MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

It was proved by Poonen that $\mathbb{Z}$ is definable in $\mathbb{Q}$ using $\forall \exists$ formula. Koenigsmann has shown that $\mathbb{Z}$ is in fact definable by universal formula. What is the simplest geometric interpretation of these results?

EDIT: It is important to note, as Joel says, that the first result in this direction was that of Julia Robinson in 1948. The references for the latest results are: (Koenigsmann's paper), and (Poonen's paper).

Thank you

share|cite|improve this question
Do you have a reference for these results? (without knowing how this is proved, it will be difficult to give a geometric interpretation) – Guillaume Brunerie Jan 27 '12 at 23:01
See this question:… @Guillaume: Here is a link to Poonen's paper lifted directly from above – Zack Wolske Jan 27 '12 at 23:22
Probably it should be mentioned in the question that the first known definition of $\mathbb{Z}$ in $\mathbb{Q}$, a very surprising at the time, was the 1948 result of Julia Robinson. Poonen's impressive result should be seen as a refinement of Robinson's theorem, lowering the complexity of the definition. – Joel David Hamkins Jan 28 '12 at 0:42

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.