Lecture 08  Tensor space theory I: over a field (Schuller's Geometric Anatomy of Theoretical Physics)
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Lecture notes for lecture 5 of Frederic Schuller's Lectures on the Geometric Anatomy of Theoretical Physics. Content...
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8 8.1
Tensor space theory I: over a field Vector spaces
We begin with a quick review of vector spaces. Definition. An (algebraic) field is a triple (K, +, ·), where K is a set and +, · are maps K × K → K satisfying the following axioms: • (K, +) is an abelian group, i.e. i) ∀ a, b, c ∈ K : (a + b) + c = a + (b + c); ii) ∃ 0 ∈ K : ∀ a ∈ K : a + 0 = 0 + a = a; iii) ∀ a ∈ K : ∃ −a ∈ K : a + (−a) = (−a) + a = 0; iv) ∀ a, b ∈ K : a + b = b + a; • (K ∗ , ·), where K ∗ = K \ {0}, is an abelian group, i.e. v) ∀ a, b, c ∈ K ∗ : (a · b) · c = a · (b · c); vi) ∃ 1 ∈ K ∗ : ∀ a ∈ K ∗ : a · 1 = 1 · a = a; vii) ∀ a ∈ K ∗ : ∃ a−1 ∈ K ∗ : a · a−1 = a−1 · a = 1; viii) ∀ a, b ∈ K ∗ : a · b = b · a; • the maps + and · satisfy the distributive property: ix) ∀ a, b, c ∈ K : (a + b) · c = a · c + b · c. Remark 8.1. In the above definition, we included axiom iv for the sake of clarity, but in fact it can be proven starting from the other axioms. Remark 8.2. defined as a ring satisfies commutative
A weaker notion that we will encounter later is that of a ring. This is also triple (R, +, ·), but we do not require axiom vi, vii and viii to hold. If a axiom vi, it is called a unital ring, and if it satisfies axiom viii, it is called a ring. We will mostly consider unital rings, a call them just rings.
Example 8.3. The triple (Z, +, ·) is a commutative, unital ring. However, it is not a field since 1 and −1 are the only two elements which admit an inverse under multiplication. Example 8.4. The sets Q, R, C are all fields under the usual + and · operations. Example 8.5. An example of a noncommutative ring is the set of real m × n matrices Mm×n (R) under the usual operations. Definition. Let (K, +, ·) be a field. A Kvector space, or vector space over K is a triple (V, ⊕, ), where V is a set and ⊕: V × V → V : K × V → V are maps satisfying the following axioms:
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• (V, ⊕) is an abelian group; • the map is an action of K on (V, ⊕): i) ∀ λ ∈ K : ∀ v, w ∈ V : λ (v ⊕ w) = (λ v) ⊕ (λ w); ii) ∀ λ, µ ∈ K : ∀ v ∈ V : (λ + µ) v = (λ v) ⊕ (µ v); iii) ∀ λ, µ ∈ K : ∀ v ∈ V : (λ · µ) v = λ (µ v); iv) ∀ v ∈ V : 1 v = v. Vector spaces are also called linear spaces. Their elements are called vectors, while the elements of K are often called scalars, and the map is called scalar multiplication. You should already be familiar with the various vector space constructions from your linear algebra course. For example, recall: Definition. Let (V, ⊕, ) be a vector space over K and let U ⊆ V be nonempty. Then we say that (U, ⊕U ×U , K×U ) is a vector subspace of (V, ⊕, ) if: i) ∀ u1 , u2 ∈ U : u1 ⊕ u2 ∈ U ; ii) ∀ u ∈ U : ∀ λ ∈ K : λ u ∈ U . More succinctly, if ∀ u1 , u2 ∈ U : ∀ λ ∈ K : (λ u1 ) ⊕ u2 ∈ U . Also recall that if we have n vector spaces over K, we can form the nfold Cartesian product of their underlying sets and make it into a vector space over K by defining the operations ⊕ and componentwise. As usual by now, we will look at the structure preserving maps between vector spaces. Definition. Let (V, ⊕, ), (W, , ) be vector spaces over the same field K and let f : V → W be a map. We say that f is a linear map if for all v1 , v2 ∈ V and all λ ∈ K f ((λ v1 ) ⊕ v2 ) = (λ
f (v1 )) f (v2 ).
From now on, we will drop the special notation for the vector space operations and suppress the dot for scalar multiplication. For instance, we will write the equation above as f (λv1 + v2 ) = λf (v1 ) + f (v2 ), hoping that this will not cause any confusion. Definition. A bijective linear map is called a linear isomorphism of vector spaces. Two vector spaces are said to be isomorphic is there exists a linear isomorphism between them. We write V ∼ =vec W . Remark 8.6. Note that, unlike what happens with topological spaces, the inverse of a bijective linear map is automatically linear, hence we do not need to specify this in the definition of linear isomorphism. Definition. Let V and W be vector spaces over the same field K. Define the set ∼
Hom(V, W ) := {f  f : V − → W }, ∼
where the notation f : V − → W stands for “f is a linear map from V to W ”.
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The homset Hom(V, W ) can itself be made into a vector space over K by defining:  : Hom(V, W ) × Hom(V, W ) → Hom(V, W ) (f, g) 7→ f  g where ∼
f  g: V − →W v 7→ (f  g)(v) := f (v) + g(v), and ⟐ : K × Hom(V, W ) → Hom(V, W ) (λ, f ) 7→ λ ⟐ f where ∼
λ⟐f: V − →W v 7→ (λ ⟐ f )(v) := λf (v). It is easy to check that both f  g and λ ⟐ f are indeed linear maps from V to W . For instance, we have: (by definition)
(λ ⟐ f )(µv1 + v2 ) = λf (µv1 + v2 ) = λ(µf (v1 ) + f (v2 ))
(since f is linear)
= λµf (v1 ) + λf (v2 )
(by axioms i and iii)
= µλf (v1 ) + λf (v2 )
(since K is a field)
= µ(λ ⟐ f )(v1 ) + (λ ⟐ f )(v2 ) so that λ ⟐ f ∈ Hom(V, W ). One should also check that  and ⟐ satisfy the vector space axioms. Remark 8.7. Notice that in the definition of vector space,none of the axioms require that K necessarily be a field. In fact, just a (unital) ring would suffice. Vector spaces over rings, however, have vastly different properties than ordinary vector spaces, and indeed they have a name of their own. They are called modules over a ring, and we will meet them later. For the moment, it is worth pointing out that everything we have done so far applies equally well to modules over a ring, up to and including the definition of Hom(V, W ). However, if we try to make Hom(V, W ) into a module, we run into trouble. Notice that in the derivation above, we used the fact the multiplication in a field is commutative. But this is not the case in general in a ring. The following are commonly used terminology. Definition. Let V be a vector space. An endomorphism of V is a linear map V → V . We write End(V ) := Hom(V, V ).
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Definition. Let V be a vector space. An automorphism of V is a linear isomorphism V → V . We write Aut(V ) := {f ∈ End(V )  f is an isomorphism}. Remark 8.8. Note that, unlike End(V ), Aut(V ) is not a vector space as was claimed in lecture. It however a group under the operation of composition of linear maps. Definition. Let V be a vector space over K. The dual vector space to V is V ∗ := Hom(V, K), where K is considered as a vector space over itself. The dual vector space to V is the vector space of linear maps from V to the underlying field K, which are variously called linear functionals, covectors, or oneforms on V . The dual plays a very important role, in that from a vector space and its dual, we will construct the tensor products. 8.2
Tensors and tensor spaces
Definition. Let V , W , Z be vector spaces over K. A map f : V × W → Z is said to be bilinear if • ∀ w ∈ W : ∀ v1 , v2 ∈ V : ∀ λ ∈ K : f (λv1 + v2 , w) = λf (v1 , w) + f (v2 , w); • ∀ v ∈ V : ∀ w1 , w2 ∈ W : ∀ λ ∈ K : f (v, λw1 + w2 ) = λf (v, w1 ) + f (v, w2 ); i.e. if the maps v 7→ f (v, w), for any fixed w, and w 7→ f (v, w), for any fixed v, are both linear as maps V → Z and W → Z, respectively. ∼
Remark 8.9. Compare this with the definition of a linear map f : V × W − → Z: ∀ x, y ∈ V × W : ∀ λ ∈ K : f (λx + y) = λf (x) + f (y). More explicitly, if x = (v1 , w1 ) and y = (v2 , w2 ), then: f (λ(v1 , w1 ) + (v2 , w2 )) = λf ((v1 , w1 )) + f ((v2 , w2 )). A bilinear map out of V × W is not the same as a linear map out of V × W . In fact, bilinearity is just a special kind of nonlinearity. Example 8.10. The map f : R2 → R given by (x, y) 7→ x + y is linear but not bilinear, while the map (x, y) 7→ xy is bilinear but not linear. We can immediately generalise the above to define multilinear maps out of a Cartesian product of vector spaces. Definition. Let V be a vector space over K. A (p, q)tensor T on V is a multilinear map ∗ T: V · · × V }∗ × V · · × V} → K.  × ·{z  × ·{z p copies
q copies
We write ∗ Tqp V := V · · ⊗ V} ⊗ V · · ⊗ V }∗ := {T  T is a (p, q)tensor on V }.  ⊗ ·{z  ⊗ ·{z p copies
q copies
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Remark 8.11. By convention, a (0, 0) on V is just an element of K, and hence T00 V = K. Remark 8.12. Note that to define Tqp V as a set, we should be careful and invoke the principle of restricted comprehension, i.e. we should say where the T s are coming from. In general, say we want to build a set of maps f : A → B satisfying some property p. Recall that the notation f : A → B is hiding the fact that is a relation (indeed, a functional relation), and a relation between A and B is a subset of A × B. Therefore, we ought to write: {f ∈ P(A × B)  f : A → B and p(f )}. In the case of Tqp V we have: Tqp V := T ∈ P V ∗ × ·{z · · × V }∗ × V × ·{z · · × V} ×K  T is a (p, q)tensor on V , p copies
q copies
although we will not write this down every time. The set Tqp V can be equipped with a Kvector space structure by defining ⊕ : Tqp V × Tqp V → Tqp V (T, S) 7→ T ⊕ S and : K × Tqp V → Tqp V (λ, T ) 7→ λ T, where T ⊕ S and λ T are defined pointwise, as we did with Hom(V, W ). We now define an important way of obtaining a new tensor from two given ones. Definition. Let T ∈ Tqp V and S ∈ Tsr V . We define the tensor product of T and S to be p+r T ⊗ S ∈ Tq+s V where: (T ⊗ S)(ω1 , . . . , ωp , ωp+1 , . . . , ωp+r , v1 ,. . . , vq , vq+1 , . . . , vq+s ) := T (ω1 , . . . , ωp , v1 ,. . . , vq )S(ωp+1 , . . . , ωp+r , vq+1 , . . . , vq+s ), with ωi ∈ V ∗ and vi ∈ V . Some examples are in order. ∼
Example 8.13. a) T10 V := {T  T : V − → K} = Hom(V, K) =: V ∗ . Note that here multilinear is the same as linear since the maps only have one argument. b) T11 V ≡ V ⊗ V ∗ := {T  T is a bilinear map V ∗ × V → K}. We claim that this is the same as End(V ∗ ). Indeed, given T ∈ V ⊗ V ∗ , we can construct Tb ∈ End(V ∗ ) as follows: ∼ Tb : V ∗ − →V∗
ω 7→ T (−, ω)
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where, for any fixed ω, we have ∼
T (−, ω) : V − →K v 7→ T (v, ω). The linearity of both Tb and T (−, ω) follows immediately from the bilinearity of T . Hence T (−, ω) ∈ V ∗ for all ω, and Tb ∈ End(V ∗ ). This correspondence is invertible, since can reconstruct T from Tb by defining T: V ×V∗ →K (v, ω) 7→ T (v, ω) := (Tb(ω))(v). The correspondence is in fact linear, hence an isomorphism, and thus T11 V ∼ =vec End(V ∗ ). Other examples we would like to consider are ?
c) T10 V ∼ =vec V : while you will find this stated as true in some physics textbooks, it is in fact not true in general; ?
d) T11 V ∼ =vec End(V ): This is also not true in general; ?
e) (V ∗ )∗ ∼ =vec V : This only holds if V is finitedimensional. The definition of dimension hinges on the notion of a basis. Given a vector space Without any additional structure, the only notion of basis that we can define is a socalled Hamel basis. Definition. Let (V, +, ·) be a vector space over K. A subset B ⊆ V is called a Hamel basis for V if • every finite subset {b1 , . . . , bN } of B is linearly independent, i.e. N X
λi bi = 0 ⇒ λ1 = · · · = λN = 0;
i=1
• ∀v ∈ V :
∃ v1, . . . , vM
∈ K : ∃ b1 , . . . , bM ∈ B : v =
M X
v i bi .
i=1
Remark 8.14. We can write the second condition more succinctly by defining span(B) :=
X n
i λ bi λ ∈ K ∧ bi ∈ B ∧ n ≥ 1 i
i=1
and thus writing ∀ v ∈ V : v ∈ span(B).
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Remark 8.15. Note that we have been using superscripts for the elements of K, and these should not be confused with exponents. Definition. Let V be a vector space. The dimension of V is dim V := B, where B is a Hamel basis for V . Even though we will not prove it, it is the case that every Hamel basis for a given vector space has the same cardinality, and hence the notion of dimension is welldefined. Theorem 8.16. If dim V < ∞, then (V ∗ )∗ ∼ =vec V . Sketch of proof. One constructs an explicit isomorphism as follows. Define the evaluation map as ∼
ev : V − → (V ∗ )∗ v 7→ evv where ∼
evv : V ∗ − →K ω 7→ evv (ω) := ω(v) The linearity of ev follows immediately from the linearity of the elements of V ∗ , while that of evv from the fact that V ∗ is a vector space. One then shows that ev is both injective and surjective, and hence an isomorphism. Remark 8.17. Note that while we need the concept of basis to state this result (since we require dim V < ∞), the isomorphism that we have constructed is independent of any choice of basis. Remark 8.18. It is not hard to show that (V ∗ )∗ ∼ =vec V and T11 V ∼ =vec =vec V implies T10 V ∼ End(V ). So the last two hold in finite dimensions, but they need not hold in infinite dimensions. Remark 8.19. While a choice of basis often simplifies things, when defining new objects it is important to do so without making reference to a basis. If we do define something in terms of a basis (e.g. the dimension of a vector space), then we have to check that the thing is welldefined, i.e. it does not depend on which basis we choose. Some people say: “A gentleman only chooses a basis if he must.” If V is finitedimensional, then V ∗ is also finitedimensional and V ∼ =vec V ∗ . Moreover, ∗ given a basis B of V , there is a spacial basis of V associated to B. Definition. Let V be a finitedimensional vector space with basis B = {e1 , . . . , edim V }. The dual basis to B is the unique basis B 0 = {f 1 , . . . , f dim V } of V ∗ such that ∀ 1 ≤ i, j ≤ dim V :
f i (ej ) = δji :=
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( 1 if i = j 0 if i 6= j
Remark 8.20. If V is finitedimensional, then V is isomorphic to both V ∗ and (V ∗ )∗ . In the case of V ∗ , an isomorphism is given by sending each element of a basis B of V to a different element of the dual basis B 0 , and then extending linearly to V . You will (and probably already have) read that a vector space is canonically isomorphic to its double dual, but not canonically isomorphic to its dual, because an arbitrary choice of basis on V is necessary in order to provide an isomorphism. The proper treatment of this matter falls within the scope of category theory, and the relevant notion is called natural isomorphism. See, for instance, the book Basic Category Theory by Tom Leinster for an introduction to the subject. Once we have a basis B, the expansion of v ∈ V in terms of elements of B is, in fact, unique. Hence we can meaningfully speak of the components of v in the basis B. The notion of coordinates can also be generalised to the case of tensors. Definition. Let V be a finitedimensional vector space over K with basis B = {e1 , . . . , edim V } and let T ∈ Tqp V . We define the components of T in the basis B to be the numbers T
a1 ...ap b1 ...bq
:= T (f a1 , . . . , f ap , eb1 , . . . , ebq ) ∈ K,
where 1 ≤ ai , bj ≤ dim V and {f 1 , . . . , f dim V } is the dual basis to B. Just as with vectors, the components completely determine the tensor. Indeed, we can reconstruct the tensor from its components by using the basis: T =
dim XV
···
a1 =1

dim XV
T
a1 ...ap b1 ...bq ea1
⊗ · · · ⊗ eap ⊗ f b1 ⊗ · · · ⊗ f bq ,
bq =1
{z
p+q sums
}
where the eai s are understood as elements of T01 V ∼ =vec V and the f bi s as elements of T10 V ∼ =vec V ∗ . Note that each summand is a (p, q)tensor and the (implicit) multiplication between the components and the tensor product is the scalar multiplication in Tqp V . Change of basis Let V be a vector space over K with d = dim V < ∞ and let {e1 , . . . , ed } be a basis of V . Consider a new basis {e e1 , . . . , eed }. Since the elements of the new basis are also elements of V , we can expand them in terms of the old basis. We have: eei =
d X
Aj i e j
for 1 ≤ i ≤ d.
B ji eej
for 1 ≤ i ≤ d.
j=1
for some Aj i ∈ K. Similarly, we have ei =
d X j=1
for some B ji ∈ K. It is a standard linear algebra result that the matrices A and B, with entries Aj i and B ji respectively, are invertible and, in fact, A−1 = B.
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8.3
Notational conventions
Einstein’s summation convention From now on, we will employ the Einstein’s summation convention, which consists in suppressing the summation sign when the indices to be summed over each appear once as a subscript and once as a superscript in the same term. For example, we write v = v i ei
and
T = T ijk ei ⊗ ej ⊗ f k
and
T =
instead of v=
d X
v i ei
i=1
d X d X d X
T ijk ei ⊗ ej ⊗ f k .
i=1 j=1 k=1
Indices that are summed over are called dummy indices; they always appear in pairs and clearly it doesn’t matter which particular letter we choose to denote them, provided it doesn’t already appear in the expression. Indices that are not summed over are called free indices; expressions containing free indices represent multiple expressions, one for each value of the free indices; free indices must match on both sides of an equation. For example v i ei = v k ek ,
T ijk = T imjkm ,
Aij = Ck C k Bij + Ci C k Bkj
T ijj = T imjkm ,
Aij = Ck C k + Ci C l Blj
are all valid expressions, while ck v i ei = ck v k ek ,
are not. The ranges over which the indices run are usually understood and not written out. The convention on which indices go upstairs and which downstairs (which we have already been using) is that: • the basis vectors of V carry downstairs indices; • the basis vectors of V ∗ carry upstairs indices; • all other placements are enforced by the Einstein’s summation convention. For example, since the components of a vector must multiply the basis vectors and be summed over, the Einstein’s summation convention requires that they carry upstair indices. Example 8.21. Using the summation convention, we have: a) f a (v) = f a (v b eb ) = v b f a (eb ) = v b δba = v a ; b) ω(eb ) = (ωa f a )(eb ) = ωa f a (eb ) = ωb ; c) ω(v) = ωa f a (v b eb ) = ωa v a ; where v ∈ V , ω ∈ V ∗ , {ei } is a basis of V and {f j } is the dual basis to {ei }.
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Remark 8.22. The Einstein’s summation convention should only be used when dealing with linear spaces and multilinear maps. The reason for this is the following. Consider a map φ : V × W → Z, and let v = v i ei ∈ V and w = wi eei ∈ W . Then we have: φ(v, w) = φ
X d i=1
X de d X de d X de X X j i j v ei , w eej = φ(v ei , w eej ) = v i wj φ(ei , eej ). i
j=1
i=1 j=1
i=1 j=1
Note that by suppressing the greyed out summation signs, the second and third term above are indistinguishable. But this is only true if φ is bilinear! Hence the summation convention should not be used (at least, not without extra care) in other areas of mathematics. Remark 8.23. Having chosen a basis for V and the dual basis for V ∗ , it is very tempting to think of v = v i ei ∈ V and ω = ωi f i ∈ V ∗ as dtuples of numbers. In order to distinguish them, one may choose to write vectors as columns of numbers and covectors as rows of numbers: 1 v .. i v = v ei ! v = ˆ . vd and ω = ωi f i
!
ω= ˆ (ω1 , . . . , ωd ).
Given φ ∈ End(V ) ∼ =vec T11 V , recall that we can write φ = φij ei ⊗ f j , where φij := φ(f i , ej ) are the components of φ with respect to the chosen basis. It is then also very tempting to think of φ as a square array of numbers: φ11 φ12 · · · φ1d 2 2 φ 1 φ 2 · · · φ2d i j φ = φ j ei ⊗ f ! φ= ˆ .. . . .. .. . . . . φd1 φd2 · · · φdd
The convention here is to think of the i index on φij as a row index, and of j as a column index. We cannot stress enough that this is pure convention. Its usefulness stems from the following example. Example 8.24. If dim V < ∞, then we have End(V ) ∼ =vec T11 V . Explicitly, if φ ∈ End(V ), we can think of φ ∈ T11 V , using the same symbol, as φ(ω, v) := ω(φ(v)). Hence the components of φ ∈ End(V ) are φab := f a (φ(eb )).
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Now consider φ, ψ ∈ End(V ). Let us determine the components of φ ◦ ψ. We have: (φ ◦ ψ)ab := (φ ◦ ψ)(f a , eb ) := f a ((φ ◦ ψ)(eb )) = f a ((φ(ψ(eb ))) = f a (φ(ψ mb em )) = ψ mb f a (φ(em )) := ψ mb φam . The multiplication in the last line is the multiplication in the field K, and since that’s commutative, we have ψ mb φam = φam ψ mb . However, in light of the convention introduced in the previous remark, the latter is preferable. Indeed, if we think of the superscripts as row indices and of the subscripts as column indices, then φam ψ mb is the entry in row a, column b, of the matrix product φψ. Similarly, ω(v) = ωm v m can be thought of as the dot product ω · v ≡ ω T v, and φ(v, w) = wa φab v b
!
ω T φv.
The last expression is could mislead you into thinking that the transpose is a “good” notion, but in fact it is not. It is very bad notation. It almost pretends to be basis independent, but it is not at all. The moral of the story is that you should try your best not to think of vectors, covectors and tensors as arrays of numbers. Instead, always try to understand them from the abstract, intrinsic, componentfree point of view. Change of components under a change of basis Recall that if {ea } and {e ea } are basis of V , we have eea = Aba eb
and
ea = B ma eem ,
with A−1 = B. Note that in index notation, the equation AB = I reads Aam B mb = δba . We now investigate how the components of vectors and covectors change under a change of basis. a) Let v = v a ea = vea eea ∈ V . Then: v a = f a (v) = f a (e v b eeb ) = veb f a (e eb ) = veb f a (Amb em ) = Amb veb f a (em ) = Aab veb . b) Let ω = ωa f a = ω ea fea ∈ V ∗ . Then: ωa := ω(ea ) = ω(B ma eem ) = B ma ω(e em ) = B ma ω em . Summarising, for v ∈ V , ω ∈ V ∗ and eea = Aba eb , we have: v a = Aab veb
ωa = B ba ω eb
vea = B ab v b
ω ea = Aba ωb
The result for tensors is a combination of the above, depending on the type of tensor.
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c) Let T ∈ Tqp V . Then: T
a1 ...ap b1 ...bq
= Aa1 m1 · · · A
ap
mp B
n1 b1
···B
nq
em1 ...mpn1 ...nq ,
bq T
i.e. the upstair indices transform like vector indices, and the downstair indices transform like covector indices. 8.4
Determinants
In your previous course on linear algebra, you may have met the determinant of a square matrix as a number calculated by applying a mysterious rule. Using the mysterious rule, you may have shown, with a lot of work, that for example, if we exchange two rows or two columns, the determinant changes sign. But, as we have seen, matrices are the result of pure convention. Hence, one more polemic remark is in order. Remark 8.25. Recall that, if φ ∈ T11 V , then we can arrange the components φab in matrix form: φ11 φ12 · · · φ1d 2 2 φ 1 φ 2 · · · φ2 d b a ! φ= ˆ . φ = φ b ea ⊗ f .. . . .. . . . .. φd1 φd2 · · · φdd
Similarly, if we have g ∈ T20 V , its components are gab := g(ea , eb ) and we can write g11 g12 · · · g1d g21 g22 · · · g2d a b g = gab f ⊗ f ! g= ˆ . . . . .. .. . . .. gd1 gd2 · · · gdd
Needless to say that these two objects could not be more different if they tried. Indeed • φ is an endomorphism of V ; the first index in φab transforms like a vector index, while the second index transforms like a covector index; • g is a bilinear form on V ; both indices in gab transform like covector indices. In linear algebra, you may have seen the two different transformation laws for these objects: φ → A−1 φA
and
g → AT gA,
where A is the change of basis matrix. However, once we fix a basis, the matrix representations of these two objects are indistinguishable. It is then very tempting to think that what we can do with a matrix, we can just as easily do with another matrix. For instance, if we have a rule to calculate the determinant of a square matrix, we should be able to apply it to both of the above matrices. However, the notion of determinant is only defined for endomorphisms. The only way to see this is to give a basisindependent definition, i.e. a definition that does not involve the “components of a matrix”.
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We will need some preliminary definitions. Definition. Let M be a set. A permutation of M is a bijection M → M . Definition. The symmetric group of order n, denoted Sn , is the set of permutations of {1, . . . , n} under the operation of functional composition. Definition. A transposition is a permutation which exchanges two elements, keeping all other elements fixed. Proposition 8.26. Every permutation π ∈ Sn can be written as a product (composition) of transpositions in Sn . While this decomposition is not unique, for each given π ∈ Sn , the number of transpositions in its decomposition is always either even or odd. Hence, we can define the sign of π ∈ Sn as: ( +1 if π is the product of an even number of transpositions sgn(π) := −1 if π is the product of an odd number of transpositions. Definition. Let V be a ddimensional vector space. An nform on V is a (0, n)tensor ω that is totally antisymmetric, i.e. ∀ π ∈ Sn : ω(v1 , v2 , . . . , vn ) = sgn(π) ω(vπ(1) , vπ(2) , . . . , vπ(n) ). Note that a 0form is scalar, and a 1form is a covector. A dform is also called a top form. There are several equivalent definitions of nform. For instance, we have the following. Proposition 8.27. A (0, n)tensor ω is an nform if, and only if, ω(v1 , . . . , vn ) = 0 whenever {v1 , . . . , vn } is linearly dependent. While Tn0 V is certainly nonempty when n > d, the proposition immediately implies that any nform with n > d must be identically zero. This is because a collection of more than d vectors from a ddimensional vector space is necessarily linearly dependent. Proposition 8.28. Denote by Λn V the vector space of nforms on V . Then we have ( d if 1 ≤ n ≤ d n dim Λn V = 0 if n > d, where
d n
=
d! n!(d−n)!
is the binomial coefficient, read as “d choose n”.
In particular, dim Λd V = 1. This means that ∀ ω, ω 0 ∈ Λd V : ∃ c ∈ K : ω = c ω 0 , i.e. there is essentially only one top form on V , up to a scalar factor.
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Definition. A choice of top form on V is called a choice of volume form on V . A vector space with a chosen volume form is then called a vector space with volume. This terminology is due to the next definition. Definition. Let dim V = d and let ω ∈ Λd V be a volume form on V . Given v1 , . . . , vd ∈ V , the volume spanned by v1 , . . . , vd is vol(v1 , . . . , vd ) := ω(v1 , . . . , vd ). Intuitively, the antisymmetry condition on ω makes sure that vol(v1 , . . . , vd ) is zero whenever the set {v1 , . . . , vd } is not linearly independent. Indeed, in that case v1 , . . . , vd could only span a (d − 1)dimensional hypersurface in V at most, which should have 0 volume. Remark 8.29. You may have rightfully thought that the notion of volume would require some extra structure on V , such as a notion of length or angles, and hence an inner product. But instead, we only need a top form. We are finally ready to define the determinant. Definition. Let V be a ddimensional vector space and let φ ∈ End(V ) ∼ =vec T11 V . The determinant of φ is ω(φ(e1 ), . . . , φ(ed )) det φ := ω(e1 , . . . , ed ) for some volume form ω ∈ Λd V and some basis {e1 , . . . , ed } of V . The first thing we need to do is to check that this is welldefined. That det φ is independent of the choice of ω is clear, since if ω, ω 0 ∈ Λd V , then there is a c ∈ K such that ω = c ω 0 , and hence ω(φ(e1 ), . . . , φ(ed )) c ω 0 (φ(e1 ), . . . , φ(ed )) = . 0 ω(e1 , . . . , ed ) c ω (e1 , . . . , ed ) The independence from the choice of basis is more cumbersome to show, but it does hold, and thus det φ is welldefined. Note that φ needs to be an endomorphism because we need to apply ω to φ(e1 ), . . . , φ(ed ), and thus φ needs to output a vector. Of course, under the identification of φ as a matrix, this definition coincides with the usual definition of determinant, and all your favourite results about determinants can be derived from it. Remark 8.30. In your linear algebra course, you may have shown the the determinant is basisindependent as follows: if A denotes the change of basis matrix, then det(A−1 φA) = det(A−1 ) det(φ) det(A) = det(A−1 A) det(φ) = det(φ) since scalars commute, and det(A−1 A) = det(I) = 1.
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Recall that the transformation rule for a bilinear form g under a change of basis is g → AT gA. The determinant of g then transforms as det(AT gA) = det(AT ) det(g) det(A) = (det A)2 det(g) i.e. it not invariant under a change of basis. It is not a welldefined object, and thus we should not use it. We will later meet quantities X that transform as X→
1 X (det A)2
under a change of basis, and hence they are also not welldefined. However, we obviously have (det A)2 det(g)X → det(g)X = det(g)X (det A)2 so that the product det(g)X is a welldefined object. It seems that two wrongs make a right! In order to make this mathematically precise, we will have to introduce principal fibre bundles. Using them, we will be able to give a bundle definition of tensor and of tensor densities which are, loosely speaking, quantities that transform with powers of det A under a change of basis.
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