Group theory Definition and 85 Discussions

In mathematics and abstract algebra, group theory studies the algebraic structures known as groups.
The concept of a group is central to abstract algebra: other well-known algebraic structures, such as rings, fields, and vector spaces, can all be seen as groups endowed with additional operations and axioms. Groups recur throughout mathematics, and the methods of group theory have influenced many parts of algebra. Linear algebraic groups and Lie groups are two branches of group theory that have experienced advances and have become subject areas in their own right.
Various physical systems, such as crystals and the hydrogen atom, may be modelled by symmetry groups. Thus group theory and the closely related representation theory have many important applications in physics, chemistry, and materials science. Group theory is also central to public key cryptography.
The early history of group theory dates from the 19th century. One of the most important mathematical achievements of the 20th century was the collaborative effort, taking up more than 10,000 journal pages and mostly published between 1960 and 1980, that culminated in a complete classification of finite simple groups.

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  1. redtree

    B One-to-many relations in group theory

    I apologize for the simple question, but it has been bothering me. One can write a relationship between groups, such as for example between Spin##(n)## and SO##(n)## as follows: \begin{equation} 1 \rightarrow \{-1,+1 \} \rightarrow \text{Spin}(n) \rightarrow \text{SO}(n) \rightarrow 1...
  2. M

    Studying Should I study Topology or Group Theory?

    Hello! I'm a physics graduate who is interested to work in Mathematical Physics. I haven't taken any specialized maths courses in undergrad, and currently I have some time to self-learn. I have finished studying Real Analysis from "Understanding Analysis - Stephen Abbott" and I'm currently...
  3. C

    Direct product of two semi-direct products

    After finding the number of elements for this group, how do I extend the argument to $$p,q\equiv1\left(mod\ 3\right)$$, where $$G=(C_p:C_3\ )\times(C_q:C_3\ )$$ Any help appreciated.
  4. StenEdeback

    Good introductory book about Lie Group Theory?

    Summary:: Good introductory book about Group Theory? Hi, I am looking for a good introductory book about Group Theory for physicists.
  5. S

    I Degrees of Freedom of SO(3)

    The group ##\rm{O(3)}## is the group of orthogonal ##3 \times 3## matrices with nine elements and dimension three which is constrained by the condition, $$a_{ik}a_{kj} = \delta_{ij}$$ where ##a_{ik}## are elements of the matrix ##\rm{A} \in O(3)##. This condition gives six constraints (can be...
  6. joneall

    A Symmetry of QED interaction Lagrangian

    I am trying to get a foothold on QFT using several books (Lancaster & Blundell, Klauber, Schwichtenberg, Jeevanjee), but sometimes have trouble seeing the forest for all the trees. My problem concerns the equation of QED in the form $$ \mathcal{L}_{Dirac+Proca+int} = \bar{\Psi} ( i \gamma_{\mu}...
  7. patric44

    Solving a Group theory problem using Cayley diagrams

    hi guys i saw this problem : if G is a group and a,b belongs to G and O(a) = e , b.a =a.b^2 then find O(b) , but i want to tackle this problem using Cayley diagrams , so my attempt is as following : $$ba =ab^{2}$$ then i might assume b as flipping , a as rotation : $$ fr = rf^{2}$$ then...
  8. sophiatev

    I The SO(3) group in Group Theory

    In Griffith's Introduction to Elementary Particles, he provides a very cursory introduction to group theory at the start of chapter four, which discusses symmetries. He introduces SO(n) as "the group of real, orthogonal, n x n matrices of determinant 1 is SO(n); SO(n) may be thought of as the...
  9. RicardoMP

    A Decomposing SU(4) into SU(3) x U(1)

    I'm solving these problems concerning the SU(4) group and I've reached the point where I have determined the Cartan matrix of SU(4), its inverse and the weight schemes for (1 0 0) and (0 1 0) highest weight states. How do I decompose the (1 0 0) and (0 1 0) into irreps of SU(3) x U(1) using...
  10. Adesh

    Understanding the notation in Group Theory

    I was studying mathematical logic and came across this statement of group theory I'm having a hard time in understanding it. I have concluded that ##G## is any set but not an empty one, ##\circ## is a function having input as two variables (both variables are from set...
  11. lelouch_v1

    I Quark Model Families and Masses

    Consider the pseudoscalar and vector meson family, as well as the baryon J = 1/2 family and baryon J = 3/2 family. Within each multiplet, for each particle state write down its complete set of quantum numbers, its mass, and its quark state content. Furthermore, for each multiplet draw the (Y...
  12. Jelly-bean

    I Why do we need two representations of SU(3)

    Summary: if we use up, down and staring quarks and their own antiparticle we can create the Eightfold way and understand mesons by the hyper charge and isospin projections. I don't understand how the conjugate representation of SU(3) allows us to create a vector space of dimension 3, while...
  13. D

    Other Textbooks for tensors and group theory

    Hello, I am an undergraduate who has taken basic linear algebra and ODE. As for physics, I have taken an online edX quantum mechanics course. I am looking at studying some of the necessary math and physics needed for QFT and particle physics. It looks like I need tensors and group theory...
  14. S

    A Selection rules using Group Theory: many body

    Hello, I am newish in group theory so sorry if anything in the following is not entirely correct. In general, one can anticipate if a matrix element <i|O|j> is zero or not by seeing if O|j> shares any irreducible representation with |i>. I know how to reduce to IRs the former product but I...
  15. D

    I Relation Between Cross Product and Infinitesimal Rotations

    Looking into the infinitesimal view of rotations from Lie, I noticed that the vector cross product can be written in terms of the generators of the rotation group SO(3). For example: $$\vec{\mathbf{A}} \times \vec{\mathbf{B}} = (A^T \cdot J_x \cdot B) \>\> \hat{i} + (A^T \cdot J_y \cdot B)...
  16. N

    Clebsch-Gordan Decomposition for 6 x 3

    Homework Statement [/B] I am trying to get the C-G Decomposition for 6 ⊗ 3. 2. Homework Equations Neglecting coefficients a tensor can be decomposed into a symmetric part and an antisymmetric part. For the 6 ⊗ 3 = (2,0) ⊗ (1,0) this is: Tij ⊗ Tk = Qijk = (Q{ij}k + Q{ji}k) + (Q[ij]k +...
  17. J

    A Fields transforming in the adjoint representation?

    Hi! I'm doing my master thesis in AdS/CFT and I've read several times that "Fields transforms in the adjoint representation" or "Fields transforms in the fundamental representation". I've had courses in Advanced mathematics (where I studied Group theory) and QFTs, but I don't understand (or...
  18. J

    Show that ##G\simeq \mathbb{Z}/2p\mathbb{Z}##

    Homework Statement Let ##G## be a group of order ##2p## with p a prime and odd number. a) We suppose ##G## as abelian. Show that ##G \simeq \mathbb{Z}/2p\mathbb{Z}## Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution Intuitively I see why but I would like some suggestion of what trajectory I could...
  19. A

    Commutator group in the center of a group

    Homework Statement [G,G] is the commutator group. Let ##H\triangleleft G## such that ##H\cap [G,G]## = {e}. Show that ##H \subseteq Z(G)##. Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution In the previous problem I showed that ##G## is abelian iif ##[G,G] = {e}##. I also showed that...
  20. Alex Langevub

    An exercise with the third isomorphism theorem in group theory

    Homework Statement Let ##G## be a group. Let ##H \triangleleft G## and ##K \leq G## such that ##H\subseteq K##. a) Show that ##K\triangleleft G## iff ##K/H \triangleleft G/H## b) Suppose that ##K/H \triangleleft G/H##. Show that ##(G/H)/(K/H) \simeq G/K## Homework Equations The three...
  21. Auto-Didact

    A Taxonomy of Theories in Theoretical Physics

    It goes without saying that theoretical physics has over the years become overrun with countless distinct - yet sometimes curiously very similar - theories, in some cases even dozens of directly competing theories. Within the foundations things can get far worse once we start to run into...
  22. A

    Isomorphism of dihedral with a semi-direct product

    Homework Statement Let m ≥ 3. Show that $$D_m \cong \mathbb{Z}_m \rtimes_{\varphi} \mathbb{Z}_2 $$ where $$\varphi_{(1+2\mathbb{Z})}(1+m\mathbb{Z}) = (m-1+m\mathbb{Z})$$ Homework Equations I have seen most basic concepts of groups except group actions. Si ideally I should not use them for this...
  23. Gerson J Ferreira

    Solid State Group theory paper suggestions for my classes

    I teach group theory for physicists, and I like to teach it following some papers. In general my students work with condensed matter, so I discuss group theory following these papers: [1] Group Theory and Normal Modes, American Journal of Physics 36, 529 (1968) [2] Nonsymmorphic Symmetries and...
  24. A

    Show injectivity, surjectivity and kernel of groups

    Homework Statement I am translating so bear with me. We have two group homomorphisms: α : G → G' β : G' → G Let β(α(x)) = x ∀x ∈ G Show that 1)β is a surjection 2)α an injection 3) ker(β) = ker(α ο β) (Here ο is the composition of functions.) Homework Equations This is from a...
  25. T

    I How to properly understand finite group theory

    I do have a fair amount of visual/geometric understanding of groups, but when I start solving problems I always wind up relying on my algebraic intuition, i.e. experience with forms of symbolic expression that arise from theorems, definitions, and brute symbolic manipulation. I even came up with...
  26. T

    I Images of elements in a group homomorphism

    Why does the image of elements in a homomorphism depend on the image of 1? Why not the other generators?
  27. A

    I Adjoint Representation Confusion

    I'm having a bit of an issue wrapping my head around the adjoint representation in group theory. I thought I understood the principle but I've got a practice problem which I can't even really begin to attempt. The question is this: My understanding of this question is that, given a...
  28. T

    ##\phi(R_{180})##, if ##\phi:D_n\to D_n## is an automorphism

    Homework Statement Determine ##\phi(R_{180})##, if ##\phi:D_n\to D_n## is an automorphism where ##n## is even so let ##n=2k##. The solutions manual showed that since the center of ##D_n## is ##\{R_0, R_{180}\}## and ##R_{180}## is not the identity then it can only be that...
  29. L

    Group Theory: Finite Abelian Groups - An element of order

    Homework Statement Decide all abelian groups of order 675. Find an element of order 45 in each one of the groups, if it exists. Homework Equations /propositions/definitions[/B] Fundamental Theorem of Finite Abelian Groups Lagrange's Theorem and its corollaries (not sure if helpful for this...
  30. CharlieCW

    Transforming one matrix base to another

    Homework Statement The SO(3) representation can be represented as ##3\times 3## matrices with the following form: $$J_1=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}\left(\matrix{0&1&0\\1&0&1\\ 0&1&0}\right) \ \ ; \ \ J_2=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}\left(\matrix{0&-i&0\\i&0&-i\\ 0&i&0}\right) \ \ ; \ \...
  31. Martin T

    I About Arnold's ODE Book Notation

    In Arnold's book, ordinary differential equations 3rd. WHY Arnold say Tg:M→M instead of Tg:G→S(M) for transformations Tfg=Tf Tg, Tg^-1=(Tg)^-1. Let M be a group and M a set. We say that an action of the group G on the set M is defined if to each element g of G there corresponds a...
  32. C

    I Tensor representation of the Lorentz Group

    I've been trying to understand representations of the Lorentz group. So as far as I understand, when an object is in an (m,n) representation, then it has two indices (let's say the object is ##\phi^{ij}##), where one index ##i## transforms as ##\exp(i(\theta_k-i\beta_k)A_k)## and the other index...
  33. N

    Left invariant vector field under a gauge transformation

    Homework Statement For a left invariant vector field γ(t) = exp(tv). For a gauge transformation t -> t(xμ). Intuitively, what happens to the LIVF in the latter case? Is it just displaced to a different point in spacetime or something else? Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution
  34. JuanC97

    I Minimum requisite to generalize Proca action

    Hello guys, In 90% of the papers I've read about diferent ways to achieve generalizations of the Proca action I've found there's a common condition that has to be satisfied, i.e: The number of degrees of freedom allowed to be propagated by the theory has to be three at most (two if the fields...
  35. diegzumillo

    I Breaking down SU(N) representation into smaller groups

    Hi all I have a shallow understanding of group theory but until now it was sufficient. I'm trying to generalize a problem, it's a Lagrangian with SU(N) symmetry but I changed some basic quantity that makes calculations hard by using a general SU(N) representation basis. Hopefully the details of...
  36. S

    I What is difference between transformations and automorphisms

    Could you please help me to understand what is the difference between notions of «transformation» and «automorphism» (maybe it is more correct to talk about «inner automorphism»), if any? It looks like those two terms are used interchangeably. By «transformation» I mean mapping from some set...
  37. U

    Are these homomorphisms?

    Homework Statement Are these functions homomorphisms, determine the kernel and image, and identify the quotient group up to isomorphism? C^∗ is the group of non-zero complex numbers under multiplication, and C is the group of all complex numbers under addition. Homework Equations φ1 : C−→C...
  38. H

    A How to calculate the degeneracy of an energy band?

    Could somebody write the guide for calculate the degeneracy of energy band by group theory? For instance, the valence band of Si and Ge in Gamma point. Thanks a lot!
  39. The Bill

    I What are the groups for NxNxN puzzle cubes called?

    The group of moves for the 3x3x3 puzzle cube is the Rubik’s Cube group: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik%27s_Cube_group. What are the groups of moves for NxNxN puzzle cubes called in general? Is there even a standardized term? I've been trying to find literature on the groups for the...
  40. A

    Dic12 element orders

    Homework Statement The dicyclic group of order 12 is generated by 2 generators x and y such that: ##y^2 = x^3, x^6 = e, y^{-1}xy =x^{-1} ## where the element of Dic 12 can be written in the form ##x^{k}y^{l}, 0 \leq x < 6, y = 0,1##. Write the product between two group elements in the form...
  41. A

    Contractions of the Euclidean Group ISO(3) = E(3)

    Homework Statement Consider the contractions of the 3D Euclidean symmetry while preserving the SO(2) subgroup. In the physics point of view, explain the resulting symmetries G(2) (Galilean symmetry group) and H(3) (Heisenberg-Weyl group for quantum mechanics) and give their Lie algebras...
  42. M

    I Proof that Galilean & Lorentz Ts form a group

    The Galilean transformations are simple. x'=x-vt y'=y z'=z t'=t. Then why is there so much jargon and complication involved in proving that Galilean transformations satisfy the four group properties (Closure, Associative, Identity, Inverse)? Why talk of 10 generators? Why talk of rotation as...
  43. DrHix

    How do I construct a controlled Hadamard gate?

    Homework Statement I am supposed to construct a controlled Hadamard gate using only single qubit and CNOT gates. Homework Equations [/B] We know that any arbitrary unitary Operator U can be written as the Martrix product U=AXBXC, where X is the NOT-Matrix and ABC=1 (identity matrix) I've...
  44. L

    I How many generators can a cyclic group have by definition?

    Hi, so I have just a small question about cyclic groups. Say I am trying to show that a group is cyclic. If I find that there is more than one element in that group that generates the whole group, is that fine? Essentially what I am asking is that can a cyclic group have more than one generator...
  45. A

    I How can there only be two possible four-element groups?

    How can you prove that there can only be 2 possible four-element group?
  46. A

    High Energy High Energy Physics and Group Theory Book Recommendations

    Hey there! I just want to ask if there are any books you would like to recommend that helps in studying high energy physics and HEP data analysis? Also can you recommend a good book for group theory and symmetry? I would be glad if you have links to free downloadable books. Thanks in advance!
  47. J

    Applied Zee and Georgi Group Theory books

    Hello. I will be attending a course on Group theory and the book that the professor suggests is Georgi's Lie Algebras in Particle Physics. As I liked Zee's book on General Relativity, I thought that it would be a blast to also use his Group theory textbook for the course. Problem is that I don't...
  48. D

    Complete the table for the finite field

    Homework Statement Let ##({a, b, c}, *,+)## be a finite field. Complete the field table for the operations ##*## and ##+## ##\begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|} \hline * & a & b & c \\ \hline a & ? & ? & ? \\ \hline b & ? & ? & ? \\ \hline c & ? & ? & b \\ \hline \end{array}## ##\begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|}...
  49. Edward Vogel

    I Representing Tiling and Packing Solutions

    I have been long interested in how one might find all of the 240 unique solutions to the SOMA cube puzzle since receiving one for Christmas in 1968. If one were to find all of the solutions (many of them are "similar" and there is an interesting variety "similar" to boot) . . how best to...
  50. M

    Show isomorphism under specific conditions

    Homework Statement Let ##A,B## be subgroups of a finite abelian group ##G## Show that ##\langle g_1A \rangle \times \langle g_2A \rangle \cong \langle g_1,g_2 \rangle## where ##g_1,g_2 \in B## and ##A \cap B = \{e_G\}## where ##g_1 A, g_2 A \in G/A## (which makes sense since ##G## is abelian...
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