Topological quantum field theories

Topological quantum field theories In recent years there has been a remarkable renaissance in the relation between Geometry and Physics. This relation involves the most advanced and sophisticated ideas on each side and appears to be extremely deep. The traditional links between the two subjects, as embodied for example in Einstein's Theory of General Relativity or in Maxwell's Equations for Electro-Magnetism are concerned essentially with classical fields of force, governed by differential equations, and their geometrical interpretation. The new feature of present developments is that links are being established between quantum physics and topology. It is no longer the purely local aspects that are involved but their global counterparts. In a very general sense this should not be too surprising. Both quantum theory and topology are characterized by discrete phenomena emerging from a continuous background. However, the realization that this vague philosophical view-point could be translated into reasonably precise and significant mathematical statements is mainly due to the efforts of Edward Witten who, in a variety of directions, has shown the insight that can be derived by examining the topological aspects of quantum field theories.

Authors: Atiyah M.Pages: 13     Year: 1988

Tags: topological quantum theories

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