**64**

votes

**11**answers

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

**16**answers

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

**8**answers

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

**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 ...

**42**

votes

**2**answers

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

**5**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**1**answer

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

**1**answer

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

**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 $K \setminus L$, ...

**29**

votes

**7**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 ...

**28**

votes

**3**answers

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

**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

**2**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**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

**1**answer

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

**7**answers

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

**6**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**16**answers

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

**4**answers

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

**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 ...

**21**

votes

**5**answers

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

**5**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**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 ...

**19**

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 ...

**19**

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 ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

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

**5**answers

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

**2**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**4**answers

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

**4**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 ...

**17**

votes

**4**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**4**answers

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

**4**answers

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

**6**answers

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

**4**answers

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

**7**answers

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

**12**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**8**answers

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

**12**answers

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

**5**answers

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

**3**answers

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 ...