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49
votes
4answers
6k views

How small can a sum of a few roots of unity be?

Let $n$ be a large natural number, and let $z_1, \ldots, z_{10}$ be (say) ten $n^{th}$ roots of unity: $z_1^n = \ldots = z_{10}^n = 1$. Suppose that the sum $S = z_1+\ldots+z_{10}$ is non-zero. How ...
45
votes
5answers
2k views

If a unitsquare is partitioned into 101 triangles, is the area of one at least 1%?

Update: The answer to the title question is not necessarily, as pointed out by Tapio and Willie. I would be more interested in lower bounds. Monsky's famous and amazingly tricky proof says that if we ...
40
votes
13answers
4k views

Erratum for Cassels-Froehlich

Edit 25 April 2010: I have a physical copy of the new printing of the book. I can only assume the LMS is now selling it (but have no details). IMPORTANT EDIT: THE RESULTS ARE IN! Ok, the deadline has ...
35
votes
7answers
3k views

How to picture $\mathbb{C}_p$?

I hope this is appropriate for mathoverflow. Understanding $\mathbb{C}_p$ has always been something of a stumbling block for me. A standard thing to do in number theory is to take the completion ...
31
votes
2answers
2k views

Formal group laws and L-series

Let E be an elliptic curve, let $L(s) = \sum a_n n^{-s}$ denote its L-function, and set $$ f(x) = \sum a_n \frac{x^n}{n}. $$ Then Honda has observed that $$ F(X,Y) = f^{-1}(f(X) + f(Y)) $$ defines ...
30
votes
1answer
3k views

Integers not represented by $ 2 x^2 + x y + 3 y^2 + z^3 - z $

EDIT, 9 March 2014: when I asked this in 2010, I did not have the courage of my convictions, and so did not ask for an if and only if proof, as Kevin Buzzard quite properly pointed out. Such problems ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

If Spec Z is like a Riemann surface, what's the analogue of integration along a contour?

Rings of functions on a nonsingular algebraic curve (which, over $\mathbb{C}$, are holomorphic functions on a compact Riemann surface) and rings of integers in number fields are both examples of ...
28
votes
1answer
1k views

How would Hilbert and Weber think about the Langlands programme?

Explanations to a general mathematical audience about the Langlands programme often advertise it as "non-abelian class field theory". They usually begin as follows: a modern style formulation of ...
27
votes
6answers
887 views

Patterns among integer-distance points

Mark each point of $\mathbb{N}^2$ ($\mathbb{N}$ the natural numbers) if its Euclidean distance from the origin is an integer. One obtains a plot like this, symmetric about the $45^\circ$ diagonal. ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

On what kind of objects do the Galois groups act?

I am neither number theorist nor algebraic geometer. I am wondering whether Galois groups of number fields (say the absolute Galois group $Gal(\overline{\mathbb{Q}}/\mathbb{Q})$) act on objects which ...
27
votes
2answers
2k views

Class Numbers and 163

This is a bit fluffier of a question than I usually aim for, so apologies in advance if this doesn't pass the smell test for suitability. Likely my favorite fun fact in all of number theory is the ...
26
votes
1answer
1k views

Do the algebraic integers form a free abelian group?

It is a well-known fact, proved in every introductory textbook on algebraic number theory, that if $K$ is an algebraic number field, i.e. a finite extension of $\mathbb{Q}$, then its ring ...
26
votes
1answer
931 views

What happened to Emmy Noether's *Zukunftsphantasie* ?

Recenly I came across Peter Roquette's article On the history of Artin's $L$-functions and conductors (23 July 2003) in which he talks about some letters from Emil Artin and Emmy Noether to Helmut ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

Galois Groups of a family of polynomials

I've stumbled across the family of polynomials $ f_p(x) = x^{p-1} + 2 x^{p-2} + \cdots + (p-1) x + p $, where $p$ is an odd prime. It's not too hard to show that $f_p(x)$ is irreducible over ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

Why aren't there more classifying spaces in number theory?

Much of modern algebraic number theory can be phrased in the framework of group cohomology. (Okay, this is a bit of a stretch -- much of the part of algebraic number theory that I'm interested ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

Ramanujan and algebraic number theory

One out of the almost endless supply of identities discovered by Ramanujan is the following: $$ \sqrt[3]{\sqrt[3]{2}-1} = \sqrt[3]{\frac19} - \sqrt[3]{\frac29} + \sqrt[3]{\frac49}, $$ which has the ...
22
votes
1answer
849 views

Is pi = log_a(b) for some integers a, b > 1?

Are there integers $a, b > 1$ such that $\pi = \log_a(b)$? Or equivalently: are there integers $a,b > 1$ such that $a^\pi = b$? Note that the transcendence of $\pi$ makes this a problem - ...
19
votes
9answers
1k views

What are some interesting problems in the intersection of Algebraic Number Theory and Algebraic Topology?

I'm a beginning graduate student and while my background is primarily in algebraic number theory, I've found myself a bit smitten with the subject of algebraic topology recently after only having read ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

The Riemann Hypothesis and the Langlands program

On page 263 of this book review appears the following: Given the centrality of L-functions to the Langlands program, nothing would seem more natural (than a presentation of elementary algebraic ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How often are irrational numbers well-approximated by rationals?

Suppose $x\in \mathbb{R}$ is irrational, with irrationality measure $\mu=\mu(x)$; this means that the inequality $|x-\frac{p}{q}|< q^{-\lambda}$ has infinitely many solutions in integers $p,q$ if ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there any Hecke operators acting on an elliptic curve with additive reduction that I don't know about?

I could have made this question very brief but instead I've maximally gone the other way and explained a huge amount of background. I don't know whether I put off readers or attract them this way. The ...
19
votes
1answer
892 views

Weil Conjectures for Number Fields

Let $K$ be a number field with integral basis $\{\omega_1,\ldots,\omega_n\}$. The affine variety $A_K$ defined by $$ N_{K/\{\mathbb Q}}(X_1 \omega_1 + \ldots + X_n \omega_n) = 1 $$ is an algebraic ...
19
votes
0answers
553 views

Derivative of Class number of real quadratic fields

Let $\Delta$ be a fundamental quadratic discriminant, set $N = |\Delta|$, and define the Fekete polynomials $$ F_N(X) = \sum_{a=1}^N \Big(\frac{\Delta}a\Big) X^a. $$ Define $$ f_N(X) = ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Fermat's Last Theorem in the cyclotomic integers.

Kummer proved that there are no non-trivial solutions to the Fermat equation FLT(n): $x^n + y^n = z^n$ with $n > 2$ natural and $x,y,z$ elements of a regular cyclotomic ring of integers $K$. I am ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Number of distinct values taken by x^x^…^x with parentheses inserted in all possible ways

For what positive x's the number of distinct values taken by x^x^...^x with parentheses inserted in all possible ways is not represented by the sequence A000081? Is it exactly the set of positive ...
18
votes
1answer
496 views

Décomposition des nombres premiers dans des extensions non abéliennes

Gauß famously determined the cubic character of $2$ in his Disquisitiones : $2$ is a cube modulo a prime number $p\equiv1\mod3$ if and only if $p=x^2+27y^2$ for some $x,y\in\mathbf{Z}$. This implies ...
18
votes
1answer
835 views

What is the ring of integers of the Pythagorean field?

Following Hilbert, we call the complex numbers constructible via compass and straight-edge the field of Euclidean numbers, and the totally real such numbers the field of Pythagorean numbers. (Among ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Potential modularity and the Ramanujan conjecture

A little background: Let $f(z)=\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} a(n) e^{2\pi i nz}$ be a classical holomorphic cuspidal eigenform on $\Gamma_1(N)$, of weight $k \geq 2$ normalized with $a(1)=1$. The Ramanujan ...
17
votes
3answers
644 views

What's the analogue of the Hilbert class field in the following analogy?

There's a wonderful analogy I've been trying to understand which asserts that field extensions are analogous to covering spaces, Galois groups are analogous to deck transformation groups, and ...
17
votes
2answers
950 views

A question about non-norm-euclidean real quadratic fields

After lurking MO for a while, I decided I'd jump in. Why not start with a question? Specifically, I have a question about a natural set that sort of "measures" the failure of a real quadratic field ...
17
votes
0answers
790 views

Orders in number fields

Let $K$ be a degree $n$ extension of ${\mathbb Q}$ with ring of integers $R$. An order in $K$ is a subring with identity of $R$ which is a ${\mathbb Z}$-module of rank $n$. Question: Let $p$ be an ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Avoiding Minkowski's theorem in algebraic number theory.

For any course in algebraic number theory, one must prove the finiteness of class number and also Dirichlet's unit theorem. The standard proof uses Minkowski's theorem. Is there a way to avoid it? ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Conceptual understanding of the Gross-Zagier theorem.

The Gross-Zagier paper "Heegner points and derivatives of $L$-series", is really computational and hard to plow through. It seems it is futile to read it as such and one must look for a more ...
16
votes
1answer
757 views

Class number parity in pure cubic number fields

Consider the family of pure cubic number fields $K = {\mathbb Q}(\sqrt[3]{m})$ for $m = a^3 \pm 3$. Proposition. If $4 \mid a$ and $m$ is cubefree, then the class number of $K$ is even. Proof. Let ...
15
votes
1answer
439 views

Is there a known example of a curve X of genus > 1 over Q such that we know the number of points of X over the n-th cyclotomic field, for every n?

By Falting's theorem, these numbers are of course finite. Is there an example where we can explicitly compute them for every $n$? Thank you!
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Regulators of Number fields and Elliptic Curves

There is supposed to be a strong analogy between the arithmetic of number fields and the arithmetic of elliptic curves. One facet of this analogy is given by the class number formula for the leading ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Context for “Coronidis Loco” from Weil's Basic Number Theory

In Samuel James Patterson's article titled Gauss Sums in The Shaping of Arithmetic after C. F. Gauss’s Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, Patterson says "Hecke [proved] a beautiful theorem on the different ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Commutative Algebra with a View Toward Algebraic Number Theory

Someone asked me this today, and I don't know what the standard answer is: Is there an analogue of David Eisenbud's rather amazing Commutative Algebra With a View Toward Algebraic Geometry but with a ...
15
votes
1answer
659 views

Cyclotomic polynomials evaluated at roots of unity

Dear MO_World, I'm working on an ergodic theory question (about a generalization of eigenfunctions for measure-preserving transformations) and have run into a number theory question concerning ...
15
votes
1answer
669 views

Can Eisenstein's lattice point proof of quadratic reciprocity be generalized?

I'm referring to this proof. The key formula ("Eisenstein's Lemma") is $$\left(\frac{q}{p}\right)=(-1)^{\sum_{u}\lfloor\frac{qu}{p}\rfloor},\text{ where $u=2,4,\ldots,p-1$}$$ The sum in the exponent ...
15
votes
0answers
634 views

Most “natural” proof of the existence of Hilbert class fields

Assume that you have proved the two inequalities of class field theory, and that you want to show that the Hilbert class field, i.e., the maximal unramified abelian extension, of a number field $K$ ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

sum of squares in ring of integers

Lagrange proved that every (positive) rational integer is a sum of 4 squares. Are there general results like this for ring of integers of a number field? Is this class field theory? Explicity, ...
14
votes
5answers
963 views

Algorithm generalizing continued fractions for non-quadratic algebraic numbers

The continued fraction algorithm generates an integer sequence which terminates for a rational number, is periodic for the roots of irreducible integer quadratics, and is non-periodic for other ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

If p is a prime congruent to 9 mod 16, can 4 divide the class number of Q(p^(1/4))?

When $p$ is a prime $\equiv9\bmod16$, the class number, $h$, of $\mathbb Q(p^{1/4})$ is known to be even. In [Charles J. Parry, A genus theory for quartic fields. Crelle's Journal 314 (1980), ...
14
votes
4answers
717 views

Etale coverings of certain open subschemes in Spec O_K

Although my number theory is really weak, I'm trying to understand the notion of etale coverings in this context. I think this could provide a very interesting point of view. Let $U$ be an open ...
14
votes
2answers
557 views

Motivic generalisation of Neron-Ogg-Shaferevich criterion

Given a variety $X$ over $\mathbb{Q}$ with good reduction at $p$, proper smooth base change tells us that its $l$-adic cohomology groups are unramified at $p$ (and I'd guess some $p$-adic Hodge theory ...
14
votes
1answer
680 views

Principal maximal ideals in Z[x]/(F)

Is there some irreducible $F \in \mathbb{Z}[x]$ such that $\mathbb{Z}[x]/(F)$ has no principal maximal ideal? Equivalently, is it possible that the $1$-dimensional integral domain $\mathbb{Z}[x]/(F)$ ...
13
votes
6answers
996 views

Text for Algebraic Number Theory

I have the privilege of teaching an algebraic number theory course next fall, a rare treat for an algebraic topologist, and have been pondering the choice of text. The students will know some ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Conceptualizing Weil Pairing for elliptic curves ( and number fields)

There are two explanations in Silverman ( Arithmetic of Elliptic Curves), one in exercises developing the Weil reciprocity law ( for algebraic curves) and then generalizing, and then there is a ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Given a number field $K$, when is its Hilbert class field an abelian extension of $\mathbb{Q}$?

Given a number field $K$, when is its Hilbert class field an abelian extension of $\mathbb{Q}$? I am going to be on the road soon, so pleas don't be offended if I don't respond quickly to a comment.