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Encyclopedia > CPT theorem

CPT-symmetry is a fundamental symmetry of physical laws under transformations that involve the inversions of charge, parity and time simultaneously. Efforts in the late 1950s revealed the violation of P-symmetry by some phenomena that involve weak nuclear force fields, and there are well known violations of C-symmetry and T-symmetry as well. For a short time, the CP-symmetry was believed to be preserved by all physical phenomena, but was later found to be false too. There is a theorem that derives the preservation of CPT-symmetry for all of physical phenomena assuming the correctness of quantum laws.

Stephen Hawking explains this, considering a mirror-image of our universe with all objects having momenta and positions reflected by an imaginary plane (corresponding to a parity inversion), with all of matter replaced by anti-matter (corresponding to a charge inversion), and reversed in time. The preservation of CPT-symmetry would mean that both the universes will evolve alike, in the sense that, at any moment, they are identical and the CPT transformation would simply take one into another. The symmetry is recognized to be a very fundamental property of physical laws.

• http://www.lbl.gov/abc/wallchart/chapters/05/2.html

Results from FactBites:

 CPT symmetry: Information from Answers.com (602 words) CPT symmetry is a fundamental symmetry of physical laws under transformations that involve the inversions of charge, parity and time simultaneously. There is a theorem that derives the preservation of CPT symmetry for all of physical phenomena assuming the correctness of quantum laws. The CPT theorem appeared for the first time, implicitly, in the work of Julian Schwinger in 1951 to prove the connection between spin and statistics.
 SMI - Testing Matter/Antimatter Symmetry with Antiprotons (259 words) The CPT theorem, which states that under certain mathematical conditions a field theory is invariant under the combined transformations of C (charge conjugation), P (space inversion), and T (time reversal), has the consequence that all properties of particles and antiparticles like mass and the absolute values of the charge and magnetic moment must be equal. CPT is conserved in all field theories used so far in the description of nature, but e.g. The high-precision comparison of particle and antiparticle properties as a test of CPT is being pursued for many types of particles.
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