Perhaps it is obvious to most readers, but about a year ago I spent several days trying to determine for which pairs (d,n) there existed an anisotropic degree d form in n variables over a finite field $\mathbb{F}_q$. The question was motivated by Exercise 10.16 in Ireland and Rosen's classic number theory text: "Show by explicit calculation that every cubic form in two variables over $\mathbb{F}_2$ has a nontrivial zero."

As many students have discovered over the years, this is false: e.g. take

$f(x_1,x_2) = x_1^3 + x_1^2 x_2 + x_2^3$.

I knew about the existence and anisotropy of norm hypersurfaces for all $n = d$. But what about $n < d$? I confess that I spent some time proving this result in several special cases and even dragged a postdoc into it. Here is a copy of the sheepish email I sent out (in particular to Michael Rosen) later on:

If K is a field, and f(x_1,...,x_n) is an anisotropic form of degree d in n variables, then f(x_1,...,x_{n-1},0) is an anisotropic
form of degree d in n-1 variables.

So let K be any field which admits field extensions of every positive degree d. Then for all d there is an anisotropic norm form
N in d variables of degree d. For any n < d, setting (d-n) of the variables equal to 0 gives an anisotropic form of degree d in
n variables. In particular, this proves "the converse of Chevalley-Warning".

So, not so fascinating after all, then.

I think it is still nontrivial to ask what happens if the hypersurface f is required to be geometrically irreducible. For instance, despite the fact that (q,3,3) is anisotropic, every geometrically irreducible cubic curve over a finite field has a rational point.

AS's question about classifying anisotropic hypersurfaces with $d = n$ is interesting. It may also be interesting to look at the case $d < n$. It is certainly not clear to me that all such anistropic hypersurfaces come from intersecting a norm hypersurface of larger dimension with a linear subspace.

I also want to add that the following generalization seemed less trivial to me (and I still don't know the answer): Chevalley-Warning is also true for sytems of polynomial equations $f_1(x_1,\ldots,x_n) = \ldots = f_r(x_1,\ldots,x_n)$ so long as the sum of the degrees of the $f_i$'s is strictly less than $n$. What kind of counterexamples can we construct here when $d = d_1 + \ldots + d_r \geq n$?