For the group $G=\mathrm{GL}_n(\mathbb{K})$ of invertible matrices over any field, there is the well-known determinant character $\det:G\to\mathbb{K}^\times$ which, well, maps any matrix to its determinant. It has the property that \[ [G,G]=\mathrm{SL}_n(\mathbb{K})=\{ g\in G \mid \det(g)=1 \}, \] where $[G,G]$ denotes the derived subgroup of $G$. In more geometric terms, $[G,G]$ is the vanishing of the regular function $\det-1$ on $G$. Because I find it rather cute, I will show that you can find a similar function for all linear, reductive groups. (more…)