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An analogue of the Coleman-Mandula theorem for quantum field theory in curved spacetimes

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JournalCommunications in Mathematical Physics
DateAccepted/In press - 26 Nov 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2017
DatePublished (current) - Jan 2018
Issue number1
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)353–378
Early online date19/07/17
Original languageEnglish


The Coleman-Mandula (CM) theorem states that the Poincaré and internal symmetries of a Minkowski spacetime quantum field theory cannot combine nontrivially in an extended symmetry group. We establish an analogous result
for quantum field theory in curved spacetimes, assuming local covariance, the timeslice property, a local dynamical form of Lorentz invariance, and additivity.
Unlike the CM theorem, our result is valid in dimensions n≥2 and for free or interacting theories. It is formulated for theories defined on a category of all globally hyperbolic spacetimes equipped with a global coframe, on which the restricted Lorentz group acts, and makes use of a general analysis of symmetries induced by the action of a group G on the category of spacetimes.
Such symmetries are shown to be canonically associated with a cohomology class
in the second degree nonabelian cohomology of G with coefficients in the global
gauge group of the theory. Our main result proves that the cohomology class is trivial if G is the universal cover S of the restricted Lorentz group. Among other consequences, it follows that the extended symmetry group is a direct product of the global gauge group and S, all fields transform in multiplets of S, fields of different spin do not mix under the extended group, and the occurrence of noninteger spin is controlled by the centre of the global gauge group. The general analysis is also applied to rigid scale covariance.

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© The Author(s) 2017.


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