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On the Reality of Gauge Potentials

Healey, Richard (2001) On the Reality of Gauge Potentials. [Preprint]

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      Abstract

      Classically, a gauge potential was merely a convenient device for generating a corresponding gauge field. Quantum-mechanically, a gauge potential lays claim to independent status as a further feature of the physical situation. But whether this is a local or a global feature is not made any clearer by the variety of mathematical structures used to represent it. I argue that in the theory of electromagnetism (or a non-Abelian generalization) that describes quantum particles subject to a classical interaction, the gauge potential is best understood as a feature of the physical situation whose global character is most naturally represented by the holonomies of closed curves in space-time.


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      Item Type: Preprint
      Keywords: gauge potentials, gauge theories, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, Aharonov-Bohm
      Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
      Specific Sciences > Physics
      Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
      General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
      Depositing User: Richard Andrew Healey
      Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2001
      Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:10
      Item ID: 328
      URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/328

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