Lie algebras are algebraic structures which were introduced to study the concept of infinitesimal transformations. The term "Lie algebra" (after Sophus Lie) was introduced by Hermann Weyl in the 1930s. In older texts, the name "infinitesimal group" is used. Related mathematical concepts include Lie ...

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Why is there a connection between enumerative geometry and nonlinear waves?

Recently I encountered in a class the fact that there is a generating function of Gromov--Witten invariants that satisfies the Korteweg--de Vries hierarchy. Let me state the fact more precisely. ...
14
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0answers
572 views

“Special” meanders

One of the open problems in combinatorics is enumeration of meanders. Here on MO I only could find them under the heading not-especially-famous-long-open-problems-which-anyone-can-understand. Since ...
20
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17answers
12k views

Learning about Lie groups

Can someone suggest a good book for teaching myself about Lie groups? I study algebraic geometry and commutative algebra, and I like lots of examples. Thanks.
44
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7answers
8k views

What is the symbol of a differential operator?

I find Wikipedia's discussion of symbols of differential operators a bit impenetrable, and Google doesn't seem to turn up useful links, so I'm hoping someone can point me to a more pedantic discussion....
34
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7answers
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Why the Killing form?

I'm teaching a short summer course on algebraic groups and it's time to talk about the Killing form on the Lie algebra. The students are all undergrads of varying levels of inexperience, and I try to ...
45
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3answers
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Is “semisimple” a dense condition among Lie algebras?

The "Motivation" section is a cute story, and may be skipped; the "Definitions" section establishes notation and background results; my question is in "My Question", and in brief in the title. Some ...
24
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1answer
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Does the quantum subgroup of quantum su_2 called E_8 have anything at all to do with the Lie algebra E_8?

The ordinary McKay correspondence relates the subgroups of SU(2) to the affine ADE Dynkin diagrams. The correspondence is that the vertices correspond to irreducible representations of the subgroup, ...
8
votes
3answers
759 views

Generators of invariant polynomials of semisimple Lie algebra

Suppose $\mathfrak{g}$ is a complex semi-simple Lie algebra. By a theorem of Chevalley, we know that $S(\mathfrak{g})^\mathfrak{g}$, i.e. the $\mathfrak{g}$ invariant polynomials, is generated by $l$ ...
5
votes
1answer
509 views

Finite dimensional Lie algebra with non-degenerate invariant bilinear forms $\Omega_{ab}$

Firstly, my apology to MO experts that I am in a more science/physics background (a PhD). So please feel free refine/modify/comment my language if I have different math accents than yours. From ...
8
votes
2answers
476 views

Quadratic Casimir of fundamental irreps of simply-laced Lie algebras

I have the following question, motivated by the expression for the character of level 1 highest weight integrable representations of simply-laced affine algebras (in terms of the string function). It ...
4
votes
1answer
275 views

The existence of a finite dimensional Lie algebra with a given symmetric invariant metric

The question is motivated by a more broad perspective in another MO post and here, but here we would like to understand a specific case (our question potentially connects to / is motivated b Quantum ...
16
votes
3answers
855 views

Is a retract of a free object free?

I wonder whether this is true in the categories of groups, monoids, commutative algebras, associative algebras, Lie algebras?
16
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2answers
883 views

Is homology finitely generated as an algebra?

If a differential graded algebra is finitely generated as an algebra, is its homology finitely generated as an algebra? Is it easier if we impose any of the three conditions: characteristic zero; ...
9
votes
1answer
652 views

Uniform proof of dimension formula for minimal special nilpotent orbit?

Given a simple Lie algebra over an algebraically closed field of good characteristic such as $\mathbb{C}$, its subvariety $\mathcal{N}$ of nilpotent elements has dimension $2N$ (where $N$ is the ...
8
votes
3answers
746 views

subgroup of SU(N) with maximal manifold dimension

Given the group SU(N) of NxN unitary matrices, does there exist a subgroup S with a manifold dimension larger than the SU(N-1) manifold dimension and smaller than the SU(N) one? S should not ...
5
votes
2answers
927 views

Chevalley Groups over an arbitrary ring.

My question is simply about the Chevalley groups over rings. In many books, including Carter's book on "Simple groups of Lie types", the groups are considered over fields. I have checked the ...
4
votes
2answers
584 views

Complete classification of six dimensional non-semi simple Lie algebra

I would aim to know the complete classification of 6 dimensional non-semi simple Lie algebra (here the dimension stands for the generators; or the dimension $\leq 6$). In this paper, in page 7, it ...
4
votes
2answers
226 views

A finiteness property for semi-simple algebraic groups

Let $G$ be a semi-simple algebraic group over a field $K$, I am considering a question about whether there exists a finite set of semi-simple $K$-subgroups, say $H_1,...,H_r$, such that for any semi-...
72
votes
13answers
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why study Lie algebras?

I don't mean to be rude asking this question, I know that the theory of Lie groups and Lie algebras is a very deep one, very aesthetic and that has broad applications in various areas of mathematics ...
83
votes
3answers
6k views

Has the Lie group E8 really been detected experimentally?

A few months ago there were several math talks about how the Lie group E8 had been detected in some physics experiment. I recently looked up the original paper where this was announced, "Quantum ...
40
votes
15answers
5k views

What does the generating function $x/(1 - e^{-x})$ count?

Let $x$ be a formal (or small, since the function is analytic) variable, and consider the power series $$ A(x) = \frac{x}{1 - e^{-x}} = \sum_{m=0}^\infty \left( -\sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{(-x)^n}{(n+1)!}...
34
votes
11answers
5k views

What is significant about the half-sum of positive roots?

I apologize for the somewhat vague question: there may be multiple answers but I think this is phrased in such a way that precise answers are possible. Let $\mathfrak{g}$ be a semisimple Lie algebra (...
34
votes
4answers
3k views

What role does the “dual Coxeter number” play in Lie theory (and should it be called the “Kac number”)?

While trying to get some perspective on the extensive literature about highest weight modules for affine Lie algebras relative to "level" (work by Feigin, E. Frenkel, Gaitsgory, Kac, ....), I run into ...
19
votes
1answer
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Isometry group of a homogeneous space

Background Let $(M,g)$ be a finite-dimensional riemannian (or more generally pseudoriemannian) manifold. Suppose that I know that a certain Lie group $G$ acts transitively and isometrically on $M$ ...
10
votes
3answers
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How to Compute the coordinate ring of flag variety?

Let $G$ be algebraic group over $\mathbb(C)$(semisimple), $B$ be Borel subgroup. consider flag variety $G/B$. It is known that $G/B$ is projective variety. So one consider the homogeneous coordinate ...
26
votes
8answers
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Is every finite-dimensional Lie algebra the Lie algebra of an algebraic group?

Harold Williams, Pablo Solis, and I were chatting and the following question came up. In Lie group land (where you're doing differential geometry), given a finite-dimensional Lie algebra g, you can ...
24
votes
2answers
3k views

Cohomology of Lie groups and Lie algebras

The length of this question has got a little bit out of hand. I apologize. Basically, this is a question about the relationship between the cohomology of Lie groups and Lie algebras, and maybe ...
22
votes
1answer
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What's the status of the following relationship between Ramanujan's $\tau$ function and the simple Lie algebras?

Qiaochu asked this in the comments to this question. Since this is really his question, not mine, I will make this one Community Wiki. In MR0522147, Dyson mentions the generating function $\tau(n)$ ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

When is a finite dimensional real or complex Lie Group not a matrix group

I have a smattering of knowledge and disconnected facts about this question, so I would like to clarify the following discussion, and I also seek references and citations supporting this knowledge. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How to interpret the Sugawara construction from a physical or mathematical viewpoint?

In theoretical physics, the Sugawara theory is a set of formulae and theorems that allow one to construct a stress-energy tensor of a specific type of conformal field theory from a bilinear expression ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Basis-free definition of Casimir element?

Let $V$ be a finite-dimensional vector space and let $\mathfrak g \subset \mathfrak{gl}(V)$ be a representation of a semisimple Lie algebra on $V$. Let $e_1, \dots, e_n$ be a basis for $V$. Let $e_1', ...
12
votes
2answers
950 views

What is a Homotopy between $L_\infty$-algebra morphisms

A $L_\infty$-algebra can be defined in many different ways. One common way, that gives the 'right' kind of morphisms, is that a $L_\infty$-algebra is a graded cocommutative and coassociative ...
10
votes
6answers
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Polynomial invariants of the exceptional Weyl groups

Let $\mathfrak{g}$ be a simple complex Lie algebra, and let $\mathfrak{h} \subset \mathfrak{g}$ be a fixed Cartan subalgebra. Let $W$ be the Weyl group associated to $\mathfrak{g}$. Let $S(\mathfrak{h}...
12
votes
5answers
877 views

About the intrinsic definition of the Weyl group of complex semisimple Lie algebras

It may be a easy question for experts. The definition of the Weyl group of a complex semisimple Lie algebra $\mathfrak{g}$ is well-known: We first $\textbf{choose}$ a Cartan subalgebra $\mathfrak{h}$...
11
votes
1answer
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decompositions for exceptional Lie algebras $E_6$, $E_7$ and $E_8$

Do anybody know , why can we write the following decompositions for exceptional Lie algebras $E_6$, $E_7$ and $E_8$ 1) $E_8=(V^{\star}\otimes \wedge^{8}V^{\star})\bigoplus \wedge^{6}V^{\star}\...
15
votes
2answers
492 views

factorization of the regular representation of the symmetric group

Let $\mathbb{C}[S_n]$ be the regular representation of the symmetric group $S_n$, and let $\mathbb{C}^n$ be the vector representation. Question: Does there exist a representation $V$ (of dimension $(...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

A mysterious Heisenberg algebra identity from Sylvester, 1867

I am trying to understand two papers by James Joseph Sylvester: P92: "Note on the properties of the test operators which occur in the calculus of invariants, their derivatives, analogues, and laws of ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Invariants for the exceptional complex simple Lie algebra $F_4$

This is an edited version of the original question taking into account the comments below by Bruce. The original formulation was imprecise. Let $\mathfrak{g}$ denote a complex simple Lie algebra of ...
15
votes
2answers
318 views

$(L, \nabla)$ comes from a $G$-bundle with connection for some abelian algebraic subgroup $G \subset GL(n)$?

Let $A$ be an abelian variety over a field $k$ of characteristic $0$. How do I prove, without using transcendental methods, that if $\nabla$ is an integrable connection on a vector bundle $L$ on $A$ ...
15
votes
1answer
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Modern reference for maximal connected subgroups of compact Lie groups

What's the nicest place to see a list of the maximal connected subgroups of compact Lie groups? Is there anything on-line? I looked at Tits' Bourbaki talk on Dynkin's and others' work, but he admits ...
14
votes
3answers
839 views

What is the Zariski closure of the space of semisimple Lie algebras?

Given Leonid Positselski's excellent answer and comments to this question, I expect that the present one is a hard question. Recall that the Lie algebra structures on a (finite-dimensional over $\...
10
votes
0answers
497 views

Dual versions of “folding” symmetric ADE Dynkin diagrams?

Start with the Dynkin diagram of an irreducible root system, typically associated with a simple Lie algebra over $\mathbb{C}$ or a simple algebraic group. Most of the simply-laced ADE diagrams ...
8
votes
2answers
732 views

Sign conventions for a Chevalley basis of a simple complex Lie algebra

Let $R$ be the root system of a simple complex Lie algebra $g$ with respect to some Cartan subalgebra $h$. Chevalley showed there is a basis of $g$ given by the simple coroots {$H_{\alpha_i}=\alpha_i^...
7
votes
1answer
207 views

Does the normal ordered product on differential operators lift to $U\left(\mathfrak{gl}_n\right)$?

Let $n\in\mathbb N$. Let $k$ be a commutative ring in which $1,2,3,\ldots$ are invertible. Let $\Omega$ denote the $k$-algebra of polynomial differential operators on $n$ variables $x_1$, $x_2$, ..., $...
7
votes
0answers
494 views

Small sum of group elements acting as rank 1 matrix.

I am interested in constructing small (as possible) group $G$ with large dimensional irreducible representation $\rho,V$ such that exist three elements of $g_1,g_2,g_3\in G$ such that for some $c_1,...
6
votes
4answers
776 views

Lie algebra admitting some hyperbolic automorphism is nilpotent

Let $\mathfrak{g}$ be a finite dimensional Lie algebra over $\mathbb{R}$ and $\phi:\mathfrak{g}\to\mathfrak{g}$ be a Lie algebra automorphism. Viewing $\mathfrak{g}$ as a linear space and $\phi$ a ...
4
votes
1answer
406 views

Cohomology Ring of the Flag Manifolds, Cartan Subalgebras, and Weyl Groups

I've recently read the following line in an interesting paper: It is well-known that the cohomology ring of a flag variety $G/B$ is isomorphic to the quotient ring of the ring of polynomial ...
10
votes
1answer
540 views

Construction of the Lie functor: left vs. right invariant vector fields on Lie groups and Lie groupoids

When constructing the Lie algebra $L(G)$ of a Lie group $G$, one usually uses the identification of the tangent space $T_1 G$ with left invariant vector fields $\mathcal{V}^l(G)$ to construct the Lie ...
9
votes
5answers
881 views

Applications of Chevalley Restriction Theorem

Let $G$ be a simple linear algebraic group (over $\mathbb{C}$, say) and $\mathfrak{g}$ be its Lie algebra, $\mathfrak{t}\subset \mathfrak{g}$ the Lie algebra of a maximal torus in $G$ and $W$ the ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

lie algebra semisimple?

If L is a semisimple lie algebra then L=[L,L]. Is the opposite true?