Mathematics, Department of


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Published in The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 65, No. 4 (Apr., 1958), pp. 252-254 Copyright 1958 Mathematical Association of America. Used by permission.


A well-known result, due to Hölder [1], is the following: The symmetric group Sn, has outer automorphisms if and only if n = 6. The classical proof of the existence of a class of outer automorphisms of S6, as formulated by Burnside [2], rests in part on the theory of primitive groups and entails extensive computation. In this note we offer a direct method for constructing such automorphisms. The author is grateful to Professor R. H. Bruck for raising this problem and for subsequent helpful remarks.

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