Permutation Inverses

1. Jul 28, 2014

Justabeginner

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
Prove that there is a permutation sigma, such that sigma * (1 2 3) * sigma inverse= (4 5 6).

2. Relevant equations

3. The attempt at a solution
I know that since the order of the two cycles is the same there must be a sigma such that the two permutations are equal but I am stumped as to how to derive a specific one. Would I have to do proof by contradiction using identity as was done in an earlier problem I completed or am I way off?

Thank you!

2. Jul 28, 2014

Fredrik

Staff Emeritus
I don't see how to make sense of the product $\sigma(1\ 2\ 3)\sigma^{-1}$ unless I interpret (1 2 3) as a permutation (not as an element of the domain of $\sigma$). Is (x y z) your notation for the permutation f such that f(1)=x, f(2)=y, f(3)=z? In that case, (1 2 3) is the identity map, and the product is equal to (1 2 3) no matter what $\sigma$ is.

3. Jul 28, 2014

gopher_p

In an introductory abstract algebra course, and in the proper context, $(a_1\dots a_n)$ is standard notation denoting the cyclic permutation mapping $a_i$ to $a_{i+1}$ for $i<n$ and $a_n$ to $a_1$.

Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
4. Jul 28, 2014

gopher_p

If the problem just asks you to prove the existence of such a permutation, then you can just invoke whatever theorem it is that is allowing you to make the above statement. You don't necessarily need to construct a permutation.

5. Jul 28, 2014

pasmith

Hint: (1 4)(1 2 3)(1 4) = (2 3 4). Can you now see how to construct your sigma as a product of disjoint transpositions?

6. Jul 28, 2014

Ray Vickson

OK, but what does $(1\,2\,3)$ stand for when the permutations go over the numbers $1, \ldots, 6$ ?

7. Jul 28, 2014

Justabeginner

I am actually having a difficulty understanding how to construct permutations into disjoint cycles, and I am trying to read various sources but it still does not make sense. My book works from right to left for disjoint cycles. Can someone please explain it to me? Thank you.

8. Jul 29, 2014

pasmith

The permutation which cyclically permutes 1, 2 and 3 and fixes 4, 5, and 6. By convention elements which are fixed are omitted from the cycle notation.

9. Jul 29, 2014

Justabeginner

That helped me understand cycle notation a bit better, thank you.

So am I correct in making this assumption now?
(1 2 3 4 5 6
2 3 1 4 5 6) times sigma times sigma inverse equals:

(1 2 3 4 5 6
1 2 3 5 6 4)

Am I allowed to simplify this?

10. Jul 30, 2014

Justabeginner

Shameless bump... sorry!

11. Jul 30, 2014

Fredrik

Staff Emeritus
Gopher and pasmith explained the (x ... y) notation, but no one has explained what it means when it's broken up over two lines. Can I assume that
(1 2 3 4 5 6
2 3 1 4 5 6)
is the permutation that takes 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 1, and the other numbers to themselves? In other words, it means exactly the same as (1 2 3)? Then you're asking if $(1\ 2\ 3)\sigma\sigma^{-1}=(4\ 5\ 6)$? The left-hand side is obviously equal to (1 2 3), so no, this equality doesn't hold.

12. Jul 30, 2014

Justabeginner

Hi Fredrik, yes I believe (1 2 3) is just the shortened form of the cycle that takes 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 1, and maps 4, 5, 6 to themselves.
I was confused as to how that would hold too, and I am still not sure if I understood the meaning correctly.

13. Jul 30, 2014

Fredrik

Staff Emeritus
Groups of permutations aren't commutative (Abelian), so you don't have xy=yx for all x,y. This means that you need to keep your factors in the correct order.

14. Jul 30, 2014

Justabeginner

So I should not expand the permutations and just keep them as they are written in the question? I do not understand how that will allow me to conclude anything, though.

15. Jul 30, 2014

Fredrik

Staff Emeritus
pasmith gave you a huge hint in post #5. It would be hard to tell you more without completely solving the problem.

16. Jul 30, 2014

Justabeginner

I do not wish to get the answer from others, nor do I want it to seem like that.
I am simply confused on how to make disjoint transpositions (from right to left) and I would appreciate it if I could get a detailed example and explanation, so I can understand this concept before attempting the problem. I've looked in various sources for explanations but I can't quite wrap my head around it.

17. Jul 30, 2014

jbunniii

One way to transform (1 2 3) to (4 5 6) is to transpose 1 and 4, transpose 2 and 5, and transpose 3 and 6. Can you combine this fact with the hint given by pasmith?

18. Jul 30, 2014

jbunniii

Yes, that's exactly what it means. This so-called two-line notation is due to Cauchy, according to Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permutation#Definition_and_usage

19. Jul 31, 2014

Justabeginner

Is the transposition you described equivalent to (1 4) (2 5) (3 6)?

And in that case would (1 2 3)= (1 3) (1 2)? Also, (4 5 6)= (4 6) (4 5)?

20. Jul 31, 2014

jbunniii

Yes, technically it's not a transposition (which interchanges exactly two elements and leaves the rest unchanged), but a composition of transpositions.

Now how can you use (1 4) (2 5) (3 6) to map (1 2 3) to (4 5 6)?

Hint: if $\sigma$ is any permutation, then $\sigma (x_1 x_2 \ldots x_n)\sigma^{-1} = (\sigma(x_1) \sigma(x_2) \ldots \sigma(x_n))$

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