**83**

votes

**3**answers

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 ...

**79**

votes

**7**answers

8k views

### Homotopy groups of Lie groups

Several times I've heard the claim that any Lie group $G$ has trivial second fundamental group $\pi_2(G)$, but I have never actually come across a proof of this fact. Is there a nice argument, ...

**72**

votes

**13**answers

19k views

### 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 ...

**60**

votes

**26**answers

5k views

### What would you want on a Lie theory cheat poster?

For some long time now I've thought about making a poster-sized "cheat sheet" with all the data about Lie groups and their representations that I occasionally need to reference. It's a moving target, ...

**45**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### Example of a manifold which is not a homogeneous space of any Lie group

Every manifold that I ever met in a differential geometry class was a homogeneous space: spheres, tori, Grassmannians, flag manifolds, Stiefel manifolds, etc. What is an example of a connected smooth ...

**44**

votes

**7**answers

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....

**43**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### $H^4(BG,\mathbb Z)$ torsion free for $G$ a connected Lie group

Recently, prompted by considerations in conformal field theory, I was let to guess that for every compact connected Lie group $G$, the fourth cohomology group of it classifying space is torsion free.
...

**43**

votes

**4**answers

5k views

### Origin of terms “flag”, “flag manifold”, “flag variety”?

These terms have become common in Lie theory and related algebraic geometry and combinatorics, as seen in many questions posted on MO, but it's unclear to me where they first came into use. Probably ...

**34**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### 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 ...

**34**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Beautiful descriptions of exceptional groups

I'm curious about the beautiful descriptions of exceptional simple complex Lie groups and algebras (and maybe their compact forms). By beautiful I mean: simple (not complicated - it means that we need ...

**31**

votes

**1**answer

575 views

### Is there a geometric construction of hyperbolic Kac-Moody groups?

Just as the theory of finite-dimensional simple Lie algebras is connected to differential geometry and physics via the theory of simple Lie groups, the theory of affine Lie algebras was connected to ...

**31**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### What is the classifying space of “G-bundles with connections”

Let $G$ be a (maybe Lie) group, and $M$ a space (perhaps a manifold). Then a principal $G$-bundle over $M$ is a bundle $P \to M$ on which $G$ acts (by fiber-preserving maps), so that each fiber is a $...

**30**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### $G_2$ and Geometry

In a recent question Deane Yang mentioned the beautiful Riemannian geometry that comes up when looking at $G_2$. I am wondering if people could expand on the geometry related to the exceptional Lie ...

**28**

votes

**8**answers

5k views

### “Modern” proof for the Baker-Campbell-Hausdorff formula

Does someone has a reference to a modern proof of the Baker-Campbell-Hausdorff formula?
All proofs I have ever seen are related only to matrix Lie groups / Lie algebras and
are not at all geometric (...

**26**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### 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 ...

**26**

votes

**1**answer

538 views

### Why do the adjoint representations of three exceptional groups have the same first eight moments?

For a representation of a compact Lie group, the $n$th moment of the trace of that representation against the Haar measure is the dimension of the invariant subspace of the $n$th tensor power. The ...

**25**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### What's the supersymmetric analogue of the Monster group?

Bosonic string theory lives in 26 dimensions, and it gives a conformal field theory where the field is a map from a Riemann surface to $\mathbb{R}^{24}$. The Leech lattice $L$ is an even unimodular ...

**24**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Is there a Morse theory proof of the Bruhat decomposition?

Let $G$ be a complex connected Lie group, $B$ a Borel subgroup and $W$ the Weyl group. The Bruhat decomposition allows us to write $G$ as a union $\bigcup_{w \in W} BwB$ of cells given by double ...

**24**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Examples of applications of the Borel-Weil-Bott theorem?

In "Quantum field theory and the Jones polynomial" (Comm. Math. Phys. 1989 vol. 121 (3) pp. 351-399), Witten writes:
A representation Ri of a group G should be seen as a quantum object. This ...

**24**

votes

**2**answers

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 ...

**24**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Simple discrete subgroups of Lie groups

Upon Ian Agol's suggestion, I separated this question from the one on non-residual finiteness in
Non-residually finite matrix groups
Question. Are there infinitely generated simple discrete ...

**23**

votes

**7**answers

6k views

### Classification of (compact) Lie groups

I would like to study/understand the (complete) classification of compact lie groups. I know there are a lot of books on this subject, but I'd like to hear what's the best route I can follow (in your ...

**23**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Monotone functions are differentiable a.e. and Hilbert's Fifth Problem: what's the connection?

In Andrew Gleason's interview for More Mathematical People, there is the following exchange concerning Gleason's work on Hilbert's fifth problem on whether every locally Euclidean topological group is ...

**22**

votes

**10**answers

1k views

### Examples of categorical adjunctions in analysis, Lie theory, and differential geometry?

In introductory texts on category theory, it seems like the majority of examples come from algebraic topology, algebra, and logic. Are there any good examples of adjunctions in analysis, Lie theory, ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Rep Theory Consequences of Bott--Weil--Borel

I've been getting interested in the (Bott--)Borel--Weil theorem lately. As a (mainly) geometer it is very interesting to see representation appearing (from nowhere as far as I can see) in the theory ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### In any Lie group with finitely many connected components, does there exist a finite subgroup which meets every component?

This question concerns a statement in a short paper by S. P. Wang titled “A note on free subgroups in linear groups" from 1981. The main result of this paper is the following theorem.
Theorem (Wang, ...

**22**

votes

**1**answer

547 views

### Does $E_8$ know $Spin(7)$?

One way to define the compact group $Spin(7)$ is as the stabilizer of a certain 4-form on Euclidean $\mathbb R^8$ (see e.g. this MO question). This 4-form can be defined in various ways. For example,...

**21**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### Why is Lie's Third Theorem difficult?

Recall the following classical theorem of Cartan (!):
Theorem (Lie III): Any finite-dimensional Lie algebra over $\mathbb R$ is the Lie algebra of some analytic Lie group.
Similarly, one can propose ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

797 views

### The non-simplicity of $SO(4)$ and $A_4$

It is well known that the alternating group $A_n$ is simple unless $n=4$. It is likewise well known that the special orthogonal group $SO(n)$ is essentially simple unless $n=4$ (specifically, the ...

**21**

votes

**4**answers

925 views

### Technical issue in the approach to Lie groups taken in a book

I'm teaching Lie groups and Lie Algebras out of Brian C. Hall's book (Lie Groups, Lie Algebras, and Representations: An Elementary Introduction, Springer), which I've enjoyed using. I'm confused about ...

**20**

votes

**17**answers

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.

**20**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Is SL(2,C)/SL(2,Z) a quasi-projective variety?

Consider the complex 3-fold $SL(2,\mathbb C)/SL(2,\mathbb Z)$ (just for clarity: note that $SL(2,\mathbb Z)$ acts without stabilizers, so this is a complex manifold, not a complex orbifold).
Is $...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### 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 $M$ ...

**19**

votes

**6**answers

963 views

### Explanation for E_8's torsion

To study the topology of Lie groups, you can decompose them into the simple compact ones, plus some additional steps, such as taking the cover if necessary. After that, the structure of $SO(n)$'s is ...

**19**

votes

**2**answers

956 views

### Is every topological (resp. Lie-) group the isometrygroup of a metric space (resp. Riemannian manifold)?

The isometry group of a metric space is a topological group (with the compact open topology). The isometry group of a Riemann Manifold is a Liegroup. (Thm. of Steenrod-Myers)
So, is every topological ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

841 views

### Real Lie groups versus real linear algebraic groups: differences in connexity and fundamental group

There are many introductory texts on real Lie groups, and many on linear algebraic groups in general, but fewer on the specific case of linear algebraic groups over the reals, and even fewer that try ...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

629 views

### What's the relationship between these two isomorphisms involving G and T?

Let $G$ be a compact connected Lie group with maximal torus $T$ and Weyl group $W$. Recall the following two isomorphisms.
Isomorphism 1: $R(G) \cong R(T)^W$, where $R(-)$ denotes the representation ...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

750 views

### Geodesics in finite groups

It seems that I can generalize a result from compact, connected Lie groups to finite groups, but in order to do so, I need to have some kind of geodesics on finite groups.
Below is a proposition for ...

**18**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Triality of Spin(8)

Among simple Lie groups, $Spin(8)$ is the most symmetrical one in the sense that $Out(Spin(8))$ is the largest possible group. A description of this outer automorphism groups is as follows. $Spin(8)$ ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

829 views

### Word maps on compact Lie groups

Let $w=w(a,b)$ be a non-trivial word in the free group $F_2 = \langle a,b \rangle$ and $w_G \colon G \times G \to G$ be the induced word map for some compact Lie group $G$.
Murray Gerstenhaber and ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

300 views

### On a drawing in Dixmier's Enveloping Algebras

This image
comes from Dixmier's book, 'Enveloping Algebras' ('Algèbres enveloppantes').
Dixmier writes that
The curves shown on p. XIV have their origin in the study of U(sl(3)).
They are ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Why do flag manifolds, in the P(V_rho) embedding, look like products of P^1s?

Bert Kostant mentioned an odd fact to me some time ago. As usual (with such statements), fix a
complex, connected, reductive) Lie group $G$, with maximal torus $T$, and Weyl vector $\rho$ equal to ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Is the Duflo polynomial conjecture open?

Let $G/K$ be a symmetric space. Let
$\mathfrak{g}=\mathfrak{k}\oplus\mathfrak{p}$ be a Cartan decomposition,
with the odd part $\mathfrak{p}$. It is well known that the algebra of invariant
...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

760 views

### Spin group as an automorphism group

Consider the real algebraic group $SO(p,q)$, this is the automorphism group of the vector space $\mathbb{R}^n$ of dimension $n=p+q$ over $\mathbb{R}$, endowed with the diagonal quadratic form with $p$...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

421 views

### When can a finite subgroup of $GL(2n,\mathbb{R})$ be viewed as a subgroup of $GL(n,\mathbb{C})$?

A finite group acting on a complex vector space of dimension $n$ can be seen as acting on a real vector space of dimension $2n$ just by forgetting the complex structure of the space. My question is, ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### What is the status of the Friedlander-Milnor conjecture today?

For the purposes of this question, the Friedlander-Milnor (FM) conjecture asserts an equality of the group homology for algebraic groups, and their discretizations in the following sense:
Conjecture ...

**17**

votes

**6**answers

665 views

### Automorphism group of real orthogonal Lie groups

I would like to know what is the "outer-automorphism group" $Out$ of $SO(p,q)$ and $O(p,q)$, where $p+q >0$. My working definition of $Out$ is as follows:
Let us denote by $Aut(G)$ the ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

654 views

### Solving equations in SO(3) : an open problem by Jan Mycielski

I am interested in a problem closely related to a problem stated by Jan Mycielski in his paper Can One Solve Equations in Group? (The American Mathematical Monthly, 1977, http://www.jstor.org/stable/...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### How bad can $\pi_1$ of a linear group orbit be?

Let $G$ be a simply connected Lie group and $\mathcal O= G(v)=G/G_v$ a $G$-orbit in some finite-dimensional $G$-module $V$. By the homotopy exact sequence, its fundamental group $\Gamma$ is the ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

937 views

### Is there “Schur-Weyl duality” for infinite dimensional unitary group?

To what extent does the relation between the diagonal representation of $SU(n)$ in $(\mathbb{C}^n)^{\otimes k}$ and representations of the symmetric group $S_k$ remain valid when instead of the group $...