Monday, February 7, 2011

U(1) Green Bay U(1) !!

In which we segue last night's Super Bowl victory by the Green Bay Packers and their cheese-head uber-fans into the mathematical Unitary Group U(n), n=1, a.k.a. The Circle Group, being the first part of that most important question: "Why does the geometry of U(1)xSU(2)xSU(3) describe our Universe?"

The seemingly improbable but not impossible task I've taken upon myself is explaining it in the simplest terms possible to laymen such as the very important group known as Philosophers, whose contributions are badly needed in the world today ... provided it's the proper form of Philosophy known as Aristotelian Logic.

Captain America, Jack Sparrow, and the Norse god Thor all made appearances during the advertising spots at last night's Super Bowl

And OK, that's that. The Super Bowl is sort of annoying because the commercials are often better than the game, so much so that one finds it hard to take a break! Super Sunday is well noted at least here in the States as Madison Avenue's "coming out party," meaning the long versions of often comical television ads that will be shortened in the weeks and months to come such that you have to watch and can't miss a minute.

"Advertising", that is to say self-promotion by various Academics at the cutting edge of Mathematical Physics is annoying, on-going, and human nature, so we'll never be rid of it alas. Alas, so don't worry about things you cannot change, as the Serenity Prayer advises, so we won't.

On the upbeat side, there are certain maths that cannot be debated since they have been experimentally verified, so let's begin:

Wikipedia, as usual, has a technically correct although aggravating in its usual (in mathematics)  boring "watching paint dry" description of U(1), also known as the Circle Group, which describes Electromagnetism and Quantum Electrodynamics (QED Theory).

It all begins with the Math so let's get started.

(Note: I will begin this morning with the cut'n'paste job of Circle Group from Wiki, but will add much more to this post and would do so now except I have many chores to do during this working day so we'll see you again tonight or tomorrow morning.)

The electric field vectors of a traveling circularly polarized electromagnetic wave.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from U(1))

Lie groups
v · d · e
In mathematics, the circle group, denoted by T, is the multiplicative group of all complex numbers with absolute value 1, i.e., the unit circle in the complex plane.
\mathbb T = \{ z \in \mathbb C : |z| = 1 \}.
The circle group forms a subgroup of C×, the multiplicative group of all nonzero complex numbers. Since C× is abelian, it follows that T is as well. The circle group is also the group U(1) of 1×1 unitary matrices; these act on the complex plane by rotation about the origin. The circle group can be parametrized by the angle θ of rotation by
\theta\mapsto z = e^{i\theta} = \cos\theta + i\sin\theta.
This is the exponential map for the circle group.

The circle group plays a central role in Pontryagin duality, and in the theory of Lie groups.

The notation T for the circle group stems from the fact that Tn (the direct product of T with itself n times) is geometrically an n-torus. The circle group is then a 1-torus.


Elementary introduction

Multiplication on the circle group is equivalent to addition of angles
One way to think about the circle group is that it describes how to add angles, where only angles between 0° and 360° are permitted. For example, the diagram illustrates how to add 150° to 270°. The answer should be 150° + 270° = 420°, but when thinking in terms of the circle group, we need to "forget" the fact that we have wrapped once around the circle. Therefore we adjust our answer by 360° which gives 420° − 360° = 60°.

Another description is in terms of ordinary addition, where only numbers between 0 and 1 are allowed (with 1 corresponding to a full rotation). To achieve this, we might need to throw away digits occurring before the decimal point. For example, when we work out 0.784 + 0.925 + 0.446, the answer should be 2.155, but we throw away the leading 2, so the answer (in the circle group) is just 0.155.

Topological and analytic structure

The circle group is more than just an abstract algebraic group. It has a natural topology when regarded as a subspace of the complex plane. Since multiplication and inversion are continuous functions on C×, the circle group has the structure of a topological group. Moreover, since the unit circle is a closed subset of the complex plane, the circle group is a closed subgroup of C× (itself regarded as a topological group).

One can say even more. The circle is a 1-dimensional real manifold and multiplication and inversion are real-analytic maps on the circle. This gives the circle group the structure of a one-parameter group, an instance of a Lie group. In fact, up to isomorphism, it is the unique 1-dimensional compact, connected Lie group. Moreover, every n-dimensional compact, connected, abelian Lie group is isomorphic to Tn.


The circle group shows up in a variety of forms in mathematics. We list some of the more common forms here. Specifically, we show that
\mathbb T \cong \mbox{U}(1) \cong \mathbb R/\mathbb Z \cong \mbox{SO}(2).
Note that slash denotes here quotient group.

The set of all 1×1 unitary matrices clearly coincides with the circle group; the unitary condition is equivalent to the condition that its element have absolute value 1. Therefore, the circle group is canonically isomorphic to U(1), the first unitary group.

The exponential function gives rise to a group homomorphism exp : RT from the additive real numbers R to the circle group T via the map
\theta \mapsto e^{i\theta} = \cos\theta + i\sin\theta.
The last equality is Euler's formula. The real number θ corresponds to the angle on the unit circle as measured from the positive x-axis. That this map is a homomorphism follows from the fact the multiplication of unit complex numbers corresponds to addition of angles:
e^{i\theta_1}e^{i\theta_2} = e^{i(\theta_1+\theta_2)}.\,
This exponential map is clearly a surjective function from R to T. It is not, however, injective. The kernel of this map is the set of all integer multiples of 2π. By the first isomorphism theorem we then have that
\mathbb T \cong \mathbb R/2\pi\mathbb Z.\,
After rescaling we can also say that T is isomorphic to R/Z.

If complex numbers are realized as 2×2 real matrices (see complex number), the unit complex numbers correspond to 2×2 orthogonal matrices with unit determinant. Specifically, we have
 e^{i\theta} \leftrightarrow \begin{bmatrix}
\cos \theta & -\sin \theta \\
\sin \theta & \cos \theta \\
The circle group is therefore isomorphic to the special orthogonal group SO(2). This has the geometric interpretation that multiplication by a unit complex number is a proper rotation in the complex plane, and every such rotation is of this form.


Any compact Lie group G of dimension > 0 has a subgroup isomorphic to the circle group. That means that, thinking in terms of symmetry, a compact symmetry group acting continuously can be expected to have one-parameter circle subgroups acting; the consequences in physical systems are seen for example at rotational invariance, and spontaneous symmetry breaking.

The circle group has many subgroups, but its only proper closed subgroups consist of roots of unity: For each integer n > 0, the nth roots of unity form a cyclic group of order n, which is unique up to isomorphism.


The representations of the circle group are easy to describe. It follows from Schur's lemma that the irreducible complex representations of an abelian group are all 1-dimensional. Since the circle group is compact, any representation ρ : TGL(1, C) ≅ C×, must take values in U(1)≅ T. Therefore, the irreducible representations of the circle group are just the homomorphisms from the circle group to itself. Every such homomorphism is of the form
\phi_n(e^{i\theta}) = e^{in\theta},\qquad n\in\mathbb Z.
These representations are all inequivalent. The representation φ-n is conjugate to φn,
\phi_{-n} = \overline{\phi_n}.
These representations are just the characters of the circle group. The character group of T is clearly an infinite cyclic group generated by φ1:
\mathrm{Hom}(\mathbb T,\mathbb T) \cong \mathbb Z.
The irreducible real representations of the circle group are the trivial representation (which is 1-dimensional) and the representations
\rho_n(e^{i\theta}) = \begin{bmatrix}
\cos n\theta & -\sin n\theta \\
\sin n\theta & \cos n\theta \\
\end{bmatrix},\quad n\in\mathbb Z^{+}.
taking values in SO(2). Here we only have positive integers n since the representation ρ n is equivalent to ρn.

Group structure

In this section we will forget about the topological structure of the circle group and look only at its structure as an abstract group.

The circle group T is a divisible group. Its torsion subgroup is given by the set of all nth roots of unity for all n, and is isomorphic to Q/Z. The structure theorem for divisible groups tells us that T is isomorphic to the direct sum of Q/Z with a number of copies of Q. The number of copies of Q must be c (the cardinality of the continuum) in order for the cardinality of the direct sum to be correct. But the direct sum of c copies of Q is isomorphic to R, as R is a vector space of dimension c over Q. Thus
\mathbb T \cong \mathbb R \oplus (\mathbb Q / \mathbb Z).\,
The isomorphism
\mathbb C^\times \cong \mathbb R \oplus (\mathbb Q / \mathbb Z)
can be proved in the same way, as C× is also a divisible abelian group whose torsion subgroup is the same as the torsion subgroup of T.

See also


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