What We Are Reading Today: Quantization of Gauge Systems

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Updated 23 June 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Quantization of Gauge Systems

Edited by Marc Henneaux and Claudio Teitelboim

This book is a systematic study of the classical and quantum theories of gauge systems. It starts with Dirac’s analysis showing that gauge theories are constrained Hamiltonian systems. The classical foundations of BRST theory are then laid out with a review of the necessary concepts from homological algebra. 

Reducible gauge systems are discussed, and the relationship between BRST cohomology and gauge invariance is carefully explained. 

The authors then proceed to the canonical quantization of gauge systems, first without ghosts (reduced phase space quantization, Dirac method) and second in the BRST context (quantum BRST cohomology). 

The path integral is discussed next. The analysis covers indefinite metric systems, operator insertions, and Ward identities. The antifield formalism is also studied
and its equivalence with canonical methods is derived. The examples of electromagnetism and abelian 2-form gauge fields are treated in detail.

The book gives a general and unified treatment of the subject in a self-contained manner. Exercises are provided at the end of each chapter, and pedagogical examples are covered in the text.


What We Are Reading Today: Down from Olympus

Updated 06 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Down from Olympus

Since the publication of Eliza May Butler’s Tyranny of Greece over Germany in 1935, the obsession of the German educated elite with the ancient Greeks has become an accepted, if severely underanalyzed, cliché. In Down from Olympus, Suzanne Marchand attempts to come to grips with German Graecophilia, not as a private passion but as an institutionally generated and preserved cultural trope. 

The book argues that 19th-century philhellenes inherited both an elitist, normative aesthetics and an ascetic, scholarly ethos from their Romantic predecessors; German “neohumanists” promised to reconcile these intellectual commitments, and by so doing, to revitalize education and the arts. 

Focusing on the history of classical archaeology, Marchand shows how the injunction to imitate Greek art was made the basis for new, state-funded cultural institutions. 

Tracing interactions between scholars and policymakers that made possible grand-scale cultural feats like the acquisition of the Pergamum Altar.