Topology, Geometry, and Gauge Fields: Interactions

Springer Science & Business Media
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This volume is intended to carryon the program initiated in Topology, Geometry, and Gauge Fields: Foundations (henceforth, [N4]). It is written in much the same spirit and with precisely the same philosophical motivation: Mathematics and physics have gone their separate ways for nearly a century now and it is time for this to end. Neither can any longer afford to ignore the problems and insights of the other. Why are Dirac magnetic monopoles in one-to-one correspondence with the principal U(l) bundles over S2? Why do Higgs fields fall into topological types? What led Donaldson, in 1980, to seek in the Yang-Mills equations of physics for the key that unlocks the mysteries of smooth 4-manifolds and what phys ical insights into quantum field theory led Witten, fourteen years later, to propose the vastly simpler, but apparently equivalent Seiberg-Witten equations as an alternative? We do not presume to answer these questions here, but only to promote an atmosphere in which both mathematicians and physicists recognize the need for answers. More succinctly, we shall endeavor to provide an exposition of elementary topology and geometry that keeps one eye on the physics in which our concepts either arose in dependently or have been found to lead to a deeper understanding of the phenomena. Chapter 1 provides a synopsis of the geometrical background we assume of our readers (manifolds, Lie groups, bundles, connections, etc. ).
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Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Mar 14, 2013
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Pages
446
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ISBN
9781475768503
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Mathematics / Combinatorics
Mathematics / General
Mathematics / Geometry / General
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This book offers a presentation of the special theory of relativity that is mathematically rigorous and yet spells out in considerable detail the physical significance of the mathematics. It treats, in addition to the usual menu of topics one is accustomed to finding in introductions to special relativity, a wide variety of results of more contemporary origin. These include Zeeman’s characterization of the causal automorphisms of Minkowski spacetime, the Penrose theorem on the apparent shape of a relativistically moving sphere, a detailed introduction to the theory of spinors, a Petrov-type classification of electromagnetic fields in both tensor and spinor form, a topology for Minkowski spacetime whose homeomorphism group is essentially the Lorentz group, and a careful discussion of Dirac’s famous Scissors Problem and its relation to the notion of a two-valued representation of the Lorentz group. This second edition includes a new chapter on the de Sitter universe which is intended to serve two purposes. The first is to provide a gentle prologue to the steps one must take to move beyond special relativity and adapt to the presence of gravitational fields that cannot be considered negligible. The second is to understand some of the basic features of a model of the empty universe that differs markedly from Minkowski spacetime, but may be recommended by recent astronomical observations suggesting that the expansion of our own universe is accelerating rather than slowing down. The treatment presumes only a knowledge of linear algebra in the first three chapters, a bit of real analysis in the fourth and, in two appendices, some elementary point-set topology.

The first edition of the book received the 1993 CHOICE award for Outstanding Academic Title.

Reviews of first edition:

“... a valuable contribution to the pedagogical literature which will be enjoyed by all who delight in precise mathematics and physics.” (American Mathematical Society, 1993)

“Where many physics texts explain physical phenomena by means of mathematical models, here a rigorous and detailed mathematical development is accompanied by precise physical interpretations.” (CHOICE, 1993)

“... his talent in choosing the most significant results and ordering them within the book can’t be denied. The reading of the book is, really, a pleasure.” (Dutch Mathematical Society, 1993)

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