, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 293-301

On the field aspect of Quantum fields

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Abstract

In this paper we contrast the idea of a field as a system with an infinite number of degrees of freedom with a recent alternative proposed by Paul Teller in Teller (1990). We show that, although our characterisation lacks the immediate appeal of Teller's, it has more success producing agreement with intuitive categorisations than his does. We go on to extend the distinction to Quantum Mechanics, explaining the important role that it plays there. Finally, we take some time to investigate the way in which strings are to be considered fields, and the important differences with scalar fields. Overall, we aim to show that many types of systems may be viewed as fields, and to point out significant distinctions amongst them, thereby expanding our understanding of what it is to fall in this category.

Thanks to our anonymous referees for invaluable comments.