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ABSTRACT ALGEBRA I: HOMEWORK 4 SOLUTIONS

ANDY EISENBERG


1 a b
Problem (pgs. 111-114, 9). Let G = GL3 (R). Show that H = 0 1 c is
0 0 1

a subgroup of G.
Proof. Since the determinant
of anymatrix in H is 1, they are all invertible. It is
1 a b
easy to verify that if A = 0 1 c H is an arbitrary element, then
0 0 1

1 a b 1 a ac b 1 a ac b 1 a b 1 0 0
0 1 c 0 1 c = 0 1 c 0 1 c = 0 1 0 .
0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1

1 d e
Thus the inverse is also in H. Now let B = 0 1 f H be another arbitrary
0 0 1
element. Then

1 a b 1 d e 1 a + d af + b + e
0 1 c 0 1 f = 0 1 c + f .
0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1
Thus for any A, B H, we have A1 H and AB H. Since H is closed under
the group operation and under taking inverses, it is a subgroup. 
Problem (pgs. 111-114, 14). Let G be an abelian group. Show that the set of all
elements of G of finite order forms a subgroup of G.
Proof. Let H be the set of all elements of G of finite order. Let a, b H be
arbitrary elements. Since a is of finite order in G, we have an = e for some n.
Then (a1 )n = an = (an )1 = e1 = e, so a1 H. Since b is also of finite
order, there is some m so that bm = e. Now (ab)nm = anm bnm = em en = e, and
ab H. Since H is closed under the group operation and under taking inverses, it
is a subgroup. 
Problem (pgs. 111-114, 15). Prove that any cyclic group is abelian.
Proof. Let G = hai be a cyclic group generated by a. Take x, y G. Then there
exist n, m Z such that x = an , y = am . Hence xy = an am = an+m = am an = yx,
so G is abelian. 
Problem (pgs. 111-114, 17). Prove that the intersection of any collection of sub-
groups of a group is again a subgroup.

Date: Fall 2009.


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2 ANDY EISENBERG

Proof. Let G be a group, and let {H }TA be a collection of subgroups of G indexed


by an arbitrary set A. Define H = A H . Take arbitrary elements a, b H.
Since a H, a H for all A. ForT each , since H is a subgroup, a1 H .
1 1
Since a H for all A, a H = H. Similarly, since a, b H, we
have a, b H for all . Since each HT is a subgroup, we have ab H . Since
ab H for all A, we have ab H = H. Since H is closed under the
group operation and under taking inverses, it is a subgroup. 
Problem (pgs. 111-114, 19). Let G be a group, and let a G. The set C(a) =
{x G | xa = ax} of all elements of G that commute with a is called the centralizer
of a.
(a) Show that C(a) is a subgroup of G.
(b) Show that hai C(a).
Proof. (a) Let g, h C(a). Then ga = ag. Multiplying on the left by g 1 , we
have a = g 1 ga = g 1 ag. Multiplying on the right by g 1 , we have ag 1 =
g 1 agg 1 = g 1 a. Since ag 1 = g 1 a, we have g 1 C(a). We also have
ha = ah. So
(gh)a = g(ha) = g(ah) = (ga)h = (ag)h = a(gh),
so gh C(a). Since C(a) is closed under the group operation and under taking
inverses, it is a subgroup.
(b) A typical element of hai is an for some n Z. Recall that an am = an+m , so
an a = an+1 = aan , and an C(a). This shows hai C(a).

Problem (pgs. 111-114, 21). Let G be a group. The set Z(G) = {x G | xg =
gx, g G} of all elements that commute with every other element of G is called
the center of G.
(a) Show that Z(G) is T a subgroup of G.
(b) Show that Z(G) = aG C(a).
(c) Compute the center of S3 .
Proof. (a) Suppose a, b Z(G). Then for any x G, we have abx = axb = xab, so
ab Z(G). Also, we have ax = xa. Multiplying both sides on the right by a1 ,
we have axa1 = x. Multiplying on the left by a1 , we have xa1 = a1 x,
hence a1 Z(G). Since Z(G) is closed under the group operation and under
taking inverses, it is a subgroup.
(b) Suppose g T Z(G). Then ga = ag forT every a G, so g C(a) for everyTa G,
hence g C(a). That is, Z(G) C(a). Conversely, suppose g T C(a).
Then ga = ag for every a G. By definition, g Z(G), hence Z(G) = C(a).
(c) The elements of S3 besides the identity are either transpositions or 3-cycles.
Consider the transposition (1 2). We have
(1 2)(1 3) = (3 2 1) 6= (2 3 1) = (1 3)(1 2).
This shows that (1 2) / Z(S3 ). We can similarly demonstrate that no transpo-
sition can be in Z(S3 ). Now consider (1 2 3). We have
(1 2 3)(1 2) = (1 3) 6= (3 2) = (1 2)(1 2 3).
By a similar calculation, no 3-cycle is in Z(S3 ). This shows that Z(S3 ) = {e}.

ABSTRACT ALGEBRA I: HOMEWORK 4 SOLUTIONS 3

Problem (pgs. 111-114, 26). Let G be a group with a, b G Assume that o(a) and
o(b) are finite and relatively prime, and that ab = ba. Show that o(ab) = o(a)o(b).
Proof. Since o(ab) = lcm(o(a), o(b)) and gcd(n, m) = 1, we have o(ab) = o(a)o(b).