The tag has no wiki summary.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

71
votes
18answers
6k views

How do you decide whether a question in abstract algebra is worth studying?

Dear MO-community, I am not sure how mature my view on this is and I might say some things that are controversial. I welcome contradicting views. In any case, I find it important to clarify this in my ...
39
votes
5answers
3k views

when is A isomorphic to A^3?

this is totally elementary, but I have no idea how to solve it: let $A$ be an abelian group such that $A$ is isomorphic to $A^3$. is then $A$ isomorphic to $A^2$? probably no, but how construct a ...
33
votes
7answers
4k views

“Algebraic” topologies like the Zariski topology?

The fact that a commutative ring has a natural topological space associated with it is still a really interesting coincidence. The entire subject of Algebraic geometry is based on this simple fact. ...
32
votes
18answers
4k views

Canonical examples of algebraic structures

Please list some examples of common examples of algebraic structures. I was thinking answers of the following form. "When I read about a [insert structure here], I immediately think of [example]." ...
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Feit-Thompson Theorem: The Odd Order Paper

For reference, the Feit-Thompson Theorem states that every finite group of odd order is necessarily solvable. Equivalently, the theorem states that there exist no non-abelian finite simple groups of ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

How fast are a ruler and compass?

This may be more of a recreational mathematics question than a research question, but I have wondered about it for a while. I hope it is not inappropriate for MO. Consider the standard assumptions ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Consequences of not requiring ring homomorphisms to be unital?

As defined in many modern algebra books, a homomorphism of unital rings must preserve the unit elements: $f(1_R)=1_S$. But there has been a minority who do not require this, one prominent example ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Invariant Polynomials under a Group Action (hidden GIT)

Let's say I start with the polynomial ring in $n$ variables $R = \mathbb{Z}[x_1,...,x_n]$ (in the case at hand I had $\mathbb{C}$ in place of $\mathbb{Z}$). Now the symmetric group $\mathfrak{S}_n$ ...
17
votes
1answer
3k views

Infinite Tensor Products

Let $A$ be a commutative ring and $M_i, i \in I$ be a infinite family of $A$-modules. Define their tensor product $\bigotimes_{i \in I} M_i$ to be a representing object of the functor of multilinear ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Generalization of the shakehands/condom puzzle?

The classic handshake puzzle goes something like this: "Given that everyone has a different skin disease, how can you safely shake hands with 3 people when you have only 2 gloves?" Its common ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Famous exercise from Lang's Algebra

There's a famous story about an exercise from Lang's Algebra that says something along the lines of "pick up a homological algebra book and prove all of the theorems yourself". I cannot find it in ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

What are the reasons for considering rings without identity?

I think a major reason is because Lie algebras don't have an identity, but I'm not really sure.
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Do convolution and multiplication satisfy any nontrivial algebraic identities?

For (suitable) real- or complex-valued functions f and g on a (suitable) abelian group G, we have two bilinear operations: multiplication - (f.g)(x) = f(x)g(x), and convolution - (f*g)(x) = ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Does any textbook take this approach to the isomorphism theorems?

Below, I present an outline of a proof of the first isomorphism theorem for groups. This is how I usually think of the first isomorphism theorem for ______, but groups will get the points across. My ...
14
votes
1answer
781 views

Is Dependent Choice equivalent to the statement that every PID is factorial?

In this question, it was asked if AC is needed in the proof of the well-known fact that every principal ideal domain is factorial. As KConrad and Joel David Hamkins have pointed out, only DC, the ...
13
votes
1answer
383 views

A weird question about two weird decompositions of $\mathbb{R}$ as a $\mathbb{Q}$-vector space

While working in a question about the affine group $\text{Aff}(\mathbb{R})$, I have come up with the following strange question about the real numbers: Question: Do there exist a non-trivial ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Unique factorization domains

Let $c$ be an integer, not necessarily positive and $|c|$ not a square. Let $\mathbb{Z}[\sqrt{c}]$ be the set of complex numbers $$a+b\sqrt{c}, a, b\in \mathbb{Z},$$ which form a subring of the ring ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Are rings really more fundamental objects than semi-rings?

The discovery (or invention) of negatives, which happened several centuries ago by the Chinese, Indians and Arabs, has of course be of fundamental importance to mathematics. From then on, it seems ...
12
votes
1answer
630 views

Number of idempotent $n\times n$ matrices over $\mathbb{Z}_m$ ?

Is there any known formula for the number of idempotent $n\times n$ matrices over $\mathbb{Z}_m$ ? The number of idempotent matrices over a finite field is well-known and since we can decompose $m$ ...
11
votes
3answers
907 views

Sign of infinite permutations?

Let $S_\infty$ the group of permutations of $\mathbb{N}$. It can be shown that there is no homomorphism $S_\infty \to \mathbf{Z}/2$ extending the sign on the finite symmetric groups. Is it possible to ...
11
votes
1answer
323 views

$\mathbb{Z}G$ (left) Noetherian$\Rightarrow$ $l^1(G)$ is a flat $\mathbb{Z}G$-(right) module?

Let $G$ be a countable discrete group (not necessarily abelian), and suppose the group ring $\mathbb{Z}G$ is a left-Noetherian ring, for example, when $G$ is a polycyclic-by finite group. Denote the ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

Does category theory help understanding abstract algebra?

I'm studying category theory now as a "scientific initiation" (a program in Brazil where you study some subjects not commonly seen by a undergrad), but as I've never studied abstract algebra before, ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Linearly independent subsets of a free module

Is it true that the cardinality of every maximal linearly independent subset of a finitely generated free module $A^{n}$ is equal to $n$ (not just at most $n$, but in fact $n$)? Here $A$ is a nonzero ...
10
votes
1answer
318 views

Formally undecidable problems on finitely presented quandles

In the literature, one sometimes sees the claim that finitely presented quandles (in particular, knot quandles) are "hard to deal with". Hence, a great deal of effort has gone into studying finite ...
10
votes
0answers
179 views

Does every commutative variety of algebras have a cogenerator?

By a commutative variety $\mathcal{V}$ I mean a classical variety of algebras for some $(\Sigma,E)$, such that each pair of operations in $\Sigma$ commutes. Equivalently (i) every interpretation of ...
9
votes
2answers
747 views

Free division rings?

Does it make sense to talk about, say, the free division ring on 2 generators? If so, does the free division ring on countably many generators embed into the free division ring on two generators?
9
votes
1answer
343 views

Given a rational number a/b does there exist a finite group G and an automorphism f s.t. f maps exactly a/b elements of G to their own inverses?

I was helping a friend prepare for his intro abstract final and he mentioned the professor had once asked the question name a group and an automorphism that takes 3/4 of the elements of the group to ...
9
votes
2answers
893 views

Example of a Group which has $\text{SL}_{n}(\mathbb{Z})$ as the automorphism group

For the past one week, I have been trying to learn more about Automorphism groups of different groups. Very recently one of my friend asked this question to me: What is the Autmorphism group of ...
9
votes
1answer
334 views

How is a descent datum the same as a comodule structure?

For a homomorphism of commutative rings $f:R\to S$, there are at least two notions of a descent datum for this map. One of these is to be an $S$-module $M$, with an isomorphism $M\otimes_R S\cong ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Galois group of a product of polynomials

How can I compute the Galois group of the polynomial $fg\in K[x]$ assuming that I know the Galois groups of $f\in K[x]$ and $g\in K[x]$? Let's suppose for simplicity that the field $K$ is perfect.
8
votes
4answers
631 views

Groups and rings which are not sets

An algebraic structure such as a group, ring, field, etc. is usually defined to be a set with some operations satisfying certain properties. I am curious what, if anything, goes wrong when the ...
8
votes
1answer
334 views

Generalizing detropicalization

Given an identity in max,plus arithmetic, are there ways to turn it into an ordinary algebraic identity it other than by replacing addition by multiplication and replacing max by series-plus or by ...
7
votes
10answers
5k views

Learning Algebra & Group Theory on my own [closed]

I'm learning Algebra & Group Theory, casually, on my own. Professionally, I'm a computer consultant, with a growing interest in the mathematical and theoretical aspects. I've been amazed with ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

fgf = f, gfg = g, fg not necessarily identity, what was that called?

A very simple question, I just totally forgot how it was called, and google is not helping. There's a pair of functions $f:X\to Y$, $g:Y\to X$. $fgf = f$, $gfg = g$, but $fg$ and $gf$ don't need to ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Variants of Eisenstein irreducibility

In his article where he stated what we know as Eisenstein's irreducibility criterion (which actually was first proved by Schönemann, as was Scholz's reciprocity law and Hensel's Lemma), he ...
7
votes
2answers
689 views

The word “torsion” and its connection to geometry and homology

In an $R$-module $M$, an element $m \in M$ is said to be torsion if $am = 0$ for some $a \in R$ with $a \neq 0$. Also, for a non-orientable (closed) surface such as the projective plane or the Klein ...
7
votes
1answer
664 views

Direct sum of injective modules over non-Noetherian rings

Hi. I know, by the Bass-Papp theorem, that if every direct sum of injective $R$-modules is injective then $R$ is Noetherian. I would like to know if there exists a direct sum of injective $R$-modules ...
7
votes
2answers
707 views

Virtual algebraic calculation within proofs

It seems to me that the undergraduates I teach have particular difficulty with proofs that involve reasoning about algebraic calculations that arise only theoretically. Since I have in mind doing ...
6
votes
12answers
4k views

Useless math that became useful

I'm writing an article on Lychrel numbers and some people pointed out that this is completely useless. My idea is to amend my article with some theories that seemed useless when they are created but ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are ring actions much harder to find than group actions?

I admit freely that the following question is a bit of a fishing expedition inspired by this lovely "definition" of a module as found on Wikipedia: A module is a ring action on an abelian group. ...
6
votes
8answers
4k views

Best way to teach concept of real numbers using a hands-on activity?

I know a middle school math teacher looking for some suggestions for hands-on activities to teach the concept of real numbers. I'm new to this site, so this may be a little off topic.
6
votes
4answers
364 views

How universal is operadic approach to studying algebras?

I have just started to read about operads, so this question might be silly. So it seems to me that any "reasonable" class of algebras can actually be defined as a class of all algebras over a certain ...
6
votes
3answers
835 views

Does “finitely presented” mean “always finitely presented”, considered in general

I'm wondering about the question, "If we have a finitely presented __, is it necessarily finitely presented with respect to any finite generating set for it?" I know this is true for groups and for ...
6
votes
2answers
533 views

Is there one binary operation foundational for set theory?

The membership relationship "$\epsilon$" is foundational for set theory, in the sense that the axioms of any set theory are formulated in the language of "$\epsilon$". Naturally, the question arises ...
6
votes
2answers
487 views

Examples of Completions and Algebraic Closures

It is widely known that the algebaric closure of the $p$-adic completion $\mathbb{Q}_p$ of $\mathbb{Q}$ isn't complete anymore. It's completion is complete and known as $\mathbb{C}_p$. I have read ...
6
votes
2answers
359 views

Misunderstanding in the hypotheses of Schlessinger's criterion

Good day to everyone. In studying deformation theory of Galois representations, I've come surely to an error, relating Schlessinger's criterion. Let's fix a representation $\bar{\rho}$ of a group ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

On order of subgroups in abelian groups

I wonder whether any of you guys has already read the homonymous note by R. Beals in the December 2009 issue of the Monthly. If so, would you be so kind as to let me know about the main ideas in ...
6
votes
1answer
371 views

Two questions about commutative theories

Let $\mathcal{T}$ be a commutative algebraic theory (for example sets, abelian groups, commutative monoids, but not groups etc.). References include the nlab and Borceux' Handbook of Categorical ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

motivation of filtered colimits

I am trying to move in categorical algebra beyond the basics. A Lawvere theory L is a small category with finite products. (I know that there also is a functor $(skeleton(FinSet))^{op}\to L$, which ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Example of an infinite abelian but non-cyclic group whose automorphism group is cyclic.

Can anyone give me an example of: An infinite abelian but non-cyclic group whose automorphism group is cyclic.