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Aspects of symmetry
Selected Erice lectures of
SIDNEY COLEMAN
Donner Professor of Science, Harvard University
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
Cambridge
New York New Rochelle
“Melhourne SydneyPublished by the Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge
The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RP
32 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022, USA
10 Stamford Road, Oakleigh, Melbourne 3166, Australia
This collection © Cambridge University Press 1985
First published 1985
First paperback edition 1988
Printed in Great Britain at the University Press, Cambridge
Library of Congress catalogue card number: 84-21364
British Library cataloguing in publication data
Coleman, Sidney
Aspects of symmetry: selected Erice Lectures
of Sidney Coleman.
1. Particles (Nuclear physics) 2. Symmetry (Physics)
I. Title
539.7721 QC793.3.HS
ISBN 0 521 26706 4 hard covers
ISBN 0 521 31827 0 paperback
DETo my motherContents
Preface xiii
Acknowledgements xiv
1 An introduction to nnitary symmetry
1 The search for higher symmetries 1
I The eight-baryon puzzle 1
.2. The elimination of Gp 4
2 SU) and its representations 5
2.1 The representations of SU(m) 5
2.2. The representations of SU(2) 6
2.3. The representations of SUG) 7
2.4 Dimensions of the IRs 8
2.5 Isospin and hypercharge 9
2.6 Isospin-hypercharge decompositions 10
2.7 The Clebsch-Gordan series 12
2.8 Some theorems 15
2.9 Invariant couplings 17
2.10 The problem of Cartesian components 17
2.11 SU(2)again 18
2.12 SU(3) octets: trilinear couplings 19
2.13 SU(3) octets: quadrilinear couplings 20
2.14 A mixed notation 21
3 Applications 23
3.1 Electromagnetism 23
3.2. Magnetic moments: baryons 24
3.3 Electromagnetic mass splittings 25
3.4 Electromagnetic properties of the decuplet 26
3.5 The medium-strong interactions 26
4 Ideas of octet enhancement 28
Bibliography 35
2 Soft pions
1 The reduction formula 36
2) The weak interactions: first prmeiples 40
3. The Goldberger Treiman relation amd a fret glance
4° Ahard look at PCAC 42
5 The gradient-coupling model 48viii
Ubon >
Contents
Adler's rule for the emission of one soft pion 47
Current commutators 50
Vector-vector commutators 50
Vector-axial commutators 51
Axial-axial commutators 51
The Weinberg- Tomozawa formula and the Adler—Weisberger relation 52
Pion—pion scattering é a Weinberg 57
Kaon decays 60
Appendix |: Notational conventions 63
Appendix 2: No-renormalization theorem 63
Appendix 3: Threshold S-matrix and threshold scattering lengths 64
Bibliography 65
Dilatations
Introduction 67
The formal theory of broken scale invariance 68
Symmetries, currents, and Ward identities 68
Scale transformations and scale dimensions 70
More about the scale current and a quick look at the conformal group 71
Hidden scale invariance 76
The death of scale invariance 79
Some definitions and technical details 79
A disaster in the deep Euclidean region 80
Anomalous dimensions and other anomalies 82
The last anomalies: the Callan—Symanzik equations 84
The resurrection of scale invariance 88
The renormalization group equations and their solution 88
The return of scaling in the deep Euclidean region 90
Scaling and the operator product expansion 93
Conclusions and questions 96
Notes and references 97
Renormalization and symmetry: a review for non-specialists
Introduction 99
Bogoliubov’s method and Hepp’s theorem 99
Renormalizable and non-renormalizable interactions 104
Symmetry and symmetry-breaking: Symanzik’s rule 106
Symmetry and symmetry-breaking: currents 108
Notes and references 11!
Secret symmetry : an introduction to spontaneous symmetry breakdown
and gauge fields
Introduction 113
Secret symmetries in classical field theory 115
The idea of spontaneous symmetry breakdown 115
Goldstone bosons in an Abelian model 118
Goldstone bosons in the general case 119
The Higgs phenomenon in the Abelian model 121
Yang-Mills fields and the Higgs phenomenon in the general case 124
Summary and remarks 126
Secret renormalizability 128
The order of the arguments 128
Renormalization reviewed 128
Functional methods and the effective potennal 132Contents
The loop expansion 135
A sample computation 136
The most important part of this lecture 13%
The physical meaning of the effective potential 139
Accidental symmetry and related phenomena 142
An alternative method of computation 144
Functional integration (vulgarized) 145
Integration over infinite-dimensional spaces 145
Functional integrals and generating functionals 148
Feynman rules 152
Derivative interactions 154
Fermi fields 156
Ghost fields 158
The Feynman rules for gauge field theories 159
Troubles with gauge invariance 159
The Faddeev-Popov Ansatz 160
The application of the Ansatz 163
Justification of the Ansatz 165
Concluding remarks 167
Asymptotic freedom 169
Operator products and deep inelastic electroproduction 169
Massless field theories and the renormalization group 171
Exact and approximate solutions of the renormalization group
equations 174
Asymptotic freedom 176
No conclusions 179
Appendix: One-loop effective potential in the general case 180
Notes and references 182
‘Classical lumps and their quantum descendants
Introduction 185
Simple examples and their properties 187
Some time-independent lumps in one space dimension 187
Small oscillations and stability 191
Lumps are like particles (almost) 192
More dimensions and a discouraging theorem 194
Topological conservation laws 195
The basic idea and the main results 195
Gauge field theories revisited 198
Topological conservation laws, or, homotopy classes 202
Three examples in two spatial dimensions 205
Three examples in three dimensions 208
Patching together distant solutions, or, homotopy groups 209
Abelian and non-Abelian magnetic monopoles, or, (G/H) as a
subgroup of 7,(H) 215
Quantum lumps 223
The nature of the classical limit 223
Time-independent lumps: power-series expansion 225
Time-independent lumps: coherent-state variational method 232
Periodic lumps: the old quantum theory and the DHN formula 22
A very special system 246
A curious equivalence 246
The sceret of the soliton 2505.3
5.4
Contents
Qualitative and quantitative knowledge 252
Some opinions 253
Appendix |: A three-dimensional scalar theory with non-dissipative
solutions 254
Appendix 2: A theorem on gauge fields 256
Appendix 3: A trivial extension 257
Appendix 4: Looking for solutions 257
Appendix 5: Singular and non-singular gauge fields 259
Notes and references 262
The uses of instantons
Introduction 265
Instantons and bounces in particle mechanics 268
Euclidean functional integrals 268
The double well and instantons 270
Periodic potentials 277
Unstable states and bounces 278
The vacuum structure of gauge field theories 282
Old stuff 282
The winding number 284
Many vacua 291
Instantons: generalities 295
Instantons: particulars 297
The evaluation of the determinant and an infrared embarrassment 300
The Abelian Higgs model in 1+1! dimensions 302
*t Hooft’s solution of the U(1) problem 307
The mystery of the missing meson 307
Preliminaries; Euclidean Fermi fields 311
Preliminaries: chiral Ward identities 314
QCD (baby version) 316
QCD (the real thing) 323
Miscellany 324
The fate of the false vacuum 327
Unstable vacua 327
The bounce 329
‘The thin-wall approximation 332
The fate of the false vacuum 334
Determinants and renormalization 336
Unanswered questions 339
Appendix 1: How to compute determinants 340
Appendix 2: The double well done doubly well 341
Appendix 3: Finite action is zero measure 344
Appendix 4: Only winding number survives 345
Appendix 5: No wrong-chirality solutions 347
Notes and references 348
1/N
Introduction 351
Vector representations, or, soluble models 352
$* theory (half-way) 352
The Gross-Neveu model 358
The CP*-' model 362
Adjoint representations, or, chromodynamics 368
The double-line representation and the dominance of planar graphs 3683.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
3.6
Contents
Topology and phenomenology 373
The ’t Hooft model 378
Witten’s theory of baryons 386
The master field 391
Restrospect and prospect 396
Appendix 1: The Euler characteristic 397
Appendix 2: The ’t Hooft equations 398
Appendix 3: U(N) as an approximation to SU:
Notes and references 401Preface
I first came to Erice in 1966, to lecture at the fourth of the annual schools
on subnuclear physics organized by Nino Zichichi. I was charmed by the
beauty of Erice, fascinated by the thick layers of Sicilian culture and
history, and terrified by the iron rule with which Nino kept students and
faculty in line. In a word, I was won over, and I returned to Erice every
year or two thereafter, to talk of what was past, or passing, or to come,
at least insofar as it touched on subnuclear theory. Eight of these lectures,
or more properly lecture series, are collected here.
No attempt has been made to bring the lectures up to date. Typo-
graphical errors, when spotted, have been corrected, and references to
works to be published have b anged to references to published
works. (I thank Hugh Osborne for wn on this dull task.) Otherwise,
these are unaltered reprints of the original publications.
Numerous debts are acknowledged in the individual lectures, but there
is one overriding debt that must be acknowledged here. None of this
would have existed were it not for Nino Zichichi, Of course, he is the
creator and director of the subnuclear school, and of the International
Center for Scientific Culture ‘Ettore Majorana’ which encompasses it,
but, more than that, he is personally responsible for each and every one
of these lectures. The lecture notes would never have been written were
it not for his blandishments and threats, transmitted in a fusillade of
urgent cablegrams and transatlantic phone calls at odd hours of the
morning. This book may be the least of his many accomplishments,
but one of his accomplishments it is, and it should be counted as such.
Finally: These lectures span fourteen years, from 1966 to 1979. This
was a great time to be a high-energy theorist, the period of the famous
triumph of quantum field theory. And what a triumph it was, in the old
, sense of the word: a glorious victory parade, full of wonderful things2 An introduction ta unitary symmetry
envisioned here is something like that which prevails for isospin
symmetry; if we turned off the weak interactions and electro-
magnetism, the world would be isospin symmetric, and all the
particles in an isotopic multiplet would be degenerate; in fact,
the world is not isospin symmetric, and the masses are slightly
different.) This is sometimes phrased by saying that the strong-
interaction Hamiltonian is a sum of two terms: one due to
‘very strong interactions’, which is symmetric under the higher
symmetry group, and one due to ‘medium-strong interactions’,
which is not.
The second viewpoint is one which has met with considerable success,
and we intend to explore it in more detail here.
Now, what do we know about the structure of such a ‘higher symmetry
group’? Well, in the first place, there are several assumptions we can
make, not because they are forced upon us by the problem, but because
they are straightforward generalizations of what we know about the
isospin group, and because they simplify the problem considerably.
We assume, in the limit of exact symmetry, that:
(i) The group commutes with the Poincaré group.
(ii) The group acts on the Hilbert space of the states of the world as
a group of unitary operators. (This is connected with conser-
vation of probability.)
(iii) The one-particle states form an invariant subspace under the
action of the group. The many-particle asymptotic states trans-
form like tensor products of one-particle states.
(iv) The group commutes with the S-matrix.
A group which satisfies these conditions is usually called ‘an internal
symmetry group’. It is worth noting that ina field theory any group whose
generators are obtained by integrating, over all space, the time components
of a set of conserved Hermitian currents is an internal symmetry group.
In addition to these assumptions, there are several conditions forced
on the group by the nature of the problem.
(i) The group turns baryon states at rest, with spin up, into baryon
states at rest, with spin up. Therefore, it must have an eight-
dimensional representation.
(ii) Since the whole point of the hypothesis is to explain the approxi-
mate equality of the baryon masses, this representation must be
irreducible.
(iii) (This is a rather fine technical point, but it is necessary in orderThe search for higher symmetries 3
to avoid some pathological cases.) The eight-dimensional
Tepresentation should be closed, in the sense that any matrix
which is the limit of a sequence of representation matrices should
bea representation matrix itself. Since the S-matrix is continuous,
if we are given a representation that is not closed, we can always
close it, and thus obtain a representation of a larger group which
is still an internal symmetry group.
(iv) The representation must be faithful. All observed particles can,
in principle, be constructed out of the eight baryons and their
antiparticles. Thus, any group element which acts trivially on the
baryons will act trivially on everything known, and might as well
be forgotten.
These conditions are sufficient to ensure that the higher symmetry
group must be a compact Lie group. This is a class of mathematical
objects which has been thoroughly investigated; all the compact Lie
groups have been classified, and so have all of their representations. So
finding all the compact Lie groups with eight-dimensional representations
is merely a question of knowing what mathematics books to look in.
However, there is another condition, which arises because we want
our higher symmetry group to contain the isospin—hypercharge group,
the group cf the old familiar symmetries of strong-interaction physics.
This is:
(v) The group should contain a subgroup isomorphic to the isospin—
hypercharge group. Furthermore, when we restrict ourselves
to this subgroup, the eight-dimensional representation should
decompose into an isodoublet of hypercharge one (N), an iso-
singlet of hypercharge zero (A), an isotriplet of hypercharge zero
(2), and an isodoublet of hypercharge minus one (=).
To determine the groups which satisfy this last condition, as well as
all the others, requires some independent effort on the part of the
investigator; however, the work is straightforward and can be done in
a few hours. At the end of all this one has a long, and unenlightening,
list. However, it has a surprising property; every group on it contains
either SU(3), the group of all unimodular unitary transformations on a
three-dimensional complex vector space, or Gg, a group called ‘the
connected part of the minimal global symmetry group’, whose structure
I will explain below.
These two groups are minimal: if their predictions are wrong, the
predictions of any other higher symmetry group must be wrong, and4 An introduction to unitary symmetry
the whole idea of higher symmetry must be abandoned. We will begin with
Go, since that turns out to be wrong; SU(3), of course, turns out to be
right — otherwise I would not be giving these lectures.
1.2 The elimination of Gy
Go is the direct product of three factors of SU(2),
Go ZSU(2)@SU(2)@SU(2).
Thus, every element of Gy can be written as a triplet of elements of SU(2),
G15 92593),
the generators of Gp are three commuting ‘angular-momentum vectors’,
1, T?, 1,
and the irreducible representations of Go are labeled by three ‘spins’,
(S15 82) 83).
Isospin and hypercharge are imbedded in Gy in the following way:
Ta1 412,
and Y=2/9),
The eight baryons transform according to the representation
G, 0, )@G, 4, 0).
(Thus, we have the desired isospin-hypercharge decomposition J=4,
Y= +1, and J=0, Y=0.) This is a reducible representation of Go; there-
fore Gp does not meet our conditions — though it is contained in many
groups which do, The easiest way to display a group which does meet the
conditions and which contains Gg is to add to Gy a discrete element which
has the effect of interchanging I'?) and IS). The representation above then
becomes an irreducible representation of the enlarged group.
One particular element of Gy is
Rao,
R is a hypercharge reflection operator,
RYR''=—-Y RIR“'=1.
Simply from R invariance one can deduce an almost endless list of
contradictions with experiment. I will give three here.
(i) For every particle or resonance there must be another particle or
resonance, of the same spin and nucleon number, with opposite
hypercharge, and with approximately the same mass. Thus, there
must be a low-lying #* resonance with hypercharge —1. Such
a resonance does not exist.SU(3) and its representations 5
(ii) It is easy to show from R invariance, isospin invariance, and the
assumption that the electric current transforms like the electric
charge (ie. like /,+ Y/2), that the clectromagnetic self-energy of
the &* should be the same as that of the Z~. In fact, they are
separated by 13 MeV.
(iii) From the same assumptions, the magnetic moment of the A
should be zero. In fact, it is of the order of magnitude of the
nucleon moments.
Thus, Go must be rejected. All that is left, our last hope, is SU(3).
2 SU(3) and its representations
In this section we will develop some of the properties of SU(3)
and its representations, and also develop some methods for doing simple
SU(3) calculations. We will begin by making some remarks about SU(n).
2.1 The representations of SU(n)
SU(n) is defined as the group of all unimodular unitary nxn
complex matrices. This definition immediately tells us one representation
of the group. If we let x' be a complex -vector, on which the group acts
in the following manner
U; xi Ujx’,
then it is clear that the space of all x! forms a basis for a representation
of U(n). A basis for another representation is formed by a set of vectors
Yi, which transform according to
U: YUly,,
where
Ul= 03,
(We use an overbar throughout to indicate complex conjugation.)
The notation we have used, with its upper and lower indices, mimics
that of ordinary tensor analysis. This mimicry is not deceptive, for, as
a consequence of the unitarity of U,
U: xyiox,y',
and thus, just as in ordinary tensor analysis, the summation of upper and
lower indices is an invariant operation.
By the usual method taking direct products — we can form, from
these primitive objects, the spaces of all tensors of rank n+m, with n
upper and m lower indices, Each of these spaces clearly forms the basis
for a representation of U(n).6 An introduction to unitary symmetry
These representations are, however, not necessarily irreducible.
If a;, is a tensor of rank two, we may divide it into the sum of a symmetric
and an antisymmetric part
4 j= Aint Hip
This separation is invariant under the action of the group; thus we have
divided the original representation space (of dimension n?) into two
invariant subspaces (of dimension n(n+ 1)/2 and n(n—1)/2, respectively).
Likewise, if aj is a mixed tensor, we may divide it into two parts,
laa
aj=- dak +aj,
where
a=0,
and again we have two invariant subspaces, in this case of dimension ! and
n?—1, (Note that in this case we cannot make a further reduction by
symmetrizing and antisymmetrizing, because the indices transform
differently under the action of the group.)
One of the problems we set in the introduction was finding the
irreducible representations of SU(3). Our general method of attack will
be to
(i) construct all tensors with a given number of upper and lower
indices ;
(ii) divide them invariantly into as many parts as we can;
(iii) discard the parts which we can show lead to representations
equivalent to those obtained from tensors of lower rank; and
(iv) identify the remaining parts with (hopefully) new irreducible
representations.
This method is, in principle, capable of generating all representations
of SU(n), for any n. However, the combinatorics required to keep track
of the irreducible tensors becomes formidable for n greater than 3, and
other methods seem to be more efficient.
We will first tackle SU(2), to warm up.
2,2 The representations of SU(2)
It is a great convenience to introduce the antisymmetric two-
index tensor e'/, Under the action of the group
U: e4(det Uje';
but since U is unimodular, e/ is invariant. So is ¢,, the corresponding
entity with two lower indices. Given any tensor, we can use the ¢ tensors
to raise and lower indices, just as the metric tensor is used in ordinarySU(3) and its representations 7
tensor analysis. In particular, we may write any tensor invariantly in
terms of a tensor with all lower indices, and thus there is no representation
of SU(2) induced on a general tensor that is not equivalent to one induced
on a tensor with only lower indices. Let
Gin. .in
be a tensor of this kind. We may divide a into two parts, which are
respectively symmetric and antisymmetric under interchange of the first
two indices. With the aid of ¢,; we may write the antisymmetric part in
terms of a tensor of lower rank:
iy, in)... =Fiyadiy...-
Thus, we need only consider completely symmetric tensors. Thus we have
(hopefully) an inequivalent irreducible representation of SU(2) associated
with every space of completely symmetric tensors of a given rank, with all
indices lower. (We adhere to an ancient convention, and call this rank
2s.) We will call the representation D®’, or (s) for short. The dimension of
(s) is the number of linearly independent tensors of the proper sort.
Since the tensors are completely symmetric, and since the indices are
allowed to assume only two values, this is the same as the number of ways
2s objects can be divided into two sets. That is to say,
dim (s)=2s+1,
a result which should be familiar.
2.3 The representations of SU(3)
Now let us apply the same techniques to SU(3). The invariant
¢ tensors now have three indices, and thus cannot be used to raise and
lower indices. Thus we have to work with tensors that have both lower and
upper indices:
However, we may still use the ¢ tensors to write the antisymmetric part of
any tensor in terms of a tensor of lower rank
allay taler elt k Bie,
and therefore we need only consider tensors completely symmetric in
both their upper and lower indices. By similar reasoning, we need only
consider traceless tensors.
We will define the representation induced on the space of all traceless,
completely symmetric tensors with # upper indices and m lower indices
as D™™, or simply (n,m) for short. Eventually, we will show that this
> family of representations forms a complete set of inequivalent irreducible8 An introduction to unitary symmetry
representations. However, it is more expedient to first extract some
Properties of these representations that are of practical importance,
and only afterwards to prove their completeness, inequivalence, and
irreducibility. Therefore, for the time being, we will simply call them IRs.
If you want to think of ‘IR’ as an acronym for ‘irreducible representation’,
you are welcome (indeed encouraged) to do so, but, in fact, we shall not
use this property until we have proved it.
Note that a simple consequence of our definitions is that
(@, m)=(m, n),
where the overbar indices complex conjugation.
24 Dimensions of the IRs
To calculate the dimension of an IR is a straightforward exercise
in combinatorics. The space of all completely symmetric tensors with n
upper indices and m lower indices can be decomposed into the space of all
symmetric tensors and to a space of tensors equivalent to the traces. (By
‘the traces’ we mean those tensors which are obtained by summing one
upper index with one lower index.) The space of the traces is equivalent to
the space of all completely symmetric tensors with (n— 1) upper indices and
(m— 1) lower indices. In representation language,
(n, NO, m)=(, m) @[(n—1, 0)@O, m—1)].
Taking the dimensions of both sides
dim (n, m)=dim (n, 0) x dim (0, m)—[dim (n—1, 0)
xdim (0, m—1)].
By arguments similar to those we used in the discussion of SU(2),
dim (n, 0)=4(n + 2(n+ 1)=dim (0, n),
and therefore,
dim (n, m)=4(n+ 1)@m+ I(n+ mt 2).
There is an alternative method of designating representations, much
used in the literature, in which a representation is labeled by its dimension.
Since (n, m) and (m, n) have the same dimension, they are distinguished
by labeling a representation by its dimension if n is greater than m, and
by its dimension with an overbar if m is greater than n. Thus
(1, 0) is often called 3,
0,1)” "3
ayy” » g
3,0)" * ” 10,
(2,2)" " “27, etcSU(3) and its representations 9
(This is still not totally unambiguous, since dim (4, 0)= dim (2, 1)=15,
but it suffices for practical purposes.)
2.5 Isospin and hypercharge
Merely to state that the very strong interactions are invariant
under a given higher symmetry group is not sufficient information to
construct a physical theory. We also have to know how isospin rotations
and hypercharge rotations, the old familiar symmetries of strong-
interaction physics, are imbedded in the group. The most convenient way
of specifying this, for SU(3), is by giving the isospin and hypercharge
transformation properties of the fundamental representation (1, 0).
(1, 0) is a three-dimensional representation. Therefore, when we restrict
SU(3) to the isospin group SU(2), it can decompose in only three ways:
into the sum of three isosinglets, into an isosinglet and an isodoublet,
or into an isotriplet. The first case is mathematically impossible, for it
implies that all the elements of SU(2) are inside the identity element of
SU(3). The third case is mathematically possible, but physically uninterest-
ing: if the fundamental triplet contains only integral isospin, then all the
IRs (which are made from direct products of fundamental triplets) would
contain only integral isospins, which is not very satisfactory for explaining
nature.
Thus, only the second possibility remains. We will choose our basis
in unitary space so that the (1, 0) representation looks like
g
qt 12 >
~ 12
q i
where we have labeled the basis vectors by the appropriate eigenvalue of
Z,. All that remains is to assign the hypercharge.
In order that the hypercharge differences between observed particles
be integers, it is necessary that the hypercharge difference between
the singlet and the doublet be of magnitude one. We choose the hyper-
charge of the doublet to be the greater. (This is just a matter of convention,
although it does not appear to be so at first glance. If we were to choose
the opposite assignment, the representation (0, 1) would have our original
assignment. Thus, the structure of all calculations would be the same,
except that (m, m) would everywhere be replaced by (m, n). This only
has to do with our conventions about how we write things on paper, not
with what goes on in the world. Formally, this degree of freedom corres-
ponds to the existence of an outer mitomorphism of SU(3).)

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