Some Natural Identifications (Pt. II)
Point of Post: This is a continuation of this post.
Natural Identification of with
We now show how to naturally identify with the space of alternating -forms . In particular, we define the map as follows:
When is clear we shall suppress the and merely write . This map is well-defined (in the sense that we can extend this map on simple tensors to a map on all of ) since it’s the composition of the map with a map . Note that this map really is linear, and moreover that the image of the map does, in fact, like in . We really only need to explain this second point, and we really only need to check this on the image of the simple tensors. To check this we let and calculate as follows:
The key being that, using Cayley’s theorem, we know that for any function one has that .
What we now claim is that so that descends to an isomorphism .
To see that suppose that is such that . Now, since and we have that . Thus, we can write
where the last equality follows since
The reverse inclusion is slightly more difficult, but is left to you to figure out (just plug in the appropriate values to show that some two of them must be equal).
Now, as was stated before we have that descends to an isomorphism which we also denote as .
Now, I leave it to anyone interested that is natural–this is exceedingly easy since is natural. Thus, with this we have the following:
Theorem: Let be a finite dimensional vector space, then is a natural isomorphism.
Now, we see that this isomorphism allows us define a product, the wedge product , on the space of all alternating multilinear forms defined by . Explicitly, this comes out to the definition that
Since this product is defined so that is an isomorphism of -algebras we see if we start with an -algebra generating set for then its image under is an -algebra generating set for .
Hom, Tensor, and Dual space Duality and the Trace Map
Unsurprisingly this section of this post shall be based around a natural isomorphism involving , and and how this can be used to give a coordinate free definition of the trace map. Throughout the following and shall have the same meaning as in the above section, will be another finite dimensional -space, and as well as shall be denoted and respectively. Lastly, for purely pedagogical reasons we denote as for and –it is important to note that is bilinear.
The isomorphism we would like to prove is . From a purely dimension counting, variance checking, point of view this makes sense. Indeed, purely from a dimension check–they both have dimension . That said, they clearly can’t be naturally isomorphic for, if they were, and would have to be isomorphic functors, but this can’t be true since the first is contravariant and the second is covariant. For those who aren’t so comfortable with categorical language this really just means that if is a linear map we get linear maps and –the fact that they are going in opposite directions (one keeps in the domain and the other puts it in the codomain) tells us there can’t be a natural isomorphism. So, how do we fix this? The obvious way to fix this would be to compose with some kind of contravariant functor…well, this isn’t guaranteed to fix it but it is definitely necessary. Moreover, we need the functor we compose with to be dimension preserving. Well, anyone who has done linear algebra long enough should know the classic example of this: the dual space functor. Thus, we make a guess that the functor should be isomorphic to the functor with .
While this really doesn’t make obvious the fact that it at least gives a plausibility argument (although a bad one). Regardless, let’s actually get down to defining this isomorphism.
 Dummit, David Steven., and Richard M. Foote. Abstract Algebra. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004. Print.
 Rotman, Joseph J. Advanced Modern Algebra. Providence, RI: American Mathematical Society, 2010. Print.
 Blyth, T. S. Module Theory. Clarendon, 1990. Print.
 Lang, Serge. Algebra. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1965. Print.
 Grillet, Pierre A. Abstract Algebra. New York: Springer, 2007. Print.
 Conrad, Keith. “Exterior Powers.” Www.math.uconn.edu/~kconrad. Web. <http://www.math.uconn.edu/~kconrad/blurbs/linmultialg/extmod.pdf>.