Mukunda, N
(1987)
*The mathematical style of modern physics.*
In: Collection: Recent developments in theoretical physics, 1987, Kottayam, pp. 1-20.

## Abstract

In the author's opinion, two main features are characteristic for modern applications of mathematics to physics: the use of symmetries and the use of unobservable quantities (antioperationalistic approach). He gives a brief history of symmetry in physics: first, symmetry as a tool for describing useful features of given theories, then symmetry as a tool for restricting possible equations (e.g. the Dirac equation was thus obtained) and, finally, symmetry as a creative tool allowing one to obtain equations almost uniquely (Yang-Mills, etc.). Whenever equations are invariant with respect to some group, in the case that our observation data are invariant with respect to some subgroup $G$, one cannot tell the state $x$ from the state $gx$, where $g\in G$, so the parameters telling $x$ from $gx$ become unobservable---of this kind are potentials in electrodynamics, coordinate effects in general relativity, etc. This unobservability can be ultimate (e.g. phase of wave function in quantum theory) or only approximate---in all other theories where symmetry is only approximate.

Item Type: | Conference Paper |
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Publisher: | World Sci. Publishing |

Additional Information: | Copyright of this article belongs to World Sci. Publishing. |

Department/Centre: | Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Theoretical Studies (Ceased to exist at the end of 2003) |

Date Deposited: | 31 Aug 2004 |

Last Modified: | 10 Jan 2012 05:31 |

URI: | http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/967 |

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