Brauer's three main theorems

Brauer's three main theorems

Brauer's main theorems are three theorems in representation theory of finite groups linking the blocks of a finite group (in characteristic "p") with those of its "p"-local subgroups, that is to say, the normalizers of its non-trivial "p"-subgroups.

The second and third main theorems allow refinements of orthogonality relations for ordinary characters which may be applied in finite group theory. These do not presently admit a proof purely in terms of ordinary characters. All three main theorems are stated in terms of the Brauer correspondence.

Brauer correspondence

There are many ways to extend the definition which follows, but this is close to the early treatments by Brauer. Let "G" be a finite group, "p" be a prime, "F" be a "field" of characteristic "p".Let "H" be a subgroup of "G" which contains


for some "p"-subgroup "Q"of "G," and is contained in the normalizer


The Brauer homomorphism (with respect to "H") is a linear map from the center of the group algebra of "G" over "F" to the corresponding algebra for "H". Specifically, it is the restriction to Z(FG) of the (linear) projection from FG to FC_G(Q) whosekernel is spanned by the elements of "G" outside C_G(Q). The image of this map is contained in Z(FH), and it transpires that the map is also a ring homomorphism.

Since it is a ring homomorphism, for any block "B" of "FG", the Brauer homomorphism sends the identity element of "B" either to "0" or to an idempotent element. In the latter case, the idempotent may be decomposed as a sum of (mutually orthogonal) primitive idempotents of "Z(FH)." Each of these primitive idempotents is the multiplicative identity of some block of "FH." The block "b" of "FH" is said to be a Brauer correspondent of "B" if its identity element occursin this decomposition of the image of the identity of "B" under the Brauer homomorphism.

Brauer's first main theorem

Brauer's first main theorem states that if G is a finite group a D is a p-subgroup of G, then there is a bijection between the collections of (characteristic "p") blocks of G with defect group D and blocks of the normalizer N_G(D) with defect group "D". This bijection arises because when H = N_G(D), each block of "G"with defect group "D" has a unique Brauer correspondent block of "H", which also has defect group "D".

Brauer's second main theorem

Brauer's second main theorem gives, for an element "t" whose order is a power of a prime "p", a criterion for a (characteristic "p") block of C_G(t) to correspond to a given block of G, via "generalized decomposition numbers". These are the coefficients which occur when the restrictions of ordinary characters of G (from the given block) to elements of the form "tu", where "u" ranges over elements of order prime to "p" in C_G(t), are written as linear combinations of the irreducible Brauer characters of C_G(t). The content of the theorem is that it is only necessary to use Brauer characters from blocks of C_G(t) which are Brauer correspondents of the chosen block of "G".

Brauer's third main theorem

Brauer's third main theorem states that when "Q" is a "p"-subgroup of the finite group "G",and "H" is a subgroup of "G," containing QC_G(Q), and contained in N_G(Q),then the principal block of "H" is the only Brauer correspondent of the principal block of "G" (where the blocks referred to are calculated in characteristic "p").


* Richard Brauer, Zur Darstellungstheorie der Gruppen Endlicher Ordnung I, Math. Z. 63 (1956), 406-444.
* Richard Brauer, Zur Darstellungstheorie der Gruppen Endlicher Ordnung II, Math. Z. 72 (1959), 25-46.
* Richard Brauer, On the first main theorem on blocks of characters of finite groups, Illinois J. Math. 14 (1970), 183-187
* Walter Feit, "The representation theory of finite groups." North-Holland Mathematical Library, 25. North-Holland Publishing Co., Amsterdam-New York, 1982. xiv+502 pp. ISBN 0-444-86155-6

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