Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (Series 2)

Research Article

The Definition of Lie Derivative

T. J. Willmorea1

a1 Mathematical Institute, University of Liverpool

The differential operation known as Lie derivation was introduced by W. Slebodzinski in 1931, and since then it has been used by numerous investigators in applications in pure and applied mathematics and also in physics. A recent monograph by Kentaro Yano (2) devoted to the theory and application of Lie derivatives gives some idea of the wide range of its uses. However, in this monograph, as indeed in other treatments of the subject, the Lie derivative of a tensor field is defined by means of a formula involving partial derivatives of the given tensor field. It is then proved that the Lie derivative is a differential invariant, i.e. it is independent of a transformation from one allowable coordinate system to another. Sometimes some geometrical motivation is given in explanation of the formula, but this is seldom very satisfying.

(Received May 02 1959)