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1 BASIC GROUP THEORY Definitions Definition 1.1. A group (G, ) is a set G with a binary operation : G G G, and a unit e G, possessing the following properties. (1) Unital: for g G, we have g e = e g = g. (2) Associative: for g i G, we have (g 1 g 2 ) g 3 = g 1 (g 2 g 3 ). (3) Inverses: for g G, there exists g 1 G so that g g 1 = g 1 g = e. For a group G, a subgroup H is a subset of G which is closed under the multiplication in G, and is closed under taking inverses. A subgroup is a group embedded in G. We write H G. The cardinality of a finite group is its order. If the underlying set of a group G is infinite, the group is said to have infinite order. Sometimes the order of a group is written G. A set of elements S of G is said to generate G if every element of G may be expressed as a product of elements of S, and inverses of elements of S. That is to say, given g G, there exists s i S and ɛ i {±1} so that g = s ɛ1 1 sɛn n. If a group G is a generated by a single element, it is said to be cyclic. Every element of a cyclic group G is of the form g n for some n Z. An arbitrary subset S of G will generate a subgroup of G. We say that this subgroup S is the subgroup generated by S. It is the smallest subgroup of G containing S. Every element of G generates a cyclic subgroup. A group is abelian if it is commutative: for all g, h G we have g h = h g. Cyclic groups are necessarily abelian (why)? For an abelian group A it is sometimes customary to use additive notation instead of multiplicative notation for the binary operation. The following chart explains the difference. Date: September 28,

2 Multiplicative Additive : A A A + : A A A g h g + h e = 1 e = 0 g 1 g g g 1 = 1 g g = 0 g n := g g g }{{} n ng := g + g + + g }{{} n When using multiplicative notation it is common to omit the multiplication sign: gh := g h. 2. Examples Many of the examples below are abelian. Abelian groups are the least interesting groups. Examples: (1) The trivial group: {1}. The group contains one element. The operation is given by 1 1 = 1. (2) The additive integers: (Z, +). This group is cyclic, generated by 1. It is also generated by 1. Could we choose any other element to generate it? (3) The additive real numbers: (R, +). This group contains Z as a subgroup. How many generators does this group have? (4) The multiplicative real numbers: R := (R\{0}, ). (5) The additive complex numbers: (C, +). This group contains R as a subgroup. (6) The multiplicative complex numbers: C := (C\{0}, ). This group contains R as a subgroup. (7) The group ({±1}, ). This group contains two elements, with identity 1, and ( 1) ( 1) = 1. Note that ( 1) 1 = 1. This is a cyclic subgroup of R of order 2, generated by 1. (8) The integers modulo m: (Z/m, +). The set Z/m is the set {[0], [1], [2],..., [m 1]} of equivalence classes of integers modulo m. This is a cyclic group under addition of order m. The generator is 1. (a) Why is addition well defined? (b) What are the inverses? (c) Suppose that [k] generates Z/m. What is the relationship of k to m? (9) The symmetric group on n letters: Σ n. Let S = {1,... n} be a set with n elements. The group Σ n = Aut(S) is the group of bijective set-maps ( automorphisms ) of S. An element σ of Σ n is a permutation σ : S S. The group multiplication is composition. (a) Why does this form a group? (b) What is the order of Σ n? (c) Is Σ n Abelian? Check out n = 2, 3 explicitly.

3 BASIC GROUP THEORY 3 (10) The general linear group: GL n (R). This is the group of n n matrices with real entries and non-zero determinant. The group operation is matrix multiplication. Why do we require the determinant to be non-zero? (11) The circle: S 1. This is a group under multiplication when viewed as a subset of the complex plane. S 1 = {z C : z = 1} = {e ix : x R} Naturally, S 1 is a subgroup of C. (12) The cyclic group of order m: C m. This is the abstract group with one generator g and elements C m = {1, g, g 2, g 3,..., g m 1 }. We impose the relation g m = 1, so that g k = g k+m for any k in Z. This group can be viewed non-abstractly as a subgroup of S 1 generated by g = e 2πi/m. {e 2πik/m S 1 : k Z}. (13) The infinite cyclic group: C. This is the abstract group with one generator g and distinct elements C = {..., g 2, g 1, 1, g, g 2, g 3,...}. This group can be viewed non-abstractly as a subgroup of S 1 generated by g = e 2πiξ {e 2πikξ S 1 : k Z} where ξ is any irrational real number (why do we make this restriction?). 3. Homomorphisms Definition 3.1. Let G, H be groups. A map f : G H is a homomorphism if it preserves the product: f(g 1 g 2 ) = f(g 1 ) f(g 2 ). Facts about homomorphisms f : G H (verify these). (1) f(x 1 ) = f(x) 1. (2) f(e) = e. (3) The image im f H is a subgroup. The kernel of the homomorphism f is the subgroup ker f = {g : f(g) = e} G. (Verify that this is a subgroup.) If f is injective, then it is said to be a monomorphism. If f is surjective, then it is said to be an epimorphism. If f is bijective, then the set-theoretic inverse f 1 is necessarily a homomorphism, and we say that f is an isomorphism. We then write G = H. (Verify that f is a monomorphism if and only if ker f = e.) Homomorphisms from G to G are called endomorphisms. Endomorphisms which are isomorphisms are called automorphisms. Examples of homomorphisms. (1) log : (R 0, ) (R, +). Since this map is a bijection, it has an inverse. It is the homomorphism exp : (R, +) (R 0, ).

4 (2) det : GL n (R) R. The kernel is the subgroup of matrices with determinant 1. This subgroup is called the special linear group and denoted SL n (R). (3) Let n be any integer. The map λ n : Z Z given by λ n (m) = nm is a monomorphism if n 0. (4) The map f : Z C given by f(n) = g n is an isomorphism. (5) Similarly, there is an isomorphism Z/n = C n. (6) There is a monomorphism ι : Z/n Z/(nm) given by ι([k]) = [mk]. (What is wrong with just defining ι([k]) = [k]?). (7) There is an epimorphism ν : Z/(nm) Z/n given by ν([k]) = [k]. (8) If H is a subgroup of G, the inclusion ι : H G is a monomorphism. (9) Given an element g G, we can form an associated automorphism of G via the assignment h ghg 1 (verify this is an automorphism). This mapping is sometimes referred to as conjugation by g. 4. Cosets A subgroup H naturally partitions a group into equal pieces. These partitions are called cosets. Definition 4.1. Let H be a subgroup of a group G, and let g G. The (right) coset gh is the subset of G given by gh = {gh : h H}. You can similarly talk about left cosets Hg, and the discussion that follows is equally valid for left cosets. Left cosets and right cosets generally differ unless G is abelian. Facts about cosets (which you should verify): (1) A coset gh is not a subgroup unless g H. (2) The set-map H gh given by h gh is a bijection. Therefore, the H cosets all have the same cardinality as H. (3) g 1 H = g 2 H if and only if g 1 = g 2 h for some h H. Otherwise g 1 H and g 2 H are distinct. (4) Define an equivalence relation on G by declaring that g 1 g 2 if and only if there exists an h H so that g 1 h = g 2. Then the equivalence classes of this equivalence relation are in one to one correspondence with the cosets of G. Let G/H denote the set of cosets. We see that for a collection of representatives g λ of the equivalence classes of (4) above, the group G breaks up into the disjoint union G = λ The following proposition is immediate. g λ H. Proposition 4.2. Suppose G is finite. Then we have G = H G/H. Consequently, the order of any subgroup of G must divide the order of G.

5 BASIC GROUP THEORY 5 For abelian groups G for which we are using additive notation, it is typical to write H cosets as g + H instead of gh. For instance, for the subgroup mz = {mk : k Z} Z (m 0) we write the cosets as n + mz. Look familiar? The elements of the group Z/m of integers modulo m correspond to the cosets Z/mZ. 5. Normal subgroups We would like to make G/H a group. How would we do this? The most natural multiplication on cosets would be (5.1) (g 1 H) (g 2 H) = (g 1 g 2 )H. However there is a problem in that this is not well defined in general (convince yourself that this is so). If G is abelian, then this multiplication is well defined, and G/H is a group. We have already seen an example of this: the cosets Z/mZ form a group. If G is non-abelian, there is a criterion on H that suffices to make G/H a group. Definition 5.2. A subgroup N of G is said to be normal if any of the following equivalent conditions hold (verify that these are equivalent). (1) For all g G, we have gn = Ng (left cosets are the same as right cosets). (2) For all g G and h N, we have ghg 1 N (N is invariant under conjugation). (3) The multiplication formula of Equation (5.1) is well defined and gives G/N the structure of a group. If N is a normal subgroup of G, one sometimes writes N G. The resulting group of cosets G/N is called the quotient group. There is a natural quotient homomorphism q : G G/N g gn which is surjective. The kernel of q is N (why?). It turns out that every epimorphism is essentially given as a quotient homomorphism. Prove the following theorem. Theorem 5.3 (First Isomorphism Theorem). Let f : G H be a homomorphism. Then the subgroup ker f is normal, and there is a natural isomorphism G/ ker f = im f making the following diagram commute. G q G/ ker f f = im f

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