nLab
relativistic quantum field theory

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Context

Physics

physics, mathematical physics, philosophy of physics

Surveys, textbooks and lecture notes


theory (physics), model (physics)

experiment, measurement, computable physics

Contents

Idea

In the context of the physics of fields one speaks of relativistic (quantum) field theory to indicate that the underlying spaces considered are Lorentzian spacetimes that model configurations of the field of gravity according to the theory of “general relativity”, whence the name, and that the equations of motion respect this structure, in that they respect tangent space-wise Lorentz invariance (i.e. the Cartan geometry strucure, see at first-order formulation of gravity).

This is in contrast to other variants of field theory such as for instance

Mathematically, the hallmark of relativistic field theory is the key role played by causal locality, notably in the rigorous mathematical formulation of relativistic perturbative quantum field theory via causal perturbation theory (also called perturbative AQFT).

This marks also the contrast to “Euclidean field theory”, where the underlying “spacetimes” are Riemannian manifolds (with Euclidean instead of Lorentzian signature, whence the name). While in good situations relativistic and Euclidean field theory may be related by Wick rotation (Osterwalder-Schrader theorem) generally they are very different.

Last revised on November 9, 2018 at 04:51:06. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.