MAGIC008: Lie groups and Lie algebras

Course details

A core MAGIC course


Spring 2024
Monday, January 29th to Friday, March 22nd; Monday, April 22nd to Friday, May 3rd


Live lecture hours
Recorded lecture hours
Total advised study hours


10:05 - 10:55 (UK)
10:05 - 10:55 (UK)

Course forum

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Lie groups, Lie algebras, classical matrix groups GL(n,R), SO(n), SO(p,q), U(n), Lorentz group, Poincare group; exponential map, one-parameter subgroups; actions and basic representation theory, orbits and invariants; adjoint and coadjoint representations, Lie-Poisson bracket; solvable, nilpotent and semisimple Lie algebras


The main goal of my course is to give an introduction to the theory of Lie groups and Lie algebras as well as to discuss some applications of this theory to mathematical physics and mechanics. 

I suppose that my students have certain background in the following topics: 
  •  Linear Algebra
  •  Abstract Algebra
  •  Calculus
  •  Differential Equations
  •  Differential Geometry and Topology.
Since Abstract Algebra, Differential Geometry and Topology are all very essential for this course, let me list some basic notions and results which will be used throughout my course.
  • Abstract Algebra: field, group, subgroup, homomorphism, quotient group, cosets, fundamental homomorphism theorem 
  • Topology: topological and metric spaces, continuous map, homeomorphism, open and closed sets, compactness, connectedness 
  • Differential Geometry: smooth manifolds, tangent vectors and tangent spaces, smooth maps, differential of a smooth map, vector fields, geodesics, implicit function theorem, submanifolds. 
Of course, giving the course (especially in the beginning) I will try to recall all these notions. But unfortunately I am not able to discuss them in detail, so it is strongly recommended to have a look at the corresponding literature to refresh your background.

As more or less standard text-books I would recommend: 

  • John B. Fraleigh, Victor J. Katz, A First Course in Abstract Algebra, 7th edition, Addison-Wesley Publishing, 2002. 
  •  M.A.Armstrong, Basic Topology Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics, 5th printing, Springer, 1997. 
  •  W.A.Sutherland, Introduction to metric and topological spaces, Oxford University Press, 1975. 
  •  B. O'Neill, Elementary Differential Geometry, Harcourt 2nd ed., 1997. 
  •  M. Do Carmo, Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces, Prentice Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1976. 

I would be glad to get any comments from you related to the above list: if you think that I should pay particular attention to some of the above notions, I'll try to spend on that more time.

In general, any feedback from you is very important, since at lectures we will not be able to contact in usual way. 

The lectures will be followed by Problem Sheets which will appear regularly on the MAGIC website. 


  1. Manifolds, vector fields, tangent bundle, smooth maps and diffeomorphisms 
  2. Lie groups and Lie algebras, relationship between them 
  3. Classical Lie groups GL(n,R), SL(n,R), O(n), O(p,q), U(n), SU(n), Sp(n,R) and their Lie algebras 
  4. Left and right invariant vector fields, one-parameter subgroups and exponential map 
  5. Fundamental group and universal covering of a Lie group 
  6. Actions of Lie groups 
  7. Homogeneous spaces and linear representations 
  8. Adjoint and co-adjoint representations 
  9. Solvable and nilpotent Lie groups, Lie and Engel theorems 
  10. Killing form, Cartan subalgebra, radical 
  11. Semisimple Lie algebras, classification (without detailed proof) 
  12. Basic facts on root systems and Dynkin diagrams 


  • AB

    Dr Alexey Bolsinov

    Loughborough University


No bibliography has been specified for this course.


The assessment for this course will be released on Monday 13th May 2024 at 00:00 and is due in before Friday 24th May 2024 at 11:00.

Assessment for all MAGIC courses is via take-home exam which will be made available at the release date (the start of the exam period).

You will need to upload a PDF file with your own attempted solutions by the due date (the end of the exam period).

If you have kept up-to-date with the course, the expectation is it should take at most 3 hours’ work to attain the pass mark, which is 50%.

Please note that you are not registered for assessment on this course.


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