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Noethers theorem

This article is about Emmy Noethers rst theorem, researchers to consider whole classes of hypothetical La-
which derives conserved quantities from symmetries. grangians with given invariants, to describe a physical
For other uses, see Noethers theorem (disambiguation). system. As an illustration, suppose that a new eld is dis-
covered that conserves a quantity X. Using Noethers the-
orem, the types of Lagrangians that conserve X through
Noethers (rst) theorem states that any dierentiable
symmetry of the action of a physical system has a cor- a continuous symmetry may be determined, and their t-
ness judged by further criteria.
responding conservation law. The theorem was proved
by German mathematician Emmy Noether in 1915 and There are numerous versions of Noethers theorem, with
published in 1918.[1] The action of a physical system is varying degrees of generality. The original version only
the integral over time of a Lagrangian function (which applied to ordinary dierential equations (particles) and
may or may not be an integral over space of a Lagrangian not partial dierential equations (elds). The original
density function), from which the systems behavior can versions also assume that the Lagrangian only depends
be determined by the principle of least action. upon the rst derivative, while later versions generalize
th
Noethers theorem has become a fundamental tool of the theorem to Lagrangians depending on the n deriva-
modern theoretical physics and the calculus of variations. tive. There are natural quantum counterparts of this the-
A generalization of the seminal formulations on constants orem, expressed in the WardTakahashi identities. Gen-
of motion in Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics (de- eralizations of Noethers theorem to superspaces are also
veloped in 1788 and 1833, respectively), it does not ap- available.
ply to systems that cannot be modeled with a Lagrangian
alone (e.g. systems with a Rayleigh dissipation function).
In particular, dissipative systems with continuous symme- 2 Informal statement of the theo-
tries need not have a corresponding conservation law. rem
All ne technical points aside, Noethers theorem can be
1 Basic illustrations and back- stated informally

ground If a system has a continuous symmetry


property, then there are corresponding quan-
As an illustration, if a physical system behaves the same tities whose values are conserved in time.[2]
regardless of how it is oriented in space, its Lagrangian
is rotationally symmetric: from this symmetry, Noethers A more sophisticated version of the theorem involving
theorem dictates that the angular momentum of the sys- elds states that:
tem be conserved, as a consequence of its laws of mo-
tion. The physical system itself need not be symmetric; a To every dierentiable symmetry gener-
jagged asteroid tumbling in space conserves angular mo- ated by local actions, there corresponds a
mentum despite its asymmetry it is the laws of its mo- conserved current.
tion that are symmetric.
As another example, if a physical process exhibits the The word symmetry in the above statement refers more
same outcomes regardless of place or time, then its La- precisely to the covariance of the form that a physical
grangian is symmetric under continuous translations in law takes with respect to a one-dimensional Lie group
space and time: by Noethers theorem, these symmetries of transformations satisfying certain technical criteria.
account for the conservation laws of linear momentum The conservation law of a physical quantity is usually ex-
and energy within this system, respectively. pressed as a continuity equation.
Noethers theorem is important, both because of the in- The formal proof of the theorem utilizes the condition
sight it gives into conservation laws, and also as a practi- of invariance to derive an expression for a current associ-
cal calculational tool. It allows investigators to determine ated with a conserved physical quantity. In modern (since
the conserved quantities (invariants) from the observed ca. 1980[3] ) terminology, the conserved quantity is called
symmetries of a physical system. Conversely, it allows the Noether charge, while the ow carrying that charge is

1
2 3 HISTORICAL CONTEXT

called the Noether current. The Noether current is dened In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, physicists devel-
up to a solenoidal (divergenceless) vector eld. oped more systematic methods for discovering invariants.
In the context of gravitation, Felix Klein's statement A major advance came in 1788 with the development of
of Noethers theorem for action I stipulates for the Lagrangian mechanics, which is related to the principle
invariants:[4] of least action. In this approach, the state of the system
can be described by any type of generalized coordinates
q; the laws of motion need not be expressed in a Cartesian
If an integral I is invariant under a continu- coordinate system, as was customary in Newtonian me-
ous group G with parameters, then linearly chanics. The action is dened as the time integral I of a
independent combinations of the Lagrangian function known as the Lagrangian L
expressions are divergences.


3 Historical context
I= L(q, q, t) dt ,
Main articles: Constant of motion, conservation law
(physics) and conserved current where the dot over q signies the rate of change of the
coordinates q,
A conservation law states that some quantity X in the
mathematical description of a systems evolution remains
constant throughout its motion it is an invariant. Math-
ematically, the rate of change of X (its derivative with dq
q = .
respect to time) vanishes, dt

Hamiltons principle states that the physical path q(t)


dX the one actually taken by the systemis a path for which
=0.
dt innitesimal variations in that path cause no change in
I, at least up to rst order. This principle results in the
Such quantities are said to be conserved; they are often
EulerLagrange equations,
called constants of motion (although motion per se need
not be involved, just evolution in time). For example, if
the energy of a system is conserved, its energy is invariant ( )
at all times, which imposes a constraint on the systems d L = L .
motion and may help solving for it. Aside from insights dt q q
that such constants of motion give into the nature of a
system, they are a useful calculational tool; for example, Thus, if one of the coordinates, say qk, does not appear
an approximate solution can be corrected by nding the in the Lagrangian, the right-hand side of the equation is
nearest state that satises the suitable conservation laws. zero, and the left-hand side requires that
The earliest constants of motion discovered were
momentum and energy, which were proposed in the 17th ( )
d L dpk
century by Ren Descartes and Gottfried Leibniz on the = =0,
dt qk dt
basis of collision experiments, and rened by subsequent
researchers. Isaac Newton was the rst to enunciate where the momentum
the conservation of momentum in its modern form, and
showed that it was a consequence of Newtons third law.
According to general relativity, the conservation laws of L
linear momentum, energy and angular momentum are pk =
qk
only exactly true globally when expressed in terms of
the sum of the stressenergy tensor (non-gravitational is conserved throughout the motion (on the physical path).
stressenergy) and the LandauLifshitz stressenergy
momentum pseudotensor (gravitational stressenergy). Thus, the absence of the ignorable coordinate qk from
The local conservation of non-gravitational linear mo- the Lagrangian implies that the Lagrangian is unaected
mentum and energy in a free-falling reference frame is by changes or transformations of qk; the Lagrangian is
expressed by the vanishing of the covariant divergence of invariant, and is said to exhibit a symmetry under such
the stressenergy tensor. Another important conserved transformations. This is the seed idea generalized in
quantity, discovered in studies of the celestial mechan- Noethers theorem.
ics of astronomical bodies, is the LaplaceRungeLenz Several alternative methods for nding conserved quan-
vector. tities were developed in the 19th century, especially
4.1 Simple form using perturbations 3

by William Rowan Hamilton. For example, he devel- (which have the dimensions of [energy][time] + [mo-
oped a theory of canonical transformations which al- mentum][length] = [action]) are conserved (constants of
lowed changing coordinates so that some coordinates dis- motion).
appeared from the Lagrangian, as above, resulting in con-
served canonical momenta. Another approach, and per-
haps the most ecient for nding conserved quantities, 4.1.1 Examples
is the HamiltonJacobi equation.
Time invariance

For illustration, consider a Lagrangian that does not de-


4 Mathematical expression pend on time, i.e., that is invariant (symmetric) under
changes t t + t, without any change in the coordinates
See also: Perturbation theory q. In this case, N = 1, T = 1 and Q = 0; the corresponding
conserved quantity is the total energy H [5]

4.1 Simple form using perturbations L


H= q L.
q
The essence of Noethers theorem is generalizing the ig-
norable coordinates outlined. Translational invariance
Imagine that the action I dened above is invariant under
small perturbations (warpings) of the time variable t and Consider a Lagrangian which does not depend on an (ig-
the generalized coordinates q; in a notation commonly norable, as above) coordinate qk; so it is invariant (sym-
used in physics, metric) under changes qk qk + qk. In that case, N =
1, T = 0, and Qk = 1; the conserved quantity is the corre-
sponding momentum pk[6]
t t = t + t
q q = q + q , pk =
L
.
qk
where the perturbations t and q are both small, but
variable. For generality, assume there are (say) N such In special and general relativity, these apparently separate
symmetry transformations of the action, i.e. transforma- conservation laws are aspects of a single conservation law,
tions leaving the action unchanged; labelled by an index that of the stressenergy tensor,[7] that is derived in the
r = 1, 2, 3, , N. next section.
Then the resultant perturbation can be written as a linear
sum of the individual types of perturbations, Rotational invariance

The conservation of the angular momentum L = r p is


t = r Tr analogous to its linear momentum counterpart.[8] It is as-
r sumed that the symmetry of the Lagrangian is rotational,
i.e., that the Lagrangian does not depend on the absolute
q = r Qr , orientation of the physical system in space. For concrete-
r ness, assume that the Lagrangian does not change under
where r are innitesimal parameter coecients corre- small rotations of an angle about an axis n; such a rota-
sponding to each: tion transforms the Cartesian coordinates by the equation

generator Tr of time evolution, and


generator Qr of the generalized coordinates. r r + n r.

Since time is not being transformed, T=0. Taking as


For translations, Qr is a constant with units of length; for the parameter and the Cartesian coordinates r as the
rotations, it is an expression linear in the components of generalized coordinates q, the corresponding Q variables
q, and the parameters make up an angle. are given by
Using these denitions, Noether showed that the N quan-
tities
Q = n r.
( )
L L Then Noethers theorem states that the following quantity
q L Tr Qr is conserved,
q q
4 4 MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION

In such cases, the conservation law is expressed in a four-


dimensional way
L
Qr = p (n r) = n (r p) = n L.
q

In other words, the component of the angular momentum j = 0
L along the n axis is conserved.
which expresses the idea that the amount of a conserved
If n is arbitrary, i.e., if the system is insensitive to any ro- quantity within a sphere cannot change unless some of it
tation, then every component of L is conserved; in short, ows out of the sphere. For example, electric charge is
angular momentum is conserved. conserved; the amount of charge within a sphere cannot
change unless some of the charge leaves the sphere.
4.2 Field theory version For illustration, consider a physical system of elds that
behaves the same under translations in time and space, as
Although useful in its own right, the version of her the- considered above; in other words, L (, , x ) is con-
orem just given was a special case of the general version stant in its third argument. In that case, N = 4, one for
she derived in 1915. To give the avor of the general each dimension of space and time. Since only the posi-
theorem, a version of the Noether theorem for continu- tions in spacetime are being warped, not the elds, the
ous elds in four-dimensional spacetime is now given. are all zero and the X equal the Kronecker delta ,
Since eld theory problems are more common in modern where we have used instead of r for the index. In that
physics than mechanics problems, this eld theory ver- case, Noethers theorem corresponds to the conservation
sion is the most commonly used version (or most often law for the stressenergy tensor T[7]
implemented) of Noethers theorem.
Let there be a set of dierentiable elds dened over [( ) ] ( )
L L
all space and time; for example, the temperature T(x, t) T =
, L = , L
would be representative of such a eld, being a number , ,
dened at every place and time. The principle of least The conservation of electric charge, by contrast, can
action can be applied to such elds, but the action is nowbe derived by considering zero X =0 and linear in
an integral over space and time the elds themselves.[9] In quantum mechanics, the
probability amplitude (x) of nding a particle at a point
x is a complex eld , because it ascribes a complex num-
I = L (, , x ) d4 x ber to every point in space and time. The probability am-
plitude itself is physically unmeasurable; only the proba-
2
(the theorem can actually be further generalized to the bility p = || can be inferred from a set of measurements.
case where the Lagrangian depends on up to the nth Therefore, the system is invariant under transformations
derivative using jet bundles) of the eld and its complex conjugate eld * that leave
||2 unchanged, such as
Let the action be invariant under certain transformations
of the spacetime coordinates x and the elds
ei , ei ,

x x + x a complex rotation. In the limit when the phase be-


comes innitesimally small, , it may be taken as the
+ parameter , while the are equal to i and i*, re-
where the transformations can be indexed by r = 1, 2, 3, spectively. A specic example is the KleinGordon equa-
, N tion, the relativistically correct version of the Schrdinger
equation for spinless particles, which has the Lagrangian
density
x = r Xr

= r r . L = , , + m2 .

For such systems, Noethers theorem states that there are In this case, Noethers theorem states that the conserved
N conserved current densities (j = 0) current equals

( ) [( ) ] ( )
L L
jr = r + , L Xr
j =i ,
, , x x
5.2 Field-theoretic derivation 5

which, when multiplied by the charge on that species of Notice that the EulerLagrange equations imply
particle, equals the electric current density due to that
type of particle. This gauge invariance was rst noted ( ) ( ) ( )
by Hermann Weyl, and is one of the prototype gauge sym- d L d L L d L
qT = qT + qT + q T
metries of physics. dt q q dt q q q dt q q q
( 2 )
L L L
= qT + q qT + q T.
5 Derivations q q q (q) 2 q q
Substituting this into the previous equation, one gets
5.1 One independent variable
Consider the simplest case, a system with one indepen- dI L
0= [0] = L[q[t2 ], q[t2 ], t2 ]T L[q[t1 ], q[t1 ], t1 ]T q[t2 ]T +
dent variable, time. Suppose the dependent variables q d q q
are such that the action integral t2
L L 2
+ + q dt.
t1 q q q
t2
I= L[q[t], q[t], t] dt Again using the EulerLagrange equations we get
t1

is invariant under brief innitesimal variations in the de-


pendent variables. In other words, they satisfy the Euler ( ) ( )
d L d L L 2 L L 2
Lagrange equations = + q = + q.
dt q dt q q q q q q
Substituting this into the previous equation, one gets
d L L
[t] = [t].
dt q q
And suppose that the integral is invariant under a con- L L
0 = L[q[t2 ], q[t2 ], t2 ]T L[q[t1 ], q[t1 ], t1 ]T q[t2 ]T + q
tinuous symmetry. Mathematically such a symmetry is q q q q
represented as a ow, , which acts on the variables as
L L
follows + [t2 ] [t1 ].
q q
From which one can see that
t t = t + T
q[t] q [t ] = [q[t], ] = [q[t T ], ] ( )
L L
where is a real variable indicating the amount of ow, q L T
and T is a real constant (which could be zero) indicating q q q
how much the ow shifts time. is a constant of the motion, i.e. a conserved quantity.
Since [q, 0] = q, we get q = 1 and so the conserved
d quantity simplies to
q[t] q [t ] = [q[t], ] = [q[t T ], ]q[t T ].
dt q
( )
The action integral ows to L L
q L T .
q q
t2 +T
To avoid excessive complication of the formulas, this
I [] = L[q [t ], q [t ], t ] dt
t1 +T derivation assumed that the ow does not change as time
t2 +T passes. The same result can be obtained in the more gen-
eral case.
= L[[q[t T ], ], [q[t T ], ]q[t T ], t ] dt

t1 +T q
which may be regarded as a function of . Calculating the 5.2 Field-theoretic derivation
derivative at = 0 and using the symmetry, we get
Noethers theorem may also be derived for tensor elds
dI A where the index A ranges over the various compo-
0= [0] = L[q[t2 ], q[t2 ], t2 ]T L[q[t1 ], q[t1 ], t1 ]T nents of the various tensor elds. These eld quanti-
d
( ) ( ties are functions)dened over a four-dimensional space
t2
L L 2 2 are labeled by coordinates x where the in-
2 points
whose
+ qT + + q T + q qT dt.
t1 q q q (q)2 dex ranges
q qover time (=0) and three spatial dimensions
6 5 DERIVATIONS

(=1,2,3). These four coordinates are the independent


variables; and the values of the elds at each event are [ ( ) ( )] L A L
the dependent variables. Under an innitesimal transfor- L A , A , , x L A , A , , x = A
+ A A , .
mation, the variation in the coordinates is written ,

However, because the variations are dened at the same


point as described above, the variation and the derivative
x = x + x can be done in reverse order; they commute
whereas the transformation of the eld variables is ex-
pressed as A ( A)
A , = = .
x x

A A ( ) = A (x ) + A (x ) . Using the EulerLagrange eld equations

By this denition, the eld variations A result from ( )


two factors: intrinsic changes in the eld themselves and L L
=
changes in coordinates, since the transformed eld A de- x A , A
pends on the transformed coordinates . To isolate the
intrinsic changes, the eld variation at a single point x the dierence in Lagrangians can be written neatly as
may be dened
( )
[ ( A A ) ( A A )] L L
L , , , x L , , , x

= A
A + A
A (x ) = A (x ) + A (x ) . x , ,

If the coordinates are changed, the boundary of the region Thus, the change in the action can be written as
of spacetime over which the Lagrangian is being inte-
grated also changes; the original boundary and its trans- { }
L ( A A )
formed version are denoted as and , respectively. A
+ L , , , x
x d4 x = 0 .
x A
,
Noethers theorem begins with the assumption that a spe-
cic transformation of the coordinates and eld variables Since this holds for any region , the integrand must be
does not change the action, which is dened as the integral zero
of the Lagrangian density over the given region of space-
time. Expressed mathematically, this assumption may be { }
written as L A
( A A
)
+ L , , , x x = 0.
x A ,

( ) ( ) For any combination of the various symmetry transfor-
L A , A , , d4 L A , A , , x d4 x = 0
mations, the perturbation can be written

where the comma subscript indicates a partial derivative


with respect to the coordinate(s) that follows the comma,
x = X
e.g.
A = A = A + LX A

A where LX A is the Lie derivative of A in the X direc-


A
, = . tion. When A is a scalar or X , = 0 ,
x
Since is a dummy variable of integration, and since
the change in the boundary is innitesimal by assump- A
tion, the two integrals may be combined using the four- LX A
= X .
x
dimensional version of the divergence theorem into the
following form These equations imply that the eld variation taken at one
point equals
{ }
[ ( A A ) ( )] [ ( A A ) ] 4
L , , , x L A , A , , x + L , , x
x d x = 0.
x A LX A .
A = ,

The dierence in Lagrangians can be written to rst-order Dierentiating the above divergence with respect to at
in the innitesimal variations as =0 and changing the sign yields the conservation law
5.4 Comments 7

S[]
j =0 0
x (x)
where the conserved current equals and that satises the given boundary conditions, is the
subspace of on shell solutions. (See principle of stationary
[ ] ( ) action)
L L

j = LX L X
A
A . Now, suppose we have an innitesimal transformation on
A , A ,
C , generated by a functional derivation, Q such that

5.3 Manifold/ber bundle derivation [ ]


Q Ld x
n
f [(x), , , . . .]ds
Suppose we have an n-dimensional oriented Riemannian N N
manifold, M and a target manifold T. Let C be the
conguration space of smooth functions from M to T. for all compact submanifolds N or in other words,
(More generally, we can have smooth sections of a ber
bundle over M.)
Q[L(x)] f (x)
Examples of this M in physics include:
for all x, where we set
In classical mechanics, in the Hamiltonian formu-
lation, M is the one-dimensional manifold R, rep-
resenting time and the target space is the cotangent L(x) = L[(x), (x), x].
bundle of space of generalized positions.
If this holds on shell and o shell, we say Q generates
In eld theory, M is the spacetime manifold and the an o-shell symmetry. If this only holds on shell, we say
target space is the set of values the elds can take Q generates an on-shell symmetry. Then, we say Q is a
at any given point. For example, if there are m real- generator of a one parameter symmetry Lie group.
valued scalar elds, 1 , ..., m , then the target man-
Now, for any N, because of the EulerLagrange theorem,
ifold is Rm . If the eld is a real vector eld, then the
3 on shell (and only on-shell), we have
target manifold is isomorphic to R .

Now suppose there is a functional

Since this is true for any N, we have


S : C R,
[ ]
called the action. (Note that it takes values into R, rather L
Q[] f 0.

than C; this is for physical reasons, and doesn't really mat- ( )
ter for this proof.)
But this is the continuity equation for the current J de-
To get to the usual version of Noethers theorem, we need ned by:[10]
additional restrictions on the action. We assume S[] is
the integral over M of a function
L
J = Q[] f ,
( )
L(, , x)
which is called the Noether current associated with the
called the Lagrangian density, depending on , its symmetry. The continuity equation tells us that if we
derivative and the position. In other words, for in C integrate this current over a space-like slice, we get a
conserved quantity called the Noether charge (provided,
of course, if M is noncompact, the currents fall o su-

ciently fast at innity).
S[] = L[(x), (x), x]dn x.
M

Suppose we are given boundary conditions, i.e., a speci- 5.4 Comments


cation of the value of at the boundary if M is compact,
or some limit on as x approaches . Then the subspace Noethers theorem is an on shell theorem: it relies on
of C consisting of functions such that all functional use of the equations of motionthe classical path. It re-
derivatives of S at are zero, that is: ects the relation between the boundary conditions and
8 6 EXAMPLES

the variational principle. Assuming no boundary terms To see how the generalization is related to the version
in the action, Noethers theorem implies that given above, assume that the action is the spacetime inte-
gral of a Lagrangian that only depends on and its rst
derivatives. Also, assume
J ds 0 .
N
Q[L] f
The quantum analogs of Noethers theorem involving ex-
pectation values, e.g. d4 x J=0, probing o shell Then,
quantities as well are the WardTakahashi identities.

q[][S] = q[][L] dn x
5.5 Generalization to Lie algebras {( ) [ ] }

= L Q[] + L (Q[]) dn x
Suppose say we have two symmetry derivations Q1 and ( )
{ [ ] }
Q2 . Then, [Q1 , Q2 ] is also a symmetry derivation. Lets
see this explicitly. Lets say = Q[L] + L Q[] dn x
( )
{ [ ] }

f
L Q[] dn x
( )
Q1 [L] f1
for all .
and
More generally, if the Lagrangian depends on higher
derivatives, then
Q2 [L] f2
[ [ ] [ ] [[

Then, f L Q[] 2 L Q[] +
( ) ( ) (


[Q1 , Q2 ][L] = Q1 [Q2 [L]] Q2 [Q1 [L]] f12 6 Examples
where f12 =Q1 [f2 ]-Q2 [f1 ]. So, 6.1 Example 1: Conservation of energy

( ) Looking at the specic case of a Newtonian particle of


mass m, coordinate x, moving under the inuence of a
j12 = L (Q1 [Q2 []] Q2 [Q1 []]) f12 .
( ) potential V, coordinatized by time t. The action, S, is:
This shows we can extend Noethers theorem to larger Lie

algebras in a natural way.
S[x] = L[x(t), x(t)] dt
( 3
)
5.6 Generalization of the proof m
= x2 V (x(t)) dt.
2 i=1 i
This applies to any local symmetry derivation Q satisfying
The rst term in the brackets is the kinetic energy of the
QS 0, and also to more general local functional dier-
particle, whilst the second is its potential energy. Con-
entiable actions, including ones where the Lagrangian de-
sider the generator of time translations Q = /t. In other
pends on higher derivatives of the elds. Let be any ar-
words, Q[x(t)] = x(t) . Note that x has an explicit de-
bitrary smooth function of the spacetime (or time) man-
pendence on time, whilst V does not; consequently:
ifold such that the closure of its support is disjoint from
the boundary. is a test function. Then, because of the
variational principle (which does not apply to the bound- [ ]
V (x) d m 2
ary, by the way), the derivation distribution q generated Q[L] = m xi xi xi = x V (x)
by q[][(x)] = (x)Q[(x)] satises q[][S] 0 for any i i
xi dt 2 i i
, or more compactly, q(x)[S] 0 for all x not on the so we can set
boundary (but remember that q(x) is a shorthand for a
derivation distribution, not a derivation parametrized by x
in general). This is the generalization of Noethers theo- m 2
f= x V (x).
rem. 2 i i
6.3 Example 3: Conformal transformation 9

Then, Then,

3
L ( )
j= Q[xi ] f j = x ] f
L Q[
i=1
xi x
[ ]
m 2
=m xi
2
x V (x)
2 i i
i = (m x t m x )
m 2
= x + V (x).
2 i i
= P t MxCM
The right hand side is the energy and Noethers theorem
states that j = 0 (i.e. the principle of conservation of where P is the total momentum, M is the total mass and
energy is a consequence of invariance under time trans- xCM is the center of mass. Noethers theorem states:
lations).
More generally, if the Lagrangian does not depend ex-
plicitly on time, the quantity j = 0 P M x CM = 0.

3
L 6.3 Example 3: Conformal transforma-
xi L tion
i=1
xi

(called the Hamiltonian) is conserved. Both examples 1 and 2 are over a 1-dimensional manifold
(time). An example involving spacetime is a conformal
transformation of a massless real scalar eld with a
6.2 Example 2: Conservation of center of quartic potential in (3 + 1)-Minkowski spacetime.
momentum
Still considering 1-dimensional time, let
For Q, consider the generator of a spacetime rescaling. In
other words,
S[x] = L[x(t), x (t)] dt

N
m Q[(x)] = x (x) + (x).
= V (x x ) dt

(x )2
=1
2
<
The second term on the right hand side is due to the con-
i.e. N Newtonian particles where the potential only de- formal weight of . Note that
pends pairwise upon the relative displacement.
For Q , lets consider the generator of Galilean transfor-
3
mations (i.e. a change in the frame of reference). In other Q[L] = ( + x + )4 (x + ) .
words,
This has the form of

Qi [xj (t)] = tij . [ ]


1
x x = (x L)
4
Note that 2

(where we have performed a change of dummy indices)


so set
Qi [L] = m xi i V (x x )(t t)
<

= m xi .
f = x L.

d
Then,
This has the form of dt m xi so we can set

[ ]
f = m x .

j = L Q[] f
( )
10 10 REFERENCES

( )
1 [2] Thompson, W.J. (1994). Angular Momentum: an illus-
= (x + ) x 4 .
2 trated guide to rotational symmetries for physical systems
1. Wiley. p. 5. ISBN 0-471-55264-X.
Noethers theorem states that j = 0 (as one may ex-
plicitly check by substituting the EulerLagrange equa-
[3] The term Noether charge occurs in Seligman, Group
tions into the left hand side). theory and its applications in physics, 1980: Latin Amer-
(Aside: If one tries to nd the WardTakahashi ana- ican School of Physics, Mexico City, American Institute
log of this equation, one runs into a problem because of of Physics, 1981. It comes enters wider use during the
anomalies.) 1980s, e.g. by G. Takeda in: Errol Gotsman, Gerald
Tauber (eds.) From SU(3) to Gravity: Festschrift in Honor
of Yuval Ne'eman, 1985, p. 196.

7 Applications [4] Nina Byers (1998) E. Noethers Discovery of the


Deep Connection Between Symmetries and Conservation
Application of Noethers theorem allows physicists to Laws. in Proceedings of a Symposium on the Heritage
gain powerful insights into any general theory in physics, of Emmy Noether, held on 24 December 1996, at the
by just analyzing the various transformations that would Bar-Ilan University, Israel, Appendix B.
make the form of the laws involved invariant. For exam-
[5] Lanczos 1970, pp. 4013
ple:
[6] Lanczos 1970, pp. 4034
the invariance of physical systems with respect to
spatial translation (in other words, that the laws of [7] Goldstein 1980, pp. 5923
physics do not vary with locations in space) gives the
law of conservation of linear momentum; [8] Lanczos 1970, pp. 4045
invariance with respect to rotation gives the law of
[9] Goldstein 1980, pp. 5934
conservation of angular momentum;
invariance with respect to time translation gives the [10] Michael E. Peskin, Daniel V. Schroeder (1995). An In-
well-known law of conservation of energy troduction to Quantum Field Theory. Basic Books. p. 18.
ISBN 0-201-50397-2.

In quantum eld theory, the analog to Noethers theorem, [11] Vivek Iyer; Wald (1995). A comparison of
the WardTakahashi identity, yields further conservation Noether charge and Euclidean methods for Com-
laws, such as the conservation of electric charge from the puting the Entropy of Stationary Black Holes.
invariance with respect to a change in the phase factor of Physical Review D 52 (8): 44309. arXiv:gr-
the complex eld of the charged particle and the associ- qc/9503052. Bibcode:1995PhRvD..52.4430I.
ated gauge of the electric potential and vector potential. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.52.4430.
The Noether charge is also used in calculating the entropy
of stationary black holes.[11]
10 References
8 See also Goldstein, Herbert (1980). Classical Mechanics
(2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. pp.
Charge (physics) 588596. ISBN 0-201-02918-9.
Gauge symmetry
Kosmann-Schwarzbach, Yvette (2010). The
Gauge symmetry (mathematics) Noether theorems: Invariance and conservation
laws in the twentieth century. Sources and Studies in
Invariant (physics) the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences.
Goldstone boson Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-0-387-87867-6

Symmetry in physics Lanczos, C. (1970). The Variational Principles of


Mechanics (4th ed.). New York: Dover Publica-
tions. pp. 4015. ISBN 0-486-65067-7.
9 Notes
Olver, Peter (1993). Applications of Lie groups to
[1] Noether E (1918). Invariante Variationsprobleme. dierential equations. Graduate Texts in Mathemat-
Nachr. D. Knig. Gesellsch. D. Wiss. Zu Gttingen, Math- ics 107 (2nd ed.). Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-
phys. Klasse 1918: 235257. 95000-1
11

11 External links
Emmy Noether; Mort Tavel (translator)
(1971). Invariant Variation Problems.
Transport Theory and Statistical Physics
1 (3): 186207. arXiv:physics/0503066.
Bibcode:1971TTSP....1..186N.
doi:10.1080/00411457108231446. (Original
in Gott. Nachr. 1918:235-257)
Emmy Noether (1918). Invariante Variationen-
probleme (in German).
Emmy Noether and The Fabric of Reality (video) on
YouTube
Byers, Nina (1998). E. Noethers Discovery of the
Deep Connection Between Symmetries and Conser-
vation Laws. arXiv:physics/9807044 [physics.hist-
ph].
John Baez (2002) "Noethers Theorem in a Nut-
shell."
Hanca, J.; Tulejab, S.; Hancova, M. (2004).
Symmetries and conservation laws: Consequences
of Noethers theorem. American Journal of Physics
72 (4): 42835. Bibcode:2004AmJPh..72..428H.
doi:10.1119/1.1591764.

Merced Montesinos; Ernesto Flores (2006).


Symmetric energymomentum tensor in Maxwell,
YangMills, and Proca theories obtained us-
ing only Noethers theorem. Revista Mexicana
de Fsica 52: 2936. arXiv:hep-th/0602190.
Bibcode:2006RMxF...52...29M.

Vladimir Cuesta; Merced Montesinos; Jos David


Vergara (2007). Gauge invariance of the action
principle for gauge systems with noncanonical sym-
plectic structures. Physical Review D 76: 025025.
doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.76.025025.

Sardanashvily (2009). Gauge conserva-


tion laws in a general setting. Superpoten-
tial. International Journal of Geometric
Methods in Modern Physics 6 (06): 1047.
arXiv:0906.1732. Bibcode:2009arXiv0906.1732S.
doi:10.1142/S0219887809003862.

Neuenschwander, Dwight E. (2010). Emmy


Noethers Wonderful Theorem. Johns Hopkins Uni-
versity Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-9694-1.
Noethers Theorem at MathPages.
12 12 TEXT AND IMAGE SOURCES, CONTRIBUTORS, AND LICENSES

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