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Really quick explanation for gauge theory?

  1. Jul 4, 2014 #1
    Could anyone give a really quick explanation for gauge theory to me?
    Or a link, or a book is perfectly fine.
    I just completely don't understand SU symmetry breaking and etc. etc.

    I also have a question, is everyone who lurks around here a college professor on quantum physics or something? It seems that everyone knows a lot around here.

    Sorry for double thread, I'll ask for this to be del'd after a few responses.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2014 #2


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    It's nigh impossible to give a "quick explanation" of something so elegant and deep. Here are some readings that don't use too much technical language:

    http://www.ippp.dur.ac.uk/~krauss/Lectures/IntoToParticlePhysics/2010/Lecture9.pdf [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Jul 4, 2014 #3

    So what are you guys????
    Not high school students or undergrads, right?
  5. Jul 4, 2014 #4


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    I'm sure there are some, who knows. Suffice it to say, not everyone here is a university professor :smile:
  6. Jul 4, 2014 #5


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    A gauge theory is a theory in which one uses variables that are "unphysical", ie. different values of the variable correspond to the same physical situation. A gauge transformation is a "do nothing" transformation, since although it changes the values of the variables, the physical situation remains unchanged. A very simple example of a gauge variable is the electric potential: one can add any constant to the potential without changing the physical situation, since it is only the potential difference which is physical.

    A famous gauge theory is Yang-Mills quantum field theory. There the physical variables are loops. In some cases, the physical variables are used (eg. lattice gauge theory), while in other cases unphysical gauge variables are used because they are calculationally convenient (eg. the path integral presentation found in most textbooks).

    (I'm a biologist.)
  7. Jul 4, 2014 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    Very true. Its has breathtaking elegance and beauty. It is very deep. But at the lay level, unfortunately, quite opaque.

    But if you understand some of the technicalities of QM the following I posted before may be of value:

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  8. Jul 4, 2014 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    There are many like that - but certainly not all.

    I suspect I am in the minority, but not alone, in not being formally trained in physics

    I have a degree in applied math but self taught myself QM and relativity.

    The good news for those that aren't a 'college professor on quantum physics or something' is learning this stuff can be done. The bad news is it took me a while.

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
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