Contractions of Lie groups: an application of Physics in Pure Mathematics

18 February 2014
Tony Dooley
Contractions of Lie groups have been used by physicists to understand how classical physics is the limit ``as the speed of light tends to infinity" of relativistic physics. It turns out that a contraction can be understood as an approximate homomorphism between two Lie algebras or Lie groups, and we can use this to transfer harmonic analysis from a group to its ``limit", finding relationships which generalise the traditional results that the Fourier transform on $\R$ is the limit of Fourier series on $\TT$. We can transfer $L^p$ estimates, solutions of differential operators, etc. The interesting limiting relationship between the representation theory of the groups involved can be understood geometrically via the Kirillov orbit method.
  • Functional Analysis Seminar