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1.1- What is group theory? Consider the equation a.x=b. What are a and b, can this be solved and what operation does the dot represent? Group theory is an abstract approach to dealing with mathematical systems that have one unique solution. The variables a and b, as well as the operation symbolised by a dot, are not actually important. Instead, this theory finds elements of a system that are common to all groups. 1.2- What is a group? A group is any system that obeys the following four axioms, or rules: o o o o Closure: If a and b are in the group then a b is also in the group Associativity: If a, b and c are in the group then (a .b).c = a.(b .c) Identity: There is an element e of the group so that for any element a of the group a.e = e.a = a Inverses: For any element a there is an element a-1 such that a.a-1 = a-1.a = e

2.1- Closure: The binary operation symbolised by the dot, such as addition, is an operation performed on two elements of a set to derive a third element. For the closure axiom to be obeyed, the operation can be applied to any pair of elements in the group, and the result must be an element of the group. Counting numbers, for instance, are closed under multiplication and addition. Negative integers are not closed under multiplication, as their product is positive and therefore not a member of the set. 2.2- Associativity: Three elements of a set are associative if (a .b).c = a.(b .c). Addition and multiplication of real numbers is always associative. Subtraction and division of real numbers is not, for example (7-2) - 4 = 5-4 = 1, but 7 - (2-4) = 7+2 = 9. 2.3- Identity: An identity is an element that provides a neutral action to another element. For example, 1 is a multiplication identity, and zero is an addition identity. An identity within a set is always unique; this can be shown extremely quickly using proof by contradiction. {Theorem: If G is a group, the identity

element e is always unique. Begin the proof by assuming that there are two identity elements; e and e'. As e is an identity element, e.e'=e'. Then remember that e' is also an identity element, so e.e'=e. This provides a contradiction, as e has to be the same number as e', so the identity element has to be unique.}

2.4- Inverses: An identity element must be present in the group to satisfy the inverse axiom. An inverse element is essentially a way to undo an operation. For example, if I ended up with 10 after adding 2 to a number, then my original number would be 8 and the inverse would be -2.When dealing with 2x2 matrices, they

may not have an inverse under matrix multiplication; with a determinant of zero, there is no inverse and the matrix is known as being singular.

Using group theory, we can solve the original equation without actually considering what a, b and x actually are.

3.2- Group theory applications: Group theory is used in addition, provided that you are using only abelian group operations of the integers. This is a group that allows the axiom of commutativity, so the order of elements in the operation does not matter. For example, 1+2= 2+1 = 3 A Rubik's cube can also be solved using ideas of Group theory, and is an example that works for nonabelian groups only. Changing the order of turns to the cube would change the permutation, so commutativity cannot be true. The only group of turns that abides by the axiom of commutativity is the superflip, which is far too complicated for me to remember. It's also useful in particle physics and string theory. Particle physics already has real-life application, and string theory may well do so in the future.

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