Gauging Whats Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Gauge Theories

Paperback | November 1, 2009

byRichard Healey

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Gauge theories have provided our most successful representations of the fundamental forces of nature. How, though, do such representations work? Interpretations of gauge theory aim to answer this question. Through understanding how a gauge theory's representations work, we are able to say whatkind of world our gauge theories reveal to us. A gauge theory's representations are mathematical structures. These may be transformed among themselves while certain features remain the same. Do the representations related by such a gauge transformation merely offer alternative ways of representing the very same situation? If so, then gaugesymmetry is a purely formal property since it reflects no corresponding symmetry in nature. Gauging What's Real describes the representations provided by gauge theories in both classical and quantum physics. Richard Healey defends the thesis that gauge transformations are purely formal symmetries of almost all the classes of representations provided by each of our theories of fundamentalforces. He argues that evidence for classical gauge theories of forces (other than gravity) gives us reason to believe that loops rather than points are the locations of fundamental properties. In addition to exploring the prospects of extending this conclusion to the quantum gauge theories of theStandard Model of elementary particle physics, Healey assesses the difficulties faced by attempts to base such ontological conclusions on the success of these theories.

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Gauge theories have provided our most successful representations of the fundamental forces of nature. How, though, do such representations work? Interpretations of gauge theory aim to answer this question. Through understanding how a gauge theory's representations work, we are able to say whatkind of world our gauge theories reveal to ...

Richard Healey is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona.

other books by Richard Healey

Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:November 1, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199576939

ISBN - 13:9780199576937

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. What is a Gauge Theory?2. The Aharonov-Bohm EOect3. Classical Gauge Theories4. Interpreting Classical Gauge Theories5. Quantized Yang-Mills Gauge Theories6. The Empirical Import of Gauge Symmetry7. Loop Representations8. Interpreting Quantized Yang-Mills Gauge Theories9. Conclusions