Group theory for physicists

Physics 250:  Group theory for physicists

Winter quarter 2014

This is a physics course, not a math course. The purpose is to give a brief introduction to group theory for physics students. The scope of the course will be described in the first lecture. Topics to be discussed will include finite groups, representation theory, character tables, SO(3), SU(2), unitary groups, orthogonal groups, spinor representation, Lie algebra, Cartan classification, Lorentz, Poincare', and de Sitter groups.

I will discuss various books appropriate for this course. I have not yet decided on a required text. There may not be one. At the moment, I am leaning towards recommending Tinkham's book on group theory in quantum mechanics as a supplement to the lectures.

Prerequisite:  Thorough mastery of linear algebra is required. The course will begin with a lightning review of some important results from linear algebra. A nodding familiarity with quantum mechanics would be desirable.