For questions about Lie algebras, an algebraic structure whose main use is in studying geometric objects such as Lie groups and differentiable manifolds.

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4answers
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“Cayley's theorem” for Lie algebras?

Groups can be defined abstractly as sets with a binary operation satisfying certain identities, or concretely as a collection of permutations of a set. Cayley's theorem ensures that these two ...
28
votes
5answers
4k views

Jacobi identity - intuitive explanation

I am really struggling with understanding the Jacobi Identity. I am not struggling with verifying it or calculating commutators.. I just can't see through it. I can't see the motivation behind it (as ...
23
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3answers
1k views

Lie algebra of a quotient of Lie groups

Suppose I have a Lie group $G$ and a closed normal subgroup $H$, both connected. Then I can form the quotient $G/H$, which is again a Lie group. On the other hand, the derivative of the embedding $H\...
17
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1answer
195 views

When do two matrices have the same exponential?

Let $A$ and $B$ be $n\times n$ hermitean matrices. When do we have $e^{iA}=e^{iB}$? Can we somehow classify those pairs of matrices that have the same exponential? Here are some observations that I ...
15
votes
2answers
416 views

Is there a (deep) relationship between these various applications of the exponential function?

Here is a list of some applications of the exponential function. 1) The exponential mapping in Lie theory. I put this first because my intuition tells me that this must be the most fundamental, or ...
15
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2answers
244 views

Linear Algebra : Invertible Matrix Proof

I was doing some linear algebra exercises and came across the following tough problem : Let $M_{n\times n}(\mathbf{R})$ denote the set of all the matrices whose entries are real numbers. Suppose $\...
14
votes
2answers
748 views

Inscrutable proof in Humphrey's book on Lie algebras and representations

This is a question pertaining to Humphrey's Introduction to Lie Algebras and Representation Theory Is there an explanation of the lemma in §4.3-Cartan's Criterion? I understand the proof given there ...
14
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0answers
132 views

Description of Levi factors and unipotent radicals of parabolic subgroups in classical groups

For an algebraic group $G$ over an algebraically closed field $k$, a parabolic subgroup $P$ has factorization $P = Q \rtimes L$, where $Q$ is the unipotent radical of $P$ and $L$ is some Levi factor ...
14
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0answers
367 views

Abelian Cartan subalgebras

If a Lie algebra is semisimple or reductive, its Cartan subalgebras are Abelian, and their elements semisimple. Are there non-reductive algebras with Abelian Cartan subalgebras all of whose ...
13
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2answers
3k views

On surjectivity of exponential map for Lie groups

A recent question made me realize I didn't know any proof that exponential of a Lie algebra $\mathfrak g$ of a compact connected Lie group $G$ is surjective. After a bit of thinking I've come up with ...
13
votes
0answers
187 views

Vector valued 2-forms which satisfy Jacobi Identity

Motivated by this MO question we ask the following two questions: 1)What is an example of a compact manifold $M$ which does not admit any smooth (1,2) tensor $\omega$ which restriction to each ...
12
votes
3answers
526 views

What is the main use of Lie brackets in the Lie algebra of a Lie group?

I am beginner in Lie group theory, and I can't find the answer a question I am asking myself : I know that the Lie algebra $\mathfrak g$ of a Lie group $G$ is more or less the tangent vector of $G$ at ...
12
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2answers
446 views

Why are knot invariants best organized as polynomials?

Does anyone have a good explanation for why Knot invariants tend to be well organized as polynomials? What exactly is going on and why don't we often see polynomial invariants for classifying other ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Exercise 6.5 in Humphrey's Book on Lie Algebras

I am trying to solve Exercise 6.5 part 4 in James Humphreys' Introduction to Lie Algebras and Representation Theory. I added the (homework) tag because my question is about an exercise, but this is ...
12
votes
2answers
680 views

geometric interpretation of Lie bracket

On page 159 of "A Comprehensive Introduction To Differential Geometry Vol.1" by Spivak has written: We thus see that the bracket $[X,Y]$ measures, in some sense, the extent to which the integral ...
12
votes
1answer
269 views

How to prove these Lie algebra relations

This is a bit of a basic computational question concerning Lie algebras, but I'm getting kind of bamboozled so I thought I'd post it. I'm confused about how to perform some computations in Serre's ...
12
votes
0answers
163 views

Why are parabolic subgroups called “parabolic” subgroups?

I used to think that things called "parabolic" must have something to do with parabolas or their defining quadratic equations. In fact, terms like parabolic coordinate, parabolic partial differential ...
11
votes
6answers
780 views

Getting started with Lie Groups

I am looking for some material (e.g. references, books, notes) to get started with Lie Groups and Lie Algebra. My motivation is that I (eventually) want to understand the theory underpinning papers ...
11
votes
3answers
670 views

Translations in two dimensions - Group theory

I have just started learning Lie Groups and Algebra. Considering a flat 2-d plane if we want to translate a point from $(x,y)$ to $(x+a,y+b)$ then can we write it as : $$ \left( \begin{array}{ccc} ...
11
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2answers
1k views

References on Linear Algebraic Groups/Lie Theory

I am currently doing a course on Lie groups, Lie Algebras and Representation theory based on Brian Hall's book of the same name. We should cover upto chapter 4/5 in this book by the end of the ...
11
votes
1answer
885 views

Which Lie groups have Lie algebras admitting an Ad-invariant inner product?

I am trying to answer the following question: Which Lie groups have a Lie algebra admitting an $\text{Ad}$-invariant inner product? First of all, all compact Lie groups satisfy this condition ...
11
votes
1answer
477 views

Proof that Lie group with finite centre is compact if and only if its Killing form is negative definite

I am gathering material for an exposition on Lie theory and I am after proofs that a Lie group with finite centre is compact if and only if its Killing form is negative definite. I know of one, ...
11
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1answer
299 views

Category of Lie group representations equivalent to the category of representations of their Lie algebra

Let $G$ be a lie group and $\mathfrak{g}$ its lie algebra. Consider the category $Rep(G)$ of finite dimensional representations of $G$ and the category $Rep(\mathfrak{g})$ of finite dimensional ...
10
votes
5answers
380 views

Does non-commuting $\mathfrak{g}$ imply non-abelian $G$?

Question 8.1 in Kristopher Tapp's introductory text on matrix groups asks to show that $SO(n)$ is non-abelian ($n>2$) by finding two elements of $so(n)$ that do not commute. Why is this method ...
10
votes
2answers
344 views

Applications of Algebra in Physics

Often I have heard about the link between Algebra (in particular Representations of Groups and Algebras) and some "indefinite" field of Physics. I have a good preparation in Algebra and ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Two Definitions of the Special Orthogonal Lie Algebra

I am encountering two definitions of the special orthogonal lie algebra, and I would like to know if they are equivalent, and if there are advantages to working with one over the other. If we begin ...
10
votes
1answer
153 views

Is it really unknown that every endomorphism of the Weyl algebra $A_1$ is an isomorphism?

Here $A_1 := K\{x\cdot-, \frac{d}{dx}\} \subset \operatorname{End}_K(K[x])$ for some characteristic-zero field $K$. I found this claim in Coutinho's "A Primer of Algebraic D-Modules." If this is ...
10
votes
1answer
153 views

Are ideals of the Lie algebra invariant under the adjoint action?

Let $G$ be a connected algebraic group over a field of characteristic $p \geq 0$ and let $H < G$ be a connected closed subgroup. If the lie algebra $\mathfrak{h}$ of $H$ is an ideal of the Lie ...
10
votes
2answers
354 views

Is it true that the commutators of the gamma matrices form a representation of the Lie algebra of the Lorentz group?

Wikipedia claims (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_matrices): The elements $\sigma^{\mu \nu} = \gamma^\mu \gamma^\nu - \gamma^\nu \gamma^\mu$ form a representation of the Lie algebra of the ...
10
votes
1answer
505 views

Osp, USp, SU(,) and PSU

I would be glad if someone can give me some (hopefully easy to understand!) references for learning about these groups Osp, USp and PSU and their representations. I run into these mostly while ...
10
votes
1answer
117 views

Flows and Lie brackets, $\beta$ not a priori smooth at $t = 0$

Let $X$ and $Y$ be smooth vector fields on $M$ generating flows $\phi_t$ and $\psi_t$ respectively. For $p \in M$ define$$\beta(t) := \psi_{-\sqrt{t}} \phi_{-\sqrt{t}} \psi_{\sqrt{t}} \phi_{\sqrt{t}}(...
10
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1answer
125 views

Cauchy gave 1st example of a Lie algebra in 1847 & exterior product in 1853‽

I read in PDF pg. 5 of this that Cauchy gave the first example of a Lie algebra in 1847: It also claims that he invented the exterior product in 1853. Does anyone have references for this?
10
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1answer
181 views

Partial derivatives on Manifolds

Let $F : A \times B \to C$ be a map of smooth manifolds. Define the following maps ("partial derivatives"): $E_1 F: TA \times B \to TC$ $E_1 F(a,v,b) = D_a F(-,b) v $ where $v \in T_a A$ $E_2 F: A ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

How do you find the Lie algebra of a Lie group (in practice)?

Given a Lie group, how are you meant to find its Lie algebra? The Lie algebra of a Lie group is the set of all the left invariant vector fields, but how would you determine them? My group is the set ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Classsifying 1- and 2- dimensional Algebras, up to Isomorphism

I am trying to find all 1- or 2- dimensional Lie Algebras "a" up to isomorphism. This is what I have so far: If a is 1-dimensional, then every vector (and therefore every tangent vector field) is of ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What are defining & fundamental representations?

In physics terminology, one hears of the fundamental & defining representations of lie algebras or groups - are these the same as irreducible representations?
9
votes
1answer
131 views

Description of free Lie algebra in Weibel's book

In Exercise 7.3.2 in Weibel's book An Introduction to Homological algebra the following description of the free Lie algebra over some $k$-module $M$ is given (where $k$ is any commutative ring): ...
9
votes
2answers
146 views

Isomorphism between $\mathfrak o(4,\mathbb R)$ and $\mathfrak o (3,\mathbb R) \oplus\mathfrak o (3,\mathbb R) $

I've been trying to find a Lie algebra isomorphism $$\mathfrak o(4,\mathbb R)\cong\mathfrak o (3,\mathbb R) \oplus\mathfrak o (3,\mathbb R) $$ but haven't managed so far. I have written down the ...
9
votes
1answer
97 views

Chirality in Lie groups and Lie algebras

Is there an example of a chiral Lie group?In particular, is it true to say that the map $g\mapsto g^{-1}$ is orientation reversing for odd dimensional Lie groups? Moreover is there a concept of ...
9
votes
3answers
475 views

Lie Groups/Lie algebras to algebraic groups

I am reading some lie groups/lie algebras on my own.. I am using Brian Hall's Lie Groups, Lie Algebras, and Representations: An Elementary Introduction I was checking for some other references on ...
9
votes
1answer
163 views

gradient flow on $SU(n)$

Define the following cost functions $f_1, f_2 :SU(n) \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ by $f_1(U) = Re \left( \text{Tr}\left(G^{\dagger} U \right) \right)$ and $f_2(U) = \left| \left( \text{Tr}\left(G^{\dagger} ...
9
votes
1answer
198 views

Lie algebra $\implies$ Lie group?

Lie's third theorem says that every finite-dimensional Lie algebra g over the real numbers is associated to a Lie group G. So say I have an $r-$ parameter group of symmetries whose tangents at the ...
9
votes
1answer
459 views

Proving that there exists a saturated set with given highest weight

This is an question about an exercise in Humphreys book on Lie algebras. First of all a bunch of definitions and notation, see §13 in Humphreys for details. Let $\Phi$ be a root system, $\Delta$ a ...
9
votes
1answer
678 views

The center of a simply connected semisimple Lie group

I am learning about Lie groups, and I have the following basic question: Every Lie group $G$ has a (unique) universal covering group $ \bar G $ that is simply connected, and such that the covering ...
9
votes
1answer
415 views

Campbell-Baker-Hausdorff formula for $\log(\exp(X+Y)\exp(X-Y))$

Given $X,Y\in \mathfrak g\mathfrak l_{\mathbb R}(n)$, and the CBH formula for $\log(\exp X\exp Y)$ (wiki), is it possible to derive the general term in the series of $\log(\exp(X+Y)\exp(X-Y))$ that ...
9
votes
1answer
151 views

Are there common inequivalent definitions of Cartan subalgebra of a real Lie algebra?

I'm confused about seemingly different notions of a Cartan subalgebra of a real semisimple Lie algebra, and I'm wondering if there are common inequivalent definitions. In the book Lie Groups: Beyond ...
9
votes
0answers
143 views

Motivation?: Lie algebra and algebraic group Cohomology

This is just an a-priori question to get a motivational heuristic idea: If an algebraic group G (more generally, G an affine group scheme), is connected over an algebraically closed base-field k. ...
9
votes
0answers
132 views

$\Delta \subset \Phi$ is a base in a root system imples $\Delta^\vee \subset \Phi^\vee$ is a base in a root system [duplicate]

(the notation here is compatible with J.E. Humphrey's "Introduction to Lie Algebras and Representation Theory") Let $\Phi \subset E$ be a root system. Let $\Delta \subset \Phi$ be a base. I already ...
9
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0answers
125 views

Reference for l-adic Lie algebras

I don't know much at all about Lie algebras or representation theory, and I'm trying to read Ribet's `Review of Abelian l-adic Representations and Elliptic Curves'. Is there a standard reference for ...
8
votes
3answers
236 views

Representing $\mathbb{R}/\mathbb{Z}$ as a matrix group.

It was told to me that $G = \mathbb{R}/\mathbb{Z}$ is a real matrix group. Can someone help me understand how to represent $G$ in $Gl_n(\mathbb{R})$ for some $n$? (Supposedly, $n = 1$? But that's ...