Splitting fields of representations of generalized symmetric groups, 5

It is a result of Benard (Schur indices and splitting fields of the unitary reflection groups, J. Algebra, 1976) that the Schur index over {\mathbb{Q}} of any irreducible character of a generalized symmetric group is equal to 1. This post recalls, for the sake of comparison with the literature, other results known about the Schur index in this case.

Suppose that G is a finite group and \pi \in G^* is an irreducible representation of G, \pi :G\rightarrow Aut(V), for some complex vector space V. We say that \pi may be realized over a subfield F\subset {\mathbb{C}} if there is an F-vector space V_0 and an action of G on V_0 such that V and {\mathbb{C}}\otimes V_0 are equivalent representations of G, where G acts on {\mathbb{C}}\otimes V_0 by “extending scalars” in V_0 from F to {\mathbb{C}}. Such a representation is called an F-representation. In other words, \pi is an F-representation provided it is equivalent to a representation which can be written down explicitly using matrices with entries in F.

Suppose that the character \chi of \pi has the property that

\chi(g)\in F, \ \ \ \ \ \ \forall g\in G,

for some subfield F\subset {\mathbb{C}} independent of g. It is unfortunately true that, in general, \pi is not necessarily an F-representation. However, what is remarkable is that, for some m\geq 1, there are m representations, \pi_1,...,\pi_m, all equivalent to \pi, such that \pi_1\oplus ...\oplus \pi_m is an F-representation. The precise theorem is the following remarkable fact.

Theorem: (Schur) Let \chi be an irreducible character and let F be any field containing the values of \chi. There is an integer m \geq 1 such that m\chi is the character of an F-representation.

The smallest m\geq 1 in the above theorem is called the Schur index and denoted m_F(\chi).

Next, we introduce some notation:

  1. let {\mathbb{R}}(\pi) = {\mathbb{R}}(\chi) denote the extension field of {\mathbb{R}} obtained by adjoining all the values of \chi(g)\ ($g\in G$), where \chi is the character of \pi,
  2. let \nu(\pi) = \nu(\chi) denote the Frobenius-Schur indicator of \pi (so \nu(\pi)= {1\over |G|}\sum_{g\in G} \chi(g^2)),
  3. let m_{\mathbb{R}}(\pi) = m_{\mathbb{R}}(\chi) denote the Schur multiplier of \pi (by definition, the smallest integer m\geq 1 such that $m\chi$ can be realized over {\mathbb{R}} (this integer exists, by the above-mentioned theorem of Schur).

The following result shows how the Schur index behaves under induction (see Proposition 14.1.8 in G. Karpilovsky,
Group representations, vol. 3, 1994).

Proposition: Let \chi be an irreducible character of G and let \psi denote an irreducible character of a subgroup H of G. If = 1 then m_{\Bbb{R}}(\chi) divides m_{\Bbb{R}}(\psi).

A future post shall list some properties of the Schur index in the case where G is a generalized symmetric group and F is either the reals or rationals.

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