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I was just going through the 3rd Proof of Sylow's theorem given in the "Topics In Algebra" Book by I.N. Herstein. It looked very interesting and i really liked its Philosophy. My question what is its significance, and how can it be applied to problems, or something else.

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Page 96 is "Ring Theory" in my Herstein. – darij grinberg Aug 1 '10 at 15:39
thats a problem right. i cant help. The proof is using symmetric groups. – S.C. Aug 1 '10 at 15:41
At least you could tell us what edition of Herstein you are using, and whether the page number 96 refers to the actual book, a PDF, a DJVU, or whatever – darij grinberg Aug 1 '10 at 15:46
OK.. its better than you see that 3rd proof in sylow theory. I am using second edition. – S.C. Aug 1 '10 at 15:48
Alas, I can only find the first edition. But it wouldn't harm if you would post the basic ideas of the proof here. – darij grinberg Aug 1 '10 at 16:09
up vote 14 down vote accepted

This is the proof that uses the lemma that if a finite group $G$ has a Sylow $p$-subgroup then so does each subgroup of $G$. To complete the proof of existence of Sylow $p$-subgroups, it suffices to show one can embed each group in a group with a Sylow $p$-subgroup. By Cayley's theorem each finite $G$ embeds in $S_n$ with $n=|G|$ and $S_n$ embeds in $S_{p^k}$ where $p^k\ge n$. One then writes down a Sylow $p$-subgroup of $S_{p^k}$ (essentially an iterated wreath product of $C_p$s).

But a slicker conclusion is to embed $S_n$ in $GL_n(p)$ (via permutation matrices), as one sees with little effort that the upper triangular matrices with $1$s on the diagonal form a Sylow $p$-subgroup of $GL_n(p)$.

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As Robin Chapman has given an elegant and compact proof, I content myself with answering your query about applications. Sylow's three theorems are a very interesting tool to classify groups of low cardinality. Some exercises are on this given in Herstein's book itself. Upto groups of order 60, you can use just the three theorems of Sylow and classify them as direct or semi-direct products. Here all three theorems are needed; only the third proof of Herstein proves all three.

The case of groups of order 60 is a bit intricate; the appropriate reference is M. Artin's Algebra book.

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Hi Can anyone tell me as to who discovered this proof. – S.C. Aug 1 '10 at 17:24
This proof is due to H. Wielandt. Maybe you can look at the previous revision of my answer for more information. – Anweshi Aug 1 '10 at 17:39

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