the étale cohomology groups of an algebraic variety or scheme are algebraic analogues of the usual cohomology groups with finite coefficients of a topological space, introduced by Grothendieck in order to prove the Weil conjectures.

Étale cohomology theory can be used to construct ℓ-adic cohomology, which is an example of a Weil cohomology theory in algebraic geometry. This has many applications, such as the proof of the Weil conjectures and the construction of representations of finite groups of Lie type.