# Torsion elements in $\operatorname{Gal}(\mathbb Q^a /\mathbb Q)$

How to find non trivial torsion elements in $\operatorname{Gal}(\mathbb Q^a /\mathbb Q)$? One element will be conjugation, but is there any other non trivial torsion element? (Here $\mathbb Q^a$ denotes the algebraic closure of $\mathbb Q$.)

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I assume $Q$ is the rationals, but what is $Q^a$? – Gerry Myerson Nov 15 '12 at 12:33
Algebraic Closure of Q. – Ram Nov 15 '12 at 12:33
Using Artin Schreier Theorem, can I say Algebraic Closure of Q is Q(i) hence, Gal group contains only two elements, identity and conjugation? – Ram Nov 15 '12 at 13:58
No. Q(i) is not algebraically closed. What you can say based on the Artin-Schreier-theorem is that any torsion element of $Gal( \mathbb Q^a /\mathbb Q)$ has an order $\leq 2$. – Hagen Knaf Nov 15 '12 at 14:06
So, that makes only non trivial torsion elements are of order 2, and conjugates of conjugation.. – Ram Nov 15 '12 at 14:13

Let $\sigma$ be a torsion element of $Gal( \mathbb Q^a /\mathbb Q)$, that is it generates a finite subgroup $G$. Let $F$ be the fixed field of this group. Then $\mathbb{Q}^a/F$ is finite, hence is of degree $2$ by the Artin-Schreier-theorem. So $\sigma$ has order $2$.
Note that every conjugate of an element of order $2$ has order $2$. So the question arises whether two elements of order $2$ are conjugate, and thus whether the torsion elements are precisely the conjugates of complex conjugation.
The argument does not imply that the only automorphism of order $2$ is complex conjugation. – Hagen Knaf Nov 16 '12 at 9:10