I studied algebra and group theory at the university about 20 years ago. Lately I've been reading the occasional maths book/article and they mention things like $\rm{SO}(n)$ and $\rm{SU}(2)$ as classes of groups.

I can see each of these are different categories of groups and remember studying these individually, however it seems these categories mean more now and are a part of some larger theory.

If this is the case, if someone could point me towards a reference / book (kindle would be good) it would be appreciated.


  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I suggest that you read the Wikipedia page on Lie groups and have a look at the references given there. Your examples $\operatorname{SU}(n)$ and $\operatorname{SO}(n)$ are compact Lie groups. Personally, I found the notes by Hilgert and Neeb quite good (link goes to a pdf on Hilgert's homepage), but they may be a bit advanced. $\endgroup$
    – t.b.
    May 7, 2011 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ @t.b. The link is broken, teebee. :( $\endgroup$
    – Arkady
    Aug 5, 2012 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ @FortuonPaendrag: yes, these notes were published as a Springer Monograph in Mathematics and subsequently removed from the homepage. Google books link: Hilbert, Neeb, Structure and Geometry of Lie groups. $\endgroup$
    – t.b.
    Aug 5, 2012 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ HilGert :) ${}{}$ $\endgroup$
    – t.b.
    Aug 5, 2012 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


What you're looking for is the theory of Lie groups. There are many books about this at different levels of sophistication. Perhaps a good place to begin is Stillwell's book Naive Lie Theory.

  • $\begingroup$ Many thanks, I've been meaning to read about these as well :-) $\endgroup$
    – daven11
    May 7, 2011 at 13:59

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