Questions tagged [group-theory]

Group theory is a branch of abstract algebra. A group is a set of objects, together with a binary operation, that satisfies four axioms. The set must be closed under the operation and contain an identity object. Every object in the set must have an inverse, and the operation must be associative. Groups are used in physics to describe symmetry operations of physical systems.

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47
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2answers
8k views

How do I construct the $SU(2)$ representation of the Lorentz Group using $SU(2)\times SU(2)\sim SO(3,1)$ ?

This question is based on problem II.3.1 in Anthony Zee's book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell Show, by explicit calculation, that $(1/2,1/2)$ is the Lorentz Vector. I see that the ...
55
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3answers
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Idea of Covering Group

$SU(2)$ is the covering group of $SO(3)$. What does it mean and does it have a physical consequence? I heard that this fact is related to the description of bosons and fermions. But how does it ...
17
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2answers
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Vector spaces for the irreducible representations of the Lorentz Group

EDIT: The vector space for the $(\frac{1}{2},0)$ Representation is $\mathbb{C}^2$ as mentioned by Qmechanic in the comments to his answer below! The vector spaces for the other representations remain ...
61
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20answers
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Comprehensive book on group theory for physicists?

I am looking for a good source on group theory aimed at physicists. I'd prefer one with a good general introduction to group theory, not just focusing on Lie groups or crystal groups but one that ...
16
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3answers
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How to derive addition of velocities without the Lorentz transformation?

Lorentz contraction and time dilatation can be deduced without Lorentz transformation. Can you deduce also the theorem of addition of velocities $$w~=~\dfrac{u+v}{1+uv/c^2}$$ without Lorentz ...
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1answer
995 views

Difference Between Algebra of Infinitesimal Conformal Transformations & Conformal Algebra

in Blumenhagen Book on conformal field theory, It is mentioned that the algebra of infinitesimal conformal transformation is different from the conformal algebra and on page 11, conformal algebra is ...
19
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3answers
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What does “the ${\bf N}$ of a group” mean?

In the context of group theory (in my case, applications to physics), I frequently come across the phrase "the ${\bf N}$ of a group", for example "a ${\bf 24}$ of $\mathrm{SU}(5)$" or "the ${\bf 1}$ ...
83
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10answers
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Is there something similar to Noether's theorem for discrete symmetries?

Noether's theorem states that, for every continuous symmetry of an action, there exists a conserved quantity, e.g. energy conservation for time invariance, charge conservation for $U(1)$. Is there any ...
13
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1answer
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What defines a large gauge transformation, really?

Usually, one defines large gauge transformations as those elements of $SU(2)$ that can't be smoothly transformed to the identity transformation. The group $SU(2)$ is simply connected and thus I'm ...
31
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3answers
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Why do we need complex representations in Grand Unified Theories?

EDIT4: I think I was now able to track down where this dogma originally came from. Howard Georgi wrote in TOWARDS A GRAND UNIFIED THEORY OF FLAVOR There is a deeper reason to require ...
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Lie bracket for Lie algebra of $SO(n,m)$

How does one show that the bracket of elements in the Lie algebra of $SO(n,m)$ is given by $$[J_{ab},J_{cd}] ~=~ i(\eta_{ad} J_{bc} + \eta_{bc} J_{ad} - \eta_{ac} J_{bd} - \eta_{bd}J_{ac}),$$ ...
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Lie Groups and group extensions?

Is $U(1)\times SU(2) \times SU(3)$ a vector space over a field? I saw an article here that seemed to me that a similar concept to a field extension was being used. In QFT, is each particle ...
11
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$(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ representation of $SU(2)\otimes SU(2)$

The representation $(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ of the Lorentz group correspond to a four- vector or a spin-one object. Right? Does it imply that any four-vector is identical to a spin-one object or ...
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What is the significance of Lie groups $SO(3)$ and $SU(2)$ to particle physics?

I was hoping someone could give an overview as to how the Lie groups $SO(3)$ and $SU(2)$ and their representations can be applied to describe particle physics? The application of Lie groups and their ...
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7answers
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Tensor Operators

Motivation. I was recently reviewing the section 3.10 in Sakurai's quantum mechanics in which he discusses tensor operators, and I was left desiring a more mathematically general/precise discussion. ...
13
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1answer
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Why does photon have only two possible eigenvalues of helicity? [duplicate]

Photon is a spin-1 particle. Were it massive, its spin projected along some direction would be either 1, -1, or 0. But photons can only be in an eigenstate of $S_z$ with eigenvalue $\pm 1$ (z as the ...
27
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2answers
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What's the relationship between $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$, $SU(2)\times SU(2)$ and $SO(1,3)$?

I'm a beginner of QFT. Ref. 1 states that [...] The Lorentz group $SO(1,3)$ is then essentially $SU(2)\times SU(2)$. But how is it possible, because $SU(2)\times SU(2)$ is a compact Lie group ...
14
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3answers
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How can one see that the Hydrogen atom has $SO(4)$ symmetry?

For solving hydrogen atom energy level by $SO(4)$ symmetry, where does the symmetry come from? How can one see it directly from the Hamiltonian?
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Hypercharge for $U(1)$ in $SU(2)\times U(1)$ model

I understand that the fundamental representation of $U(1)$ amounts to a multiplication by a phase factor, e.g. EM. I thought that when it is extended to higher dimensional representations, it would ...
13
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1answer
756 views

Is there a systematic way to obtain all conserved quantities of a system?

I'd like to know whether, given a system, there's a way to obtain all the conserved quantities. For instance if the system consists of electric and magnetic fields, the fields must satisfy Maxwell's ...
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3answers
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Why is the Yang-Mills gauge group assumed compact and semi-simple?

What is the motivation for including the compactness and semi-simplicity assumptions on the groups that one gauges to obtain Yang-Mills theories? I'd think that these hypotheses lead to physically "...
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What is (meant by) a non-compact $U(1)$ Lie group?

In John Preskill's review of monopoles he states on p. 471 Nowadays, we have another way of understanding why electric charge is quantized. Charge is quantized if the electromagnetic $U(l)_{\rm em}$...
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$\mathrm{SU(3)}$ decomposition of $\mathbf{3} \otimes \mathbf{\bar{3}} = \mathbf{8} \oplus \mathbf{1}$?

I have a question about the tensor decomposition of $\mathrm{SU(3)}$. According to Georgi (page 142 and 143), a tensor $T^i{}_j$ decomposes as: \begin{equation} \mathbf{3} \otimes \mathbf{\bar{3}} = \...
12
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4answers
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How to prove that orthochronous Lorentz transformations $O^+(1,3)$ form a group?

Orthochronous Lorentz transform are Lorentz transforms that satisfy the conditions (sign convention of Minkowskian metric $+---$) $$ \Lambda^0{}_0 \geq +1.$$ How to prove they form a subgroup of ...
17
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7answers
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How is it that angular velocities are vectors, while rotations aren't?

Does anyone have an intuitive explanation of why this is the case?
10
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1answer
784 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) ...
6
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2answers
506 views

Is there a 1-1 correspondence between symmetry and group theory?

The professor in my class of mathematical physics introduces the definition of groups and said that group theory is the mathematics of symmetry. He gave also some examples of groups such as the set ...
34
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5answers
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What is the usefulness of the Wigner-Eckart theorem?

I am doing some self-study in between undergrad and grad school and I came across the beastly Wigner-Eckart theorem in Sakurai's Modern Quantum Mechanics. I was wondering if someone could tell me why ...
15
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2answers
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How does non-Abelian gauge symmetry imply the quantization of the corresponding charges?

I read an unjustified treatment in a book, saying that in QED charge an not quantized by the gauge symmetry principle (which totally clear for me: Q the generator of $U(1)$ can be anything in $\mathbb{...
28
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4answers
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Could the Periodic Table have been done using group theory?

These three questions are phrased as alternative-history questions, but my real intent is to understand better how well different modeling approaches fit the phenomena they are used to describe; see 1 ...
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3answers
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The anticommutator of $SU(N)$ generators

For the Hermitian and traceless generators $T^A$ of the fundamental representation of the $SU(N)$ algebra the anticommutator can be written as $$ \{T^A,T^{B}\} = \frac{1}{d}\delta^{AB}\cdot1\!\!1_{d} +...
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3answers
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Confusion about rotations of quantum states: $SO(3)$ versus $SU(2)$

I'm trying to understand the relationship between rotations in "real space" and in quantum state space. Let me explain with this example: Suppose I have a spin-1/2 particle, lets say an electron, ...
7
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1answer
482 views

Why is only the third component of weak isospin used as a conserved quantity?

Using Noether's theorem \begin{equation} \partial_0 \int d^3x \left(\frac{\partial L}{\partial(\partial_0\Psi)} \delta \Psi \right) = 0 \end{equation} we get three conserved quantites $Q_i$ from ...
4
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1answer
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$SU(3)$ irreducible representations with tensor method

I am dealing with the tensor product representation of $SU(3)$ and I have some problems in understanding some decomposition. 1) Let's find the irreducible representation of $3\otimes\bar{3}$ we have ...
4
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1answer
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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 ...
18
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2answers
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Definition of Casimir operator and its properties

I'm not sure which is the exact definition of a Casimir operator. In some texts it is defined as the product of generators of the form: $$X^2=\sum X_iX^i$$ But in other parts it is defined as an ...
20
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6answers
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Why is there this relationship between quaternions and Pauli matrices?

I've just started studying quantum mechanics, and I've come across this correlation between Pauli matrices ($\sigma_i$) and quaternions which I can't grasp: namely, that $i\sigma_1$, $i\sigma_2$ and $...
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1answer
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Difference between Cartesian product and tensor product on gauge groups

After a comment of John Baez to a question I asked on MathOverflow, I would like to ask what the difference between, for example, $SU(3)\times SU(2) \times U(1) $ and $SU(3) \otimes SU(2) \otimes U(1)$...
18
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3answers
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How are symmetries precisely defined?

How are symmetries precisely defined? In basic physics courses it is usual to see arguments on symmetry to derive some equations. This, however, is done in a kind of sloppy way: "we are calculating ...
8
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1answer
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Why do we use the complexification of the Lorentz group?

I do understand why we are using the double cover, but why exactly do we make the transition to complex Lorentz transformations? Where and why are they needed? To be precise: The double cover of ...
8
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1answer
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How to get result $3 \otimes 3 = 6 \oplus \bar{3}$ for $SU(3)$ irreducible representations?

Let's have $SU(3)$ irreducible representations $3, \bar{3}$. How to get result that $$ 3\otimes 3 =6 \oplus \bar{3}~? $$ I'm interested in $\bar{3}$ part. It's clear that for $3 \otimes 3$ we can use ...
8
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2answers
448 views

Matrix derivative of a matrix with constraints

I am looking for a general method to obtain derivative rules of a constrained matrix with respect to its matrix elements. In the case of a symmetric matrix $S_{ij}$ (with $S_{ij}=S_{ji}$), one way to ...
6
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2answers
471 views

Is there a general theorem stating why the restricted Lorentz group's exponential map is surjective?

The exponential map for the restricted Lorentz group is surjective. An outline of why is shown on the wiki page Representation Theory of the Lorentz Group. Is there a more general theorem that states ...
4
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4answers
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Translationally invariant Hamiltonian and property of the energy eigenstates

If the Hamiltonian of a quantum mechanical system is invariant under spatial translation, then the linear momentum is a constant of motion. Apart from that, can we make some comment about the nature ...
11
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1answer
819 views

How can we measure chirality in experiments?

Chirality is a concept quite different from helicity. These two concepts only happen to have the same numerical value for massless particles. I understand that we can measure helicity, but how can we ...
7
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1answer
288 views

Topological/Geometrical justification for $\text{CFT}_2$ being special

It is known as a fact that conformal maps on $\mathbb{R}^n \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^n$ for $n>2$ are rotations, dilations, translations, and special transformations while conformal maps for $n=2$ are ...
2
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1answer
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Why is the Mixed Faraday Tensor a matrix in the algebra so(1,3)?

The mixed Faraday tensor $F^\mu{}_\nu$ explicitly in natural units is: $$(F^\mu{}_\nu)=\left(\begin{array}{cccc}0&E_x&E_y&E_z\\E_x&0&B_z&-B_y\\E_y&-B_z&0&B_x\\E_z&...
2
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1answer
343 views

Similar masses and lifetimes of the $\Delta$ baryons

Why do the four spin 3/2 $\Delta$ baryons have nearly identical masses and lifetimes despite their very different $u$ and $d$ quark compositions?
21
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3answers
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Why is the Symmetry Group for the Electroweak force $SU(2) \times U(1)$ and not $U(2)$?

Let me first say that I'm a layman who's trying to understand group theory and gauge theory, so excuse me if my question doesn't make sense. Before symmetry breaking, the Electroweak force has 4 ...
16
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3answers
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Group Theory in General Relativity

In Special Relativity, the Lorentz Group is the set of matrices that preserve the metric, i.e. $\Lambda \eta \Lambda^T=\eta$. Is there any equivalent in General Relativity, like: $\Lambda g \Lambda^T=...