Pirsa: 15110078 - What the Reeh-Schielder theorem tells us about relativistic causality, or, Can experimenters in a lab on Earth create a Taj Mahal on the back of the moon?


Wayne Myrvold

Playing this video requires MP4 / H.264 support to be configured and enabled in your browser.

Download link (right click and 'save-as') for playing in VLC or other compatible player.

Download Video


The Reeh-Schlieder theorem says, roughly, that, in any reasonable quantum field theory, for any bounded region of spacetime R, any state can be approximated arbitrarily closely by operating on the vacuum state (or any state of bounded energy) with operators formed by smearing polynomials in the field operators with functions having support in R. This strikes many as counterintuitive, and Reinhard Werner has glossed the theorem as saying that “By acting on the vacuum with suitable operations in a terrestrial laboratory, an experimenter can create the Taj Mahal on (or even behind) the Moon!” This talk has two parts. First, I hope to convince listeners that the theorem is not counterintuitive, and that it follows immediately from facts that are already familiar fare to anyone who has digested the opening chapters of any standard introductory textbook of QFT. In the second, I will discuss what we can learn from the theorem about how relativistic causality is implemented in quantum field theories.

Valid XHTML 1.0!