nLab nonabelian Stokes theorem



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The nonabelian Stokes theorem (e.g. Schreiber-Waldorf 11, theorem 3.4) is a generalization of the Stokes theorem to Lie algebra valued differential 1-forms and with integration of differential forms refined to parallel transport.


If A^Ω 1(D 2,𝔤)\hat A \in \Omega^1(D^2, \mathfrak{g}) is a Lie algebra valued 1-form on the 2-disk then the parallel transport 𝒫exp( S 1A)\mathcal{P} \exp(\int_{S^1} A) of its restriction AΩ 1(S 1,𝔤)A \in \Omega^1(S^1, \mathfrak{g}) to the boundary circle, hence its holonomy (for a fixed choice of base point) is equal to a certain kind of adjusted 2-dimensional integral of its curvature 2-form F AF_A over D 2D^2.

In particular if F A^=0F_{\hat A} = 0 then the holonomy of AA is trivial.


Relation to higher parallel transport

In terms of the notion of connection on a 2-bundle the nonabelian Stokes theorem says that if AΩ 1(X,𝔤)A \in \Omega^1(X, \mathfrak{g}) is a Lie algebra valued 1-form, then (F A,A)(F_A, A) is a Lie 2-algebra valued 2-form with values in the inner derivation Lie 2-algebra inn(𝔤)inn(\mathfrak{g}) of 𝔤\mathfrak{g} whose curvature 3-form H=d AF AH = \mathbf{d}_A F_A vanishes (which is the Bianchi identity for F AF_A) and its higher parallel transport exists. The 2-functorial source-target matching condition in this higher parallel transport is the statement of the nonabelian Stokes theorem.

Relation to Lie integration

For F A=0F_A = 0 the nonabelian Stokes theorem may be regarded as proving that the Lie integration of 𝔤\mathfrak{g} by “the path method” (see at Lie integration) is indeed the simply connected Lie group corresponding to 𝔤\mathfrak{g} by Lie theory.


In the context of higher parallel transport in principal 2-bundles with connection:

See also:

  • Seramika Ariwahjoedi, Freddy Permana Zen, Alternative Derivation of the Non-Abelian Stokes Theorem in Two Dimensions, Symmetry 2023 15 11 (2000) [doi:10.3390/sym15112000]

Last revised on November 2, 2023 at 10:12:42. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.