Propagation and Quantization of Rarita-Schwinger Waves in an External Electromagnetic Potential

Phys. Rev. 186, 1337 – Published 25 October 1969
Giorgio Velo and Daniel Zwanziger


The Rarita-Schwinger equation in an external electromagnetic potential is shown to be equivalent to a hyperbolic system of partial differential equations supplemented by initial conditions. The wave fronts of the classical solutions are calculated and are found to propagate faster than light. Nevertheless, for sufficiently weak external potentials, a consistent quantum mechanics and quantum field theory may be established. These, however, violate the postulates of special relativity.


  • Received 25 April 1969
  • Published in the issue dated October 1969

© 1969 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Giorgio Velo* and Daniel Zwanziger

  • Department of Physics, New York University, New York, New York 10012

  • *On leave of absence from the Istituto di Fisica dell'Universita, Bologna, Italy.
  • Address during 1969-1970: Department of Physics, Weizmann Institute, Rehovoth, Israel.

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