File Name: the theory of groups and quantum mechanics hermann weyl .zip
Hermann Weyl was a great and versatile mathematician of the 20 th century. His work had a vast range, encompassing analysis, algebra, number theory, topology, differential geometry, spacetime theory, quantum mechanics, and the foundations of mathematics.
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- Weyl Hermann: Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics
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Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. He made fundamental contributions to most branches of mathematics, and he also took a serious interest in theoretical physics.
It is somewhat unusual to write a biographical memoir nearly 50 years after the death of the subject, and this presents me with both difficulties and opportunities.
The difficulties are obvious: I had essentially no personal contact with Weyl, hearing him lecture only once at the international congress in Amsterdam in , when I was a research student. His contemporaries are long since gone and only a few personal reminiscences survive. In fact, the last 50 years have seen a remarkable blossoming of just those areas that Weyl initiated.
In retrospect one might almost say that he defined the agenda and provided the proper framework for what followed. This means that I. In particular I shall omit any account of his important work on singular differential equations, number theory, and convex bodies. I shall also say little about his contributions to the foundations of mathematics.
However, the important papers that he wrote in all these areas are included in the selected bibliography. As he described it later,. I resolved to study whatever this man had written. These were the happiest months of my life, whose shine, across years burdened with our common share of doubt and failure, still comforts my soul.
In he moved to a chair at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where Einstein was developing his theory of general relativity.
Here Weyl found a very congenial working environment where he was able to guide and influence the younger generation of mathematicians, a task for which he was admirably suited. Joseph, a talented translator of Spanish literature.
They had two sons. Weyl published in a great variety of fields and he deliberately eschewed specialization. He explained his attitude as follows:. My own mathematical works are always quite unsystematic, without mode or connection.
Expression and shape are almost more to me than knowledge itself. But I believe that, leaving aside my own peculiar nature, there is in mathematics itself, in contrast to the experimental disciplines, a character which is nearer to that of free creative art.
As this quotation and others illustrate, Weyl was both a philosopher and a literary stylist. His interest in philosophy led him to become involved in the foundations of mathematics, one of the major interests of the time that saw great battles between the formalists led by Hilbert and the intuitionists under Brouwer. The essential difference was that the intuitionists only accepted as valid those results that could be established constructively in a finite number of steps.
Weyl eventually and somewhat reluctantly sided with Brouwer. But his broader philosophical interests meant that he was always aware of the wider implications of his mathematical work and in particular of its relation to physics. He expounded his philosophical views on physics in a widely read book His literary, almost poetic, style is highly unusual in a mathematician and only someone of his stature could expect to get away with it.
Even the enforced transition from German to English resulting from his move to Princeton did not deter him. Despite the diversity of his interests it is analysis and geometry with their application to physics that provide the core of his work, though he could be an algebraist with style as in The Classical Groups and his tendency to unify mathematics makes nonsense of any simplistic divisions.
His interest in the spectral properties of differential operators their eigenvalues or frequencies was an early love and persisted to the end. In fact, one of his first major achievements was to establish that the leading term in the growth of the eigenvalues for the Laplace operator in a bounded domain was given by the volume, a result that was predicted by physicists on the basis of the relation between classical and quantum mechanics. In his Gibbs lecture to the American Mathematical Society Weyl set out his views on the eigenvalue problem in the following Delphic utterance:.
I feel that these informations about the proper oscillations of a membrane, valuable as they are, are still very incomplete. I have certain conjectures of what a complete analysis of their asymptotic behaviour should aim at but, since for more than 35 years I have made no serious effort to prove them, I think I had better keep them to myself. Whatever Weyl had in mind it is clear that he would have thoroughly appreciated the developments of recent times, particularly in the way the physics, analysis, and geometry have been interwoven.
Another early work was his now famous book on Riemann surfaces Here we see Weyl at his majestic best, imposing coherence, elegance, and order on a classical subject and thereby laying proper foundations for its future development. Already with the work of Riemann it was clear that the classical theory of functions of a complex variable could not be confined to the complex plane: branched coverings of the plane were necessary, but it was Weyl who put this into its proper form, getting away from the complex plane by introducing the notion of an abstract surface.
Coming when it did in it was the right book at the right time, providing the model for all subsequent work on higher-dimensional manifolds. With its emphasis on vector spaces which Weyl was the first to define it provided the right language for both geometry and algebra.
It also prepared the way for the topologists who followed. Serre had contributed through his work on the newly developed theory of sheaves. Despite his age he was 69 Weyl gave a detailed and enthusiastic account of all this work, which by combining geometry and analysis in the spirit of his own earlier work was very close to his heart.
This is clearly conveyed in his words addressed to Kodaira:. Your work has more than one connection with what I tried to do in my younger years; but you have reached heights of which I never dreamt. Since you came to Princeton in it has been one of the greatest joys of my life to watch your mathematical development.
Turning to Serre, whose work in homotopy theory he had also described in detail, he said,. I have no such close personal relation to you, Dr. Serre, and your research, but let me say that never before have I witnessed such a brilliant ascension of a star in the mathematical sky as yours. The mathematical community is proud of the work you both have done. It shows that the old gnarled tree of mathematics is still full of sap and life. These are the embodiment of symmetry, a topic that Weyl expounded on toward.
The theory of continuous groups, developed by the nineteenth-century Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie had been continued and extensively developed by Elie Cartan. Weyl took up the topic anew and brought his own point of view, with its emphasis on the global aspect of Lie groups. For his predecessors all the essential formulae were local leading to the infinitesimal form, the Lie algebra , but Weyl emphasized the whole group, a manifold with, in particular, interesting topology.
Here we see a link with his approach to Riemann surfaces: Weyl liked to see the big picture, the manifold or group in the round. This global view had many technical advantages and in particular for compact groups such as the important group of rotations , one could average by integrating over the group. Essentially this made the theory very similar to that of finite groups, which was already well established. One famous consequence of this technique is the Peter-Weyl theorem, which decomposes the space of functions on the group into matrix blocks given by the irreducible representations.
Here Weyl, as always, used his knowledge of differential equations in an essential way. This formula has kept reappearing in subsequent work. For example, it appears as a fixed-point. It also appears in generalized form Pressley and Segal, in the theory of representations of loop groups, infinite-dimensional groups of much interest in current physics.
Weyl was a strong believer in the overall unity of mathematics, not only across sub-disciplines but also across generations. For him the best of the past was not forgotten, but was subsumed and refined by the mathematics of the present. His book The Classical Groups was written to bring out this historical continuity. He had been criticized in his work on representation theory for ignoring the great classical subject of invariant theory that had so preoccupied algebraists in the nineteenth century.
The search for invariants, algebraic formulae that had an intrinsic geometric meaning, had ground to a halt when David Hilbert as a young man had proved that there was always a finite set of basic invariants. Weyl as a disciple of Hilbert viewed this as killing the subject as traditionally understood. On the other hand he wanted to show how classical invariant theory should now be viewed in the light of modern algebra.
The Classical Groups is his answer, where he skilfully combines old and new in a rich texture that has to be read and re-read many times. It is not a linear book with a beginning, middle, and end. It is more like an elaborate painting that has to be studied from different angles and in different lights. It is the despair of the student and the delight of the professor.
But now it is firmly in the Weyl mold and has been given a fresh impetus by David Mumford under the heading of geometric invariant theory Mumford, Fogarty, and F. Kirwan, This gives a systematic way of studying various important classification problems leading to moduli or.
Again, Weyl would have been delighted. When theoretical physics was revolutionized by the advent of quantum mechanics in the s, it was fortunate that there were then two outstanding mathematicians who were available to provide the mathematical underpinning and interpretation. John von Neumann put quantum mechanics into its now standard framework of Hilbert spaces and self-adjoint operators while Weyl expounded on the role of symmetry in his influential book on group theory and quantum mechanics Von Neumann was some years younger than Weyl, but he was a prodigy with a formidable reputation.
According to Armand Borel, who heard the story from M. Plancherel that whenever Weyl was going to give a lecture at Zurich, he approached the lecture room with trepidation in case von Neumann was in the audience. He was sure to ask penetrating questions that Weyl would be unable to answer!
This fear did not prevent Weyl from arranging for von Neumann to be invited to join him later at the Institute for Advanced Study.
As his speech at the Amsterdam congress showed, Weyl was always keen to identify talent and provide encouragement for the younger generation. Raoul Bott recalls Bott, how kindly Weyl dealt with him on their first encounter, when Bott explained his latest result, only to find out that Weyl had done it all 25 years before.
Bott also points out that Weyl as a person was not the Olym-pian figure that he appeared to be in print. He could be informal, amusing, and friendly.
If Weyl was right, then the size of a particle would depend on its past history, whereas experiments showed that all atoms of hydrogen, say, had identical properties. It is a tribute to his mathematical insight and self-confidence that he went ahead.
This point of view, called the Kaluza-Klein theory Theodor Kaluza made the first steps after Weyl is now generally accepted. Moreover, it is just the first stage in the enlargement of ordinary space-time. To include the other nuclear forces we need even more dimensions and current research centres on a total space-time dimension of 10 or This leads to the non-Abelian gauge theories, which are the basis of the standard model of elementary particle physics.
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Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. He made fundamental contributions to most branches of mathematics, and he also took a serious interest in theoretical physics. It is somewhat unusual to write a biographical memoir nearly 50 years after the death of the subject, and this presents me with both difficulties and opportunities. The difficulties are obvious: I had essentially no personal contact with Weyl, hearing him lecture only once at the international congress in Amsterdam in , when I was a research student.
Weyl Hermann: Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics
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Published by Dover Publs. Written in English. This thesis is meant to be an introduction to the theory of quantum groups, a new and exciting eld having deep relevance to both pure and applied mathematics.
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Можешь представить себе последствия, если бы это обнаружилось, когда Попрыгунчик был бы уже внедрен. - Так или иначе, - парировала Сьюзан, - теперь мы имеем параноиков из Фонда электронных границ, уверенных, что черный ход есть во всех наших алгоритмах. - А это не так? - язвительно заметил Хейл.
Стояла полная тишина, и он внимательно прислушался. Ничего. Вроде бы на нижней ступеньке никого. Может, ему просто показалось.
Он что-то скрывает. Джабба вытаращил глаза: - Мидж, дорогая.