# Criteria for Groups and Burnside's Lemma

Let $G$ be a set of elements and $*$ a binary operation defined on the elements of $G$. Then $G$ is a group with respect to $*$ if the following holds:

• $a*(b*c) = (a*b)*c$ for all $a,b,c \in G$.
• There exists a left identity in $G$.
• For each $a \in G$, there exists a left inverse.

We could replace "left" with "right." Is there any relationship between this formulation and Burnside's Lemma? In other words, does the "left" or "right" criteria for groups come in handy when dealing with Burnside's Lemma (e.g could the number of orbits be the "left" part and the number of fixed points be the "right" part)?

• I'm not sure I understand the question. What connection is there between left and right and Burnside's lemma? – Qiaochu Yuan Dec 22 '10 at 2:56
• This was motivated from the following: mathoverflow.net/questions/50033/… – PrimeNumber Dec 22 '10 at 3:02
• E.g. are the the notions of "left" and "right" used in the context above the same as that in the MO question? – PrimeNumber Dec 22 '10 at 3:02
• Where are the notions of "left" and "right" used in that MO question? – Qiaochu Yuan Dec 22 '10 at 3:05
• Trevor, I think you have just proven the following Theorem by providing a counterexample: it is not true that any two questions that contain the words "left" and "right" are connected in any non-superficial way. – Alex B. Dec 22 '10 at 5:08