CHAPTER I ALGEBRAIC THEORY OF QUADRATIC FORMS, CLIFFORD ALGEBRAS, AN D SPIN GROUPS 1. Quadratic forms and associative algebras 1.1. Given vector spaces V and W over a field F, we let Hom(W, V F) denote the set of all F-linear maps of W into V. We then denote by End(V, F) the set Hom(V, V F) with an obvious ring-structure, and put GL(V, F) — End(V, F)x and SL(V, F) = {ae GL(V, F) | det(a) = 1 } . We drop the letter F if that is clear from the context. We let Hom(W, V) act on W on the right namely we denote by wa the image of w G W under a G Hom(W, V). If /3 G Hom(X, W) with another vector space X, then the composite map of j3 and a can be written pa, so that x(Pa) = {xp)a for x G X. The identity element of End(V) will often be denoted by ly. Let V be a finite-dimensional vector space over F, and let ip : V x V — F be an F-valued F-bilinear symmetric form. We put (^[x] = (^(x, x). In this book we make the convention that whenever we speak of ip of this type, the characteristic of F is not 2. We call ip isotropic (on V) if p[x] = 0 for some x G V, ^ 0 we call /? anisotropic (on V) if £[#] = 0 only for x — 0. (This means that p is anisotropic if V — {0}.) We call a subspace U of V totally (^-isotropic if ip(x, y) = 0 for every x, y G f/. We also call £ nondegenerate on V if there is no nonzero element x EV such that p(x, V) = 0. For a subspace X of V on which ip is nondegenerate, we put (1.1) X± = {y eV\p(y, x) =0 for every x G X}. This is a subspace of V, and is naturally called the orthogonal complement of X in V with respect to (p. We use this symbol X1- whenever V and p are clear from the context. Assuming tp to be nondegenerate, we define groups O^ and SO^ by Cv = o*{V) = 0((^, F) = {a G GL(V, F) | p[xa] = (p[x) for every x G V}, 5 0 ^ = SC^(V) - 50(y?, V) - {a G O^(V) | det(a) - l } . These are called the orthogonal group of (p and the special orthogonal group of ip respectively. Let X be a subspace of V and ijj the restriction of ip to X. If ip is nondegenerate, the symbols O^(X) and SO^(X) are meaningful. In our later treatment, however, we shall often write these 0P(X) and SO^{X) without introducing the symbol ip. Given ip on V as above and a symmetric form ip' on a vector space V over F, we say that (V, p) is isomorphic to {V, //) if £[#] = ^7[a:/] for every x € V 9 http://dx.doi.org/10.1090/surv/109/01

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