The free-groups tag has no usage guidance.

**48**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Do unit quaternions at vertices of a regular 4-simplex, one being 1, generate a free group?

Choose unit quaternions $q_0, q_1, q_2, q_3, q_4$ that form the vertices of a regular 4-simplex in the quaternions. Assume $q_0 = 1$. Let the other four generate a group via quaternion ...

**21**

votes

**1**answer

491 views

### products of conjugates in free groups

While trying to carry out some technical arguments in free groups, I have encountered the following problem, to which I don't know the answer.
Let $F$ be a free group and let $g,a_1,\ldots,a_n \in F$....

**20**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Categorical proof subgroups of free groups are free?

This is a crossport of this question from MSE.
Is there a categorical proof that subgroups of free groups are free?
How about the result that subgroups of free abelian groups are free abelian?
What ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

919 views

### What are the relations between conjugates and commutators?

The following algebraic structure came up when I was thinking about invariants of coloured knots. The elements are all elements of a noncommutative free group $F$, and the operations are:
$a^b= b^{-...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

625 views

### Explicit path in the unitary group of a $C^*$-algebra

For $G$ a discrete group, there is a canonical inclusion $g\mapsto u_g$ of $G$ into the unitary group of the reduced $C^*$-algebra $C^*_r(G)$. Denote by $[u_g]$ the class of $u_g$ in the (topological) ...

**13**

votes

**0**answers

315 views

### Linear groups which don't contain products of free groups

Let $G \subset GL(n, \Bbb Z)$ be a f.g. linear group. The Tits alternative says that $G$ is either virtually solvable (i.e. has a solvable subgroup of finite index), or contains a free group $F_2$. ...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

345 views

### Union of conjugates in free groups

Let $F$ be a (finitely generated) free group, $H \leq F$ of infinite index. Is it possible that $$ \bigcup_{g \in F} gHg^{-1} = F?$$

**11**

votes

**1**answer

280 views

### A question on normal closures of elements in free groups.

Let $F$ be a free group of finite rank, and $p, b \in F$, where $b$ is a root element (i.e. not a proper power).
I have a case where $p^{n_k} = V_{n_k}^{-1}b^{-1} V_{n_k} \cdot U_{n_k}^{-1}b U_{n_k}$,...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

379 views

### Number of trivializations of a trivial word in the free group

Let $M$ be the free monoid on $2n$ generators $x_1,X_1,...,x_n,X_n$ and consider the set $T$ of all those elements of $M$ which map to 1 of the free group on $x_1,...,x_n$ under the homomorphism $\pi$ ...

**11**

votes

**0**answers

166 views

### Must nonunit in group algebra of free group generate proper two-sided ideal?

Let $F$ be a free group and $k$ be a field. If $x$ is an element of
the group algebra $k[F]$ that is not a unit (equivalently, that is not
a nonzero scalar multiple of an element of $F$), must the 2-...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

512 views

### History of Tarski's problems on free groups

As is known, Tarski posed his questions about first-order theories of non-abelian free groups around 1945. However, the questions were not published in his papers or books.
What is the original ...

**10**

votes

**1**answer

561 views

### “Concretely” writing down elements in a free profinite group

Let $r$ be a natural number. The elements of the free group $F_r$ on $r$ generators have a nice concrete description as "words" in the $r$ generators (and their inverses). I'd like to know if there is ...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

587 views

### First-order axiomatization of free groups

Is there a way to axiomatize [non-abelian] free groups in first-order logic using the language of groups (which contains the binary operation symbol $\cdot$, and the constant symbol $e$)?
Is there ...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

519 views

### Non-generating sets in a free group.

Let $F_n$ be the free group generated by $x_i$, for $1\leq i\leq n$. Let $a_i$ be some elements of $F_n$, also for $1\leq i\leq n$. Is there a nice way to tell when the list $\{a_i^{-1}x_ia_i\}$ does ...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

328 views

### Integer matrix that does not belong to a free group of rank 2

I'm given two matrices in $SL_2(\mathbb{Z})$
$$
A = \left(\begin{array}{cc}
2 & 3\\
3 & 5
\end{array}\right), \ \
B = \left(\begin{array}{cc}
5 & 3\\
3 &...

**9**

votes

**1**answer

522 views

### Commutators in free groups

Let $F_m$ be the free group with $m$ generators $S:=\{x_1,\dots, x_m\}$. I am interested in the following quantity
$$
F(n):=\frac{|\{w\in [F_m,F_m]: \|w\|_S\leq n\}|}{|B_S(n)|}
$$
where $B_S(n):=\{w\...

**9**

votes

**1**answer

416 views

### Is a free group a product of f.g subgroups of infinite index?

Let $F$ be a free group, and let $H,K \leq F$ be finitely generated subgroups of infinite index in $F$. Is it possible that for the set of products we have $HK = F$ ?

**9**

votes

**1**answer

258 views

### Automorphism groups for free groups with action

Let $A$ be a (finitely generated) free group and $G$ be a (finitely generated) free $A$-group - that is, a group with an action of $A$, which is free in the category of groups with an $A$-action. ...

**8**

votes

**1**answer

342 views

### Commutator length modulo finite index subgroups

We write $cl$ for the commutator length, i.e. the least number of commutators which multiply to a given element of a group.
Given an element $g$ in the commutator subgroup of the free group $G=F_2$ ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

325 views

### Can a positive measure subset of a free group be nowhere dense?

Let $F$ be a finitely generated free group and let $S \subseteq F$ be a subset for which there is some $\epsilon > 0$ such that for any epimorphism to a finite group $\phi \colon F \to G$ we have ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

498 views

### Number of subgroups of a given index of a free group

Given $n,d\in \mathbb{Z}^+$, how many subgroups of index $d$ does the free group of
rank $n$ have?
In case $n=1$ the question is trivial, and in case $n=2, d=2$ there are 3 such subgroups.
I think I ...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

301 views

### Products of subgroups of a free group

Let $F$ be a free group, and let $A,B \leq F$ be two subgroups such that $AB$ contains a nontrivial normal subgroup of $F$. Must either $A$ or $B$ contain a nontrivial normal subgroup of $F$?
What if ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

431 views

### How to solve this one-variable equation in a free group?

Let $F_n$ be a free group, $u, v \in F_n$, where $[u,v] \neq 1 $. Trying to show that the following equation does not have a solution in $F_n$ :
$$ [v,x] = [u,v] .$$
Any ideas are appreciated. I ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

259 views

### Is the free abstract group residually of rank d > 2?

Let $d \geq 2$ be an integer, and let $\mathcal{F}_d$ be the family of finite groups such that $G \in \mathcal{F}_d$ if and only if every subgroup of $G$ can be generated by at most $d$ elements.
Is ...

**6**

votes

**2**answers

440 views

### A metabelian quotient of a free group

I don't know much about free groups (excepted the very basics), and the following question may be trivial, although it isn't to me.
Let $F$ be a free group with $n$ generators $x_1,\dots,x_n$. ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

323 views

### Do free profinite groups satisfy Howson's theorem?

Let $F$ be a free profinite group, and let $A,B \leq F$ be finitely generated closed subgroups. Must $A \cap B$ be finitely generated?

**6**

votes

**2**answers

186 views

### Finding an “optimal” quotient in a free group

Consider the abelian free group $G = \mathbf{Z}^n$ of rank $n$ and a finite subset $A \subset G \setminus \{0\}$. Since $G$ is residually finite, there is a subgroup $H \subset G$ such that $A \cap H =...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

156 views

### Dynamics of virtual automorphisms of free group

The setup is that $F$ is a free finitely generated group, $H, H'$ are subgroups of index $2$, and $\tau:H\to H'$ is an isomorphism.
Denote by $B_r$ the ball around $1$ of radius $r$ in $F$, in the ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

302 views

### Normal Subgroup Growth

Let $F$ be a free group on $d$ generators.
Denote by $F_{k}$ the $k$-th term in $F$'s derived series. Put $G = F/F_k$. What is the normal subgroup growth of $G$?
Explicitly, for each natural number $...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

202 views

### Bases of surface groups

Let $\Gamma_g$ be a surface group of genus $g \geq 2$. A $2g$-tuple $(x_1,y_1, \dots,x_g,y_g) \in \Gamma_g^{2g}$ will be called a Surface Basis if we have the presentation $$\Gamma_g = \langle x_1, ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

448 views

### Which polynomials are Fricke polynomials ?

Let me recall the definition which seems the most standard of Fricke polynomials.
Let $G$ be the free group with two generators $u,v$. It is not very hard to prove that there exists a unique ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

173 views

### Wild automorphisms of a free group

Let $F_X$ be a free group on a countably infinite set $X$. Let $\alpha$ be an automorphism of $F_X$ and $H$ a closed subgroup of $F_X$ in the profinite topology.
Is it possible that $\alpha(H) \...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

99 views

### A subgroup of corank 1 in a free group contains a primitive element?

Let $F$ be the free group on $\{x_i\}_{i=1}^\infty$, and let $H \leq F$ be a subgroup with $\langle H \cup \{x_1\} \rangle = F$. Must there be a free basis $B$ of $F$ for which $B \cap H \neq \...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

336 views

### Schreier's index formula

A finitely generated group G is said to satisfy Schreier's index formula if for every subgroup H of index k in G we have: d(H) - 1 = k(d(G) - 1). For example, a finitely generated free group satisfies ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

267 views

### A Karrass-Solitar theorem for surface groups

Let $\Gamma_g$ be a surface group of genus $g \geq 2$. That is, there is a presentation $$\Gamma_g = \langle x_1, y_1, \dots, x_g, y_g \vert \prod_{i = 1}^{g}[x_i,y_i] = 1\rangle$$
Is there a ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

232 views

### Algorithm for image of a free group homomorphism

Let $G$ and $H$ be finitely generated free groups, and let $f:G\to H$ be a homomorphism specified by giving the images of the generators of $G$.
Is there an algorithm which takes such an $f$ and a ...

**4**

votes

**3**answers

319 views

### Algebraically Independent Numbers and Affine Linear Maps

Suppose I have two lists $\alpha_1,\dots,\alpha_k$ and $\beta_1,\dots,\beta_k$ of real numbers such that all $2k$ numbers are mutually algebraically-independent over the rationals. For each $i \in \{1,...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

295 views

### Primitive subwords in a free group of rank 2

I am not sure yet about what I exactly need to prove, but I guess I can formulate a rough statement similar to the following:
Suppose $w\in F_2$ is a primitive word whose length is big enough. Then ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

200 views

### Generators of Sylow subgroups

Is there a function $f : \mathbb{N} \rightarrow \mathbb{N}$ such that for each finite supersolvable group $G$, and a Sylow subgroup $S \leq G$ we have $d(S) \leq f(d(G))$?
Here $d(H)$ denotes the ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

240 views

### Automorphism classes of the free group

As is well known, the conjugacy classes of the free group $F_2$ are parametrised by cyclically reduced words, up to cyclic permutation. In particular, it's easy to tell whether two elements of $F_2$ ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

108 views

### Genericity of irreducible automorphisms of free groups

I have seen in the literature that Irreducible outer automorphisms of a free group $F_n$ are "generic".
I would like to ask that if for example : it is true that for any generating set $X$ of $Out(...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

241 views

### How to determine free generators of a closed subgroup of a free pro-$p$-group ?

If $F$ is a free discrete group, then any subgroup $H$ of $F$ is free: this is the well-known theorem of Nielsen-Schreier. Moreover, there is a well-known algorithm, the Nielsen-Schreier
method that ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

271 views

### Generating infinite index subgroups of a free group

Let $F$ be nonabelian finitely generated free group, let $H \leq F$ be a finitely generated subgroup of infinite index and let $x,y \in F \setminus H$. Must there be some $a \in F$ such that $[F : \...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

97 views

### Example of “exotic” verbal subgroups of free groups

This will be an ambiguous question.
I am interested in various examples that appear in the literature of verbal subgroups of free groups, but which are not part of the "classical examples" like ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

184 views

### Primitive elements in a free group

Let $F$ be a free group of rank $\aleph_0$ and let $H$ be a subgroup for which there exists some $a \in F$ such that $\langle H \cup \{a\} \rangle = F$. Must there be some free basis $B$ for $F$ and a ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

127 views

### Is a finitely generated subgroup of a free profinite group virtually a retract?

Let $F$ be a nonabelian finitely generated free profinite group, and let $H \leq F$ be a finitely generated closed subgroup. Must there be some open subgroup $H \leq U \leq F$, and a closed normal ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

166 views

### Is there a nontrivial profinite word which is trivial in any group with at most d generators?

Let $F$ be a free profinite group of rank $\aleph_0$, and let $d \in \mathbb{N}$.
Let $N_d \lhd_c F$ be the intersection of all open normal subgroups $L \lhd_o F$ for which $F/L$ can be generated by ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

212 views

### Schreier's formula and descending chains

For a group $G$ we denote by $d(G)$ the cardinality of a smallest set of generators.
A finitely generated group $G$ is said to satisfy Schreier's formula if for every subgroup $H \subseteq G$ of ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

289 views

### Conjugacy classes of elements in free groups. One-variable equations.

First of all, wasn't sure what could be a good title for this question. If mods think of a better name, pls feel free to change it...
Let $F$ be a (non-abelian) free group of finite rank, a vector $\...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

114 views

### Thickening graphs to get honest actions

Let $X$ be a finite graph. Its fundamental group is the free group $F_n$ on (say) $n$ generators. Let further an automorphism $\phi$ of $F_n$ be given.
It is not true in general that this ...