Schreiber Smooth Sets of Fields

An article being finalized at CQTS:

Abstract. The physical world is fundamentally: (1) field-theoretic, (2) smooth, (3) local, (4) gauged, (5) containing fermions, and last but not least: (6) non-perturbative. Tautologous as this may sound, it is remarkable that the mathematical notion of geometry which reflects all of these aspects – namely, as we will explain: “supergeometric homotopy theory” – has received little attention even by mathematicians and remains unknown to most physicists. Elaborate algebraic machinery is known for perturbative field theories, but in order to tackle the deep open questions of the subject, such as the confinement/mass gap problem, these will need to be lifted to a global geometry of physics.

Our aim in this series is, first, to introduce inclined physicists to this theory, second to fill mathematical gaps in the existing literature, and finally to rigorously develop the full power of supergeometric homotopy theory and apply it to the analysis of fermionic (not necessarily super-symmetric) field theories.

To warm up, in this first part we explain how classical bosonic Lagrangian field theory (variational Euler-Lagrange theory) finds a natural home in the “topos of smooth sets”, thereby neatly setting the scene for the higher supergeometry discussed in later parts of the series. This introductory material will be largely known to a few experts but has never been comprehensively laid out before. A key technical point we make is to regard jet bundle geometry systematically in smooth sets instead of just its subcategories of diffeological spaces or even Fréchet manifolds – or worse simply as a formal object. Besides being more transparent and powerful, it is only on this backdrop that a reasonable supergeometric jet geometry exists, needed for satisfactory discussion of any field theory with fermions.


Related projects:

Last revised on December 29, 2023 at 13:05:56. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.