Date Thesis Awarded


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Christopher Ryan Vinroot

Committee Members

Joshua Erlich

Eric Swartz


An element $g$ in a group $G$ is real if there exists $x\in G$ such that $xgx^{-1}=g^{-1}$. If $g$ is real then all elements in the conjugacy class of $g$ are real. In \cite{GS1} and \cite{GS2}, Gill and Singh showed that the number of real $\mathrm{GL}_n(q)$-conjugacy classes contained in $\mathrm{SL}_n(q)$ equals the number of real $\mathrm{PGL}_n(q)$-conjugacy classes when $q$ is even or $n$ is odd. In this paper, we use generating functions to show that the result is also true for odd $q$. We then follow the methods of \cite{GS1} and \cite{GS2} to count the number of real $\mathrm{U}_n(q)$ conjugacy classes contained in $\mathrm{SU}_n(q)$ and the number of real conjugacy classes in $\mathrm{PGU}_n(q)$, and we show that these are equal to the analogous quantities for $\mathrm{GL}_n(q)$ and $\mathrm{PGL}_n(q)$. Thus, we show that these four sets of conjugacy classes have equal size for all $n,q$.

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