Questions tagged [lie-algebra]

A vector space $\mathfrak{g}$ over some field $F$ and kitted with a bilinear, antisymmetric and Jacobi-identity-fulfilling product ("Lie Bracket" or "commutator"). In physics, most often arises as the Lie algebra (tangent space to the identity) of a Lie group; in gauge theories, basis vectors of the gauge group's Lie algebra correspond to Noether currents and conserved quantities.

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58
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1answer
4k views

Why exactly do sometimes universal covers, and sometimes central extensions feature in the application of a symmetry group to quantum physics?

There seem to be two different things one must consider when representing a symmetry group in quantum mechanics: The universal cover: For instance, when representing the rotation group $\mathrm{SO}(3)...
61
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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 ...
69
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21answers
35k views

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 ...
25
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1answer
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Mathematically, what is color charge?

A similar question was asked here, but the answer didn't address the following, at least not in a way that I could understand. Electric charge is simple - it's just a real scalar quantity. Ignoring ...
10
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1answer
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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 ...
32
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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 ...
13
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2answers
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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 $$[J_{ab},J_{cd}] ~=~ i(\eta_{ad} J_{bc} + \eta_{bc} J_{ad} - \eta_{ac} J_{bd} - \eta_{bd}J_{ac}),$$ ...
12
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2answers
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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 ...
7
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2answers
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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 ...
18
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4answers
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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}} = \...
28
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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 ...
8
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1answer
360 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 ...
7
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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} +...
7
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1answer
499 views

Lie algebra of axial charges

Starting from the lagrangian (linear sigma model without symmetry breaking, here $N$ is the nucleon doublet and $\tau_a$ are pauli matrices) $L=\bar Ni\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu N+ \frac{1}{2} \partial_\...
23
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2answers
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Motivating Complexification of Lie Algebras?

What is the motivation for complexifying a Lie algebra? In quantum mechanical angular momentum the commutation relations $$[J_x,J_y]=iJ_z, \quad [J_y,J_z] = iJ_x,\quad [J_z,J_x] = iJ_y$$ become, on ...
13
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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, ...
6
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1answer
2k views

What physical significance has the Heisenberg Group?

I read that the canonical commutation relation between momentum and position can be seen as the Lie Algebra of the Heisenberg group. While I get why the commutation relations of momentum and momentum, ...
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{...
9
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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 ...
6
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2answers
310 views

Lie group compactness from generators

Let us consider the Poincaré algebra, characterized by the following commutators: \begin{align} [H,P_i]&=0\\ [H,K_i]&=P_i\\ [P_i,P_j]&=0\\ [K_i,K_j]&=-\epsilon_{ijk}J_k\\ [P_i,K_j]&...
7
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1answer
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Why is the value of spin +/- 1/2?

I understand how spin is defined in analogy with orbital angular momentum. But why must electron spin have magnetic quantum numbers $m_s=\pm \frac{1}{2}$ ? Sure, it has to have two values in ...
7
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2answers
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Spin, orbital angular momentum and total angular momentum

If I understand correctly, spin is an intrinsic property of particles, which follows the algebra of angular momentum, but has nothing to do with an "orbital angular momentum" in that the particle is ...
2
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3answers
454 views

Solving the Lie algebra of generators: path from algebra to matrix representation

Given the Lie algebra, what is the systematic way to construct the matrix representation of the generators of the desired dimension? I ask this question here because it is the physicists for whom ...
21
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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 ...
36
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1answer
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Is there an elegant proof of the existence of Majorana spinors?

Almost all standard sources on the existence of Majorana spinors (e.g. Appendix B.1 to Polchinski's "String Theory", Vol. 2) do so in a way I consider inherently ugly: A priori, we are dealing with ...
7
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2answers
570 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 ...
5
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1answer
379 views

Where does in GUT symmetry breaking $U(1)$ come from?

In GUTs one starts with some larger group, like $SU(5)$, which is then broken into smaller groups, for example $$SU(5) ~\longrightarrow~ SU(3) \times SU(2) \times U(1)$$ This can be seen, for ...
2
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1answer
599 views

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&...
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 ...
9
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2answers
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Galilean, SE(3), Poincare groups - Central Extension

After having learnt that the Galilean (with its central extension) with an unitary operator $$ U = \sum_{i=1}^3\Big(\delta\theta_iL_i + \delta x_iP_i + \delta\lambda_iG_i +dtH\Big) + \delta\phi\...
5
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1answer
500 views

Does $GL(N,\mathbb{R})$ own spinor representation? Which group is its covering group? (Kaku's QFT textbook)

In Kaku's QFT textbook page 54, there is a saying: $GL(N)$ does not have any finite-dimensional spinorial representation. This implicates that $GL(N)$ owns infinite-dimensional spinorial ...
4
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1answer
325 views

Why is orbital angular momentum quantized according to $I= \hbar \sqrt{\ell(\ell+1)}$?

I simply have no idea how this result is found $$I=\hbar \sqrt{\ell(\ell+1)}.$$ The result seems to just be dumped in textbooks rather than explained. I can get the result that $I_z=\hbar m_j$. ...
3
votes
1answer
559 views

Wigner Rotation

I'm trying to show that the composition of two Lorentz boosts produces a boost and a rotation using the generators from the Lorentz Group. If $\vec{K}$ denotes the Lorentz Boost generators and $\vec{S}...
3
votes
2answers
253 views

Global conformal group in 2D Euclidean space

This is a rather naive question, but I was just wondering. I know that the local conformal algebra of 2d Euclidean space is the direct sum \begin{equation} \cal{L}_0\oplus\overline{\cal{L}_0}, \end{...
10
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2answers
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Killing vector fields

I am facing some problems in understanding what is the importance of a Killing vector field? I will be grateful if anybody provides an answer, or, refer me to some review or books.
11
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2answers
3k views

Lie group Homomorphism $SU(2) \to SO(3)$

The Lie algebra of $ \mathfrak{so(3)} $ and $ \mathfrak{su(2)} $ are respectively $$ [L_i,L_j] = i\epsilon_{ij}^{\;\;k}L_k $$ $$ [\frac{\sigma_i}{2},\frac{\sigma_j}{2}] = i\epsilon_{ij}^{\;\;k}\frac{...
15
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1answer
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Lie group of Schrodinger Wave equation

In Ballentine's book on quantum mechanics (in 3rd chapter), he introduces the symmetry transformation of Galilean group associated with Schrodinger equation. Now the Galilean group as such has 10 ...
9
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1answer
910 views

Why is the gauge potential $A_{\mu}$ in the Lie algebra of the gauge group $G$?

If we have a general gauge group whose action is $$ \Phi(x) \rightarrow g(x)\Phi(x), $$ with $g\in G$. Then introducing the gauge covariant derivative $$ D_{\mu}\Phi(x) = (\partial_{\mu}+A_{\mu})\...
9
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1answer
638 views

Is $SU(2)\times U(1) = U(2)$?

In the many textbook of the Standard Model, I encounter the relation \begin{align} SU(2)_L \times U(1)_L = U(2)_L. \end{align} Here the subscript $L$ means the left-handness (i.e., the chirality of ...
8
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1answer
860 views

Question about the Noether charge algebra

I'm reading these notes - page 8 and 9 - and I'm a bit confused. If we consider a field $\phi$ (which can be either bosonic or fermionic) transforming as: \begin{equation} \phi(x) \rightarrow \phi(x) ...
5
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1answer
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Holstein-Primakoff and Dyson-Maleev representation

In Holstein-Primakoff and Dyson-Maleev representation, spin operators are represented by bosonic operators. Roughly speaking, a state with $S^z=S-m$ corresponds to a state containing $m$ bosons. In ...
6
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3answers
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Proof that $(1/2,1/2)$ Lorentz group representation is a 4-vector

Taken from Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell by Zee, problem II.3.1: Show by explicit computation that $(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ is indeed the Lorentz vector. This has been asked here: How do I ...
2
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2answers
417 views

Representations of Lie algebras in physics

Why is an invariant vector subspace sometimes called a representation? For example in Lie algebras, say su(3), the subspace characterized by the highest weight (1,0) is an irreducible representation ...
10
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2answers
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Why are the generators of rotation in the 4-dimensional Euclidean space correspond to rotations in a plane?

In three-dimensions, the rotation generators are represented by $J_1$, $J_2$ and $J_3$ where $1,2,3$ respectively stands for the generator of rotation about $x,y,z$ axes respectively. In general, in ...
8
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1answer
479 views

From irreducible representations of the Lorentz algebra to irreducible representations of the Lorentz group

My lecture notes state that we need to classify all finite-dimensional irreducible representations of the proper, orthochronous Lorentz group in order to formulate a QFT for particles with non-zero ...
8
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3answers
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Is the adjoint representation of $SU(2)$ the same as the triplet representation?

Is the triplet representation of $SU(2)$ the same as its adjoint representation? Where the convention for the adjoint representation used is the one used in particle physics, where the structure ...
5
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2answers
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Equivalent Rotation using Baker-Campbell-Hausdorff relation

Is there a way in which one can use the BCH relation to find the equivalent angle and the axis for two rotations? I am aware that one can do it in a precise way using Euler Angles but I was wondering ...
4
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1answer
418 views

Composition of Lorentz transformations using generators and the Wigner rotation

I solved this problem by painful calculations of Lorentz matrices. However, I heard that there is a much easier solution using the generators of boosts and rotations and their commutation relations, ...
3
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1answer
1k views

$t_1$, $t_2$, $t_3$ Hermitian generators of $SU(2)$

What is the exact $SU(2)$ representation to which these Hermitian generators belong? \begin{equation} t_a=\{t_1,t_2,t_3\}=\left\{\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}\begin{pmatrix} 0 & 1 & 0 \\ 1 & 0 & ...
5
votes
3answers
994 views

Problem counting spin states

I can't figure out how many different spin states I can create with a four-electron system. I think I can create a spin-zero state, three spin-one states, and five spin-two states. That gives me nine ...