My question points in a direction similar to Qiaochu's, but it's not the same (or so I think). Let me provide you with a little bit of background first.
Let E be an elliptic curve defined over some number field K. The Tate-Shafarevich group of E/K consists of certain curves of genus 1, isomorphic to E over some extension, with points everywhere locally. In the simplest case of an element of order 2, such a curve has the form C: y2=f4(x) for some quartic polynomial f4(x) in K[X]; here, C does not have a K-rational point, but has points in every completion of K.
If we look at E in some extension L/K, this curve C still has points everywhere locally, but if it has a global point (in L) we say that the corresponding element in the Tate-Shafarevich group of E/K capitulates. Heegner's Lemma says that elements of order 2 cannot capitulate in extensions of odd degree, which is the analogue of the similarly trivial observation that ideals generating a class of order 2 cannot capitulate (become principal) in an extension of odd degree.
I gave a few talks on the capitulation of Tate-Shafarevich groups more than 10 years ago. A little later the topic became almost fashionable under the name of "visualizing" elements of Sha. I discussed the following question with Farshid Hajir back then, but eventually nothing came out of it. Here it is. For capitulation of ideal classes, there is a "canonical" extension in which this happens: the Hilbert class field. So my question is:
- may we still dream about the existence of a curve with all the right properties, or are there reasons why such a thing should not exist?
We also know that capitulation is not the correct notion for defining the Hilbert class field, which is the largest unramified abelian extension of a number field. These notions do not seem to make any sense for elliptic curves, but we can characterize the Hilbert class field also in the following way: among all finite extensions L/K for which the norm of the class group of L down to K is trivial, the Hilbert class field is the smallest.
Taking the norm of Sha of an elliptic curve defined over L down to K does make sense (just add the equivalence classes of the conjugate homogeneous spaces using the Baer-sum construction or in the appropriate cohomology group). So here's my second question:
- Has this "norm map" been studied in the literature?
(I know that the norm map from E(L) to E(K) was investigated a lot, in particular in connection with Heegner points).
Let me add that I do not assume that such a "Hilbert class curve" can be found among the elliptic curves defined over some extension field; if there is a suitable object, it might be the Jacobian of a curve of higher genus or an abelian variety coming from I don't know where.