Isometry group
In mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, the isometry group of a metric space
Metric space
In mathematics, a metric space is a set where a notion of distance between elements of the set is defined.The metric space which most closely corresponds to our intuitive understanding of space is the 3-dimensional Euclidean space...

 is the set of all isometries
In mathematics, an isometry is a distance-preserving map between metric spaces. Geometric figures which can be related by an isometry are called congruent.Isometries are often used in constructions where one space is embedded in another space...

 from the metric space onto itself, with the function composition
Function composition
In mathematics, function composition is the application of one function to the results of another. For instance, the functions and can be composed by computing the output of g when it has an argument of f instead of x...

 as group
Group (mathematics)
In mathematics, a group is an algebraic structure consisting of a set together with an operation that combines any two of its elements to form a third element. To qualify as a group, the set and the operation must satisfy a few conditions called group axioms, namely closure, associativity, identity...

 operation. Its identity element
Identity element
In mathematics, an identity element is a special type of element of a set with respect to a binary operation on that set. It leaves other elements unchanged when combined with them...

 is the identity function
Identity function
In mathematics, an identity function, also called identity map or identity transformation, is a function that always returns the same value that was used as its argument...


A single isometry group of a metric space is a subgroup
In group theory, given a group G under a binary operation *, a subset H of G is called a subgroup of G if H also forms a group under the operation *. More precisely, H is a subgroup of G if the restriction of * to H x H is a group operation on H...

 of isometries; it represents in most cases a possible set of symmetries
Symmetry generally conveys two primary meanings. The first is an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance; such that it reflects beauty or perfection...

 of objects/figures in the space, or functions defined on the space. See symmetry group
Symmetry group
The symmetry group of an object is the group of all isometries under which it is invariant with composition as the operation...



  • Consider a triangle
    A triangle is one of the basic shapes of geometry: a polygon with three corners or vertices and three sides or edges which are line segments. A triangle with vertices A, B, and C is denoted ....

     in the plane with unequal sides. Then, the isometry group of the set of three vertices of this triangle is the trivial group
    Trivial group
    In mathematics, a trivial group is a group consisting of a single element. All such groups are isomorphic so one often speaks of the trivial group. The single element of the trivial group is the identity element so it usually denoted as such, 0, 1 or e depending on the context...

    . If the triangle has two equal sides which are not equal to the third, the isometry group is the cyclic group
    Cyclic group
    In group theory, a cyclic group is a group that can be generated by a single element, in the sense that the group has an element g such that, when written multiplicatively, every element of the group is a power of g .-Definition:A group G is called cyclic if there exists an element g...

     Z/2Z. If the triangle is equilateral, its isometry group is the permutation group
    Permutation group
    In mathematics, a permutation group is a group G whose elements are permutations of a given set M, and whose group operation is the composition of permutations in G ; the relationship is often written as...


  • The isometry group of a two-dimensional sphere
    A sphere is a perfectly round geometrical object in three-dimensional space, such as the shape of a round ball. Like a circle in two dimensions, a perfect sphere is completely symmetrical around its center, with all points on the surface lying the same distance r from the center point...

     is an infinite group, called the orthogonal group
    Orthogonal group
    In mathematics, the orthogonal group of degree n over a field F is the group of n × n orthogonal matrices with entries from F, with the group operation of matrix multiplication...


  • The isometry group of the n-dimensional Euclidean space
    Euclidean space
    In mathematics, Euclidean space is the Euclidean plane and three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry, as well as the generalizations of these notions to higher dimensions...

     is the Euclidean group
    Euclidean group
    In mathematics, the Euclidean group E, sometimes called ISO or similar, is the symmetry group of n-dimensional Euclidean space...


See also

  • point groups in two dimensions
    Point groups in two dimensions
    In geometry, a two-dimensional point group or rosette group is a group of geometric symmetries that keep at least one point fixed in a plane. Every such group is a subgroup of the orthogonal group O, including O itself...

  • point groups in three dimensions
    Point groups in three dimensions
    In geometry, a point group in three dimensions is an isometry group in three dimensions that leaves the origin fixed, or correspondingly, an isometry group of a sphere. It is a subgroup of the orthogonal group O, the group of all isometries that leave the origin fixed, or correspondingly, the group...

  • fixed points of isometry groups in Euclidean space
    Fixed points of isometry groups in Euclidean space
    A fixed point of an isometry group is a point that is a fixed point for every isometry in the group. For any isometry group in Euclidean space the set of fixed points is either empty or an affine space....

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