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Alexander Premet


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Personal profile


Postgraduate Opportunities

Alexander has supervised 9 PhD students and 2 MSc students. Four of his former students are active researchers in the area of Lie Theory and Representation Theory.  

Alexander welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD and MSc students. Possible topics of research include: 

  • Primitive ideals of universal enveloping algebras and finite W-algebras.
  • Invariant theory of linear algebraic groups.
  • Representation theory of reductive groups and modular Lie algebras.
  • Classification theory of simple Lie algebras over fields of positive characteristic.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

My group

Research Group(s)


Alexander Premet is a Professor of Pure Mathematics and a member of the Algebra Group within the Pure Mathematics Unit.

 He got his PhD degree at the Institute of Mathematics of the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences (Minsk, 1984). Until the early 90s he worked at the Mathematics Institute in Minsk as a Senior Research Fellow. In the early 90s Alexander held visiting (research and teaching) positions at University of California at Riverside and University of Hamburg.

While in Riverside he proved the long-standing Kac-Weisfeiler conjecture. His paper on this subject received a Featured Review in Mathematical Reviews (reviewer Victor Kac). In Hamburg Alexander started along-term collaboration with Professor Helmut Strade aimed at classifying all finite dimensional simple Lie algebras over fields of characteristic p>3. This goal was achieved in 2007.  In 2010, he constructed first counterexamples to the Gelfand-Kirillov conjecture (from 1966) in the class of finite dimensional simple Lie algebras.

In 1995 Alexander came to Manchester as a Lecturer and in 1998 was promoted to a Personal Chair (Algebra). Since 2007 he is a Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of Manchester.

Alexander published over 50 research articles in refereed journals and delivered short lecture courses on his results in Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Switzerland. He addressed over 70 international conferences and gave seminar and colloquium talks in about 60 Universities worldwide.

Alexander held short-term visiting positions in Brasil (USP-Sao Paolo), Germany (MPI-Bonn), UK (INI-Cambridge), Japan (RIMS-Kyoto), USA (MSRI-Berkeley, twice) and China (ECNU-Shanghai).

During 2005-2011 Alexander was an editorial adviser for the London Mathematical Society. During 2001-2003 he was on the Editorial Board of Journal of Algebra. Since 2008 he is on the Editorial Board of Transformation Groups. Currently he is one of the managing editors of Transformation Groups.


Research interests

My reserach interests are in Lie theory, representation theory and invariant theory of linear algebraic groups. 

In 2007 Helmut Strade and I have successfully completed our long-term project aimed at classifying all finite dimensional simple Lie algebras over algebraically closed fields of characteristic p>3 (for p>7 such a classification was obtained earlier in a series of papers by Block-Wilson and Strade). Our main Classification Theorem reads: 

any finite dimensional simple Lie algebra over an algebraically closed field of characteristic p>3 is up to isomorphism either classical or a filtered Lie algebra of Cartan type or a Melikian algebra of characteristic 5. 

 There are still many interesting open problems in the classification theory of modular Lie algebras.  As an example, J.-M. Bois used our Classification Theorem to prove that every finite dimensional simple Lie algebra over an algebraically closed field of characteristic p>3 is generated by two elements. This result is analogous to one of the well-known theorems on finite simple groups.

In 1995 I proved the Kac-Weisfeiler conjecture on p-divisibility of dimensions of simple modules over reductive Lie algebras of good characteristic. Modular representation theory of reductive Lie algebras is now a very active area of research. It is related with the geometry of Springer fibres via the derived version of the Beilinson-Bernstein equivalence discovered by Bezrukavnikov-Mirkovic-Rumynin. There are many open problems here and the interplay between representation theory, geometry of nilpotent orbits and Noetherian ring theory makes this area very attractive for young reserachers.

Around 2004 I started exploring a link between modular representation theory of reductive Lie algebras and the theory of primitive ideals of universal enveloping algebras over complex numbers. I came across this link when studying certain noncommutative deformations of Slodowy slices. These deformations arise as the endomorphism algebras of generalised Gelfand-Graev modules, but it turned out later that they are also isomorphic to finite W-algebras of mathematical physics (this was first rigorously proved in 2007 by D'Andrea-De Concini-De Sole-Heluani-Kac). 

Representation theory of finite W-algebras is extremely rich and interesting. For example, it would be important for the theory of primitive ideals to prove that  every finite W-algebra admits one-dimensional representations. As a partial confirmation of this, I proved in 2007 that every finite W-algebra has finite-dimensional representations (later this was reproved by Losev, who used a completely different method involving Fedosov quantisation).

One can attach a finite W-algebra to any nilpotent orbit in a complex semisimple Lie algebra, and all finite W-algebras have nice filtrations and PBW bases. However, defining relations of finite W-algebras are difficult to determine. For general linear Lie algebras this was done by Brundan-Kleshchev, who identified the finite W-algebras of type A with truncated shifted Yangians. Outside type A the presentation problem for finite W-algebras remains wide open.

More recently I got interested in the problem of classifying the maximal subalgebras of Lie algebras of simple algebraic groups defined over fields of positive characteristics. In the case of good positive characteriscs this problem has now been completely solved for exceptional groups in my joint paper with David Stewart which was published in Journal of The Americal Mathematical Society.

 Apart from the above-mentioned topics I am also interested in various inter-related problems of Lie Theory involving invariant theory of algebraic groups. The keywords here are nilpotent orbits, commuting varieties,  symmetric invariants of centralisers in reductive Lie algebras, and quantisations of Mishchenko-Fomenko subalgebras. 


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