# Lie Groups, Lie Algebra and Vectorfields

I'm too busy to give a full reply, but I think you might be having some issues with thinking of a vector as a more flexible concept. Specifically, for a matrix Lie group, at tangent vector will be a matrix. The matrix is a being thought of as a vector--that's why it has two indices. Matrices can be added and multiplied by scalars, so abstractly, they can be thought of as vectors. For example, for SO(3). the tangent "vectors" to the identity will be skew-symmetric matrices. You take a path through the identity matrix and differentiate it. When you differentiate a path of matrices, the result is a matrix. Because these paths go through the identity element, which doesn't
Hi I'm learning about Lie Groups to understand gauge theory (in the principal bundle context) and I'm having trouble with some concepts.

Now let $a$ and $g$ be elements of a Lie group $G$, the left translation $L_{a}: G \rightarrow G$ of $g$ by $a$ are defined by :

$L_{a}g=ag$

which induces a map $L_{a*}: T_{g}G \rightarrow T_{ag}G$
Let $X$ be vector field on a Lie group $G$. $X$ is said to be a left invariant vector field if $L_{a*}X|_{g}=X|_{ag}$. A vector $V \in T_{e}G$ defines a unique left-invariant vector field $X_{V}$ throughout $G$ by:

$X_{V}|_{g}= L_{g*}V$, $g \in G$

Now the author gives an example of the left invariant vector field of $GL(n,\mathbb{R})$:

Let $g={x^{ij}(g)}$ and $a={x^{ij}(a)}$ be elements of $GL(n,\mathbb{R})$ where $e= I_{n}=\delta^{ij}$ is the unit element. The left translation is:

$L_{a}g=ag=\Sigma x^{ik}(a)x^{kj}(g)$

Now take a vector $V=\Sigma V^{ij}\frac{\partial}{\partial x^{ij}}|_{e} \in T_{e}G$ where the $V^{ij}$ are the entries of $V$. The left invariant vector field generated by $V$ is:

$X_{V|_{g}}=L_{g*}V=\Sigma V^{ij}\frac{\partial}{\partial x^{ij}}|_{e}x^{kl}(g)x^{lm}(e) \frac{\partial}{x^{km}}|_{g}= \Sigma V^{ij}x^{kl}(g) \delta^{l}_{i} \delta^{m}_{j} \frac{\partial}{\partial x^{km}}|_{g}= \Sigma x^{ki}(g)V^{ij} \frac{\partial}{\partial x^{kj}}|_{g}= \Sigma (gV)^{kj} \frac{\partial}{\partial x^{kj}}|_g$
Where $gV$ is the usual matrix multiplication.

This is a bit over my head. What does it mean that one has a tangent vector at the unit element of a Lie group? Maybe solving this exercise may help with this question:
Let

$c(s)=\begin{pmatrix} cos s & -sin s & 0 \\ sin s & cos s & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 1 \end{pmatrix}$
be a curve in $SO(3)$. Find the tangent vector to this curve at $I_{3}$.

And why does this induce a left invariant vector field? And btw, what is a left invariant vector field?? What does it mean geometrically? And what does it mean if a vector $V^{ij}$ has two indices?? Can one explain the example to me?

I'm too busy to give a full reply, but I think you might be having some issues with thinking of a vector as a more flexible concept. Specifically, for a matrix Lie group, at tangent vector will be a matrix. The matrix is a being thought of as a vector--that's why it has two indices. Matrices can be added and multiplied by scalars, so abstractly, they can be thought of as vectors. For example, for SO(3). the tangent "vectors" to the identity will be skew-symmetric matrices. You take a path through the identity matrix and differentiate it. When you differentiate a path of matrices, the result is a matrix. Because these paths go through the identity element, which doesn't move anything, the resulting differentiated matrices can be thought of as infinitesimal symmetries. Because they are infinitesimally close to the identity, they only move things by an infinitesimal amount. What happens when you move every point on a manifold by an infinitesimal amount? Well, looking at each point, you get a vector, so altogether, a vector field. The vector fields arising this way are the left invariant ones, and what I've said illustrates how they are the same thing as the tangent vectors at the identity.

Math Amateur
Hi I'm learning about Lie Groups to understand gauge theory (in the principal bundle context) and I'm having trouble with some concepts.
Do you understand the basics of differential geometry? (Manifolds, coordinate systems, tangent and cotangent spaces, the bases for ##T_pM## and ##T^*_pM## associated with the coordinate system x, the pushforward concept (i.e. the exact definition of ##(L_g)_*##)).

This is a bit over my head. What does it mean that one has a tangent vector at the unit element of a Lie group?
Lie groups are both manifolds and groups. Since they are manifolds, there's a tangent space associated with each point. (If the manifold is n-dimensional, its tangent spaces are n-dimensional too ). The identity is no exception.

Maybe solving this exercise may help with this question:
Let

$c(s)=\begin{pmatrix} cos s & -sin s & 0 \\ sin s & cos s & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 1 \end{pmatrix}$
be a curve in $SO(3)$. Find the tangent vector to this curve at $I_{3}$.
In general, if C is a curve in the manifold, the tangent vector of the curve at the point ##C(t)## is the tangent vector ##\dot C(t)## defined by ##(\dot C(t))(f)=(f\circ C)'(t)## for all smooth maps ##f:M\to\mathbb R## (where M is the manifold). If ##x## is a coordinate system defined on a set that includes the point ##C(t)##, then we can write
\begin{align}
&(\dot C(t))(f) =(f\circ C)'(t)= (f\circ x^{-1}\circ x\circ C)'(t) =(f\circ x^{-1})_{,i}(x(C(t))) (x\circ C)^i{}'(t)\\
&=(x\circ C)^i{}'(t) \frac{\partial}{\partial x^i}\bigg|_{C(t)} f
\end{align} Here ##{}_{,i}## denotes partial differentiation with respect to the ##i##th variable. This result tells us that the components of ##\dot C(t)## in the coordinate system x, are the same as the components of ##(x\circ C)'(t)## with respect to the standard basis on ##\mathbb R^n##.

And why does this induce a left invariant vector field?
If G is a Lie group, then every smooth map ##\phi:G\to G## does. If ##g\in G##, then we can define ##\phi_*:T_gG\to T_{\phi(g)}G## by ##(\phi_* v)(f)=v(f\circ\phi)## for all smooth ##f:G\to G##. These "pushforward" maps (one for each choice of g) are used to define the pushforward of a vector field X in the following way: ##(\phi_* X)_{\phi(g)}=\phi_* X_g##. The ##\phi_*## defined here is a map that takes vector fields to vector fields.

A left-invariant vector field is one that for all ##g\in G## is unchanged by the application of ##(L_g)_*##, i.e. it's a vector field X such that ##(L_g)_* X=X## for all ##g\in G##. Note that this means that for all ##h\in G##, we have
$$X_{gh}=((L_g)_*X)_{gh}=(L_g)_*X_h.$$ In particular, when h=e, we have ##X_g=(L_g)_* X_e##. This suggests that given a vector ##V\in T_eG##, the vector field ##X_V## defined by ##(X_V)_g=(L_g)_*V## is going to be left-invariant. It's not hard to verify that it is. This gives us a map from ##T_eG## to the set of left-invariant vector fields on ##G##.

Edit: This map is invertible, since for every left-invariant vector field ##X##, we have ##X_e\in T_eG##. This enables us to use the Lie bracket on the set of left-invariant vector fields (i.e. the commutator operation) to define a Lie bracket on ##T_eG##. For all ##U,V\in T_eG##, we define ##[U,V]## by ##[U,V]=[X_U,X_V]_e##. The bracket on the right is the commutator of two vector fields. Do you understand the definition of the commutator?

And what does it mean if a vector $V^{ij}$ has two indices??
A vector is just an element of a vector space. The elements of a vector space can be a matrices, functions, etc. So there's nothing odd about two indices on a vector. It's very natural when the vectors are matrices. What may appear a bit odd here is the use of two indices on the basis vectors ##\frac{\partial}{\partial x^{ij}}\big|_p##. This is however very natural when we're dealing with a coordinate system on a set of matrices. If the Lie group is a group of n×n matrices, the manifold may be n2-dimensional, and in that case, a coordinate system should take each matrix to an n2-tuple of real numbers. But that n2-tuple can of course be viewed as an n-tuple of n-tuples, i.e. as an n×n matrix. So we choose to use two indices that run from 1 to n instead of a single index that runs from 1 to n2.

Edit: If the group isn't n2-dimensional, then it can still be viewed as a submanifold of GL(n,ℝ), which is n2-dimensional. If we use two indices when we're talking about such a group, then I guess what we have done is to use a coordinate system on GL(n,ℝ) instead of a coordinate system on the original group.

Last edited:
Do you understand these things now?

Lie Groups, Lie Algebra, and Vector Fields are important concepts in mathematics, particularly in the study of gauge theory and principal bundles. It is understandable that you may be struggling with some of the concepts, so let me provide some explanation and clarification.

A Lie group is a type of mathematical group that is also a smooth manifold, meaning it has a well-defined structure that allows for differentiation and integration. Lie groups play a crucial role in the study of gauge theory because they provide a framework for understanding the symmetries and transformations of physical systems.

Lie algebra is a mathematical structure that is closely related to Lie groups. It is a vector space equipped with a special type of multiplication called the Lie bracket, which measures the non-commutativity of two elements. Lie algebra is useful in the study of Lie groups because it allows for the characterization and classification of these groups.

Now, let's talk about vector fields. A vector field is a function that assigns a vector to each point in a space. In this context, we are specifically interested in vector fields on Lie groups. A left invariant vector field is a vector field that is preserved under the left translation operation of a Lie group. In other words, if we move a point on the Lie group by left translation, the vector field at that point remains the same. This property is important in the study of gauge theory because it allows for the formulation of invariant physical laws.

In the example given, we are looking at the left invariant vector field on the general linear group GL(n,ℝ). This group consists of all invertible n-by-n matrices with real entries. The left translation operation is given by matrix multiplication, as shown in the equation L_{a}g=ag. The left invariant vector field generated by a vector V at the identity element of the group (e) is given by X_{V|_{g}}=L_{g*}V, where L_{g*} is the derivative of the left translation at g. This is shown in the example by taking the partial derivatives with respect to the matrix entries of g and multiplying them by the corresponding entries of V. This may seem complicated, but it is essentially a way of defining a vector field on the group that remains unchanged under left translation.

Now, let's look at the exercise given. The curve c(s) in SO(3) represents a rotation in three-dimensional space. At the identity element (I_{3}), this curve represents the identity rotation,

## 1. What is a Lie group?

A Lie group is a type of mathematical group that is also a smooth manifold. It is used to describe continuous symmetries in mathematics and physics, such as rotations and translations.

## 2. What is a Lie algebra?

A Lie algebra is a mathematical structure that is used to study Lie groups. It is a vector space equipped with a bilinear operation called the Lie bracket, which is used to define the algebraic properties of the group.

## 3. How are Lie groups and Lie algebras related?

Lie groups and Lie algebras are closely related, as Lie algebras are used to study the local properties of Lie groups. This means that the algebraic structure of a Lie group can be studied by looking at the corresponding Lie algebra.

## 4. What are vector fields in relation to Lie groups and Lie algebras?

Vector fields are used to describe the tangent space of a Lie group or Lie algebra at a specific point. They are used to study the local behavior of the group or algebra, and can be thought of as arrows on the manifold representing the direction and magnitude of change at that point.

## 5. What are some applications of Lie groups, Lie algebras, and vector fields?

Lie groups, Lie algebras, and vector fields have many applications in mathematics and physics. They are used to study symmetry in fields such as differential geometry, topology, and quantum mechanics. They also have applications in engineering, robotics, and computer graphics.

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