Journal of High Energy Physics

, 2016:31 | Cite as

Noether’s second theorem and Ward identities for gauge symmetries

  • Steven G. Avery
  • Burkhard U. W. SchwabEmail author
Open Access
Regular Article - Theoretical Physics


Recently, a number of new Ward identities for large gauge transformations and large diffeomorphisms have been discovered. Some of the identities are reinterpretations of previously known statements, while some appear to be genuinely new. We use Noether’s second theorem with the path integral as a powerful way of generating these kinds of Ward identities. We reintroduce Noether’s second theorem and discuss how to work with the physical remnant of gauge symmetry in gauge fixed systems. We illustrate our mechanism in Maxwell theory, Yang-Mills theory, p-form field theory, and Einstein-Hilbert gravity. We comment on multiple connections between Noether’s second theorem and known results in the recent literature. Our approach suggests a novel point of view with important physical consequences.


Gauge Symmetry Space-Time Symmetries Classical Theories of Gravity 


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsBrown UniversityProvidenceU.S.A.
  2. 2.Center for Mathematical Science and ApplicationsHarvard UniversityCambridgeU.S.A.

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