**78**

votes

**18**answers

8k 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 ...

**74**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### $A$ is isomorphic to $A \oplus \mathbb{Z}^2$, but not to $A \oplus \mathbb{Z}$

Are there abelian groups $A$ with $A \cong A \oplus \mathbb{Z}^2$ and $A \not\cong A \oplus \mathbb{Z}$?

**72**

votes

**2**answers

7k views

### When is the tensor product of two fields a field?

Consider two extension fields $K/k, L/k$ of a field $k$.
A frequent question is whether the tensor product ring $K\otimes_k L$ is a field. The answer is "no" and this answer is often justified by ...

**53**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### $R$ is isomorphic to $R[X,Y]$, but not to $R[X]$

Is there a commutative ring $R$ with $R \cong R[X,Y]$ and $R \not\cong R[X]$?
This is a ring-theoretic analog of my previous question about abelian groups: In fact, in any algebraic category we may ...

**52**

votes

**4**answers

4k 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 ...

**34**

votes

**17**answers

5k 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]."
...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Why is differential Galois theory not widely used?

E.R.Kolchin has developed the differential Galois theory in 1950s. And it seems powerful a tool which can decide the solvability and the form of solutions to a given differential equation.(e.g. ...

**29**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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 ...

**28**

votes

**6**answers

4k 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) = ...

**28**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Algebraic dependency over $\mathbb{F}_{2}$

Let $f_{1},f_{2},\ldots,f_{n}$ be $n$ polynomials in $\mathbb{F}_{2}[x_{1},x_{2},\ldots,x_{n}]$
such that $\forall a=(a_1,a_2,\ldots,a_n)\in\mathbb{F}_{2}^{n}$ we have $\forall ...

**25**

votes

**9**answers

5k 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.

**25**

votes

**7**answers

3k 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 ...

**22**

votes

**7**answers

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 $\mathfrak{S}_n$ ...

**21**

votes

**6**answers

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 ...

**21**

votes

**1**answer

4k 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 ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

443 views

### Local Inverse Galois Problem

It's a basic fact that a finite Galois extension $L/K$ of a local nonarchimedian field $K$ has solvable (in fact supersolvable) Galois group $G$. One sees this by using the ramification filtration ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

4k 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 ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

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 ...

**15**

votes

**4**answers

8k 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 ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

787 views

### Has anything ever been done with the set $\{1,2,3,4,\ldots\}$ equipped with the operation $a \oplus b = a+b-1$ and the usual notion of multiplication?

Definition. $$\mathbb{J} = \{1,2,3,\ldots\}.$$
We can refer to the elements of $\mathbb{J}$ as "joiners."
The product of joiners is inherited from $\mathbb{Z}$.
The sum of joiners ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

847 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 ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

3k 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 ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

412 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 ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

427 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

**5**answers

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

**4**answers

2k 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 ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

780 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 $m$ ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

484 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 ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

281 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 ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

396 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 ...

**11**

votes

**3**answers

2k 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.
...

**11**

votes

**3**answers

1k 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

**2**answers

584 views

### Obstructions for a group to be the multiplicative group of a field [duplicate]

It is well known that every finite multiplicative subgroup of a field is cyclic.
I somehow got interested in a possible reverse implication:
Assume we have an abelian group $G$ whose every finite ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

1k 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 ...

**11**

votes

**4**answers

367 views

### Real and Quaternionic Representations according to Weights

According to this question, it is easy to know whether a representation is self dual or not: just check if the weight distribution in space is symmetric about the origin.
Now, for self dual ...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

589 views

### Elementary proof for Hilbert's irreducibility theorem

I have tried to find a complete proof for Hilbert's irreducibility theorem, but everything I found was way beyond my level of understanding.
I am only interested in the simple case where the ...

**10**

votes

**5**answers

6k 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

**2**answers

812 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?

**10**

votes

**1**answer

359 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 ...

**10**

votes

**1**answer

568 views

### A group whose automorphism group is cyclic

Is there an Abelian group $A$ which is not locally cyclic whose automorphism group is cyclic ?
This question was first posted here.

**10**

votes

**1**answer

572 views

### Is $\mathbb{R}$ a $\mathbb{C}$-module without AC?

Assuming ZFC. We can make $(\mathbb{R},+)$ into a nontrivial(scaler multiplication is not identicaly zero) $\mathbb{C}$-module.
Now my questions are?
0.Is it consistent with $ZF$ that $\mathbb{R}$ is ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

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.

**9**

votes

**1**answer

422 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 ...

**9**

votes

**0**answers

156 views

### $A$-module is free if and only if equation involving Hilbert-Poincaré series holds, $M$ infinitely generated case

See my question here.
Let $A = \oplus_{i \ge 0} A_i$ be a nonnegatively graded commutative algebra and $M$ a nonnegatively graded $A$-module. Assume in addition that $A_0 = k$ and all vector ...

**8**

votes

**10**answers

8k 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 ...

**8**

votes

**4**answers

647 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

**0**answers

148 views

### $k[x_1, \dots, x_n]$ is free iff $\mathbb{C}[x_1, \dots, x_n]^G \otimes \text{Harm}(\mathbb{R}^n, G) \to k[x_1, \dots, x_n]$ isomorphism?

For any subgroup $G \subset \text{GL}_n(\mathbb{R})$ the set $\mathbb{C}[x_1, \dots, x_n]^G$, of $G$-invariant polynomials, is a graded subalgebra of $\mathbb{C}[x_1, \dots, x_n]$, resp. the set ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

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 ...

**7**

votes

**4**answers

408 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 ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

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 ...