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Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking -Conceptual Question

  1. Oct 24, 2012 #1


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    what is the relationship between unstable equilibria and spontaneous symmetry breaking?

    Would this qualify as an example of spontaneous symmetry breaking?
    Take a (perfectly round and unlabeled) pencil standing upright on its eraser so there is a U(1) symmetry on its original position which is spontaneously broken when the system is disturbed and the pencil falls over to point at some angle on a circle around its original position?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    That is an example of spontaneous symmetry breaking, right.

    An unstable equilibrium could be somewhere without symmetry.
  4. Oct 24, 2012 #3


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    Ok, thanks.
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