The skew-torsion holonomy theorem and naturally reductive spaces

Research paper by Carlos Olmos, Silvio Reggiani

Indexed on: 26 Nov '08Published on: 26 Nov '08Published in: Mathematics - Differential Geometry


We prove a Simons-type holonomy theorem for totally skew 1-forms with values in a Lie algebra of linear isometries. The only transitive case, for this theorem, is the full orthogonal group. We only use geometric methods and we do not use any classification (not even that of transitive isometric actions on the sphere or the list of rank one symmetric spaces). This result was independently proved, by using an algebraic approach, by Paul-Andy Nagy. We apply this theorem to prove that the canonical connection of a compact naturally reductive space is unique, provided the space does not split off, locally, a sphere or a compact Lie group with a bi-invariant metric. From this it follows easily how to obtain the full isometry group of a naturally reductive space. This generalizes known classification results of Onishchick, for normal homogeneous spaces with simple group of isometries, and Shankar, for homogeneous spaces of positive curvature. This also answers a question posed by J. Wolf and Wang-Ziller. Namely, to explain why the presentation group of an isotropy irreducible space, strongly or not, cannot be enlarged (unless for spheres, or for compact simple Lie groups with a bi-invariant metric).