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World English Dictionary

gauge theory | |

—n | |

physics a type of theory of elementary particles designed to explain the strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions in terms of exchange of virtual particles |

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition

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2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins

Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

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Encyclopedia Britannica

Encyclopedia

**gauge theory**

class of quantum field theory, a mathematical theory involving both quantum mechanics and Einstein's special theory of relativity that is commonly used to describe subatomic particles and their associated wave fields. In a gauge theory there is a group of transformations of the field variables (gauge transformations) that leaves the basic physics of the quantum field unchanged. This condition, called gauge invariance, gives the theory a certain symmetry, which governs its equations. In short, the structure of the group of gauge transformations in a particular gauge theory entails general restrictions on the way in which the field described by that theory can interact with other fields and elementary particles

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

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