Conjugacy Classes and Group Order

In summary, the number of elements in a conjugacy class of a group must divide the order of the group, and this is a consequence of the orbit-stabilizer theorem or the class equation. This can be seen by considering a finite group G acting on itself by conjugation.
  • #1
Kalinka35
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Homework Statement


Is there a proof that the number of elements in a conjugacy class of a group has to divide the order of the group?
Everyone seems to cite it left and right but I've not seen a proof of it anywhere.


Homework Equations





The Attempt at a Solution


I'm guessing Langrange's Theorem may come into play but since conjugacy classes themselves aren't subgroups I'm not sure how.
 
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  • #2
It is a trivial* consequence of the orbit-stabilizer theorem, or the class equation if you want to be fancy.

If G is a finite group acting on a set X, then |G|=|Orb(x)||Stab(x)|. Let X be G, and let the action be conjugation.

* Trivial in the sense of an immediate and obvious corollary, not something that is unimportant and easy.
 

1. What are conjugacy classes and how are they related to group order?

Conjugacy classes are subsets of a group that contain elements that are related to each other by conjugation. Two elements are said to be conjugate if they are related by the group operation. The number of conjugacy classes in a group is equal to its group order.

2. How do you determine the number of conjugacy classes in a group?

The number of conjugacy classes in a group can be determined by finding the number of distinct cycle types in its group elements. This can be done by using the cycle index polynomial or by using the orbit-stabilizer theorem.

3. Can two groups have the same number of conjugacy classes but different group orders?

Yes, it is possible for two groups to have the same number of conjugacy classes but different group orders. This can happen if the groups have different structures and different numbers of elements in each conjugacy class.

4. How do conjugacy classes affect the normality of a subgroup?

Conjugacy classes play a crucial role in determining the normality of a subgroup. If a subgroup is normal, then all of its elements will be contained in their own conjugacy classes. However, if a subgroup contains elements from different conjugacy classes, then it is not normal.

5. Are there any applications of conjugacy classes and group order in real-world problems?

Yes, conjugacy classes and group order have several applications in fields such as cryptography, coding theory, and chemistry. In cryptography, the number of conjugacy classes in a group can be used to determine the security of certain encryption algorithms. In chemistry, the concept of group order is used to understand the symmetry and properties of molecules.

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