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Oxford Quantum Talks Archive

Noether's famous 1918 symmetry theorem -- what does it prove?

Harvey Brown, University of Oxford
Seminars, October 2011, University of Oxford

Recently, Brendan Fong and John Baez have provided an analogue in stochastic mechanics to what they call Noether's theorem in quantum mechanics. Noether's original theorem, relating symmetries and conservation principles, was the first in a series of theorems she proved in 1918 within a program in the calculus of variations inspired by interpretational problems related to conservations laws in general relativity. I will sketch the background to Noether's work and give special emphasis to the form and meaning of her "first" theorem. An unusual application of the theorem to quantum mechanics will be exploited.

[video] [streaming video] [slides]