# Lie theory

In mathematics, the mathematician Sophus Lie ( *LEE*) initiated lines of study involving integration of differential equations, transformation groups, and contact of spheres that have come to be called **Lie theory**.^{[1]} For instance, the latter subject is Lie sphere geometry. This article addresses his approach to transformation groups, which is one of the areas of mathematics, and was worked out by Wilhelm Killing and Élie Cartan.

The foundation of Lie theory is the exponential map relating Lie algebras to Lie groups which is called the Lie group–Lie algebra correspondence. The subject is part of differential geometry since Lie groups are differentiable manifolds. Lie groups evolve out of the identity (1) and the tangent vectors to one-parameter subgroups generate the Lie algebra. The structure of a Lie group is implicit in its algebra, and the structure of the Lie algebra is expressed by root systems and root data.

Lie theory has been particularly useful in mathematical physics since it describes the standard transformation groups: the Galilean group, the Lorentz group, the Poincaré group and the conformal group of spacetime.

The one-parameter groups are the first instance of Lie theory. The compact case arises through Euler's formula in the complex plane. Other one-parameter groups occur in the split-complex number plane as the unit hyperbola

There is a classical 3-parameter Lie group and algebra pair: the quaternions of unit length which can be identified with the 3-sphere. Its Lie algebra is the subspace of quaternion vectors. Since the commutator ij − ji = 2k, the Lie bracket in this algebra is twice the cross product of ordinary vector analysis.

Another elementary 3-parameter example is given by the Heisenberg group and its Lie algebra. Standard treatments of Lie theory often begin with the classical groups.

Early expressions of Lie theory are found in books composed by Sophus Lie with Friedrich Engel and Georg Scheffers from 1888 to 1896.

In Lie's early work, the idea was to construct a theory of *continuous groups*, to complement the theory of discrete groups that had developed in the theory of modular forms, in the hands of Felix Klein and Henri Poincaré. The initial application that Lie had in mind was to the theory of differential equations. On the model of Galois theory and polynomial equations, the driving conception was of a theory capable of unifying, by the study of symmetry, the whole area of ordinary differential equations.

According to historian Thomas W. Hawkins, it was Élie Cartan that made Lie theory what it is:

In his work on transformation groups, Sophus Lie proved three theorems relating the groups and algebras that bear his name. The first theorem exhibited the basis of an algebra through infinitesimal transformations.^{[5]}^{: 96 } The second theorem exhibited structure constants of the algebra as the result of commutator products in the algebra.^{[5]}^{: 100 } The third theorem showed these constants are anti-symmetric and satisfy the Jacobi identity.^{[5]}^{: 106 } As Robert Gilmore wrote:

Lie theory is frequently built upon a study of the classical linear algebraic groups. Special branches include Weyl groups, Coxeter groups, and buildings. The classical subject has been extended to Groups of Lie type.

In 1900 David Hilbert challenged Lie theorists with his Fifth Problem presented at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris.