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Sean Li Math 4340 Notes Spring 2013 Abstract Algebra Lecture 4 1/28/13 The Order of an Element in a Group.

p. Given x G a group, the smallest positive integer n for which xn = 1 is called the order of x, also denoted Ord(x) or O(x) or |x|. If no such positive integer exists, then Ord(x) = . Example. In Z (under addition), the identity 0 is the only element of nite order. Example. In Sn , the order of an element is the LCM of the lengths of its cycles. Properties. 1. Every element of a nite group has nite order. 2. If |G| < and x G then Ord(x)| Ord(G). 3. If n = Ord(x) and xm = e, then n|m. Proof of (1). Take an element x, then the set {x, x2 , x3 , . . . } must be a nite set because it is a subset of G. Hence xm = xn for distinct integers m and n. Say m = n + a, then xm = xn xa = xm , so xa = e. Taking the smallest a gives the order. The proof of (2) will not be presented at this time. Proof of (3). Suppose m = qn + r, where q, r Z. Then xr = e where r < n, contradicting that n is the order of x. Equivalence Relations. (Review of denition of equivalence relations, also of partitions.) Also, group actions causing partitions.