Fields as algebraic objects. For vector and tensor fields, use eg. [dg.differential-geometry]. For physical fields, use eg. [mp.mathematical-physics] or [quantum-field-theory].

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142
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Ultrafilters and automorphisms of the complex field

It is well-known that it is consistent with $ZF$ that the only automorphisms of the complex field $\mathbb{C}$ are the identity map and complex conjugation. For example, we have that $|Aut(\mathbb{C})|...
74
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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 ...
70
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11answers
4k views

Can a non-surjective polynomial map from an infinite field to itself miss only finitely many points?

Is there an infinite field $k$ together with a polynomial $f \in k[x]$ such that the associated map $f \colon k \to k$ is not surjective but misses only finitely many elements in $k$ (i.e. only ...
63
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0answers
2k views

A naive question about the double dual of a vector space

Let $K$ be a field. Are there non-scalar endomorphisms of the endofunctor $$ V\mapsto V^{**}/V $$ of the category of $K$-vector spaces? I asked a related question on Mathematics Stackexchange, but ...
46
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9answers
12k views

Galois Groups vs. Fundamental Groups

In a recent blog post Terry Tao mentions in passing that: "Class groups...are arithmetic analogues of the (abelianised) fundamental groups in topology, with Galois groups serving as the analogue of ...
40
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2answers
1k views

Isomorphic general linear groups implies isomorphic fields?

Suppose $n > 1$ is a natural number. Suppose $K$ and $L$ are fields such that the general linear groups of degree $n$ over them are isomorphic, i.e., $GL(n,K) \cong GL(n,L)$ as groups. Is it ...
39
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8answers
13k views

Collecting proofs that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic

I teach elementary number theory and discrete mathematics to students who come with no abstract algebra. I have found proving the key theorem that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic ...
37
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5answers
7k views

Algebraically closed fields of positive characteristic

I'm taking introductory algebraic geometry this term, so a lot of the theorems we see in class start with "Let k be an algebraically closed field." One of the things that's annoyed me is that as far ...
37
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3answers
2k views

Why aren't fields called “bodies” instead?

The discrepancy regarding the names of commutative division algebras in German and English has always startled me. In English they are called fields, whereas their original German name is Körper (...
36
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14answers
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Fantastic properties of Z/2Z

Recently I gave a lecture to master's students about some nice properties of the group with two elements $\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$. Typically, I wanted to present simple, natural situations where the ...
34
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4answers
5k views

Fields with trivial automorphism group

Is there a nice characterization of fields whose automorphism group is trivial? Here are the facts I know. Every prime field has trivial automorphism group. Suppose L is a separable finite extension ...
33
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3answers
4k views

transcendental Galois theory

Suppose we define an arbitrary field extension $K/F$ to be Galois if, for all subextensions $L$ of $K/F$, we have $K^{\operatorname{Aut}(K/L)} = L$. In words: for any element $x$ of $K \setminus L$, ...
33
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1answer
827 views

A Topology such that the continuous functions are exactly the polynomials

(I originally asked this question on Math.SE, where it received a lot of attention, but no solution.) Which fields $K$ can be equipped with a topology such that a function $f:K \to K$ is continuous ...
31
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2answers
1k views

What are the possible sets of degrees of irreducible polynomials over a field?

Hopefully this is not too easy an exercise. Let $F$ be a field. Let $I \subset \mathbb{N}$ be the set of all positive integers $d$ such that there exists an irreducible polynomial of degree $d$ over ...
28
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4answers
3k views

What does “linearly disjoint” mean for abstract field extensions?

All definitions I've seen for the statement "$E,F$ are linearly disjoint extensions of $k$" are only meaningful when $E,F$ are given as subfields of a larger field, say $K$. I am happy with the ...
27
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2answers
1k views

If a field extension gives affine space, was it already affine space?

Let $R$ be a commutative Noetherian $F$-algebra, where $F$ is a field (perfect, say). Assume that $R \otimes_F \overline F$ is a polynomial ring over the algebraic closure $\overline F$. Does it ...
25
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2answers
3k views

Examples of algebraic closures of finite index

So there are easy examples for algebraic closures that have index two and infinite index: $\mathbb{C}$ over $\mathbb{R}$ and the algebraic numbers over $\mathbb{Q}$. What about the other indices? ...
25
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2answers
791 views

How much choice is needed to show that formally real fields can be ordered?

Background: a field is formally real if -1 is not a sum of squares of elements in that field. An ordering on a field is a linear ordering which is (in exactly the sense that you would guess if you ...
25
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5answers
1k views

Explicit elements of $K((x))((y)) \setminus K((x,y))$

In an answer to the popular question on common false beliefs in mathematics Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics. I mentioned that many people conflate the two different kinds of formal ...
25
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3answers
753 views

Does the category of (algebraically closed) fields of characteristic $p$ change when $p$ changes?

Let $\mathrm{ACF}_p$ denote the category of algebraically closed fields of characteristic $p$, with all homomorphisms as morphisms. The question is: when is there an equivalence of categories between $...
23
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9answers
8k views

Why are polynomials so useful in mathematics?

This is perhaps unanswerable, or perhaps I am too algebraically ignorant to phrase it cogently, but: Is there some identifiable reason that polynomials over $\mathbb{C}$, $\mathbb{R}$, $\...
22
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4answers
6k views

Finite extension of fields with no primitive element

What is an example of a finite field extension which is not generated by a single element? Background: A finite field extension E of F is generated by a primitive element if and only if there are a ...
22
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3answers
2k views

Is the statement that every field has an algebraic closure known to be equivalent to the ultrafilter lemma?

The existence and uniqueness of algebraic closures is generally proven using Zorn's lemma. A quick Google search leads to a 1992 paper of Banaschewski, which I don't have access to, asserting that ...
20
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7answers
2k views

In what sense are fields an algebraic theory?

Since there is no "free field generated by a set", it would seem that 1) there is no monad on Set whose algebras are exactly the fields and 2) there is no Lawvere theory whose models in Set are ...
20
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4answers
4k views

Is there a natural way to view the proof of Hilbert 90?

I only know of one proof of Hilbert 90, which is very smart if not magical. See for example http://hilbertthm90.wordpress.com/2008/12/11/hilberts-theorem-90the-math/ Does anyone know of a more ...
20
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3answers
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An unfamiliar (to me) form of Hensel's Lemma

In his very nice article Peter Roquette, History of valuation theory. I. (English summary) Valuation theory and its applications, Vol. I (Saskatoon, SK, 1999), 291--355, Fields Inst. Commun., ...
20
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0answers
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Subfields of $\mathbb{C}$ isomorphic to $\mathbb{R}$ that have Baire property, without Choice

While sitting through my complex analysis class, beginning with a very low level introduction, the teacher mentioned the obvious subfield of $\mathbb{C}$ isomorphic to $\mathbb{R}$, and I then ...
19
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1answer
964 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 ...
19
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0answers
372 views

Are the reals really a fraction field?

In an answer to this question I was led to show the trick proving that $\mathbb R$ is the fraction field of some strict subring $A\subsetneq \mathbb R=\operatorname{Frac}(A)$. A crucial point in the ...
18
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3answers
1k views

Does Con(ZF) imply Con(ZF + Aut C = Z/2Z)?

How many field automorphisms does $\mathbf{C}$ have? If you assume the axiom of choice, there are tons of them -- $2^{2^{\aleph_0}}$ I believe. And what if you don't -- how essential is the axiom of ...
18
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2answers
971 views

Is there an irreducible but solvable septic trinomial $x^7+ax^n+b = 0$?

The following irreducible trinomials are solvable: $$x^5-5x^2-3 = 0$$ $$x^6+3x+3 = 0$$ $$x^8-5x-5=0$$ Their Galois groups are isomorphic to ${\rm D}_5$, ${\rm S}_3 \wr {\rm C}_2$ and $({\rm S}_4 \...
18
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2answers
508 views

non-isomorphic stably isomorphic fields

Q1: What is the simplest example of two non-isomorphic fields $L$ and $K$ of characteristic $0$ such that $L(x)\simeq K(x)$ (here $x$ is an indeterminate)? Q2: Do we have a sufficient criterion for ...
17
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4answers
1k views

Which fields have multiplicative group isomorphic to additive group times Z/2Z?

Let $K$ be a field, $K_{*}$ its multiplicative group and $K_{+}$ its additive group. As Richard Stanley notes in this answer, the only field for which $K_{+} \simeq K_{*} \times \mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$...
17
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1answer
790 views

When f(x)-a and f(x)-b yield the same field extension

An interesting mathoverflow question was one due to Philipp Lampe that asked whether a non-surjective polynomial function on an infinite field can miss only finitely many values. In my interpretation ...
17
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4answers
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FFTs over finite fields?

I'm trying to understand how to compute a fast Fourier transform over a finite field. This question arose in the analysis of some BCH codes. Consider the finite field $F$ with $2^n$ elements. It is ...
17
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1answer
585 views

Algebraic closure as a fibrant replacement?

Emil Artin's construction of the algebraic closure of a field $K$ is as follows. Let $K_{0} = K$, and inductively let $\{x_f\}$ be a set of indeterminates indexed by the irreducible $f$ in one ...
16
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1answer
836 views

On the solvable octic $x^8-x^7+29x^2+29=0$

The irreducible but solvable octic, $$x^8-x^7+29x^2+29=0\tag{1}$$ was first mentioned by Igor Schein in this 1999 sci.math post. This does not factor over a quadratic or quartic extension, but over ...
15
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12answers
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Constructions unique up to non-unique isomorphism

1) Fields have algebraic closures unique up to a non-unique isomorphism. 2) Nice spaces (without base point) have universal covering spaces unique up to a non-unique isomorphism. 3) Modules have ...
15
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1answer
826 views

A set of generators for $\bar{\mathbb{Q}}$

Two questions: Does there exist a sequence $\alpha_1,\alpha_2,...$ of algebraic numbers with degrees $d_1,d_2,...$ s.t. for each $i$, $d_i|d_{i+1}$ and $\alpha_i= p_i(\alpha_{i+1})$ with $p_i$ a ...
14
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1answer
561 views

Galois theory: Generalization of Abel’s Theorem? (Better version!)

(Unintentionally I have previously asked a similar and perhaps in itself not uninteresting question Galois theory: Generalization of Abel's Theorem? but this is what I originally had in mind.) ...
14
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0answers
763 views

Is there an infinite field of characteristic 2 whose multiplicative group is torsion free and (direct-sum) indecomposable?

Let $F$ be a infinite field of characteristic 2 whose multiplicative group $F^*$ is torsion free. I would like to conclude that $F^*$ is decomposable or find an example where $F^*$ is indecomposable. ...
13
votes
2answers
851 views

Which commutative groups are the group of units of some field?

Inspired by a recent question on the multiplicative group of fields. Necessary conditions include that there are at most $n$ solutions to $x^n = 1$ in such a group and that any finite subgroup is ...
13
votes
2answers
794 views

To what extent can fields be classified?

The study of algebraic geometry usually begins with the choice of a base field $k$. In practice, this is usually one of the prime fields $\mathbb{Q}$ or $\mathbb{F}_p$, or topological completions and ...
13
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2answers
429 views

Logical complexity of algebraically closed fields

One can define fields using a finite list of axioms that quantify over the field itself. However, the obvious way to define algebraically closed fields involves either an infinite list of axioms, or ...
13
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2answers
681 views

The Surreal numbers satisfy all the field axioms except that its elements constitute a proper class. Is it safe to call it a field?

Do all the field theorems apply to surreal numbers? If fields were redefined so that their elements were allowed to come from an arbitrary class, would the theory look different to an algebraist?
13
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2answers
2k views

Automorphisms of $\mathbb{C}$

Is it true that $G_{\mathbb{Q}}$, the absolute Galois group of $\mathbb{Q}$, is a subgroup of $Aut(\mathbb{C})$ ? Or a simpler question: can any automorphism of $\overline{\mathbb{Q}}$ be extended to ...
13
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1answer
772 views

Is every algebraic extension of a field of absolute transcendence degree one a separable extension of a purely inseparable extension?

Any decent course on field theory will state that in characteristic $p$ an extension of fields $k\subset K$ canonically decomposes as the tower $k\subset K_{sep}\subset K$ with $K$ purely inseparable ...
13
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2answers
652 views

What is the prime spectrum of a Cauchy series ring?

Let $k$ be a field, and let $| \ |$ be a norm on $k$. The norm induces a metric. To construct the completion $\hat{k}$ as a normed field, the standard recipe is to take the quotient of the ring $\...
12
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2answers
946 views

Is completeness of a field an algebraic property?

Pretty straitforward: If a field has a metric in which it is complete can it have a metric in which it is not complete? By metric I mean field norm of course
12
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3answers
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Are there as many real-closed fields of a given cardinality as I think there are?

Let $\kappa$ be an infinite cardinal. Then there exists at least one real-closed field of cardinality $\kappa$ (e.g. Lowenheim-Skolem; or, start with a function field over $\mathbb{Q}$ in $\kappa$ ...