Abstract:

The nilpotent orbits in the semisimple Lie algebras, under the adjoint action of the
associated semisimple Lie groups, form a rich class of homogeneous spaces. Such
orbits are studied at the interface of several disciplines in mathematics such as Lie theory, symplectic geometry, representation theory, algebraic geometry. In this thesis we
contribute by studying two specific topological invariants, namely the second and the first
de Rham cohomology groups, of such orbits in noncompact, noncomplex simple Lie
algebras.
To put our work in proper perspective we first recall that all orbits in a semisimple Lie
algebra under the adjoint action are equipped with the KostantKirillov two form.
Using involved computations we describe the second cohomology groups of the nilpotent
orbits in real classical Lie algebras which are noncomplex and noncompact.
We also compute the second cohomology groups of the nilpotent orbits for most of the
nilpotent orbits in real simple noncompact noncomplex exceptional Lie algebras, and
for the rest of cases of the nilpotent orbits, which are not covered in the above
computations, upper bounds for the dimensions of the second cohomology groups are
obtained.
A key components in the computation is a conveniant description of the second
cohomology groups of homogeneous space of a connected Lie group. On the other
hand, in view of their applicability the above results may be of independent interest as
they are general and hold under a very mild restriction. We deduce stronger
consequences of the above results in the special cases when the ambient Lie groups are
complex semisimple or real simple.
We next briefly mention the strategy in our computations. As a preparatory step, we
apply the above results
to derive the descriptions of the second and the first cohomology
groups of nilpotent orbits in simple Lie algebras. This result, which
is key to our
computations of the second and first cohomology groups of the nilpotent orbits,
describes the second and the first cohomology groups of the nilpotent orbits in simple Lie
algebras in terms of a maximal compact subgroup of the centralizer of a
sl_
2
(
R
)triple
containing the nilpotent element and a maximal compact subgroup of the associated
ambient Lie group containing the former one. As an interesting consequence,
it follows
that the first cohomology group of any nilpotent orbit in a simple Lie algebra is at the
most one dimensional.
Thus, in view of the above result, the main goals in our
computations of the second cohomology groups of the nilpotent orbits in real classical
noncomplex noncompact Lie algebras are to obtain the descriptions of how certain
suitable maximal compact subgroups in the centralizers of the nilpotent elements are
embedded in certain explicit maximal compact subgroups of the ambient simple Lie
groups and how the component group acts on certain subalgebra of the center of the
maximal compact subalgebra of the centralizer of the nilpotent element. 