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The 'useless' perspective that transformed mathematics
by Kevin Hartnett, Senior Writer
Quanta Magazine Translate This Article
9 June 2020
On 9 June 2020 Quanta Magazine reported:
When representation theory emerged in the late 19th century, many mathematicians questioned its worth. More than a century since its debut, representation theory has served as a key ingredient in many of the most important discoveries in mathematics.
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Representation theory is a way of taking complicated objects and 'representing' them with simpler objects. The complicated objects are often collections of mathematical objects -- like numbers or symmetries -- that stand in a particular structured relationship with each other. These collections are called groups. The simpler objects are arrays of numbers called matrices, the core element of linear algebra. While groups are abstract and often difficult to get a handle on, matrices and linear algebra are elementary.
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