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Spinor Construction of Vertex Operator Algebras, Triality, and \(E^{(1)}_8\)
Edited by: Alex J. Feingold, Igor B. Frenkel, and John F. X. Ries

Contemporary Mathematics
1991; 146 pp; softcover
Volume: 121
ISBN-10: 0-8218-5128-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-5128-9
List Price: US$45
Member Price: US$36
Order Code: CONM/121
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The theory of vertex operator algebras is a remarkably rich new mathematical field which captures the algebraic content of conformal field theory in physics. Ideas leading up to this theory appeared in physics as part of statistical mechanics and string theory. In mathematics, the axiomatic definitions crystallized in the work of Borcherds and in Vertex Operator Algebras and the Monster, by Frenkel, Lepowsky, and Meurman. The structure of monodromies of intertwining operators for modules of vertex operator algebras yields braid group representations and leads to natural generalizations of vertex operator algebras, such as superalgebras and para-algebras. Many examples of vertex operator algebras and their generalizations are related to constructions in classical representation theory and shed new light on the classical theory.

This book accomplishes several goals. The authors provide an explicit spinor construction, using only Clifford algebras, of a vertex operator superalgebra structure on the direct sum of the basic and vector modules for the affine Kac-Moody algebra \(D^{(1)}_n\). They also review and extend Chevalley's spinor construction of the 24-dimensional commutative nonassociative algebraic structure and triality on the direct sum of the three 8-dimensional \(D_4\)-modules. Vertex operator para-algebras, introduced and developed independently in this book and by Dong and Lepowsky, are related to one-dimensional representations of the braid group. The authors also provide a unified approach to the Chevalley, Griess, and \(E_8\) algebras and explain some of their similarities. A third goal is to provide a purely spinor construction of the exceptional affine Lie algebra \(E^{(1)}_8\), a natural continuation of previous work on spinor and oscillator constructions of the classical affine Lie algebras. These constructions should easily extend to include the rest of the exceptional affine Lie algebras. The final objective is to develop an inductive technique of construction which could be applied to the Monster vertex operator algebra.

Directed at mathematicians and physicists, this book should be accessible to graduate students with some background in finite-dimensional Lie algebras and their representations. Although some experience with affine Kac-Moody algebras would be useful, a summary of the relevant parts of that theory is included. This book shows how the concepts and techniques of Lie theory can be generalized to yield the algebraic structures associated with conformal field theory. The careful reader will also gain a detailed knowledge of how the spinor construction of classical triality lifts to the affine algebras and plays an important role in a spinor construction of vertex operator algebras, modules, and intertwining operators with nontrivial monodromies.


"A successful attempt to describe a common background of recent investigations."

-- Zentralblatt MATH

Table of Contents

  • Affine algebras and representations
  • Spinor construction of vertex operator superalgebras
  • Spinor construciton of the Chevalley algebra and triality for \(D_4\)
  • Spinor construction of triality for \(D^(1)_4\)
  • Spinor construction of a vertex operator para-algebra for \(D^(1)_4\)
  • Spinor construction of \(E_8\)
  • Spinor construction of vertex operator algebras for \(E^(1)_8\)
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