Tsymmetry
From Academic Kids

Tsymmetry is the symmetry of physical laws under a timereversal transformation—
 <math> T: t \mapsto t.<math>
The universe is not symmetric under time reversal, although in restricted contexts one may find this symmetry. Physicists distinguish time asymmetries that are intrinsic to the dynamic laws of nature, and those that are due to the initial conditions of our universe. The Tasymmetry of the weak nuclear force is of the first kind, while the Tasymmetry of the second law of thermodynamics is of the second kind.
Teetertotter.png
Contents 
Macroscopic phenomena: the second law of thermodynamics
Our daily experience shows that Tsymmetry does not hold for the behavior of bulk materials. Of these macroscopic laws, most notable is the second law of thermodynamics. Many other phenomena, such as the relative motion of bodies with friction, or viscous motion of fluids, reduce to this, because the underlying mechanism is the dissipation of usable energy (for example, kinetic energy) into heat.
This question of the reversibility of macroscopic laws has been raised by many physicists, and is known now as the problem of Maxwell's demon. This name comes from a thought experiment described by James Clerk Maxwell in which a microscopic demon guards a gate between two halves of a room. It only lets slow molecules into one half, only fast ones into the other. By eventually making one side of the room cooler than before and the other, hotter, it seems to reduce the entropy of the room, and reverse the arrow of time. Many analyses have been made of this; all show that when the entropy of room and demon are taken together, this total entropy does increase. Modern analyses of this problem have taken into account Claude E. Shannon's relation between entropy and information. Many interesting results in modern computing are closely related to this problem— reversible computing, quantum computing and physical limits to computing, are examples. These seemingly metaphysical questions are today, in these ways, slowly being converted to the stuff of the physical sciences.
The consensus of opinion nowadays hinges upon the BoltzmannShannon identification of the logarithm of phase space volume with negative of Shannon information, and hence to entropy. In this notion, a fixed initial state of a macroscopic system corresponds to relatively low entropy because the coordinates of the molecules of the body are constrained. As the system evolves in the presence of dissipation, the molecular coordinates can move into larger volumes of phase space, thus leading to increase in entropy.
A related, extreme but presently still viable, position is to say that we observe a constant increase of entropy only because of the initial state of our universe. Other possible states of the universe would actually result in decrease of entropy. In this view, the apparent Tasymmetry of our world is a problem in cosmology: why did the universe start with a low entropy? This view, if it remains viable in the light of future cosmological observation, would connect this problem to one of the big open questions beyond the reach of today's physics— the question of initial conditions of the universe.
Microscopic phenomena: time reversal invariance
Since most systems are asymmetric under time reversal, it is interesting to ask whether there are any phenomena which do have this symmetry. In classical mechanics, avelocity, v, reverses under the operation of T, but an acceleration does not. Therefore, one models dissipative phenomena through terms which are odd in v. However, delicate experiments in which known sources of dissipation are removed reveal that the laws of mechanics are time reversal invariant.
However, the motion of a charged body in a magnetic field, B involves the velocity through the Lorentz force term v×B, and might seem at first to be asymmetric under T. A closer look assures us that B also changes sign under time reversal. This happens because a magnetic field is produced by an electric current, J, which reverses sign under T. Thus, the motion of classical charged particles in electromagnetic fields is also time reversal invariant. The laws of gravity also seem to be time reversal invariant in classical mechanics.
In physics one separates the laws of motion, ie, kinematics, from the laws of force, called dynamics. Following the classical kinematics of Newton's laws of motion, the kinematics of quantum mechanics is built in such a way that it presupposes nothing about the time reversal symmetry of the dynamics. In other words, if the dynamics is invariant, then the kinematics will allow it to remain invariant; if the dynamics is not, then the kinematics will also show this. The structure of the quantum laws of motion are richer, and we examine these next.
Time reversal in quantum mechanics
Parity_1drep.png
This section contains a discussion of the three most important properties of time reversal in quantum mechanics; namely,
 that it must be represented as an antiunitary operator,
 that it protects nondegenerate quantum states from having an electric dipole moment,
 that it has twodimensional representations with the property T^{2}=1.
The strangeness of this result is clear if one compares it with parity. If parity transforms a pair of quantum states into each other, then the sum and difference of these two basis states are states of good parity. Time reversal does not behave like this. It seems to violate the theorem that all Abelian groups be represented by one dimensional irreducible representations. The reason it does this, is that it is represented by an antiunitary operator. It thus opens the way to spinors in quantum mechanics.
Antiunitary representation of time reversal
Eugene Wigner showed that a symmetry operation, S, of a Hamiltonian is represented, in quantum mechanics either by an unitary operator, S=U, or an antiunitary unitary one, S=UK where U is unitary, and K denotes complex conjugation. For parity (physics) one has PxP=x and PpP=p, where x and p are the position and momentum operators. In canonical quantization, one has the commutator [x,p]=ih/2π, where h is the Planck's constant. This commutator is invariant if P is chosen to be unitary, ie, PiP=i. Such an argument can be attempted for time reversal, T. one has TxT=x and TpT=p, and the commutator is invariant only if T is chosen to be antiunitary, ie, TiT=i. For a particle with spin, one can use the representation
 <math>T = e^{i\pi S_z/\hbar} K,<math>
where S_{z} is the zcomponent of the spin, to find that TJT=J.
Electric dipole moments
This has an interesting consequence on the electric dipole moment (EDM) of any particle. The EDM is defined through the shift in the energy of a state when it is put in an external electric field: Δe = d.E + E.δ.E, where d is called the EDM and δ, the induced dipole moment. One important property of an EDM is that the energy shift due to it changes sign under a parity transformation. However, since d is a vector, its expectation value in a state ψ> it must be proportional to <ψJψ>. Thus, under time reversal, an invariant state must have vanishing EDM. In other words, a nonvanishing EDM signals both P and T symmetry breaking.
It is interesting to examine this argument further, since one feels that some molecules, such as water, must have EDM irrespective of whether T is a symmetry. This is correct: if a quantum system has degenerate ground states which transform into each other under parity, then time reversal need not be broken to give EDM.
Experimentally observed bounds on the electric dipole moment of the nucleon currently set stringent limits on the violation of time reversal symmetry in the strong interactions, and their modern theory: quantum chromodynamics. Then, using the CPT invariance of a relativistic quantum field theory, this puts strong bounds on strong CP violation.
Kramer's theorem
For T, which is an antiunitary Z_{2} symmetry generator
 T^{2} = UKUK = U U^{*} = U (U^{T})^{1} = Φ,
where Φ is a diagonal matrix of phases. As a result, U=ΦU^{T} and U^{T}=UΦ, showing that
 U = Φ U Φ.
This means that the entries in Φ are ±1, as a result of which one may have either T^{2}=±1. This is specific to the antiUnitarity of T. For an unitary operator, such as the parity, any phase is allowed.
Next, take a Hamiltonian which is invariant under T. Let a> and Ta> be two quantum states of the same energy. Now, if T^{2}=1, then one finds that the states are orthogonal: a result which goes by the name of Kramer's theorem. This implies that if T^{2}=1, then there is a twofold degeneracy in the state. This result in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics presages the spin statistics theorem of quantum field theory.
Quantum states which give unitary representations of time reversal, ie, have T^{2}=1, are characterized by a multiplicative quantum number, sometimes called the Tparity.
Time reversal of the known dynamical laws
The study of particle physics has culminated in a codification of the basic laws of dynamics into the standard model. This is formulated as a quantum field theory which has CPT symmetry, ie, the laws are invariant under simultaneous operation of time reversal, parity and charge conjugation. However, time reversal itself is seen not to be a symmetry (this is usually called CP violation). There are two possible origins of this asymmetry, one through the mixing of different flavours of quarks in their weak decays, the second through a direct CP violation in strong interactions. The first is seen in experiments, the second is strongly constrained by the nonobservation of the EDM of a neutron.
See also
 The second law of thermodynamics and Maxwell's demon (also Loschmidt's paradox).
 Applications to reversible computing and quantum computing, including limits to computing.
 The standard model of particle physics, CP violation, the CKM matrix and the strong CP problem
 Neutrino masses, CPT invariance and tests of CPT violation.
References and external links
 Maxwell's demon: entropy, information, computing, edited by H.S.Leff and A.F. Rex (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail//0750300574/qid=1118732310/sr=12/ref=sr_1_2/10276315525785747?v=glance&s=books) (IOP publishing, 1990) [ISBN 0750300574]
 Maxwell's demon, 2: entropy, classical and quantum information, edited by H.S.Leff and A.F. Rex (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail//0750307595/qid=1118732310/sr=11/ref=sr_1_1/10276315525785747?v=glance&s=books) (IOP publishing, 2003) [ISBN 0750307595]
 The emperor's new mind: concerning computers, minds, and the laws of physics, by Roger Penrose (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0192861980/qid=1118732490/sr=22/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/10276315525785747) (Oxford university press, 2002) [ISBN 0192861980]
 CP violation, by I.I. Bigi and A.I. Sanda (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail//0521443490/qid=1118640297/sr=11/ref=sr_1_1/10276315525785747?v=glance&s=books) (Cambridge University Press, 2000) [ISBN 0521443490]
 Particle Data Group on CP violation (http://pdg.lbnl.gov/2004/reviews/cpviolrpp.pdf)
 the Babar (http://wwwpublic.slac.stanford.edu/babar/) experiment in SLAC
 the BELLE (http://belle.kek.jp) experiment in KEK
 the KTeV (http://kpasa.fnal.gov:8080/public/ktev.html) experiment in Fermilab
 the CPLEAR (http://cplear.web.cern.ch/cplear/Welcome.html) experiment in CERNde:Zeitumkehr (Physik)