Communications in Mathematical Physics

, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 207–226

Central charges in the canonical realization of asymptotic symmetries: An example from three dimensional gravity

  • J. D. Brown
  • Marc Henneaux

DOI: 10.1007/BF01211590

Cite this article as:
Brown, J.D. & Henneaux, M. Commun.Math. Phys. (1986) 104: 207. doi:10.1007/BF01211590


It is shown that the global charges of a gauge theory may yield a nontrivial central extension of the asymptotic symmetry algebra already at the classical level. This is done by studying three dimensional gravity with a negative cosmological constant. The asymptotic symmetry group in that case is eitherR×SO(2) or the pseudo-conformal group in two dimensions, depending on the boundary conditions adopted at spatial infinity. In the latter situation, a nontrivial central charge appears in the algebra of the canonical generators, which turns out to be just the Virasoro central charge.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Brown
    • 1
  • Marc Henneaux
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Theoretical PhysicsThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Faculté des SciencesUniversité Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium