Questions tagged [gr.group-theory]

Questions about the branch of algebra that deals with groups.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
161
votes
28answers
49k views

Cool problems to impress students with group theory [closed]

Since this forum is densely populated with algebraists, I think I'll ask it here. I'm teaching intermediate level algebra this semester and I'd like to entertain my students with some clever ...
161
votes
7answers
14k views

Does $\mathrm{Aut}(\mathrm{Aut}(...\mathrm{Aut}(G)...))$ stabilize?

Purely for fun, I was playing around with iteratively applying $\DeclareMathOperator{\Aut}{Aut}\Aut$ to a group $G$; that is, studying groups of the form $$ {\Aut}^n(G):= \Aut(\Aut(...\Aut(G)...)) $$ ...
112
votes
3answers
4k views

The number $\pi$ and summation by $SL(2,\mathbb Z)$

Let $f(a,b,c,d)=\sqrt{a^2+b^2}+\sqrt{c^2+d^2}-\sqrt{(a+c)^2+(b+d)^2}$. (it is the defect in the triangle inequality) Then, we discovered by heuristic arguments and then verified by computer that $$\...
106
votes
2answers
13k views

Does every non-empty set admit a group structure (in ZF)?

It is easy to see that in ZFC, any non-empty set $S$ admits a group structure: for finite $S$ identify $S$ with a cyclic group, and for infinite $S$, the set of finite subsets of $S$ with the binary ...
101
votes
11answers
10k views

Why do Groups and Abelian Groups feel so different?

Groups are naturally "the symmetries of an object". To me, the group axioms are just a way of codifying what the symmetries of an object can be so we can study it abstractly. However, this heuristic ...
89
votes
2answers
6k views

$A$ is isomorphic to $A \oplus \mathbb{Z}^2$, but not to $A \oplus \mathbb{Z}$

Are there abelian groups $A$ with $A \cong A \oplus \mathbb{Z}^2$ and $A \not\cong A \oplus \mathbb{Z}$?
87
votes
3answers
4k views

How feasible is it to prove Kazhdan's property (T) by a computer?

Recently, I have proved that Kazhdan's property (T) is theoretically provable by computers (arXiv:1312.5431, explained below), but I'm quite lame with computers and have no idea what they actually ...
85
votes
1answer
8k views

Non-amenable groups with arbitrarily large Tarski number?

Just out of curiosity, I wonder whether there are non-amenable groups with arbitrarily large Tarski numbers. The Tarski number $\tau(G)$ of a discrete group $G$ is the smallest $n$ such that $G$ ...
81
votes
5answers
8k views

When is $A$ isomorphic to $A^3$?

This is totally elementary, but I have no idea how to solve it: let $A$ be an abelian group such that $A$ is isomorphic to $A^3$. is then $A$ isomorphic to $A^2$? probably no, but how construct a ...
79
votes
23answers
10k views

Solving algebraic problems with topology

Often, topologists reduce a problem which is - in some sense - of geometric nature, into an algebraic question that is then (partiallly) solved to give back some understanding of the original problem. ...
79
votes
4answers
10k views

Can a group be a universal Turing machine?

This question was inspired by this blog post of Jordan Ellenberg. Define a "computable group" to be an at most countable group $G$ whose elements can be represented by finite binary strings, with the ...
78
votes
3answers
5k views

How do I verify the Coq proof of Feit-Thompson?

I probably don't have the appropriate background to even ask this question. I know next to nothing about formal or computer-aided proof, and very little even about group theory. And this question is ...
73
votes
5answers
3k views

When the automorphism group of an object determines the object

Let me start with three examples to illustrate my question (probably vague; I apologize in advance). $\mathbf{Man}$, the category of closed (compact without boundary) topological manifold. For any $M,...
72
votes
6answers
8k views

Which graphs are Cayley graphs?

Every group presentation determines the corresponding Cayley graph, which has a node for each group element, and arrows labeled with the generators to get from one group element to another. My main ...
71
votes
4answers
4k views

Is ${\rm S}_6$ the automorphism group of a group?

The automorphism group of the symmetric group $S_n$ is $S_n$ when $n$ is not $2$ or $6$, in which cases it is respectively $1$ and the semidirect product of $S_6$ with the (cyclic) group of order $2$. ...
71
votes
2answers
6k views

The inverse Galois problem and the Monster

I have a slight interest in both the inverse Galois problem and in the Monster group. I learned some time ago that all of the sporadic simple groups, with the exception of the Mathieu group $M_{23}$, ...
70
votes
3answers
8k views

5/8 bound in group theory

The odds of two random elements of a group commuting is the number of conjugacy classes of the group $$ \frac{ \{ (g,h): ghg^{-1}h^{-1} = 1 \} }{ |G|^2} = \frac{c(G)}{|G|}$$ If this number exceeds ...
70
votes
1answer
5k views

Nontrivial finite group with trivial group homologies?

I stumbled across this question in a seminar-paper a long time ago: Does there exist a positive integer $N$ such that if $G$ is a finite group with $\bigoplus_{i=1}^NH_i(G)=0$ then $G=\lbrace 1\...
69
votes
2answers
5k views

Group cohomology and condensed matter

I am mystified by formulas that I find in the condensed matter literature (see Symmetry protected topological orders and the group cohomology of their symmetry group arXiv:1106.4772v6 (pdf) by Chen, ...
67
votes
9answers
14k views

Is there a slick proof of the classification of finitely generated abelian groups?

One the proofs that I've never felt very happy with is the classification of finitely generated abelian groups (which says an abelian group is basically uniquely the sum of cyclic groups of orders $...
67
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a 0-1 law for the theory of groups?

Several months ago, Dominik asked the question Is there a 0-1 law for the theory of groups? on mathstackexchange, but although his question received attention there is still no answer. By asking the ...
64
votes
7answers
13k views

Is Thompson's Group F amenable?

Last year a paper on the arXiv (Akhmedov) claimed that Thompson's group $F$ is not amenable, while another paper, published in the journal "Infinite dimensional analysis, quantum probability, and ...
64
votes
4answers
4k views

Groups that do not exist

In the long process that resulted in the classification of finite simple groups, some of the exceptional groups were only shown to exist after people had computed (most of) their character tables and ...
64
votes
9answers
7k views

What are "classical groups"?

Unlike many other terms in mathematics which have a universally understood meaning (for instance, "group"), the term classical group seems to have a fuzzier definition. Apparently it originates with ...
64
votes
1answer
6k views

Why can't a nonabelian group be 75% abelian?

This question asks for intuition, not a proof. An earlier question, Measures of non-abelian-ness was thoroughly answered by Arturo Magidin. A paper by Gustafson1 proves that, for a nonabelian group, ...
62
votes
1answer
3k views

Normalizers in symmetric groups

Question: Let $G$ be a finite group. Is it true that there is a subgroup $U$ inside some symmetric group $S_n$, such that $N(U)/U$ is isomorphic to $G$? Here $N(U)$ is the normalizer of $U$ in $S_n$. ...
59
votes
9answers
7k views

Fundamental groups of noncompact surfaces

I got fantastic answers to my previous question (about modern references for the fact that surfaces can be triangulated), so I thought I'd ask a related question. A basic fact about surface topology ...
59
votes
1answer
3k views

Feit-Thompson conjecture

The Feit-Thompson conjecture states: If $p<q$ are primes, then $\frac{q^p-1}{q-1}$ does not divide $\frac{p^q-1}{p-1}$. On page xiii of these proceedings of a conference at the University of ...
59
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the current status of the Kaplansky zero-divisor conjecture for group rings?

Let $K$ be a field and $G$ a group. The so called zero-divisor conjecture for group rings asserts that the group ring $K[G]$ is a domain if and only if $G$ is a torsion-free group. A couple of good ...
59
votes
1answer
1k views

Are there $n$ groups of order $n$ for some $n>1$?

Given a positive integer $n$, let $N(n)$ denote the number of groups of order $n$, up to isomorphism. Question: Does $N(n)=n$ hold for some $n>1$? I checked the OEIS-sequence https://oeis.org/...
57
votes
5answers
6k views

Why are abelian groups amenable?

A (discrete) group is amenable if it admits a finitely additive probability measure (on all its subsets), invariant under left translation. It is a basic fact that every abelian group is amenable. ...
55
votes
5answers
5k views

Heuristic argument that finite simple groups _ought_ to be "classifiable"?

Obviously there exists a list of the finite simple groups, but why should it be a nice list, one that you can write down? Solomon's AMS article goes some way toward a historical / technical ...
55
votes
5answers
2k views

Do unit quaternions at vertices of a regular 4-simplex, one being 1, generate a free group?

Choose unit quaternions $q_0, q_1, q_2, q_3, q_4$ that form the vertices of a regular 4-simplex in the quaternions. Assume $q_0 = 1$. Let the other four generate a group via quaternion ...
54
votes
6answers
5k views

Can the symmetric groups on sets of different cardinalities be isomorphic?

For any set X, let SX be the symmetric group on X, the group of permutations of X. My question is: Can there be two nonempty sets X and Y with different cardinalities, but for which SX is isomorphic ...
54
votes
2answers
2k views

How many relations of length $n$ can exists in a group without enforcing shorter relations?

Let $G$ be a group with two generators. Suppose that all non-trivial words of length less or equal $n$ in the generators and their inverses define non-trivial elements in $G$. Question: How many of ...
53
votes
14answers
15k views

Fantastic properties of Z/2Z

Recently I gave a lecture to master's students about some nice properties of the group with two elements $\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$. Typically, I wanted to present simple, natural situations where the ...
52
votes
2answers
3k views

a categorical Nakayama lemma?

There are the following Nakayama style lemmata: (the classical Nakayama lemma) Let $R$ be a commutative ring with $1$ and $M$ a finitely generated $R$-module. If $m_1, \ldots, m_n$ generate $M$ ...
51
votes
3answers
5k views

Why are parabolic subgroups called "parabolic subgroups"?

Over the years, I have heard two different proposed answers to this question. It has something to do with parabolic elements of $SL(2,\mathbb{R})$. This sounds plausible, but I haven't heard a really ...
50
votes
6answers
5k views

Does homeomorphic and isomorphic always imply homeomorphically isomorphic?

Let $(G,\cdot,T)$ and $(H,\star,S)$ be topological groups such that $(G,T)$ is homeomorphic to $(H,S)$ and $(G,\cdot)$ is isomorphic to $(H,\star)$. Does it follow that $(G,\cdot,T)$ and $(H,\star,S)...
50
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there an odd-order group whose order is the sum of the orders of the proper normal subgroups?

For a finite group G, let |G| denote the order of G and write $D(G) = \sum_{N \triangleleft G} |N|$, the sum of the orders of the normal subgroups. I would like to call G "perfect" if D(G) = 2|G|, ...
49
votes
5answers
4k views

How much of the ATLAS of finite groups is independently checked and/or computer verified?

In a recent talk Serre made some comments about proofs that rely on the classification of finite simple groups (CFSG) and on the ATLAS of Finite Groups. Namely, he said that a proof that relied on the ...
49
votes
2answers
5k views

Where are the second- (and third-)generation proofs of the classification of finite simple groups up to?

According the the Wikipedia page, the second generation proof is up to at least nine volumes: six by Gorenstein, Lyons and Solomon dated 1994-2005, two covering the quasithin business by Aschbacher ...
49
votes
1answer
7k views

What is Atiyah's topological formulation of the odd order theorem?

Here is a quote from an article by Daniel Gorenstein on the history of the classification of finite simple groups (available here). During that year in Harvard, Thompson began his monumental ...
48
votes
3answers
2k views

Is each squared finite group trivial?

A semigroup $S$ is defined to be squared if there exists a subset $A\subseteq S$ such that the function $A\times A\to S$, $(x,y)\mapsto xy$, is bijective. Problem: Is each squared finite group ...
48
votes
4answers
2k views

How many ways can you inscribe five 24-cells in a 600-cell, hitting all its vertices?

You can inscribe five tetrahedra in a dodecahedron so that each vertex of the dodecahedron is the vertex of just one tetrahedron, as drawn here by Greg Egan: Warmup question: How many ways can you do ...
48
votes
1answer
8k views

Order of an automorphism of a finite group

Let G be a finite group of order n. Must every automorphism of G have order less than n? (David Speyer: I got this question from you long ago, but I don't know whether you knew the answer. I stil ...
48
votes
0answers
888 views

Class function counting solutions of equation in finite group: when is it a virtual character?

Let $w=w(x_1,\dots,x_n)$ be a word in a free group of rank $n$. Let $G$ be a finite group. Then we may define a class function $f=f_w$ of $G$ by $$ f_w(g) = |\{ (x_1,\dots, x_n)\in G^n\mid w(x_1,\dots,...
47
votes
2answers
2k views

Isomorphic general linear groups implies isomorphic fields?

Suppose $n > 1$ is a natural number. Suppose $K$ and $L$ are fields such that the general linear groups of degree $n$ over them are isomorphic, i.e., $GL(n,K) \cong GL(n,L)$ as groups. Is it ...
46
votes
5answers
9k views

Why are the sporadic simple groups HUGE?

I'm merely a grad student right now, but I don't think an exploration of the sporadic groups is standard fare for graduate algebra, so I'd like to ask the experts on MO. I did a little reading on them ...
46
votes
4answers
2k views

Can we ascertain that there exist an epimorphism $G\rightarrow H?$

Let $G,H$ be finite groups. Suppose we have a epimorphism $G\times G\rightarrow H\times H$. Can we find an epimorphism $G\rightarrow H$? A fellow graduate student asked me this question during TA ...

1
2 3 4 5
139