field

What would happen if you crushed a magnetic field to an ever decreasing size? Thanks. EDIT: How small could the field possibly go? Is there a limit on how small it could get? Is there a maximum ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

U(1) Charged Fields

I don't quite understand what is actually meant by a field charged under a $U(1)$ symmetry. Does it mean that when a transformation is applied the field transforms with an additional phase? More ...
37
votes
1answer
2k views

Can lightning be used to solve NP-complete problems?

I'm a MS/BS computer science guy who is wondering about why lightning can't (or can?) be used to solve NP complete problems efficiently, but I don't understand the physics behind lightning, so I'm ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

QED BRST Symmetry

This is a homework problem that I am confused about because I thought I knew how to solve the problem, but I'm not getting the result I should. I'll simply write the problem verbatim: "Consider QED ...
17
votes
2answers
7k views

What is a non linear $\sigma$ model?

What exactly is a non linear $\sigma$ model? In many books one can view many different types of non linear $\sigma$ models but I don't understand what is the link between all of them and why it is ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Is the Lagrangian of a quantum field really a 'functional'?

Weinberg says, page 299, The quantum theory of fields, Vol 1, that The Lagrangian is, in general, a functional $L[\Psi(t),\dot{\Psi}(t)$], of a set of generic fields $\Psi[x,t]$ and their time ...
5
votes
1answer
326 views

what is a kink-kink-meson vertex?

These are questions I have after reading the Rajaraman's book "Solitons and instantons". So I think you must have read the book if want to answer. And also know about quantum solitons. Rajaraman ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Wick rotation and spinors

I am quite familiar with use of Wick rotations in QFT, but one thing annoys me: let's say we perform it for treating more conveniently (ie. making converge) a functional integral containing spinors; ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Quantum mechanics as classical field theory

Can we view the normal, non-relativistic quantum mechanics as a classical fields? I know, that one can derive the Schrödinger equation from the Lagrangian density $${\cal L} ~=~ \frac{i\hbar}{2} (\...
2
votes
1answer
165 views

What's the meaning of the coupling change after a renormalization (in the 1-dim Ising Model)?

What does it mean that after the theory (1-dim Ising model here, but the question is general) is renormalized one time and $g_i\rightarrow g_i'$, that the couplings are weaker, even if the theory ...
6
votes
0answers
254 views

Are there known turbulent nonlinear equations where the cascade is a thermal gradient?

In a recent answer (here: The equipartition theorem in momentum space ), I suggested that if you have an appropriate first order equation (in the answer I used a second order equation, but it is more ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

The equipartition theorem in momentum space

Motivated by the answers to this question on turbulence, I'm interested in an explanation and/or derivation/reference of the equipartition theorem in momentum space. To formulate it as a question: ...
2
votes
1answer
367 views

Question on 1st order Lagrangian Derivation in Faddeev-Jackiw Formalism

I'm looking at this reference (sorry it's a postscript file, but I can't find a pdf version on the web. This paper describes a similar procedure). The topic is the Faddeev-Jackiw treatment of ...
72
votes
3answers
11k views

Differentiating Propagator, Green's function, Correlation function, etc

For the following quantities respectively, could someone write down the common definitions, their meaning, the field of study in which one would typically find these under their actual name, and most ...
5
votes
1answer
409 views

Is the long range neutron-antineutron interaction repulsive or attractive?

I can model this interaction as Zee does in "Quantum field theory in a nutshell". In chapter I.4 section "from particle to force" he uses two delta functions for the source. The integral gives $E=-\...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Calculating lagrangian density from first principle

In most of the field theory text they will start with lagrangian density for spin 1 and spin 1/2 particles. But i could find any text where this lagrangian density is derived from first principle.
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to perform a scale (invariance) transformation?

According to this wikipedia article in the $\phi^4$ section, the equation $$\frac{1}{c^2}\frac{∂^2}{∂t^2}\phi(x,t)-\sum_i\frac{∂^2}{∂x_i^2}\phi(x,t)+g\ \phi(x,t)^3=0,$$ in 4 dimensions is invariant ...
17
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3answers
3k views

Why can't General Relativity be written in terms of physical variables?

I am aware that the field in General Relativity (the metric, $g_{\mu\nu}$) is not completely physical, as two metrics which are related by a diffeomorphism (~ a change in coordinates) are physically ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Proof that Energy Momentum Tensor of Scalar Field Theory satisfies Weak Energy Condition

It's a question on Sean Carroll's Spacetime and Geometry, where we are supposed to prove that the energy momentum tensor of scalar field theory satisfies Weak Energy Condition (WEC). The energy ...
73
votes
10answers
8k views

Why are differential equations for fields in physics of order two?

What is the reason for the observation that across the board fields in physics are generally governed by second order (partial) differential equations? If someone on the street would flat out ask me ...
2
votes
2answers
330 views

Inertial Mass of a scalar field

Does it make sense to talk of the inertial mass of a scalar field? By the equivalence principle, it must be equal to its gravitational mass. We know that the scalar field contributes towards the ...