**75**

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 ...

**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, ...

**49**

votes

**7**answers

5k 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, ...

**47**

votes

**10**answers

11k 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 ...

**30**

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 ...

**30**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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 ...

**29**

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 ...

**28**

votes

**8**answers

5k 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 ...

**28**

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 ...

**27**

votes

**5**answers

2k 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 ...

**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

**8**answers

3k 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 ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

799 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

**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 ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

727 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

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

**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 ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

962 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

**6**answers

931 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 ...

**18**

votes

**6**answers

4k 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 ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

578 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 ...

**17**

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 ...

**17**

votes

**8**answers

2k 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 ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

566 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

**2**answers

672 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

**3**answers

822 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

**2**answers

998 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

**17**answers

8k 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.

**16**

votes

**3**answers

1k 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

**3**answers

370 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 ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

553 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 ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

955 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 ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

2k 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 ...

**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

**2**answers

918 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

774 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

692 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 ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

1k 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. $Spin(8)$ ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

970 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

**4**answers

1k views

### Representing a product of matrix exponentials as the exponential of a sum

In Proof of a conjectured exponential formula, R. C. Thompson (1986) [edit: apparently, assuming Horn's conjecture] proved that if $A$ and $B$ are Hermitian matrices, then there exist unitary matrices ...

**14**

votes

**1**answer

314 views

### Is a smooth action of a semi-simple Lie group linearizable near a staionary point?

Suppose that $G$ is a semi-simple Lie group that acts smoothly (i.e., $C^\infty$) on a smooth, finite dimensional manifold $M$. Does it follow that the action of $G$ is linearizable near any ...

**14**

votes

**1**answer

340 views

### Proof for which primes H*G has torsion

In 1960 Borel proved a beautiful result:
Theorem. Let G be a simple, simply connected Lie group. Suppose that p is a prime that does not divide any of the coefficients of the highest root (expressed ...

**14**

votes

**0**answers

428 views

### Maximal Tori and group structures on spheres

It is known that for any compact Lie group $G$ with maximal torus $T$, that any other maximal torus $T'$ is conjugate to $T$. This might be a bit of a stretch, but I was wondering if it is possible to ...

**14**

votes

**0**answers

902 views

### What groups are Lie groups?

We know how to tell if a topological group is a Lie group: this was famously asked by Hilbert and answered gloriously by Gleason, Montgomery and Zippin in the 50s (a locally compact topological group ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

792 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 ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

1k 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 $M$ ...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

903 views

### Is there a 'nice' interpretation of virtual representations?

Let $G$ be a compact group and let $R(G)$ be the representation ring of $G$. Additively, $R(G)$ is generated by the irreducible representations of $G$. Usually one only deals with those ...

**13**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### homotopy type of connected Lie groups

Is there a simple proof (short and low-tech) of the following fact:
(E. Cartan) A connected real Lie group $G$ is diffeomorphic (as a manifold) to
$K\times\mathbb{R}^n$ where $K$ is a maximal ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

398 views

### Is a polynomial group law on $\mathbb{R}^n$ automatically nilpotent?

I was told that a polynomial group law on (all of) $\mathbb{R}^n$ gives automatically a nilpotent (Lie, of course) group.
Is it true? Where can I find a proof?
A counterexample for open subsets of ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

532 views

### Why is there a unique hyperbolic simplex of largest area?

Why is there a unqiue ideal $n$-simplex in $\mathbb H^n$ with largest volume for $n\geq 3$?
For $n=3$, this is a standard calculation, and for larger dimensions is much harder (see Haagerup and ...