Questions tagged [abstract-algebra]

For questions about the mathematical field abstract algebra that studies algebraic structures, most notably groups, rings and fields.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
0answers
67 views

The Picard Group: Origin and History

I've come to the notion of the Picard Group. I was recently linked to this paper paper, which contains the line: The problem of computing the Picard groups of surfaces $S \subset \mathbb{P}_{\mathbb{...
0
votes
2answers
143 views

Why is it called a group action?

A group action has two laws which roughly correspond to associativity and identity $ \phi : (G : \textrm{Group}) \times (S : \textrm{Set}) \rightarrow S \\ \forall a, b : G . \forall c : S. \phi(a,\...
0
votes
1answer
148 views

A Survey of Modern Algebra, 1st Edition (Birkhoff and Mac Lane): The Direct Product

Background information: I recently asked a question about the history of the concepts of the direct sum and the tensor product in group and module theory, and was given a very concise and thorough ...
5
votes
2answers
141 views

First Use of the Short Exact Sequence

A question I've been curious about for a long period of time and tried to find the answer to myself a number of times (but apparently never been able to figure out just the right thing to type into ...
6
votes
2answers
207 views

History of Direct Sums and Direct Products

So I like to get down into the details of how certain mathematical concepts came to be, and purely as a matter of curiosity, I was wondering if anyone know which mathematician first gave the ...
-1
votes
1answer
135 views

How long have all the mathematicians working in the respective fields known the theory of categories

Vague the question: how long have all the mathematicians working in the respective fields known the theory of categories? More specific questions: Is it true that all modern working algebraic ...
0
votes
3answers
161 views

What set of criteria led Hamilton to discover the quaternions?

Frobenius's theorem states that the only finite-dimensional, associative division algebras over $\mathbb R$ are: $\mathbb R, \mathbb C, \mathbb H$ (where the last of these are the quaternions). So one ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Why is the term "isotropic" used to describe a quadratic form and a vector?

A quadratic form $q$ on a vector space $V$ is isotropic if $q(v) = 0$ admits a nonzero solution. What was this terminology originally intended to evoke? There is some prior discussion on Math SE, ...
8
votes
2answers
263 views

Why was solving polynomial equations historically considered so interesting?

From reading a few accounts of the unsolvability of the quintic, I am told that, e.g., there were public contests in which people competed to solve polynomial equations, and that over the course of ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

Who first spoke of Euclidean domains?

I am looking at Euclidean domains for the first time and it is a subject that has caught my attention. I wonder, who was the first to talk about this? I've been reading a little and so far the oldest ...
7
votes
1answer
167 views

Why is the number of elements in a group called "order"?

This is a question that I have for a long time, Maybe it is something silly, but I really want to know. Why is the number of elements in a group called "order"? I mean, the word "order&...
2
votes
0answers
118 views

How did Hamilton conclude the quaternions had to be four dimensional?

I have seen many times before that Hamilton started off believing he would need a three-dimensional system over the reals in order to describe 3D rotations. He considered numbers of the form $a + bi + ...
5
votes
0answers
154 views

Abel's "solution" of the quintic

Before Abel embarked to proving the insolubility of the quintic with radicals, he thought he had found a solution and sent his work in a letter to the Danish mathematician Carl Ferdinand Degen in 1821....
2
votes
0answers
66 views

Origin of Lang's proof of the Cayley-Hamilton theorem

Is the proof of the Cayley-Hamilton theorem given by Serge Lang in Algebra (page 561) an original one, or has it been borrowed from some earlier sources? Who came up with it first? (Lang's proof is ...
8
votes
1answer
202 views

History of irreducible polynomials and motivation for them

I've been thinking about the history of the irreducible polynomials and why they were introduced. I found What is the origin of polynomials and notation for them?, but it's about polynomials in ...
0
votes
0answers
73 views

What is the earliest article in which Leibniz used 'matrices'?

The Chinese were using matrices ( fengcheng in the Nine Chapters of the Mathematical Art), long before they were used in Europe which suggests that possibly they were introduced by way of them. For ...
17
votes
1answer
4k views

Was Kolmogorov enraged after learning about the Karatsuba multiplication algorithm?

Some years ago, I read that Kolmogorov was so enraged that Karatsuba disproved one of his conjectures that he terminated his seminar shortly thereafter. This Wikipedia page claims that Kolmogorov was ...
3
votes
0answers
97 views

How did Ruffini manage to extend the methods of Lagrange in order to "prove" the insolvability of the general quintic equation?

Since Lagrange published his Reflections papers during the early 1770s — around 30 years before Ruffini took up and extended the subject — I was wondering if there were any results that were ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

Could a "field" have non-commutative multiplication originally?

Today, when the term "field" is defined in algebra, it is almost always stipulated that all fields are commutative. However, the author of these lectures says that this has not always been the case: ...
3
votes
0answers
91 views

Origin of the term 'index of a subgroup'

The index of a subgroup $H$ in a group $G$ is the number of distinct cosets of $H$ in $G$. Why did someone decide to call this an 'index'?
4
votes
0answers
184 views

Why did Jordan introduce his canonical form?

Camille Jordan's famous canonical form for matrices over algebraically closed fields, is considered an important result nowadays, commonly taught to all students of mathematics in undergraduate linear ...
1
vote
0answers
92 views

How did Cramer's work on permutations influence early pre-group theory (particularly the work of Lagrange and Vandermonde)?

In his Réflexions paper, Lagrange is using one of Cramer's results on the Elimination Theory for the proof of a theorem. It seems that Cramer did some early work on the permutations of variables in ...
6
votes
1answer
535 views

What was the motive for inventing Gröbner bases?

How did professor Buchberger discover Gröbner (Groebner) bases for polynomial ideals? What was the problem(s) that lead to such a discovery?
0
votes
0answers
32 views

History of Path algebras

I want some references that point the inventor of Path algebras and history/evolution of these algebras from the first idea. If possible. I tried to search in many different places, but all times, ...
11
votes
2answers
163 views

Where are Pierre Samuel's videos of Bourbaki proceedings available?

Wikipedia's article on Pierre Samuel claims (uncitedly): He was a member of the Bourbaki group, and filmed some of their meetings. A French television documentary on Bourbaki broadcast some of this ...
8
votes
0answers
307 views

Who first defined polynomials as sequences?

Question 1. When did the modern definition of a polynomial (as a sequence of coefficients, with multiplication defined by $\left(ab\right)_n = \sum\limits_{k=0}^n a_k b_{n-k}$) emerge? Let me clarify:...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

Is there any relation of the word "normal" with a subgroup being normal?

From Gallian, Contemporary Abstract Algebra: ...if G is a group and H is a subgroup of G, it is not always true that aH = Ha for all a in G. There are certain situations where this does hold, ...
1
vote
0answers
65 views

How did the proofs of uniqueness of additive inverses originate historically?

I have encountered various abstract algebra resources that prove the impossibility of number systems with plural additive inverses for a given element, generally through the substitution property of ...
5
votes
2answers
717 views

How did the modern understanding of Galois theory come about?

The "modern" understanding of the Galois group of a polynomial is as automorphisms of the splitting field of the polynomial which keep the base field fixed. These concepts were unknown to Galois, who ...
2
votes
1answer
234 views

Did Galois make use of the concept of a basis?

I've been reading Galois' First Memoir, where he introduces Galois Theory by giving a sufficient and necessary condition for a polynomial to be solvable by radicals. The proofs are a bit sketchy and ...
4
votes
1answer
231 views

Why do we call Chinese monoid "Chinese"? Why not "American"?

Why do we call Chinese monoid "Chinese"? Why not "American"? You can find the definition of Chinese monoid from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_monoid
8
votes
1answer
336 views

How did the terms "center" and "centralizer" come up in group theory?

Usually the word center means the center of a circle. I have encountered the word center in group theory, but do not see any connection with the center of a circle. I think the history of group theory ...
7
votes
2answers
480 views

What are the modern connections of the Pentagramma Mirificum studied by Gauss?

In the last years, i read a lot about a mathematical object that was discovered by John Napier in 1620 and explored much more deeply by Gauss, who called this "Pentagramma Mirificum" (latin for "the ...
4
votes
1answer
612 views

Gauss's anticipation of quaternions and their relation to congruences

Recently i read the article "Hamilton, Rodrigues, Gauss, Quaternions and Rotations: A Historical Reassessment", which can be found freely on the internet. This article is by far the most comprehensive ...
2
votes
1answer
378 views

History of group theory character tables (as used in physics and chemistry)

Does anyone know who started using the symbols A, B, E, T (First column, left) for showing irreducible representations of symmetry groups? In older maths books I see capital gamma. Herein A= totally ...
2
votes
0answers
87 views

Notation $n=efr$ in algebraic number theory

When $\Bbb Q \subset K$ is a field extension of finite degree and when $p \in \Bbb Z$ is a prime number, the ideal $p O_K$ decomposes uniquely as a product $\prod_{i=1}^r P_i^{e_i}$ of prime ideals of ...
7
votes
1answer
298 views

Where does the letter S in "$S$-units" and in localization $S^{-1} R$ come from?

In number theory, we may encounter the notion of $S$-unit, $S$-integer, etc. where $S$ is a finite set of prime numbers (for simplicity). For instance, if $S = \{2,3\}$ then the $S$-integers are the ...
3
votes
2answers
167 views

What was the significance of Eisenstein's discovery of invariants?

I am trying to decipher a portion of James Joseph Sylvester's 1869 address entitled "The Study That Knows Nothing of Observation", which, among other things, surveys the landscape of 19th century ...
8
votes
2answers
298 views

(Co)Homology: From topology to the rest of mathematics?

I can appreciate how (co)homology arose in the context of topology/geometry. Trying to get a handle on the handles of spaces leads one to this idea. It's not obvious, but I can see how this would lead ...
9
votes
0answers
371 views

Whence “homomorphism”, “homomorphic”?

The kernel question leads to another : Today, homomorphism (resp. isomorphism) means what Jordan (1870) had called isomorphism (resp. holoedric isomorphism). How did the switch happen? “Homomorphic” ...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

Why is the term "kernel" used in algebra? [duplicate]

What was the motivation to use the word "kernel" in algebra to denote the set of all arguments which are mapped to the idendity element (by a homomorphism)? Who introduced it?
4
votes
0answers
274 views

What color were Emmy Noether's eyes? [closed]

I have reposted this question from MathOverflow because it is questionably relevant there. I am looking for a reference that definitively says what the color of Emmy Noether's eyes were. More ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Where did the notion of the product in a category first appear?

In his book, Category Theory[1], Awodey writes the following about it: Next, we are going to see the categorical definition of a product of two objects in a category. This was first given by Mac Lane ...
9
votes
1answer
542 views

Who first identified the group structure of an elliptic curve?

I find it amazing that the geometric construction that underlies the group law for elliptic curves gives rise to a group law. Q: Who was the first to identify the group law for elliptic curves and, ...
1
vote
1answer
423 views

Abbreviated Notation for Groups, Rings and Fields

Groups, Rings and Fields are often referred to by the set involved without mention of the operation(s). For example, the "group (G,+)" may be called the "group G". When did this practice originate ...
9
votes
1answer
559 views

Who was first to differentiate between prime and irreducible elements?

I recently learned about irreducible and prime elements in a commutative ring. However, my professor was not quite sure who was the first to make this distinction, or give an example of an irreducible ...
15
votes
2answers
431 views

What is the origin of "an algebra" as in vector space with multiplication?

What is the origin of calling a vector space over a field $F$ endowed with multiplication an algebra? Tried searching, but not surprisingly Google likes to drop the article and just bring me to the ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Sum of like powers in real numbers

When and who was the first person to discover a correct formula for the real number $r$ in terms of any given three positive distinct integers $x<y<z$ such that $$x^r + y^r = z^r\,.$$ The ...
6
votes
1answer
438 views

Who discovered the topological proof of Nielsen-Schreier theorem?

The celebrated Nielsen-Schreier theorem in group theory says subgroup of a free group is free. This was proved for finitely generated subgroups of free groups by Jakob Nielsen in 1921, which involved ...
3
votes
1answer
269 views

Jordan called isomorphisms (iso.) and homomorphisms "iso. holoedriques" and "iso. meriedriques" respectively; translation of holoe/meried-driques?

Stillwell mentions in his Elements of Algebra: The first to use the term "isomorphism" was Jordan, in his Traite des Substitutions [1870], the first textbook on group theory...Jordan used the word "...