Authors: John A. Gowan
Global symmetries are those that apply everywhere, and for all time, such as the electric charge, mass, and spin of an elementary particle. This is a symmetry only because all electrons (for example) everywhere and always have exactly the same electric charge, mass, and spin - any electron could be swapped with any other without causing the least disturbance to the universe. Other global symmetries include the value of the universal electromagnetic constant "velocity c", the value of the universal gravitational constant "G", the value of Planck's energy quantum (h), among many others. These physical constants or physical global symmetries never change and are determined, fixed, set, or "gauged" at the beginning of the universe. They are the defining parameters of our universe, distinguishing it from any other in the "Multiverse". Local symmetries, on the other hand, involve actual changes in a single particle from one globally conserved symmetry state to another, as in the decay of a single neutron to a proton, electron, and electron anti-neutrino. In such a decay, all the original charges must reappear (in some form) in the product particles, and both the original and product particles must themselves be members of some global symmetry set or state. Finally, such locally gauged symmetry changes are, at least in principle, reversible given sufficient energy. Local gauge symmetry interactions involve post-"Big Bang" interactions between particles (or dimensions), and are mediated by the field vectors of the four forces of physics. They are the conserved interactions between particles (or the metric) that produce the common environment of our daily experience.
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