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Symmetry and Conservation of Charge

  1. Jan 17, 2008 #1
    I understand that all conservation laws have underlying symmetries and that all symmetries have corresponding conservation laws. From reading some popular science books (don't shoot me :P), I understand that conservation of energy, linear and angular momentum are a natural consequence of time translation symmetry, space translation symmetry and space rotation symmetry respectively.

    What symmetry does the conservation of charge follow from?

    Thank you for your time, have a nice day.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2008 #2
    From global gauge symmetry
  4. Jan 17, 2008 #3


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    ...isn't that a contradiction in terms? To "gauge" a symmetry means to make it local...
  5. Jan 17, 2008 #4
    No, global gauge symmetries are independent of space; local gauge symmetries depend on spatial coordinates. I might this wrong (it's been a while), but I seem to recall that gauge symmetries in general are symmetries of a potential field, such as the electric potential field, the derivatives of which give you the electric field.

    EDIT: You know, as I stir up my old memories of this, I now seem to recall that people do use "gauge" to refer to local gauge symmetries, especially in gauge field theory. What is confusing me now is that global choices of gauge, like the Lorentz or Coulomb gauge in Classical E&M, also reflect a gauge symmetry.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  6. Jan 17, 2008 #5
    Both of expressions "local gauge symmetry" and "global gauge symmetry" are generally accepted in physics.
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