Do NOT use this tag. Instead you could consider gr.group-theory, ac.commutative-algebra, ra.rings-and-algebras or various more specific tags.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

78
votes
18answers
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
2answers
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
2answers
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
1answer
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
4answers
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
17answers
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
2answers
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
3answers
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
6answers
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
1answer
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
9answers
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
7answers
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
7answers
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
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 ...
21
votes
1answer
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
3answers
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
2answers
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
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 ...
15
votes
4answers
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
1answer
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
1answer
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
4answers
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
2answers
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
1answer
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
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
4answers
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
1answer
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
1answer
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
1answer
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
2answers
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
3answers
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
3answers
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
2answers
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
2answers
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
4answers
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
1answer
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
5answers
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
2answers
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
1answer
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
1answer
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
1answer
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
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.
9
votes
1answer
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
0answers
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
10answers
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
4answers
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
0answers
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
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
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
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 ...