Group Theory
Birdtracks, Lie’s, and Exceptional Groups
Predrag Cvitanović


Princeton University Press July 2008
Cloth | 2008 | $39.95 / £23.95
280 pp. | 6 x 9 | 4000 birdtrack diagrams. 7 line illus. 31 tables.
ISBN:  978-0-691-11836-9
QA174.2.C85 2008

Table of Contents | Introduction [PDF]


If classical Lie groups preserve bilinear vector norms, what Lie groups preserve trilinear, quadrilinear, and higher order invariants? Answering this question from a fresh and original perspective, Predrag Cvitanovic takes the reader on the amazing, four-thousand-diagram journey through the theory of Lie groups. This book is the first to systematically develop, explain, and apply diagrammatic projection operators to construct all semi-simple Lie algebras, both classical and exceptional.

The invariant tensors are presented in a somewhat unconventional, but in recent years widely used, "birdtracks" notation inspired by the Feynman diagrams of quantum field theory. Notably, invariant tensor diagrams replace algebraic reasoning in carrying out all group-theoretic computations. The diagrammatic approach is particularly effective in evaluating complicated coefficients and group weights, and revealing symmetries hidden by conventional algebraic or index notations. The book covers most topics needed in applications from this new perspective: permutations, Young projection operators, spinorial representations, Casimir operators, and Dynkin indices. Beyond this well-traveled territory, more exotic vistas open up, such as "negative dimensional" relations between various groups and their representations. The most intriguing result of classifying primitive invariants is the emergence of all exceptional Lie groups in a single family, and the attendant pattern of exceptional and classical Lie groups, the so-called Magic Triangle. Written in a lively and personable style, the book is aimed at researchers and graduate students in theoretical physics and mathematics.

Predrag Cvitanović is the Glen P. Robinson Professor of Nonlinear Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is the author of Universality in Chaos and lead author of the webbook.


"In Group Theory, we get a sense of the quest Cvitanovic has been on, which makes the book much more fun to read than the average mathematics text. This book is intriguing, novel, and important."--John Baez, University of California, Riverside

"There has been an urgent need for an in-print and readily available version of Cvitanovic's innovative and systematic approach to the group-theoretic calculations occurring in theoretical physics and beyond. Well-organized and well-written, this book is definitely an important and valuable contribution to its field."--Alan J. Macfarlane, Cambridge University.

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