Tagged Questions

Questions on group theory which concern finite groups.

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Is ${\rm S}_6$ the automorphism group of a group?

The automorphism group of the symmetric group $S_n$ is $S_n$ when $n$ is not $2$ or $6$, in which cases it is respectively $1$ and the semidirect product of $S_6$ with the (cyclic) group of order $2$. ...
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How do I verify the Coq proof of Feit-Thompson?

I probably don't have the appropriate background to even ask this question. I know next to nothing about formal or computer-aided proof, and very little even about group theory. And this question is ...
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Is there a 0-1 law for the theory of groups?

Several months ago, Dominik asked the question Is there a 0-1 law for the theory of groups? on mathstackexchange, but although his question received attention there is still no answer. By asking the ...
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Why can't a nonabelian group be 75% abelian?

This question asks for intuition, not a proof. An earlier question, Measures of non-abelian-ness was thoroughly answered by Arturo Magidin. A paper by Gustafson1 proves that, for a nonabelian group, ...
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Are there $n$ groups of order $n$ for some $n>1$?

Given a positive integer $n$, let $N(n)$ denote the number of groups of order $n$, up to isomorphism. Question: Does $N(n)=n$ hold for some $n>1$? I checked the OEIS-sequence https://oeis.org/...
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Is every finite group a group of “symmetries”?

I was trying to explain finite groups to a non-mathematician, and was falling back on the "they're like symmetries of polyhedra" line. Which made me realize that I didn't know if this was actually ...
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Which small finite simple groups are not yet known to be Galois groups over Q?

The subject line pretty much says it all. To expand just a little bit: 1) What is the smallest simple group that is not yet known to occur as a Galois group over $\mathbb{Q}$? (Variants: not known ...
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Why are characters so well-behaved?

Last year I attended a first course in the representation theory of finite groups, where everything was over C. I was struck, and somewhat puzzled, by the inexplicable perfection of characters as a ...
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Normalizers in symmetric groups

Question: Let $G$ be a finite group. Is it true that there is a subgroup $U$ inside some symmetric group $S_n$, such that $N(U)/U$ is isomorphic to $G$? Here $N(U)$ is the normalizer of $U$ in $S_n$. ...
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Order of an automorphism of a finite group

Let G be a finite group of order n. Must every automorphism of G have order less than n? (David Speyer: I got this question from you long ago, but I don't know whether you knew the answer. I stil ...
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Collecting proofs that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic

I teach elementary number theory and discrete mathematics to students who come with no abstract algebra. I have found proving the key theorem that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic ...
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Fun applications of representations of finite groups

Are there some fun applications of the theory of representations of finite groups? I would like to have some examples that could be explained to a student who knows what is a finite group but does not ...
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Is there an odd-order group whose order is the sum of the orders of the proper normal subgroups?

For a finite group G, let |G| denote the order of G and write $D(G) = \sum_{N \triangleleft G} |N|$, the sum of the orders of the normal subgroups. I would like to call G "perfect" if D(G) = 2|G|, ...
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Why are the sporadic simple groups HUGE?

I'm merely a grad student right now, but I don't think an exploration of the sporadic groups is standard fare for graduate algebra, so I'd like to ask the experts on MO. I did a little reading on them ...
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How much of the ATLAS of finite groups is independently checked and/or computer verified?

In a recent talk Serre made some comments about proofs that rely on the classification of finite simple groups (CFSG) and on the ATLAS of Finite Groups. Namely, he said that a proof that relied on the ...
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Fantastic properties of Z/2Z

Recently I gave a lecture to master's students about some nice properties of the group with two elements $\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$. Typically, I wanted to present simple, natural situations where the ...
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Heuristic argument that finite simple groups _ought_ to be “classifiable”?

Obviously there exists a list of the finite simple groups, but why should it be a nice list, one that you can write down? Solomon's AMS article goes some way toward a historical / technical ...
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Order-increasing bijection from arbitrary groups to cyclic groups

In his answer to this previous MO question, Gjergji Zaimi referred to the statement that for every finite group $G$ of order $n$, there is a bijection $\sigma \colon G \to \mathbb{Z}/n\mathbb{Z}$ ...
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Richness of the subgroup structure of p-groups

Given a prime $p$ and $n \in \mathbb{N}$, let $f_p(n)$ be the smallest number such that there is a group of order $p^{f_p(n)}$ which all groups of order $p^n$ embed into. What is the asymptotic growth ...
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How do you *state* the Classification of finite simple groups?

From the point of view of formal math, what would constitute an appropriate statement of the classification of finite simple groups? As I understand it, the classification enumerates 18 infinite ...
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Smallest n for which G embeds in $S_n$?

Question: Given a finite group $G$, how do I find the smallest $n$ for which $G$ embeds in $S_n$? Equivalently, what is the smallest set $X$ on which $G$ acts faithfully by permutations? This looks ...
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A group-theoretic perspective on Frankl's union closed problem

Here is a group theoretic phrasing of a special case of the union closed conjecture: Question: Given a finite group $G$, is there an element of prime power order which is contained in at most half ...
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For which $n$ is there only one group of order $n$?

Let $f(n)$ denote the number of (isomorphism classes of) groups of order $n$. A couple easy facts: If $n$ is not squarefree, then there are multiple abelian groups of order $n$. If $n \geq 4$ is ...
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The finite subgroups of SU(n)

This question is inspired by the recent question "The finite subgroups of SL(2,C)". While reading the answers there I remembered reading once that identifying the finite subgroups of SU(3) is still an ...
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Feit-Thompson Theorem: The Odd Order Paper

For reference, the Feit-Thompson Theorem states that every finite group of odd order is necessarily solvable. Equivalently, the theorem states that there exist no non-abelian finite simple groups of ...
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Why are Schur multipliers of finite simple groups so small?

Given a finite simple group $G$, we can consider the quasisimple extensions $\tilde G$ of $G$, that is to say central extensions which remain perfect. Some basic group cohomology (based on the ...
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Are there “real” vs. “quaternionic” conjugacy classes in finite groups?

The complex irreps of a finite group come in three types: self-dual by a symmetric form, self-dual by a symplectic form, and not self-dual at all. In the first two cases, the character is real-valued, ...
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The finite subgroups of SL(2,C)

Books can be written about the finite subgroups of $\mathrm{SL}(2,\mathbb C)$ (and their immediate family, like the polyhedral groups...) I am about to start writing notes for a short course about ...
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How many groups of size at most n are there? What is the asymptotic growth rate? And what of rings, fields, graphs, partial orders, etc.?

Question. How many (isomorphism types of) finite groups of size at most n are there? What is the asymptotic growth rate? And the same question for rings, fields, graphs, partial orders, etc. ...
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Why do sporadic simple groups have so few conjugacy classes?

In finite group theory, there's a general intuition that the further away a group is from abelian, the fewer conjugacy classes it will have. So it is to be expected that non-abelian finite simple ...
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Names of finite groups

Question: If you have a finite group, how do you name it? If, for whatever reason, you have to list all subgroups of $GL_2({\mathbb F}_5)$ up to isomorphism in a paper, you are likely to write ...
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Being a subgroup: proof by character theory

Let me first cite a theorem due to Frobenius: Let $G$ be a finite group, with $H$ a proper subgroup ($H\ne (1)$ and $G$). Suppose that for every $g\not\in H$, we have $H\cap gHg^{-1}=(1)$. Then ...
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When is $S_n \times S_m$ a subgroup of $S_p$?

I asked the following question on math.stackexchange several months ago: Let $n,m,p>1$ be such that $S_n \times S_m \hookrightarrow S_p$. Does it imply that $p \geq n+m$? Derek Holt gave a ...
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Does $S_4$ inject into $SL(2,R)$ for some commutative ring $R$?

$\newcommand{\Z}{\mathbf{Z}}$ Given a nice infinite collection of groups, for example the symmetric groups, one can ask whether any finite group is a subgroup of one of them. Of course any finite ...
Let $G$ be a finite subgroup of $\mathrm{GL}_n(\mathbb C)$, $A,B \in G$ whose eigenvalues are thus in the unit circle. Assume that the eigenvalues ​​of $A$ are included in a circle arc of length $... 1answer 2k views Do all exact 1 -> A -> AxB -> B -> 1 split for finite groups? Let$A$,$B$be finite groups. Is it true that all short exact sequences$1 \rightarrow A \rightarrow A \times B \rightarrow B \rightarrow 1$split on the right? In other words, do there exist ... 6answers 3k views Generating finite simple groups with$2$elements Here is a very natural question: Q: Is it always possible to generate a finite simple group with only$2$elements? In all the examples that I can think of the answer is yes. If the answer is ... 4answers 2k views Character free proof that Frobenius kernel is a normal subgroup? The question is in the title, but here is some background/reminders: A subgroup$H\neq\{1\}$of a finite group$G$is called a Frobenius complement if$H\cap H^g = \{1\}$for all$g\in G\backslash H$.... 11answers 8k views Lecture notes on representations of finite groups Next term I am supposed to teach a course on representation of finite groups. This is a third year course for undegrads. I was thinking to use the book of Grodon James and Martin Liebeck "... 6answers 2k views Measures of non-abelian-ness Let$G$be a finite non-abelian group of$n$elements. I would like a measure that intuitively captures the extent to which$G$is non-commutative. One easy measure is a count of the non-commutative ... 3answers 838 views Do finite groups acting on a ball have a fixed point? Suppose that$G$is a finite group, acting via homeomorphisms on$B^n$, the closed$n$-dimensional ball. Does$G$have a fixed point? A fixed point for$G$is a point$p \in B^n$where for all$g \...
Barry Mazur and I have come across the question below, motivated by (but independent of) issues regarding the Leopoldt conjecture. Suppose that $\mathbf{C}$ is the complex numbers. Let $H$ be a ...