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The theory of Lie algebras can be categorified starting from a new notion of `2-vector space', which we define as an internal category in Vect. There is a 2-category 2Vect having these 2-vector spaces as objects, `linear functors' as morphisms and `linear natural transformations' as 2-morphisms. We define a `semistrict Lie 2-algebra' to be a 2-vector space L equipped with a skew-symmetric bilinear functor [ . , . ] : L x L -> L satisfying the Jacobi identity up to a completely antisymmetric trilinear natural transformation called the `Jacobiator', which in turn must satisfy a certain law of its own. This law is closely related to the Zamolodchikov tetrahedron equation, and indeed we prove that any semistrict Lie 2-algebra gives a solution of this equation, just as any Lie algebra gives a solution of the Yang--Baxter equation. We construct a 2-category of semistrict Lie 2-algebras and prove that it is 2-equivalent to the 2-category of 2-term L_\infty-algebras in the sense of Stasheff. We also study strict and skeletal Lie 2-algebras, obtaining the former from strict Lie 2-groups and using the latter to classify Lie 2-algebras in terms of 3rd cohomology classes in Lie algebra cohomology. This classification allows us to construct for any finite-dimensional Lie algebra g a canonical 1-parameter family of Lie 2-algebras g_h which reduces to g at h = 0. These are closely related to the 2-groups G_h constructed in a companion paper.

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© John C. Baez and Alissa S. Crans, 2004.

Recommended Citation

Baez, J. and Crans, A. “Higher Dimensional Algebra VI: Lie 2-Algebras.” Theory and Applications of Categories, Vol. 12 (2004): 492 – 538.

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