Groups and Group Actions: Lecture 10

In which we think some more about homomorphisms, and meet normal subgroups.

  • Proposition 45: Let \theta : \mathbb{Z} \to \mathbb{Z} be a homomorphism.  Then there is n \in \mathbb{Z} with \theta(m) = nm for all m \in \mathbb{Z}.  We proved this by defining n = \theta(1) and then using the fact that 1 generates \mathbb{Z}.
  • Definition of the kernel and image of a homomorphism.
  • Proposition 46: Let G, H be groups, let \theta : G \to H be a homomorphism.  Then
    1. \ker \theta is a subgroup of G; and
    2. \mathrm{Im} \theta is a subgroup of H.

    We proved this using the subgroup test.

  • Proposition 47: Let G, H  be groups, let \theta: G \to H be a homomorphism.  Then \theta is constant on each coset of \ker \theta, and takes different values on different cosets.  We saw that \theta(g_1) = \theta(g_2) if and only if g_1 g_2^{-1} \in \ker\theta, and then used the coset equality test to see that this is equivalent to g_1 \ker \theta = g_2 \ker \theta.
  • Corollary 48: Let G, H be groups, let \theta: G \to H be a homomorphism.  Then \theta is injective if and only if \ker \theta = \{ e_G \}.  This was immediate from Proposition 47, since e_G \in \ker \theta.
  • Definition of a normal subgroup of a group.
  • Definition of a simple group.
  • Proposition 49: Let G, H be groups, let \theta : G \to H be a homomorphism.  Then \ker\theta is a normal subgroup of G.  We already know from Proposition 46 that \ker\theta is a subgroup of G, so we just checked that if k \in \ker \theta and g \in G then g^{-1} k g \in \ker\theta.
  • Proposition 50: Let H be a subgroup of a group G with index |G/H| = 2.  Then H \trianglelefteq G.  We argued that the only (left and right) cosets of H in G are H and G \setminus H, and used this to see that gH = Hg for all g \in G.
  • Definition of conjugacy classes.

Understanding today’s lecture

Pick some homomorphisms.  Can you identify their kernels and images?  Which homomorphisms are injective?  Which are surjective?

Pick a homomorphism \theta between two groups (pick explicit groups and an explicit homomorphism).  What are the cosets of \ker \theta?  This might help you to get a feel for Proposition 47.

Can you prove Corollary 48 directly from the definitions, without using Proposition 47?

Pick some subgroups of groups.  Which are normal in their respective groups?

Further reading

Of course Wikipedia has a page about normal subgroups, and another about the notion of a simple group.  You will learn more about simple groups if you choose to study Algebra 3 (Group Theory) next year.

MacTutor suggests that Galois was the first to recognise the significance of normal subgroups.

Preparation for Lecture 11

Can you show that if H is a normal subgroup of G then G/H (the set of left cosets of H in G) forms a group under the natural operation?

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3 Responses to “Groups and Group Actions: Lecture 10”

  1. Groups and Group Actions: Lecture 11 | Theorem of the week Says:

    […] Expositions of interesting mathematical results « Groups and Group Actions: Lecture 10 […]

  2. Valeriia Says:

    Why are they called “normal”? Is there any connection to the geometric sense of the word and orthogonality?

  3. theoremoftheweek Says:

    Good question! Here’s a possible answer — does this help?

    http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/898977/why-are-normal-subgroups-called-normal

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