# Questions tagged [lie-algebras]

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

3,984 questions
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### 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 ...
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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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Under what conditions is the exponential map on a Lie algebra injective?

Let $G$ be a Lie group with Lie algebra $\mathfrak{g}$ and let $\exp :\mathfrak{g}\rightarrow G$ be the exponential map. In his blog, Terence Tao notes that if a Lie group is not simply-connected, ...
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### 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 ...
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### Meaning of Exponential map

I've been studying differential geometry using Do Carmo's book. There's the notion of exponential map, but I don't understand why it is called "exponential" map. How does it has something to do with ...
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### Lie algebra and Killing form

Let $L$ be a Lie algebra. I have to prove that if $L$ is a simple Lie algebra every bilinear associative form (e.g. $([x,y],z)= (x,[y,z])$ for all $x,y,z \in L$) is a multiple of Killing form.
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### 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 ...
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### Is there a definition of a dual Lie algebra?

Let $L$ be a Lie algebra. For vector spaces, modules, Banach spaces, etc. we have the notion of a dual. Question: Is it possible to define naturally a Lie algebra $L^*$ that is in some sense dual to ...
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### Expression for the Maurer-Cartan form of a matrix group

I understand the definition of the Maurer-Cartan form on a general Lie group $G$, defined as $\theta_g = (L_{g^{-1}})_*:T_gG \rightarrow T_eG=\mathfrak{g}$. What I don't understand is the expression ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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): ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### What is the significance of the $\mathbb Z_2 \times \mathbb Z_2$ subgroup of $SO(3)$?

If one thinks of $SO(3)$ as the rotations in three-dimensional space, then the $\mathbb Z_2\times \mathbb Z_2$ subgroup is given by the 180 degree rotations along three perpendicular axes (which ...
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### Question on fundamental weights and representations

I am a bit confused about the notion of "fundamental weights". In a complexified setting, I am thinking of my Lie algebra to be decomposed as, $\cal{g} = \cal{t} \oplus _\alpha \cal{g}_\alpha$ where ...
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### Lie Groups/Lie Algebra - Applications?

I studied Lie Groups and Lie Algebras as part of my Masters back in the 1970s. Although very elegant and beautiful, it seemed to its own little world, I never saw the connection with other branches of ...
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### Precise connection between complexification of $\mathfrak{su}(2)$, $\mathfrak{so}(1,3)$ and $\mathfrak{sl}(2, \mathbb{C})$

I'm desperatly confused by notations and formulations so if someone could clarify the following things a little Í would be deeply grateful. The Lie algebra $\mathfrak{so}(1,3)_+^{\uparrow}$ of the ...
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### 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 ...
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### The description of abelian Lie groups

There is a problem in my problem sheet which asks me to describe all abelian connected Lie groups (moreover this is the first problem so it should be rather easy). I don't understand how this ...
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### Why are Lie algebras “rigid” objects?

I read the following motivation for quantum groups on wikipedia: The discovery of quantum groups was quite unexpected, since it was known for a long time that compact groups and semisimple Lie ...
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### 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 ...
### 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 ...