# The Outer Automorphism of S 6

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1 Meena Jagadeesan 1 Karthik Karnik 2 Mentor: Akhil Mathew 1 Phillips Exeter Academy 2 Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science PRIMES Conference, May 2016

2 What is a Group? A group G is a set of elements together with an operation that satisfies the four fundamental properties: closure, associativity, identity, and inverses. Our Focus: Symmetric group S n Set = permutations π of n elements; Operation = (composition) Closure: For π 1, π 2 S n, π 1 π 2 S n Associativity: For π 1, π 2, π 3 S n, (π 1 π 2 ) π 3 = π 1 (π 2 π 3 ) Identity: Take permutation e = π such that π(i) = i for all 1 i n. Inverses: For inverse of π 1, take π1 1 such that π1 1 (i) = j iff π 1 (j) = i.

3 What is an Automorphism Group? Given a group G, the automorphism group Aut(G) is the group consisting of all isomorphisms from G to G (bijective mappings that preserve the structure of G.) Example: Aut(S 2 ) (S 2 = {( ) ( , 1 2 )} 2 1 ) ( 1 2 ) 1 2 is the identity An automorphism f must send ( ) to itself f must send ( ) to itself f is the identity e This means Aut(S 2 ) is trivial

4 What is an Automorphism Group? Example: Aut(Z 2 Z 2 ) (Z 2 Z 2 is group of pairs of elements modulo 2) Observe that Z 2 Z 2 consists of the identity and three other elements of order 2 An automorphism f must send the identity to itself The other three elements are permuted by f This means that Aut(Z 2 Z 2 ) = S 3

5 What is an Inner Automorphism? An inner automorphism is an automorphism of the form f : x a 1 xa for a fixed a G. This gives us an automorphism of G for each element of G. There might be repeats. (If G is commutative, then f is always trivial) Trivial inner automorphisms = Z(G) (elements that commute with all other elements) Theorem The inner automorphisms Inn(G) form a normal subgroup of Aut(G) and Inn(G) = G/Z(G)

6 Complete Groups A group G is complete if G is centerless (no nontrivial center) and every automorphism of G is an inner automorphism. G complete Aut(G) = G Theorem S n is complete for n 2, 6. The center of S 2 is itself. S 6 is a genuine exception: Theorem (Hölder) There exists exactly one outer automorphism of S 6 (up to composition with an inner automorphism), so that Aut(S 6 ) = 1440.

7 Transpositions A transposition is a permutation π S n that fixes exactly n 2 elements (and flips the remaining two elements). Lemma An automorphism of S n preserves transpositions if and only if it is an inner automorphism.

8 Proof Overview: Completeness of S n for n 2, 6 Let T k be the conjugacy class in S n consisting of products of k disjoint transpositions. A permutation π is an involution if and only if it lies in some T k. If f Aut(S n ), then f (T 1 ) = T k for some k. It suffices to show T k T 1 for k 1. This is true for n 6. For n = 6, it turns out that T 1 = T 3 is the only exception.

9 Transitive Group Actions A group G acts on a set X if each element g is a permutation π g of the set X satisfying π e = e and π gf = π g π f. Example 1: S n acts on {1, 2, 3,..., n}. Example 2: S n 1 acts on {1, 2, 3,..., n} by fixing n. Example 3: G acts on the coset space G/H by multiplication. A group action is transitive if for each pair (x, y) X 2 there exists g G such that g(x) = y. Examples 1 and 3 are transitive group actions, but Example 2 is not.

10 Proof Overview (Existence of an Outer Automorphism of S 6 ) Key Step: Construct a 120-element subgroup H of S 6 that acts transitively on {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}. This subgroup cannot be S 5 or any of its conjugates (none are transitive subgroups). Consider the action of S 6 on the 6-element coset space S 6 /H. Let f the corresponding mapping from S 6 to S 6. Note that f : H S 5. (H fixes coset consisting of H and permutes all other cosets. H has order 120, the same as S 5.) H (the preimage of S 5 in f ) is transitive. The preimage of S 5 is not conjugate to S 5. f cannot be inner.

11 Methods of Construction 1 Simply 3-transitive action of PGL 2 (F 5 ) on the six-element set P 1 (F 5 ) 2 Transitive action of S 5 on its six 5-Sylow subgroups

12 Construction 1: Properties of PGL 2 (K) Let K be a field. GL 2 (K) is the set of 2x2 invertible matrices, whose elements are in the field K. PGL 2 (K) is the quotient of the group GL 2 (K) by the scalar matrices K (nonzero elements of K). P 1 (K) is the set of one-dimensional vector spaces (lines) in K 2. There is a natural action of GL 2 (K) on P 1 (K) Permutation of the lines through the origin in K 2 Matrices of the form ( ) a 0, 0 a where a K, fix lines, so we have an action of PGL 2 (K) on P 1 (K)

13 Construction 1: Properties of P 1 (K) Now, P 1 (K) can be identified as the union of K and a point at infinity We consider the following points in P 1 (K): [ ] 0 The point [0 : 1], represented by the column vector [ 1 ] 1 The point [1 : 1], represented by the column vector 1 The point [1 : 0], corresponding to the point at infinity Each column vector spans a line, which is a point of P 1 (K)

14 Construction 1: Linear Fractional Transformations A linear fractional transformation is a transformation of the form f (x) = ax+b cx+d, where a, b, c, d K and ad bc 0. PGL 2 (K) can be identified with the group of linear fractional transformations Through linear fractional transformations (for instance, f in the definition above), we can take the point d c to the point at infinity and the point at infinity to the point a c when c 0

15 Construction 1: PGL 2 (K) is simply 3-transitive A group action is simply 3-transitive if for all pairs of pairwise distinct 3-tuples (s 1, s 2, s 3 ) and (t 1, t 2, t 3 ), there exists a unique g G that maps s i to t i for i = 1, 2, 3. Note: simply 3-transitive actions are quite rare. Lemma The action of PGL 2 (K) on P 1 (K) is simply 3-transitive. Proof overview (of lemma): Consider the function f (x) = x a x c b c b a. f maps a 0, b 1, and c. f maps any three arbitrary points are mapped to [0 : 1], [1 : 1], [1 : 0]

16 Construction 1: Computing the order of PGL 2 (F 5 ) Let K be a finite field of n elements. PGL 2 (K) = GL 2(K) n 1 since PGL 2 (K) is the quotient of GL 2 (K) by the scalar matrices K. A matrix in GL 2 (K) is represented by a nonzero row vector v 1 K 2 and a row vector v 2 that is not a scalar multiple of v 1. Thus, and GL 2 (K) = (n 2 1)(n 2 n). PGL 2 (K) = (n2 1)(n 2 n) = n 3 n. n 1 Observe that when K = F 5, we have a group of order 120 that acts simply 3-transitively on the six-element set P 1 (F 5 )

17 Construction 2: Sylow Subgroups Consider a group G with order of the form p n a for some prime p, positive integer n, and a relatively prime to p. A p-sylow subgroup of G is a subgroup of order p n. Theorem (Sylow) For a group G with order divisible by p, there exists a p-sylow subgroup. Let x be the number of p-sylow subgroups. Then, x 1 (mod p) and x G. All p-sylow subgroups are conjugate. (For every pair of p-sylow subgroups H and K, there exists g G with g 1 Hg = K.)

18 Construction 2: Action of S 5 on 5-Sylow Subgroups The 5-Sylow subgroups of S 5 are the exactly the subgroups generated by a 5-cycle. Let X be the set of these subgroups. Then, X 1 (mod 5) and X 120 so X = 6. Consider the action of S 5 on X by conjugation (g sends X to g 1 Xg). By Sylow s theorem, this action is transitive.

19 Construction 2: Injective Homomorphism from S 5 into S 6 The action gives a homomorphism f : S 5 S 6, since X = 6. ker(f ) (elements that f maps to identity) forms a normal subgroup, so ker(f ) = A 5, S 5, {e}. Since the action is transitive, ker(f ) S 5 /6 = 20. Hence ker(f ) = 1. Thus, im(f ) is a transitive 120-element subgroup of S 6.

20 Conclusion We presented two methods of constructing a 120-element transitive subgroup of S 6. Action of PGL 2 (F 5 ) on P 1 (F 5 ) Action of S 5 on its 5-Sylow subgroups These transitive subgroups can be used to construct an automorphism of S 6 whose preimage of S 5 is transitive. This automorphism is outer. S 6 is the only symmetric group apart from S 2 that is not complete. Recall that a complete group is a centerless group with no outer automorphisms.

21 Acknowledgments We would like to thank Akhil Mathew (Harvard), our mentor MIT-PRIMES Program Texts used: An Introduction to the Theory of Groups by J.J. Rotman Algebra by S. Lang Topics in Algebra by I.N. Herstein

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