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Courses / Modules / MATH3078 Further Number Theory

Further Number Theory

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Ian Leary
Academic year

Module overview

Number Theory is the study of integers and their generalisations such as the rationals, algebraic integers or finite fields. The problem more or less defining Number Theory is to find integer solutions to equations, such as the famous Fermat equation x^n + y^n = z^n.

In this module we build on the group, ring and number theoretic foundations laid in MATH1001, MATH2003 and MATH3086.

We will first prove a structure theorem for the group of units modulo n. We then move on to the famous Gaussian Quadratic Reciprocity Law which yields an algorithm to decide solvability of quadratic equations over finite fields. Using geometric as well as algebraic methods, we will then characterise which integers can be written as the sum of two and four squares, respectively. The former leads us naturally to the study of binary quadratic forms, a central topic of this module.

In the final part of this module, we will explore rings of integers in algebraic number fields; they generalise the role the integers play within the rational numbers; the simplest new example is the ring of Gaussian integers, Z[i]. We will investigate to what extent certain central properties of the integers, such as unique prime power factorisation, generalises to these rings. The deviation from unique prime factorisation is measured by the so-called ideal class group, probably the most important invariant of algebraic number fields. It can be seen that it is finite and that its order for quadratic number fields is intimately related to the number of equivalence classes of quadratic forms introduced earlier in the module.

Linked modules

Prerequisites: MATH1001 AND MATH3086