**80**

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 ...

**61**

votes

**11**answers

15k 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 ...

**57**

votes

**26**answers

4k 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, ...

**56**

votes

**7**answers

6k 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, ...

**42**

votes

**2**answers

1k 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.
...

**41**

votes

**4**answers

4k 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

3k 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 ...

**32**

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 ...

**32**

votes

**5**answers

2k 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

**7**answers

6k 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 ...

**30**

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 ...

**29**

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 ...

**25**

votes

**8**answers

4k 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 ...

**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 ...

**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

**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

855 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

**2**answers

1k 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 ...

**20**

votes

**17**answers

10k 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

**6**answers

5k 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 ...

**20**

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 ...

**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 ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

669 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 ...

**19**

votes

**6**answers

948 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

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 ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

576 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

603 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

677 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

**7**answers

3k 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 ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

804 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 ...

**17**

votes

**8**answers

956 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, ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

675 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 ...

**17**

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 $M$ ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

866 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 ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

272 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 ...

**17**

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 ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### What is the Hopf algebra structures in the homology of the based loop spaces of $E_7$ and $E_8$?

Since $\Omega X$ is a $H$-space, if it has homology of finite type, the homology acquires the structure of a Hopf algebra. Bott has shown that for $X=G$ a Lie group, in fact $H_*(\Omega X)$ is free ...

**16**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Which groups have only real and quaternionic irreducible representations?

Consider a continuous irreducible representation of a compact Lie group on a finite-dimensional complex Hilbert space. There are three mutually exclusive options:
1) it's not isomorphic to its dual ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

1k 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 ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

712 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 ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

732 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 ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Conjugate points in Lie groups with left-invariant metrics

For any Lie group $G$ there exist many left-invariant Riemannian metrics, namely, one just takes any inner product on the tangent space at the identity $T_eG$ and then left translate it to the other ...

**15**

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. $Spin(8)$ ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Where did Sophus Lie write the group commutator for two one parameter groups

If $X,Y$ are vector fields and $\def\Fl{\operatorname{Fl}}\Fl^X_t$ and $\Fl^Y_t$ their local flows, let $[\Fl^X_t,\Fl^Y_t]:= \Fl^Y_{-t}\Fl^X_{-t}\Fl^Y_t\Fl^X_t$ denote the group commutator of the ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

827 views

### Borel set plus a closed set = Borel

Hi,
Let $R$ be equipped with the usual Borel structure. Let $F$ be a Borel subset and $E$ be a closed subset of $R$. Then $F+E=(f+e: f\in F, e \in E \)$ is Borel? If yes, is it true for any locally ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

315 views

### Weyl group actions on 0-weight spaces

For a complex simple Lie group G with a maximal torus T, we can take a highest-weight representation V of G and look at the 0-weight space, i.e. the subspace of V of elements invariant under T. This ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Group Structure on CP^infinty

I was inspired by the following algebraic topology orals question:
"Is $S^1$ the loop space of another space?"
This is easy to see if you recognize that $S^1$ is a $K(\mathbb{Z},1)$, and the loop ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

698 views

### There is no lattice in PSL(2,R) which contains PSL(2,Z) properly?

How can I see that there is no lattice in $G=\mathrm{PSL}_2( \mathbb{R})$ which contains $\Gamma_1=\mathrm{PSL}_2( \mathbb{Z})$ properly, or equivalently, that $X_1 =\mathrm{PSL}_2(\mathbb{Z}) ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Textbook or lecture notes in topological K-Theory

I am looking for a good introductory level textbook (or set of lecture notes) on classical topological K-Theory that would be suitable for a one-semester graduate course. Ideally, it would require ...