Towards a Group-Theoretical Interpretation of Mechanics

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Catren, Gabriel
preprint description
We argue that the classical description of a symplectic manifold endowed with a Hamiltonian action of an abelian Lie group G and the corresponding quantum theory can be understood as different aspects of the unitary representation theory of G. To do so, we propose a conceptual analysis of formal tools coming from symplectic geometry (notably, Souriau's moment map and the Mardsen-Weinstein symplectic reduction formalism) and group representation theory (notably Kirillov's orbit method). The proposed argumentative line strongly relies on the conjecture proposed by Guillemin and Sternberg according to which ``quantization commutes with (symplectic) reduction''. By using the generalization of this conjecture to non-zero coadjoint orbits, we argue that phase invariance in quantum mechanics and gauge invariance have a common geometric underpinning, namely the symplectic reduction formalism. This fact points towards a gauge-theoretic interpretation of Heisenberg indeterminacy principle.