# nLab Cartan geometry

Contents

### Context

#### Differential geometry

synthetic differential geometry

Introductions

from point-set topology to differentiable manifolds

Differentials

V-manifolds

smooth space

Tangency

The magic algebraic facts

Theorems

Axiomatics

cohesion

• (shape modality $\dashv$ flat modality $\dashv$ sharp modality)

$(\esh \dashv \flat \dashv \sharp )$

• dR-shape modality$\dashv$ dR-flat modality

$\esh_{dR} \dashv \flat_{dR}$

tangent cohesion

differential cohesion

singular cohesion

$\array{ && id &\dashv& id \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{fermionic}{}& \rightrightarrows &\dashv& \rightsquigarrow & \stackrel{bosonic}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{bosonic}{} & \rightsquigarrow &\dashv& \mathrm{R}\!\!\mathrm{h} & \stackrel{rheonomic}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{reduced}{} & \Re &\dashv& \Im & \stackrel{infinitesimal}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{infinitesimal}{}& \Im &\dashv& \& & \stackrel{\text{étale}}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{cohesive}{}& \esh &\dashv& \flat & \stackrel{discrete}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{discrete}{}& \flat &\dashv& \sharp & \stackrel{continuous}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ && \emptyset &\dashv& \ast }$

Models

Lie theory, ∞-Lie theory

differential equations, variational calculus

Chern-Weil theory, ∞-Chern-Weil theory

Cartan geometry (super, higher)

#### Riemannian geometry

Riemannian geometry

# Contents

## Idea

Cartan geometry is geometry of spaces that are locally (infinitesimally, tangentially) like coset spaces $G/H$, i.e. like Klein geometries. Intuitively, Cartan geometry studies the geometry of a manifold by ‘rolling without sliding’ the ‘model geometry’ $G/H$ along it. Hence Cartan geometry may be thought of as the globalization of the program of Klein geometry initiated in the Erlangen program.

Cartan geometry subsumes many types of geometry, such as notably Riemannian geometry, conformal geometry, parabolic geometry and many more. As a Cartan geometry is defined by principal connection data (hence by cocycles in nonabelian differential cohomology) this means that it serves to express all these kinds of geometries in connection data.

This is used notably in the first order formulation of gravity, which was the motivating example in the original text (Cartan 22). The physics literature tends to use the term “Cartan moving frame method” instead of “Cartan geometry”.

## Definition

A Cartan geometry is a space equipped with a Cartan connection. See there for more.

## Examples

geometric contextgauge groupstabilizer subgrouplocal model spacelocal geometryglobal geometrydifferential cohomologyfirst order formulation of gravity
differential geometryLie group/algebraic group $G$subgroup (monomorphism) $H \hookrightarrow G$quotient (“coset space”) $G/H$Klein geometryCartan geometryCartan connection
examplesEuclidean group $Iso(d)$rotation group $O(d)$Cartesian space $\mathbb{R}^d$Euclidean geometryRiemannian geometryaffine connectionEuclidean gravity
Poincaré group $Iso(d-1,1)$Lorentz group $O(d-1,1)$Minkowski spacetime $\mathbb{R}^{d-1,1}$Lorentzian geometrypseudo-Riemannian geometryspin connectionEinstein gravity
anti de Sitter group $O(d-1,2)$$O(d-1,1)$anti de Sitter spacetime $AdS^d$AdS gravity
de Sitter group $O(d,1)$$O(d-1,1)$de Sitter spacetime $dS^d$deSitter gravity
linear algebraic groupparabolic subgroup/Borel subgroupflag varietyparabolic geometry
conformal group $O(d,t+1)$conformal parabolic subgroupMöbius space $S^{d,t}$conformal geometryconformal connectionconformal gravity
supergeometrysuper Lie group $G$subgroup (monomorphism) $H \hookrightarrow G$quotient (“coset space”) $G/H$super Klein geometrysuper Cartan geometryCartan superconnection
examplessuper Poincaré groupspin groupsuper Minkowski spacetime $\mathbb{R}^{d-1,1\vert N}$Lorentzian supergeometrysupergeometrysuperconnectionsupergravity
super anti de Sitter groupsuper anti de Sitter spacetime
higher differential geometrysmooth 2-group $G$2-monomorphism $H \to G$homotopy quotient $G//H$Klein 2-geometryCartan 2-geometry
cohesive ∞-group∞-monomorphism (i.e. any homomorphism) $H \to G$homotopy quotient $G//H$ of ∞-actionhigher Klein geometryhigher Cartan geometryhigher Cartan connection
examplesextended super Minkowski spacetimeextended supergeometryhigher supergravity: type II, heterotic, 11d

The original articles are

• Élie Cartan, Sur une généralisation de la notion de courbure de Riemann et les espaces á torsion, C. R. Acad. Sci. 174, 593-595 (1922).

• Élie Cartan, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des sciences, 174, 437-439, 593-595, 734-737, 857-860, 1104-1107 (January 1922).

• Élie Cartan, Sur les variétés à connexion affine et la théorie de la relativité généralisée (première partie). Annales scientifiques de l’École Normale Supérieure, Sér. 3, 40 (1923), p. 325-412 (NUMDAM)

Textbook accounts are in

• R. Sharpe, Differential Geometry – Cartan’s Generalization of Klein’s Erlangen program Springer (1997)

• Andreas Čap, Jan Slovák, chapter 1 of Parabolic Geometries I – Background and General Theory, AMS 2009 (ISBN:978-1-4704-1381-1)

• ps

For more see at Cartan connection – References.

Discussion in modal homotopy type theory is in