Subset of Galilean transformation with speed equals 0.
This is a good and simple first example of Lie algebra to look into.
Take the group of all Translation in .
Let's see how the generator of this group is the derivative operator:
The way to think about this is:
  • the translation group operates on the argument of a function
  • the generator is an operator that operates on itself
So let's take the exponential map:
and we notice that this is exactly the Taylor series of around the identity element of the translation group, which is 0! Therefore, if behaves nicely enough, within some radius of convergence around the origin we have for finite :
This example shows clearly how the exponential map applied to a (differential) operator can generate finite (non-infinitesimal) Translation!
A law of physics is Galilean invariant if the same formula works both when you are standing still on land, or when you are on a boat moving at constant velocity.
For example, if we were describing the movement of a point particle, the exact same formulas that predict the evolution of must also predict , even though of course both of those will have different values.
It would be extremely unsatisfactory if the formulas of the laws of physics did not obey Galilean invariance. Especially if you remember that Earth is travelling extremelly fast relative to the Sun. If there was no such invariance, that would mean for example that the laws of physics would be different in other planets that are moving at different speeds. That would be a strong sign that our laws of physics are not complete.
The consequence/cause of that is that you cannot know if you are moving at a constant speed or not.
Lorentz invariance generalizes Galilean invariance to also account for special relativity, in which a more complicated invariant that also takes into account different times observed in different inertial frames of reference is also taken into account. But the fundamental desire for the Lorentz invariance of the laws of physics remains the same.
Generally means that he form of the equation does not change if we transform .
This is generally what we want from the laws of physics.
E.g. a Galilean transformation generally changes the exact values of coordinates, but not the form of the laws of physics themselves.
Lorentz covariance is the main context under which the word "covariant" appears, because we really don't want the form of the equations to change under Lorentz transforms, and "covariance" is often used as a synonym of "Lorentz covariance".
TODO some sources distinguish "invariant" from "covariant": invariant vs covariant.
Some sources distinguish "invariant" from "covariant" such that under some transformation (typically Lie group):
  • invariant: the value of does not change if we transform
  • covariant: the form of the equation does not change if we transform .
TODO examples.