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Concept# Observable

Summary

In physics, an observable is a physical property or physical quantity that can be measured. Examples include position and momentum. In systems governed by classical mechanics, it is a real-valued "function" on the set of all possible system states. In quantum physics, it is an operator, or gauge, where the property of the quantum state can be determined by some sequence of operations. For example, these operations might involve submitting the system to various electromagnetic fields and eventually reading a value.
Physically meaningful observables must also satisfy transformation laws that relate observations performed by different observers in different frames of reference. These transformation laws are automorphisms of the state space, that is bijective transformations that preserve certain mathematical properties of the space in question.
Quantum mechanics
In quantum physics, observables manifest as linear operators on a Hilbert space representing the state space of

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An intriguing feature of the Standard Model is that the representations of the unbroken gauge symmetries are vector-like whereas those of the spontaneously broken gauge symmetries are chiral. Here we provide a toy model which shows that a natural explanation of this property could emerge in higher dimensional field theories and discuss the difficulties that arise in the attempt to construct a realistic theory. An interesting aspect of this type of models is that the 4D low energy effective theory is not generically gauge invariant. However, the non-invariant contributions to the observable quantities are very small, of the order of the square of the ratio between the light particle mass scale and the Kaluza-Klein mass scale. Remarkably, when we take the unbroken limit both the chiral asymmetry and the non-invariant terms disappear. © SISSA 2007.

2007The goal of response theory, in each of its many statistical mechanical formulations, is to predict the perturbed response of a system from the knowledge of the unperturbed state and of the applied perturbation. A new recent angle on the problem focuses on providing a method to perform predictions of the change in one observable of the system using the change in a second observable as a surrogate for the actual forcing. Such a viewpoint tries to address the very relevant problem of causal links within complex system when only incomplete information is available. We present here a method for quantifying and ranking the predictive ability of observables and use it to investigate the response of a paradigmatic spatially extended system, the Lorenz '96 model. We perturb locally the system and we then study to what extent a given local observable can predict the behaviour of a separate local observable. We show that this approach can reveal insights on the way a signal propagates inside the system. We also show that the procedure becomes more efficient if one considers multiple acting forcings and, correspondingly, multiple observables as predictors of the observable of interest.

Conformal field theories (CFTs) play a very significant role in modern physics, appearing in such diverse fields as particle physics, condensed matter and statistical physics and in quantum gravity both as the string worldsheet theory and through the AdS/CFT correspondence. In recent years major breakthroughs have been made in solving these CFTs through a method called numerical conformal bootstrap. This method uses consistency conditions on the CFT data in order to find and constrain conformal field theories and obtain precise measurements of physical observables. In this thesis we apply the conformal bootstrap to study among others the O(2)- and the ARP^3- models in 3D.
In the first chapter we extend the conventional scalar numerical conformal bootstrap to a mixed system of correlators involving a scalar field charged under a global U(1) symmetry and the associated conserved spin-1 current J. The inclusion of a conserved spinning operator is an important advance in the numerical bootstrap program. Using numerical bootstrap techniques we obtain bounds on new observables not accessible in the usual scalar bootstrap. Concentrating on the O(2) model we extract rigorous bounds on the three-point function coefficient of two currents and the unique relevant scalar singlet, as well as those of two currents and the stress tensor. Using these results, and comparing with a quantum Monte Carlo simulation of the O(2) model conductivity, we give estimates of the thermal one-point function of the relevant singlet and the stress tensor. We also obtain new bounds on operators in various sectors.
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