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Continuous symmetry

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Title: Continuous symmetry  
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Subject: Group theory, Gauge principle, Sophus Lie, Symmetry (physics), Noether's theorem
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Continuous symmetry

In mathematics, continuous symmetry is an intuitive idea corresponding to the concept of viewing some symmetries as motions, as opposed to e.g. reflection symmetry, which is invariance under a kind of flip from one state to another.

Formalization

The notion of continuous symmetry has largely and successfully been formalised in the mathematical notions of topological group, Lie group and group action. For most practical purposes continuous symmetry is modelled by a group action of a topological group.

One-parameter subgroups

The simplest motions follow a one-parameter subgroup of a Lie group, such as the Euclidean group of three-dimensional space. For example translation parallel to the x-axis by u units, as u varies, is a one-parameter group of motions. Rotation around the z-axis is also a one-parameter group.

Noether's theorem

Continuous symmetry has a basic role in Noether's theorem in theoretical physics, in the derivation of conservation laws from symmetry principles, specifically for continuous symmetries. The search for continuous symmetries only intensified with the further developments of quantum field theory.

See also

References

  • William H. Barker, Roger Howe (2007), Continuous Symmetry: from Euclid to Klein
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