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In mathematics, given a prime number p, a p-group is a periodic group in which each element has a power of p as its order: each element is of prime power order. That is, for each element g of the group, there exists a nonnegative integer n such that g to the power pn is equal to the identity element. Such groups are also called p-primary or simply primary.

A finite group is a p-group if and only if its order (the number of its elements) is a power of p. The remainder of this article deals with finite p-groups. For an example of an infinite abelian p-group, see Prüfer group, and for an example of an infinite simple p-group, see Tarski monster group.



Quite a lot is known about the structure of finite p-groups.

Non-trivial center

One of the first standard results using the class equation is that the center of a non-trivial finite p-group cannot be the trivial subgroup (proof).

This forms the basis for many inductive methods in p-groups.

For instance, the normalizer N of a proper subgroup H of a finite p-group G properly contains H, because for any counterexample with H=N, the center Z is contained in N, and so also in H, but then there is a smaller example H/Z whose normalizer in G/Z is N/Z=H/Z, creating an infinite descent. As a corollary, every finite p-group is nilpotent.

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