I am interested in trying to understand the following problem. Let $G$ be a connected simple algebraic group of type $D_n$, (with $n\geqslant 4$ even), defined over an algebraically closed field of odd characteristic. Then in such a group there are unipotent classes which are so called degenerate unipotent classes. These are the unipotent classes whose Jordan normal forms are parameterised by partitions $\lambda$ of $2n$ such that all parts of $\lambda$ are even and every even number occurs an even number of times. For example if $G$ is $SO_8(\mathbb{K})$ and $\lambda$ is either the partition $(4,4)$ or $(2,2,2,2)$. They are degenerate as there are two distinct conjugacy classes of unipotent elements in $G$ whose Jordan normal forms are both parameterised by $\lambda$.

Let $\mathcal{O}$ represent one of the two degenerate conjugacy classes of $G$. We can write the partition $\lambda$ as $(2\eta_1,2\eta_1,2\eta_2,2\eta_2,\dots,2\eta_k,2\eta_k)$ for some natural number $k$. It is commented by Carter, (in *Finite Groups of Lie Type: Complex Characters and Conjugacy Classes* section 13.3), that this class is a Richardson class for a parabolic subgroup $P$ of $G$ whose Levi complement has semisimple type $A_{2\eta_1-1} \times A_{2\eta_2-1} \times \cdots \times A_{2\eta_k -1}$. If we assume the branch point of the Dynkin diagram is on the right of the diagram then there are two such parabolic subgroups arising from the choice to be made over the extremal right hand side node in the construction of the root subsystem of type $A_{2\eta_k-1}$.

**EDIT**: To be very specific if $G$ is of type $D_4$ let us assume that the simple roots $\Delta = \{\alpha_1,\alpha_2,\alpha_3,\alpha_4\}$ are labelled as in Bourbaki, (*Groupes et algèbres de Lie: Chapitres 4 à 6*). Then the two Levi subgroups of type $A_3$ correspond to the subsets $\{\alpha_1,\alpha_2,\alpha_3\}$ and $\{\alpha_1,\alpha_2,\alpha_4\}$ of the roots and the two Levi subgroups of type $A_1\times A_1$ corespond to the subsets $\{\alpha_1,\alpha_3\}$ and $\{\alpha_1,\alpha_4\}$.

Using the Bala-Carter theorem we can associate to this unipotent class a Levi subgroup of $G$ and a distinguished parabolic subgroup of the Levi subgroup. Now we know from Bala and Carter's classification of the distinguished parabolic subgroups in a simple group of type $D$ that the Levi associated to these classes cannot be $G$ itself. This is because the right extremal nodes of the weighted Dynkin diagrams of this class have values 0 and 2 but in a distinguished parabolic they must either be both 2 or both 0. Therefore we must have that the Levi is a direct product of type $A$ components and the distinguished parabolic is the unique distinguished parabolic in a group of type A, (the Borel).

My question is then the following. Will the Levi subgroup associated to the class $\mathcal{O}$ from the Bala-Carter theorem be conjugate to the Levi complement of the parabolic subgroup $P$. Or alternatively is there a way, say from the weighted Dynkin diagram, that one can determine which Levi subgroup $L$ will be such that $u \in \mathcal{O}$ is distinguished in $L$?

For example if $G$ is $SO_8(\mathbb{K})$ and $\lambda$ is the partition $(4,4)$ then is $L$ a Levi subgroup of type $A_3$?

Thanks for any help anyone may be able to give me with this.

**EDIT**: Some clarifications of the language, due to the suggestion of Jim.

`$D_4$`

(but probably without affecting your question). And the initial description "simple connected semisimple" sounds awkward; but I guess you are mainly concerned just with`$SO_{2n}$`

throughout. $\endgroup$ – Jim Humphreys Dec 6 '10 at 16:13