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In mathematics, a Lie derivative, named after Sophus Lie, is a derivation on the algebra of smooth functions over a manifold M. The vector space of all Lie derivatives on M forms an infinite dimensional Lie algebra with respect to the Lie bracket defined by
The Lie derivatives are represented by vector fields, as infinitesimal generators of flows (active diffeomorphisms) on M. Looking at it the other way round, the diffeomorphism group of M has the associated Lie algebra structure, of Lie derivatives, in a way directly analogous to the Lie group theory.
The Lie derivative may be defined in several equivalent ways. In this section, to keep things simple, we begin by defining the Lie derivative acting on scalar functions and vector fields. The Lie derivative can also be defined to act on general tensors, as developed in the next section.
Alternately, one might start by showing that a smooth vector field X on M defines a one-parameter family of curves on M. That is, one shows that there exists a curve γ(t) on M such that
with p = γ(0) for any point p in M. The existance of solutions to this first-order ordinary differential equation is given by the Picard-Lindelöf theorem (more generally, one says the existance of such curves is given by the Frobenius theorem). One then defines the Lie derivative as
A third possible definition of the Lie derivative can be gotten by first defining the Lie bracket of a pair of vector fields. One starts by noting that the basis vectors for the tangent manifold can be written as , and so a vector field, expressed in terms of a selected set of basis vectors is written as
One defines the Lie bracket [X,Y] of a pair of vector fields as
One then defines the Lie derivative of the vector field Y to be equal to the Lie bracket of X and Y, that is,
Depending on which of the above are chosen as the definition of the Lie derivative, the others can be proven to be equivalent. Thus, for example, one may prove that, for a differentiable function f,
- [X,Y]f = X(Y(f)) - Y(X(f)).
We complete this section by noting the definition of the Lie derivative on a 1-form ω = ωadxa is given by
is a derivation on the algebra . That is, is R-linear and
Similarly, it is a derivation on where is the set of vector fields on M:
which is may also be written in the equivalent notation
where the tensor product symbol is used to emphasize the fact that the product of a function times a vector field is being taken over the entire manifold.
Additional properties are consistent with that of the Lie bracket. Thus, for example, considered as a derivation on a vector field,
Lie derivative of tensor fields
- α, β, ...
of the cotangent bundle T*M and
- X, Y, ...
of the tangent bundle TM,
such that for any smooth functions
- f1,...,fp,...,fp+q, T(f1α,f2β,...,fp+1X,fp+2Y,...)=f1f2...fp+1fp+2...fp+qT(α,β,...,X,Y,...))
- (£AT)(α,β,...,X,Y,...)≡∇A T(α,β,...,X,Y,...)-∇T(-,β,...,X,Y,...)A(α)-...+ T(α,β,...,∇XA,Y,...)+...
In other words, if you have a tensor field T and an infinitesimal generator of a diffeomorphism given by a vector field U, then is nothing other than the infinitesimal change in T under the infinitesimal diffeomorphism.
Alternately, given the vector field U, let ψ be the family of integral curves of U, as given above. Note that ψ is a local 1-parameter group of local diffeomorphisms. Let ψ * be the pullback induced by ψ. Then the Lie derivative of the tensor field T at the point p is given by
- Jurgen Jost, Riemannian Geometry and Geometric Analysis, (2002) Springer-Verlag, Berlin ISBN 3-540-4267-2 See section 1.6.
- Ralph Abraham and Jarrold E. Marsden, Foundations of Mechanics, (1978) Benjamin-Cummings, London ISBN 0-8053-0102-X See section 2.2.
- David Bleecker, Gauge Theory and Variational Principles, (1981), Addison-Wesley Publishing, ISBN 0-201-10096-7. See Chapter 0.
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