Partial *-Algebras, A Tool for the Mathematical Description of Physical Systems
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Forty years ago, Haag and Kastler  introduced the algebraic approach to Quantum Field Theory, and soon their method was extended to statistical mechanics. The rationale was to free the theory from particular realizations, linked to specific models, and to focus on the basic structure, namely, the algebra of observables and states on it. This more abstract language, exploiting the deep mathematical theories of C*-algebras and von Neumann algebras, soon became the standard approach to the mathematically rigorous description of physical systems with infinitely many degrees of freedom. Textbooks flourished and, among many authors, Gérard Emch argued forcefully for the new approach .
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