linear subspaces in special relativity

Who knew that my love of special relativity would collide with my love of data analysis? In the ongoing conversation between Soledad Villar (JHU), Ben Blum-Smith (NYU), and myself about writing down universally approximating functions that are equivariant with respect to fundamental physics symmetries, a problem came up related to the orientation of sets of vectors: In what groups are there possible actions on d-dimensional vectors such that you can leave all but one of the d vectors unchanged, and change only the dth? It turns out that this is an important question. For example, in 3-space, the orthogonal group O(3) permits this but the rotation group SO(3) does not! This weekend, I showed that the Lorentz group permits this. I showed it constructively.

If you care, my notes are here. It helped me understand some things about the distinction between covariant and contravariant vectors. This project has been fun, because I have used this data-analysis project to learn some new physics, and my physics knowledge to inform a data analysis framework.

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