On the Relation Between Gauge and Phase Symmetries

Foundations of Physics 44 (12):1317-1335 (2014)
Abstract
We propose a group-theoretical interpretation of the fact that the transition from classical to quantum mechanics entails a reduction in the number of observables needed to define a physical state and \ to \ or \ in the simplest case). We argue that, in analogy to gauge theories, such a reduction results from the action of a symmetry group. To do so, we propose a conceptual analysis of formal tools coming from symplectic geometry and group representation theory, notably Souriau’s moment map, the Mardsen–Weinstein symplectic reduction, the symplectic “category” introduced by Weinstein, and the conjecture according to which “quantization commutes with reduction”. By using the generalization of this conjecture to the non-zero coadjoint orbits of an abelian Hamiltonian action, we argue that phase invariance in quantum mechanics and gauge invariance have a common geometric underpinning, namely the symplectic reduction formalism. This stance points towards a gauge-theoretical interpretation of Heisenberg indeterminacy principle. We revisit this principle in the light of the difference between the set-theoretic points of a phase space and its category-theoretic symplectic points
Keywords Quantum mechanics  Gauge theories  Moment map  Symplectic reduction  Symplectic “category”
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-014-9817-x
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