Conjugacy classes and group representations

17 June 2016
David Vogan

One of the big ideas in linear algebra is {\em eigenvalues}. Most matrices become in some basis {\em diagonal} matrices; so a lot of information about the matrix (which is specified by $n^2$ matrix entries) is encoded by by just $n$ eigenvalues. The fact that lots of different matrices can have the same eigenvalues reflects the fact that matrix multiplication is not commutative.

I'll look at how to make these vague statements (``lots of different matrices...") more precise; how to extend them from matrices to abstract symmetry groups; and how to relate abstract symmetry groups to matrices.