**66**

votes

**11**answers

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 ...

**64**

votes

**9**answers

4k views

### Can we unify addition and multiplication into one binary operation? To what extent can we find universal binary operations?

The question is the extent to which we can unify addition
and multiplication, realizing them as terms in a single
underlying binary operation. I have a number of questions.
Is there a binary ...

**59**

votes

**16**answers

9k views

### Why is it a good idea to study a ring by studying its modules?

This is related to another question of mine. Suppose you met someone who was well-acquainted with the basic properties of rings, but who had never heard of a module. You tell him that modules ...

**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 ...

**51**

votes

**2**answers

5k views

### How would you solve this tantalizing Halmos problem?

1-ab invertible => 1-ba invertible has a slick power series "proof" as below, where Halmos asks for an explanation of why this tantalizing derivation succeeds. Do you know one?
Geometric series. In ...

**46**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Does this formula have a rigorous meaning, or is it merely formal.

I hope this problem is not considered too "elementary" for MO. It concerns a formula that I have always found fascinating. For, at first glance, it appears completely "obvious", while on closer ...

**44**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### A condition that implies commutativity

Let $R$ be a ring. A notable theorem of N. Jacobson states that if the identity $x^{n}=x$ holds for every $x \in R$ and a fixed $n \geq 2$ then $R$ is a commutative ring.
The proof of the result for ...

**39**

votes

**7**answers

5k 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.
...

**38**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### What is the current status of the Kaplansky zero-divisor conjecture for group rings?

Let $K$ be a field and $G$ a group. The so called zero-divisor conjecture for group rings asserts that the group ring $K[G]$ is a domain if and only if $G$ is a torsion-free group.
A couple of good ...

**36**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Invertible matrices over noncommutative rings

Let $A\in M_m(R)$ be an invertible square matrix over a noncommutative ring $R$. Is the transpose matrix $A^t$ also invertible? If it isn't, are there any easy counterexamples?
The question popped up ...

**35**

votes

**16**answers

34k views

### Linear Algebra Texts?

Can anyone suggest a relatively gentle linear algebra text that integrates vector spaces and matrix algebra right from the start? I've found in the past that students react in very negative ways to ...

**35**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Why is there no Cayley's Theorem for rings?

Cayley's theorem makes groups nice: a closed set of bijections is a group and a group is a closed set of bijections- beautiful, natural and understandable canonically as symmetry. It is not so much a ...

**34**

votes

**6**answers

7k views

### Good lattice theory books?

A recent answer motivated me to post about this. I've always had a vague, unpleasant feeling that somehow lattice theory has been completely robbed of the important place it deserves in mathematics - ...

**33**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### What makes a theorem *a* “nullstellensatz.”

I know what the (Hilbert) Nullstellensatz says. A MathSciNet search on "nullstellensatz" turns up nearly 200 papers, with only a minority offering either new proofs or new applications of the classic ...

**32**

votes

**3**answers

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 $K \setminus L$, ...

**30**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### What do cluster algebras tell us about Grassmannians?

One of the first examples of a cluster algebra given in Fomin and Zelevinsky's original paper is the homogeneous coordinate ring $\mathbb{C}[G_{2,n}]$ of the Grassmannian of planes in $\mathbb{C}^n$. ...

**29**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What is the current status of Agrawal's conjecture?

In their famous 'Primes is in P' paper Agrawal, Kayal and Saxena stated the following conjecture:
If for coprime integers $n$ and $r$ the equality $(X-1)^n = X^n - 1$ holds in ...

**28**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### Why don't ideals and quotients work well for categories?

Ideals are intimately related to quotients and congruence relations. They clearly play a very important role in ring theory and order theory. So do normal subgroups in group theory. (Enriched) ...

**28**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Non isomorphic finite rings with isomorphic additive and multiplicative structure

About a year ago, a colleague asked me the following question:
Suppose $(R,+,\cdot)$ and $(S,\oplus,\odot)$ are two rings such that $(R,+)$ is isomorphic, as an abelian group, to $(S,\oplus)$, and ...

**27**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Is there an explicit construction of a free coalgebra?

I am interested in the differences between algebras and coalgebras. Naively, it does not seem as though there is much difference: after all, all you have done is to reverse the arrows in the ...

**26**

votes

**1**answer

912 views

### Formally real Jordan algebras

In 1934, Jordan, von Neumann and Wigner gave a nice classification of finite-dimensional simple Jordan algebras that are 'formally real', meaning that a sum of squares is zero only if each term in the ...

**25**

votes

**0**answers

581 views

### Greatly expanded new edition of a Bourbaki chapter on algebra?

Recently I discovered by accident that Bourbaki issued in 2012 a radically expanded version of their 1958 Chapter 8 Modules et anneaux semi-simples (like other chapters, initially in French) within ...

**24**

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.

**24**

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 ...

**24**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### When does a ring surjection imply a surjection of the group of units?

The following might be a very trivial question. If so, I don't mind it being closed, but would appreciate a reference where I could read about it.
Let $R$ and $S$ be commutative rings and let ...

**24**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### when is the power of a nonnegative polynomial a sum of squares?

There are polynomials that are not sum of squares. For example Motzkin gave the example $x^4y^2+x^2y^4+z^6-3x^2y^2z^2$ in 1967.
Is there a real polynomial $f\in{\mathbb{R}}[x_1,\ldots,x_n]$ in ...

**24**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What is interesting/useful about big Witt Vectors?

$p$-typical Witt vectors are (among other things) a canonical way of associating to a perfect ring $A$ of characteristic $p$ a complete DVR of characteristic $0$ with residue ring $A$ generalizing ...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

993 views

### Strong group ring isomorphisms

Background/Motivation
Let $R$ be a commutative ring with unit. If $G$ is a finite (or in general, discrete) group, let $R[G]$ be the group $R$-algebra associated to $G$. The isomorphism problem for ...

**23**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### “Lie algebra” for a general group ?

Is there analog of Lie algebra for the case of topological groups which are not necessarily differentiable manifolds, and in particular for finite groups? here by "analog" i mean that it should have ...

**23**

votes

**1**answer

742 views

### Idempotents in Rings of Differential Operators

Differential Operators on General Commutative Rings
Let k be an algebraically closed field of characteristic zero, and let R be a commutative k-algebra. Then a (Grothendieck) differential operator ...

**22**

votes

**6**answers

17k views

### Determinant of sum of positive definite matrices

Say $A$ and $B$ are symmetric, positive definite matrices.
I've proved that $\det(A+B) \ge \det(A) + \det(B)$ in the case that $A$ and $B$ are two dimensional.
Is this true in general for ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Example for column rank $\neq$ row rank

The proof that column rank = row rank for matrices over a field relies on the fact that the elements of a field commute. I'm looking for an easy example of a matrix over a ring for which column rank ...

**22**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Gossip about Grothendieck and distributive lattices

In Gian-Carlo Rota's Indiscrete Thoughts, there a list of mathematical gossip among which one reads:
[...] What would have happened [...] if Grothendieck had known the theory of distributive ...

**22**

votes

**14**answers

6k views

### Geometrical meaning of Grassmann Algebra

I don't understand wedge product and Grassmann algebra. However, I heard that these concepts are obvious when you understand the geometrical intuition behind them. Can you give this geometrical ...

**22**

votes

**5**answers

800 views

### Bass' stable range of $\mathbf Z[X]$

Let $n$ be a positive integer and $A$ be a commutative ring. The ring $A$ is said to be of Bass stable range $\mathrm{sr}(A)\leq n$ if for $a, a_1, \dots, a_n \in A$ one has the following implication:
...

**22**

votes

**6**answers

914 views

### How to recognize a Hopf algebra?

Suppose we are handed an algebra $A$ over a field $k$. What should we look at if we want to determine whether $A$ can or cannot be equipped with structure maps to make it a Hopf algebra?
I guess in ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Maximal Ideals in Formal Laurent Series Rings?

Setup: Let $k$ be a field, let $n$ be a positive integer, and let $R := k[[x_1,\ldots,x_n]]$ denote the commutative ring of formal power series over $k$ in $x_1,\ldots,x_n$. We know that there is ...

**21**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Are there any nontrivial ring homomorphisms $M_{n+1}(R)\rightarrow M_n(R)$?

Let $R$ be a finitely generated ring with identity, $M_n(R)$ the set of $n\times n$ matrices. Are there any nontrivial ring homomorphisms $M_{n+1}(R)\rightarrow M_n(R)$? This should be an elementary ...

**21**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### “Sums-compact” objects = f.g. objects in categories of modules?

Hello,
Let us call an object of an additive category sumpact (contraction of "sums" and "compact") if taking $Hom$ from it (considered as functor from the category to $Ab$) commutes with coproducts. ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

903 views

### Two (other) rings…are they isomorphic?

Consider the local rings
$$R = \mathbb{C}[[x,y,z,w]]/\langle xyz+xyw+xzw+yzw\rangle$$
and
$$S = \mathbb{C}[[x,y,z,w]]/\langle xyz+xyw+xzw+yzw+xyzw\rangle.$$
Is $R$ isomorphic to $S$?
Some ...

**21**

votes

**0**answers

2k views

### Sums of injective modules, products of projective modules?

Under what assumptions on a noncommutative ring R does a countable direct sum of injective left R-modules necessarily have a finite injective dimension?
Analogously, under what assumptions on R does ...

**20**

votes

**8**answers

4k views

### Simplest examples of rings that are not isomorphic to their opposites

What are the simplest examples of
rings that are not isomorphic to their
opposite rings? Is there a science to constructing them?
The only simple example known to me:
In Jacobson's Basic Algebra ...

**20**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### Expressing adj(A) as a polynomial in A?

Suppose $A\in R^{n\times n}$, where $R$ is a commutative ring. Let $p_i \in R$ be the coefficients of the characteristic polynomial of $A$: $\mathop{\mathrm{det}}(A-xI) = p_0 + p_1x + \dots + p_n ...

**20**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### The sum of same powers of all matrices modulo p

The following is a problem from our department algebra competition for
students:
Non-question.
An experimental-math geek was trying to raise all matrices $17\times17$
over the field with 17 ...

**20**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Freeness of a Z[x]-module

Definition: Call a mapping $f: \mathbb{Z} \rightarrow \mathbb{Z}$
a generalized polynomial if for any distinct integers $m$ and $n$
we have $(m - n)|(f(m)-f(n))$.
It is easy to check that polynomial ...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

907 views

### What do you do if you believe a problem is undecidable?

While the title of this question is subjective, I hope to make what I'm looking for quite concrete. The first, and main question is this: If you believe that a problem you are working on is formally ...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

472 views

### What are applications of commutativity theorems for rings?

Herstein's little book "Noncommutative Rings" has a chapter called Commutativity Theorems in which he proves results like Jacobson's theorem: if a ring (associative with identity, please) has the ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### does the “convolution theorem” apply to weaker algebraic structures?

The Convolution Theorem is often exploited to compute the convolution of two sequences efficiently: take the (discrete) Fourier transform of each sequence, multiply them, and then perform the inverse ...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Are Conway's omnific integers the Grothendieck group of the ordinals under commutative addition?

This is a question in two parts.
Say that $\mathbf{On}$ is the proper class of all ordinal numbers in ZFC. We can define a binary operator over $\mathbf{On}$ which corresponds to the commutative ...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

458 views

### Kaplansky's unit conjecture and unique products

There are three conjectures on group rings that bear the name of Kaplansky (see for example this question). The 'unit conjecture' in the title of the present question is the strongest of them, and ...