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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.

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5answers
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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 ...
36
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4answers
2k views

“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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3answers
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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\...
25
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2answers
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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 ...
20
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1answer
443 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 ...
18
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3answers
415 views

Linear homomorphisms of square matrices are conjugations

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 $\...
18
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0answers
505 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 ...
18
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0answers
536 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 ...
17
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2answers
510 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 ...
17
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0answers
359 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 ...
16
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6answers
2k 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 ...
16
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1answer
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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 ...
16
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1answer
716 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 ...
15
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2answers
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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 ...
15
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1answer
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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 ...
15
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2answers
991 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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3answers
3k views

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, ...
14
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3answers
936 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 ...
14
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
14
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1answer
2k views

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.
14
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3answers
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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 ...
14
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
14
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1answer
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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 ...
14
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2answers
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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 ...
14
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0answers
235 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 ...
13
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3answers
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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 ...
13
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2answers
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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 ...
13
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2answers
568 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
241 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): ...
13
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1answer
699 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 ...
13
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1answer
808 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
340 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
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3answers
2k 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} ...
12
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1answer
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Relationship between Riemannian Exponential Map and Lie Exponential Map

It is well known that for a matrix Lie group the Lie exponential map is $e ^z$. This maps a tangent vector $z$ at the identity to a group element. On the other hand the general Riemannian ...
12
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2answers
462 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 ...
12
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1answer
665 views

Ties between Lie algebras and ring theory

I would like to get a general understanding of the relationship between (noncommutative) ring theory and Lie algebra theory. All Lie algebras are finite dimensional and over a field $k$ of ...
12
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3answers
662 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 ...
12
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1answer
724 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, ...
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1answer
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Exponential of powers of the derivative operator

A translation operator The Taylor series of a function $f$ is $$f(x)=\sum_{n=0}^\infty\frac{(\partial_x^nf)(a)}{n!}(x-a)^n$$ where $\partial_x$ is the derivative operator. Expanding about $x+b$: $$...
12
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1answer
154 views

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 ...
11
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1answer
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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 ...
11
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2answers
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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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2answers
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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 ...
11
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2answers
816 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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
11
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1answer
338 views

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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3answers
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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 ...
11
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1answer
231 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 ...
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0answers
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Does the exceptional Lie algebra $\mathfrak{g}_2$ arise from the isometry group of any projective space?

I learned from Baez's notes on octonions that the classical simple Lie algebras can be identified with the Lie algebras of isometry groups of projective spaces over $\mathbb{R}, \mathbb{C}$ and $\...
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0answers
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Exponential map is surjective for compact connected Lie group

How do I show that for every compact connected group $G$, the exponential map $\exp \colon\mathfrak{g} \rightarrow G$ is surjective? I tried to find the proof on the internet but most of them are ...