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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52
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1answer
3k 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)...
54
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3answers
4k views

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 ...
61
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20answers
30k 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 ...
24
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1answer
4k views

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 ...
9
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1answer
940 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 ...
12
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2answers
2k views

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 $$[J_{ab},J_{cd}] ~=~ i(\eta_{ad} J_{bc} + \eta_{bc} J_{ad} - \eta_{ac} J_{bd} - \eta_{bd}J_{ac}),$$ ...
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 ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Lie Groups and group extensions?

Is $U(1)$ x $SU(2)$ x $SU(3)$ a vector space over a field? I saw an article here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_extension that seemed to me that a similar concept to a field extension was ...
10
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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 ...
26
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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 ...
7
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1answer
390 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_\...
6
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1answer
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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, ...
14
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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{...
18
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
11
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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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2answers
2k views

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 ...
18
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2answers
9k views

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 ...
16
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3answers
2k views

$\mathrm{SU(3)}$ 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}} = \...
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 ...
6
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2answers
444 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 ...
7
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1answer
957 views

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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1answer
278 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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2answers
255 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 ...
2
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1answer
464 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
1k views

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\...
6
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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} +...
5
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2answers
241 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]&...
4
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1answer
254 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
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2answers
125 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{...
34
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2answers
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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 ...
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{...
10
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2answers
5k views

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.
15
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1answer
979 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
694 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})\...
5
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
8
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1answer
728 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) ...
2
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2answers
389 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 ...
8
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1answer
462 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 ...
6
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
7
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1answer
373 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
404 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
votes
1answer
259 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
802 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
298 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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2answers
1k views

Quadratic Casimir operator of higher dimensional $\mathfrak{su}(3)$ representations

In higher dimensional representations of $\mathfrak{su(3)}$, what will be the quadratic Casimir operator? Is it same as in lower dimensions or different?
17
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1answer
965 views

Relation between cohomology and the BRST operator

Given a manifold $M$, we may define the $p$th de Rham cohomology group $H^p(M)$ as the quotient, $$C^p(M) \, / \, Z^p(M)$$ where $C^p$ and $Z^p$ are the groups of closed and exact $p$-forms ...
20
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2answers
3k views

Gauge fields — why are they traceless hermitian?

A gauge field is introduced in the theory to preserve local gauge invariance. And this field (matrix) is expanded in terms of the generators, which is possible because the gauge field is traceless ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Different representations of the Lorentz algebra

I've found many definitions of Lorentz generators that satisfy the Lorentz algebra: $$[L_{\mu\nu},L_{\rho\sigma}]=i(\eta_{\mu\sigma}L_{\nu\rho}-\eta_{\mu\rho}L_{\nu\sigma}-\eta_{\nu\sigma}L_{\mu\rho}+\...