Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [rt.representation-theory]

Linear representations of algebras and groups, Lie theory, associative algebras, multilinear algebra.

101
votes
11answers
18k views

Is Fourier analysis a special case of representation theory or an analogue?

I'm asking this question because I've been told by some people that Fourier analysis is "just representation theory of $S^1$." I've been introduced to the idea that Fourier analysis is related to ...
66
votes
12answers
9k views

Why aren't representations of monoids studied so much?

It seems to me like every book on representation theory leaps into groups right away, even though the underlying ideas, such as representations, convolution algebras, etc. don't really make explicit ...
66
votes
0answers
2k views

Why do combinatorial abstractions of geometric objects behave so well?

This question is inspired by a talk of June Huh from the recent "Current Developments in Mathematics" conference: http://www.math.harvard.edu/cdm/. Here are two examples of the kind of combinatorial ...
62
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
62
votes
3answers
3k views

Does linearization of categories reflect isomorphism?

Given a category $C$ and a commutative ring $R$, denote by $RC$ the $R$-linearization: this is the category enriched over $R$-modules which has the same objects as $C$, but the morphism module between ...
61
votes
7answers
20k views

A learning roadmap for Representation Theory

As Akhil had great success with his question, I'm going to ask one in a similar vein. So representation theory has kind of an intimidating feel to it for an outsider. Say someone is familiar with ...
56
votes
20answers
13k views

Fun applications of representations of finite groups

Are there some fun applications of the theory of representations of finite groups? I would like to have some examples that could be explained to a student who knows what is a finite group but does not ...
55
votes
10answers
4k views

Why are characters so well-behaved?

Last year I attended a first course in the representation theory of finite groups, where everything was over C. I was struck, and somewhat puzzled, by the inexplicable perfection of characters as a ...
55
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 ...
54
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “semisimple” a dense condition among Lie algebras?

The "Motivation" section is a cute story, and may be skipped; the "Definitions" section establishes notation and background results; my question is in "My Question", and in brief in the title. Some ...
52
votes
11answers
8k views

Why is the exterior algebra so ubiquitous?

The exterior algebra of a vector space V seems to appear all over the place, such as in the definition of the cross product and determinant, the description of the Grassmannian as a variety, the ...
52
votes
1answer
5k views

Double affine Hecke algebras and mainstream mathematics

This is something of a followup to the question "Kapranov's analogies", where a connection between Cherednik's double affine Hecke algebras (DAHA's) and Geometric Langlands program was mentioned. I ...
50
votes
9answers
5k views

Is every finite group a group of “symmetries”?

I was trying to explain finite groups to a non-mathematician, and was falling back on the "they're like symmetries of polyhedra" line. Which made me realize that I didn't know if this was actually ...
48
votes
11answers
8k views

What is significant about the half-sum of positive roots?

I apologize for the somewhat vague question: there may be multiple answers but I think this is phrased in such a way that precise answers are possible. Let $\mathfrak{g}$ be a semisimple Lie algebra (...
48
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
45
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
44
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
44
votes
3answers
5k views

What to do now that Lusztig's and James' conjectures have been shown to be false?

Lusztig and James provided conjectures for dimensions of simple modules (or decomposition numbers) for algebraic groups and symmetric groups in characteristic $p$. These conjectures have been ...
44
votes
0answers
782 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,...
43
votes
6answers
7k views

How is representation theory used in modular/automorphic forms?

There is certainly an abundance of advanced books on Galois representations and automorphic forms. What I'm wondering is more simple: What is the basic connection between modular forms and ...
41
votes
1answer
10k views

Consequences of Geometric Langlands

So, lots of people work on the Geometric Langlands Conjecture, and there have been a few questions around here on it (admittedly, several of them mine). So here's another one, tagged community wiki ...
41
votes
5answers
5k views

What role does the “dual Coxeter number” play in Lie theory (and should it be called the “Kac number”)?

While trying to get some perspective on the extensive literature about highest weight modules for affine Lie algebras relative to "level" (work by Feigin, E. Frenkel, Gaitsgory, Kac, ....), I run into ...
40
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is there such a close resemblance between the unitary representation theory of the Virasoro algebra and that of the Temperley-Lieb algebra?

For those who aren't familiar with the Virasoro or Temperley-Lieb algebras, I include some definitions: • The (universal envelopping algebra of the) Virasoro algebra is the $\star$-algebra $...
40
votes
2answers
6k views

Open problems/questions in representation theory and around?

What are open problems in representation theory? What are the sources (books/papers/sites) discussing this? Any kinds of problems/questions are welcome - big/small, vague/concrete. Some estimation ...
40
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the status of Arthur's book?

Arthur's long-awaited book project is now published (The endoscopic classification of representations: orthogonal and symplectic groups). However, in the book he takes some things for granted: The ...
40
votes
1answer
3k views

Square roots of elements in a finite group and representation theory

Let $G$ be a finite group. In an an earlier question, Fedor asked whether the square root counting function $r_2:G\rightarrow \mathbb{N}$, which assigns to $g\in G$ the number of elements of $G$ that ...
39
votes
2answers
3k views

How much of character theory can be done without Schur's lemma or the Artin-Wedderburn theorem?

This is a somewhat imprecise question, as I am not sure how exactly how to formalise how to do mathematics "without" a certain key tool, but hopefully the intent of the question will still be clear. ...
38
votes
7answers
2k views

Character table does not determine group Vs Tannaka duality

From the example $D_4$, $Q$, we see that the character table of a group doesn't determine the group up to isomorphism. On the other hand, Tannaka duality says that a group $G$ is determined by its ...
38
votes
4answers
2k views

Intuition behind the definition of quantum groups

Being far from the field of quantum groups, I have nevertheless made in the past several (unsuccessful) attempts to understand their definition and basic properties. The goal of this post is to try to ...
38
votes
9answers
5k views

Nice proofs of the Poincaré–Birkhoff–Witt theorem

Let $\mathfrak{g}$ be a finite-dimensional Lie algebra over a field $k$, with an ordered basis $x_1 < x_2 < ... < x_n$. We define the universal enveloping algebra $U(\mathfrak{g})$ of $\...
38
votes
9answers
7k views

How is the physical meaning of an irreducible representation justified?

This is maybe not an entirely mathematical question, but consider it a pedagogical question about representation theory if you want to avoid physics-y questions on MO. I've been reading Singer's ...
38
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
38
votes
2answers
1k views

Implications of non-negativity of coefficients of arbitrary Kazhdan-Lusztig polynomials?

In their seminal 1979 paper here, Kazhdan and Lusztig studied an arbitrary Coxeter group $(W,S)$ and the corresponding Iwahori-Hecke algebra. In particular they showed how to pass from a standard ...
37
votes
2answers
2k views

Which philosophy for reductive groups?

I am just beginning to look further into trace formulas and automorphic forms in a quite general setting. For long I have noticed that the natural assumption on the groupe $G$ we work on is to be ...
37
votes
7answers
3k views

Lie group examples

I'm looking for interesting applications of Lie groups for an introductory Lie groups graduate course. In particular I'd like to hear of non-standard examples that at first sight do not seem to be ...
37
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there “real” vs. “quaternionic” conjugacy classes in finite groups?

The complex irreps of a finite group come in three types: self-dual by a symmetric form, self-dual by a symplectic form, and not self-dual at all. In the first two cases, the character is real-valued, ...
37
votes
3answers
2k views

How to constructively/combinatorially prove Schur-Weyl duality?

How is Schur-Weyl duality (specifically, the fact that the actions of the group ring $\mathbb{K}\left[ S_{n}\right] $ and the monoid ring $\mathbb{K}\left[ \left( \operatorname*{End}V,\cdot\...
35
votes
1answer
1k views

Tell me an algebraic integer that isn't an eigenvalue of the sum of two permutations

Can you tell me an algebraic integer, with all archimedean absolute values less than 2, which is not an eigenvalue of $\pi_1 + \pi_2$ for any two permutation matrices $\pi_1,\pi_2$? Is it ...
34
votes
4answers
5k views

Motivating the Casimir element

Weyl's theorem states that any finite-dimensional representation of a finite-dimensional semisimple Lie algebra is completely reducible. In my mind, the "natural" way to prove this result is by way ...
34
votes
10answers
7k views

The finite subgroups of SL(2,C)

Books can be written about the finite subgroups of $\mathrm{SL}(2,\mathbb C)$ (and their immediate family, like the polyhedral groups...) I am about to start writing notes for a short course about ...
34
votes
5answers
5k views

Induction and Coinduction of Representations

I'd like to understand the general framework of induction and coinduction of representations. If G is a finite group and H a subgroup, I know that there is a restriction functor from representations ...
34
votes
2answers
5k views

Current Status on Langlands Program

The Langlands Program was launched almost fifty years ago, and progress has been made gradually, much of it hard earned. Langlands himself wrote a survey on the functoriality conjecture in 1997, Where ...
34
votes
7answers
4k views

How to think about parabolic induction.

In studying representations of a reductive group G, a standard technique is to use parabolic induction. The idea is that one studies such groups as a family (or perhaps in smaller families, like say ...
34
votes
1answer
2k views

Roadmap to Geometric Representation Theory (leading to Langlands)?

I believe there has been at least one question similar to this one and yet I still think this particular question deserves to have a thread of its own. I'm becoming increasingly fascinated by stuff ...
33
votes
7answers
7k views

Why are the characters of the symmetric group integer-valued?

I remember one of my professors mentioning this fact during a class I took a while back, but when I searched my notes (and my textbook) I couldn't find any mention of it, let alone the proof. My best ...
33
votes
5answers
7k views

Definitions of Hecke algebras

There is a definition of Iwahori-Hecke algebras for Coxeter groups in terms of generators and relations and there is a definition of Hecke algebras involving functions on locally compact groups. Are ...
33
votes
4answers
1k views

Why there is a relation among the second-order minors of a symmetric $4\times 4$ matrix?

A $4\times 4$ symmetric matrix $$ \left( \begin{array}{cccc} a_{11} & a_{12} & a_{13} & a_{14} \\ a_{12} & a_{22} & a_{23} & a_{24} \\ a_{13} & a_{23} & a_{33} & ...
33
votes
8answers
6k views

Ubiquity of the push-pull formula

The push-pull formula appears in several different incarnations. There are, at least, the following: 1) If $f \colon X \to Y$ is a continous map, then for sheaves $\mathcal{F}$ on $X$ and $\mathcal{G}...
33
votes
6answers
2k views

What motivations for automorphic forms?

Automorphic forms are ubiquitous in modern number theory and stands as a mysterious Graal lying at the intersection of many fields, if not building valuable bridges between them. However, since this ...
33
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the applications of immanants?

Definitions of determinant: $\det(A) = \sum_{\sigma \in S_n}\operatorname{sgn} \sigma\prod_{i}a_{i, \sigma(i)}$ and permanent: $\mathrm{per}(A) = \sum_{\sigma \in S_n}\prod_{i}a_{i, \sigma(i)}$ ...