Journal Article

Antimatter

David John Baker and Hans Halvorson

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 61, issue 1, pages 93-121
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axp009
Antimatter

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The nature of antimatter is examined in the context of algebraic quantum field theory. It is shown that the notion of antimatter is more general than that of antiparticles. Properly speaking, then, antimatter is not matter made up of antiparticles—rather, antiparticles are particles made up of antimatter. We go on to discuss whether the notion of antimatter is itself completely general in quantum field theory. Does the matter–antimatter distinction apply to all field theoretic systems? The answer depends on which of several possible criteria we should impose on the space of physical states. 1

Introduction

2

Antiparticles on the Naive Picture

3

The Incompleteness of the Naive Picture

4

Group Representation Magic

5

What Makes the Magic Work? 5.1

Superselection rules

5.2

DHR representations

5.3

Gauge groups and the Doplicher–Roberts reconstruction

6

A Quite General Notion of Antimatter

7

Conclusions

Journal Article.  11702 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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