Table of Contents
Textures and Microstructures
Volume 29 (1997), Issue 3-4, Pages 201-233

Normal Distribution on the Rotation Group So(3)

1Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Laboratory for Neutron Physics, Dubna, Moscow region 141980, Russia
2Moscow Engineering Physical Institute, 31 Kashirsoe sh., Moscow 115409, Russia

Received 1 July 1992; Accepted 18 July 1995

Copyright © 1997 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We study the normal distribution on the rotation group SO(3). If we take as the normal distribution on the rotation group the distribution defined by the central limit theorem in Parthasarathy (1964) rather than the distribution with density analogous to the normal distribution in Eucledian space, then its density will be different from the usual (1/2πσ) exp((xm)2/2σ2) one. Nevertheless, many properties of this distribution will be analogous to the normal distribution in the Eucledian space. It is possible to obtain explicit expressions for density of normal distribution only for special cases. One of these cases is the circular normal distribution.

The connection of the circular normal distribution SO(3) group with the fundamental solution of the corresponding diffusion equation is shown. It is proved that convolution of two circular normal distributions is again a distribution of the same type. Some projections of the normal distribution are obtained. These projections coincide with a wrapped normal distribution on the unit circle and with the Perrin distribution on the two-dimensional sphere. In the general case, the normal distribution on SO(3) can be found numerically. Some algorithms for numerical computations are given. These investigations were motivated by the orientation distribution function reproduction problem described in the Appendix.