Non-commutative rings and algebras, non-associative algebras, universal algebra and lattice theory, linear algebra, semigroups.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

64
votes
11answers
3k 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 ...
48
votes
16answers
7k 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 ...
47
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
42
votes
5answers
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 ...
42
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
36
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
36
votes
1answer
2k views

A condition that implies commutativity

Let $R$ be a ring. A cute theorem by 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 the ...
33
votes
1answer
784 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 ...
31
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
30
votes
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 $K \setminus L$, ...
29
votes
7answers
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 ...
28
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
28
votes
3answers
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
2answers
939 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 $\mathbb{C}^n$. ...
26
votes
1answer
826 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
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
1answer
745 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
7answers
2k 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) ...
23
votes
6answers
5k 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 - ...
23
votes
1answer
887 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 ...
22
votes
16answers
18k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
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 ...
21
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
694 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
640 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 ...
20
votes
0answers
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
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 ...
19
votes
2answers
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 ...
18
votes
3answers
936 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
613 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: ...
18
votes
2answers
431 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
votes
3answers
764 views

Why is $(\mathbb{Z}/3\mathbb{Z})^3$ not a class group of an imaginary quadratic number field ?

In general, it seems not known which finite abelian groups are class groups of quadratic number fields. For imaginary quadratic number fileds, I read that $(\mathbb{Z}/3\mathbb{Z})^3$ is the smallest ...
17
votes
3answers
799 views

Are there countable index subrings of the reals?

Does ${\mathbb R}$ have proper, countable index subrings? By countable I mean finite or countably infinite. By subring I mean any additive subgroup which is closed under multiplication (I don't ...
17
votes
4answers
916 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
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 ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Does the forgetful functor {Hopf Algebras}→{Algebras} have a right adjoint?

(Alternate title: Find the Adjoint: Hopf Algebra edition) I was chatting with Jonah about his question Hopf algebra structure on $\prod_n A^{\otimes n}$ for an algebra $A$. It's very closely related ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a “categorical” description of Grothendieck's algebra of differential operators?

First, pick a commutative ring $k$ as the "ground field". Everything I say will be $k$-linear, e.g. "algebra" means "unital associative algebra over $k$". Then recall the following construction due ...
17
votes
4answers
952 views

A matrix algebra has no deformations?

I have often heard the slogan that "a matrix algebra has no deformations," and I am trying to understand precisely what that means. While I would be happy with more general statements about ...
17
votes
4answers
910 views

Why are polynomials easier to handle with than integers?

This may seems to be an elementary question, but I found no answers on MO nor google. I have always heard "polynomials are easier to handle with than integers". For example: When $n$ is quite ...
16
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the geometric object corresponding to a subalgebra in a polynomial ring

Many introductory texts on algebraic geometry set up some sort of algebra-geometry dictionary in which radical ideals correspond to varieties, and so on. I am wondering if there is a geometric way to ...
16
votes
7answers
1k 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. ...
16
votes
12answers
4k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Infinite-dimensional normed division algebras

Let's say a normed division algebra is a real vector space $A$ equipped with a bilinear product, an element $1$ such that $1a = a = a1$, and a norm obeying $|ab| = |a| |b|$. There are only four ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

On a theorem of Jacobson

In a comment to an answer to a MO question, in which Bill Dubuque mentioned Jacobson's theorem stating that a ring in which $X^n=X$ is an identity is commutative (theorem which has shown up on MO ...
15
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
12answers
2k views

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
votes
5answers
2k views

Origin of exact sequences

I have seen exact sequences appearing a lot in algebraic texts with different purposes. But I've never seen names of the people associated with it. Also I don't understand what's so good about showing ...
15
votes
3answers
774 views

Characterising categories of vector spaces

Consider the category $FdVect_k$ of finite dimensional $k$-vector spaces, for some given field. It is abelian, semisimple, in that each object is a finite sum of simple objects (of which there is only ...