The study of geometric objects defined by polynomial equations. Algebraic curves, such as elliptic curves, and more generally algebraic varieties, schemes, etc.

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“The Egg:” Bizarre behavior of the roots of a family of polynomials.

In this MO post, I ran into the following family of polynomials: $$f_n(x)=\sum_{m=0}^{n}\prod_{k=0}^{m-1}\frac{x^n-x^k}{x^m-x^k}.$$ In the context of the post, $x$ was a prime number, and $f_n(x)$ ...
61
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2answers
9k views

Why study Algebraic Geometry?

I'm going to start self-stydying algebraic geometry very soon. So, my question is why do mathematicians study algebraic geometry? What are the types of problems in which algebraic geometers are ...
50
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1answer
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Trigonometric sums related to the Verlinde formula

Original question (see also the revised, possibly simpler, version below): Let $g > 1, r > 1$ be integers. Playing around with the Verlinde formula (see below), I came across the expression ...
43
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Sheaf cohomology: what is it and where can I learn it?

As I understand it, sheaf cohomology is now an indispensable tool in algebraic geometry, but was originally developed to solve problems in algebraic topology. I have two questions about the matter. ...
37
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How to identify surfaces of revolution

Given a surface $f(x,y,z)=0$, how would you determine whether or not it's a surface of revolution, and find the axis of rotation? The special case where $f$ is a polynomial is also of interest. A ...
33
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1answer
619 views

Geometric intuition behind The Mordell Conjecture

The Mordell Conjecture/Faltings Theorem says roughly that if $K$ is an algebraic number field and $X$ is an algebraic curve defined over $K$ of genus $g >1$ then the set of $K$-rational points ...
32
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Best Algebraic Geometry text book? (other than Hartshorne)

Lifted from Mathoverflow: I think (almost) everyone agrees that Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry is still the best. Then what might be the 2nd best? It can be a book, preprint, online lecture note, ...
31
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Why learning modern algebraic geometry is so complicated?

Many students - myself included - have a lot of problems in learning scheme theory. I don't think that the obstacle is the extreme abstraction of the subject, on the contrary, this is really the ...
30
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Appearance of Formal Derivative in Algebra

When studying polynomials, I know it is useful to introduce the concept of a formal derivative. For example, over a field, a polynomial has no repeated roots iff it and its formal derivative are ...
30
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Grothendieck 's question - any update?

I was reading Barry Mazur's biography and come across this part: Grothendieck was exceptionally patient with me, for when we first met I knew next to nothing about algebra. In one of his first ...
28
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Is there an atlas of Algebraic Groups and corresponding Coordinate rings?

I was wondering if there was a resource that listed known algebraic groups and their corresponding coordinate rings. Edit: The previous wording was terrible. Given an algebraic group $G$, with Borel ...
27
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How do different definitions of “degree” coincide?

I've recently read about a number of different notions of "degree." Reading over Javier Álvarez' excellent answer for the thousandth time finally prompted me to ask this question: How exactly do ...
27
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Has SGA 4$\frac 1 2$ been typeset in TeX?

The title says it all. I've CW'd the question since I'm answering it - this seemed like the best way to get the news out.
26
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Help understanding Algebraic Geometry

I while ago I started reading Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry and it almost immediately felt like I hit a brick wall. I have some experience with category theory and abstract algebra but not with ...
25
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5answers
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Why should I care about adjoint functors

I am comfortable with the definition of adjoint functors. I have done a few exercises proving that certain pairs of functors are adjoint (tensor and hom, sheafification and forgetful, direct image and ...
25
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4answers
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What are the required backgrounds of Robin Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry book?

It seems that Robin Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry is the place where a whole generation of fresh minds have successfully learned about the modern AG. But is it possible for someone who is out of the ...
25
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866 views

Geometry or topology behind the “impossible staircase”

This question on the topology of Escher games reminded me of a question I've had in my head for a little while now. Is there anything interesting geometric or topological that can be said about the ...
24
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Famous papers in algebraic geometry

I'm reading the Mathoverflow thread "Do you read the masters?", and it seems the answer is a partial "yes". Some "masters" are mentioned, for example Riemann and Zariski. In particular, a paper by ...
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Using Gröbner bases for solving polynomial equations

In my attempts to understand just how computer algebra systems "do things", I tried to dig around a bit on Gröbner bases, which are described almost everywhere as "a generalization of the Euclidean ...
23
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Why is it “easier” to work with function fields than with algebraic number fields?

I just bought a copy of Jürgen Neukirch's book Algebraic Number Theory. While browsing through it I found a section titled § 14. Function Fields in chapter I. In it the author describes ...
23
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996 views

Why the emphasis on Projective Space in Algebraic Geometry?

I have no doubt this is a basic question. However, I am working through Miranda's book on Riemann surfaces and algebraic curves, and it has yet to be addressed. Why does Miranda (and from what little ...
22
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2answers
558 views

Where can I find good exercises for algebraic geometry that require hard, concrete computation?

I've been studying scheme theory from Hartshorne and Qing Liu for a few months now. (For those who are not big fans of Hartshorne, I have to note that I agree with you: I use it only for exercises.) I ...
22
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1answer
496 views

Connectedness of the spectrum of a tensor product.

Let $A$, $B$ be finite free $\mathbb{Z}$-algebras such that $\operatorname{Spec}(A)$ and $\operatorname{Spec}(B)$ are both connected. Is $\operatorname{Spec}(A\otimes_{\mathbb{Z}} B)$ connected?
22
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Deligne, elliptic curves and modular forms

I'm trying to understand an argument of Deligne (in Courbes elliptiques: Formulaire d'après J. Tate), but I'm not familiar enough with algebraic geometry, so I'm getting quite confused. So even in my ...
22
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1answer
516 views

Quasi-coherent sheaves, schemes, and the Gabriel-Rosenberg theorem

In the context of commutative rings, a ring is completely determined by its category of modules. That is, two commutative rings $R$ and $S$ are isomorphic if and only if the category of $R$-modules is ...
22
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557 views

Why is the Hessian of an irreducible polynomial not zero?

Let $k$ be an algebraically closed field, $\operatorname{char}k=0$, $F$ be an irreducible homogeneous polynomial of degree$>1$ in $k[X,Y,Z]$, and ...
22
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What is the Picard group of $z^3=y(y^2-x^2)(x-1)$?

I'm actually doing much more with this affine surface than just looking for the Picard group. I have already proved many things about this surface, and have many more things to look at it, but the ...
21
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4answers
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Motivating Example for Algebraic Geometry/Scheme Theory

I am in the process of trying to learn algebraic geometry via schemes and am wondering if there are simple motivating examples of why you would want to consider these structures. I think my biggest ...
21
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3answers
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What use is the Yoneda lemma?

Although I know very little category theory, I really do find it a pretty branch of mathematics and consider it quite useful, especially when it comes to laying down definitions and unifying diverse ...
21
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1answer
496 views

An interesting topological space with $4$ elements

There is an interesting topological space $X$ with just four elements $\eta,\eta',x,x'$ whose nontrivial open subsets are $\{\eta\},\{\eta'\},\{\eta,\eta'\}, \{\eta,x,\eta'\}, \{\eta,x',\eta'\}$. This ...
21
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1answer
463 views

functoriality of derivations

I seem to have problems understanding algebraically why given a map of manifolds $f: M \to N$ we get a bundle map $TM \to f^*TN$. Now, fiberwise it's all good. But I do not understand how to define ...
20
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2answers
558 views

The prime spectrum of a Dedekind Domain

Let $A$ be a Dedekind Domain, let $X = \operatorname{Spec}(A)$. Are all open sets in $X$ basic open sets? Thinking about the Zariski topology (in the classical sense) of a non-singular affine curve, ...
20
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How many cubic curves are there?

It is well-known that there is only one "kind" of line, and that there are three "kinds" of quadratic curves (the nature of which depends on the sign of a so-called "discriminant"). It is noteworthy ...
19
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Original works of great mathematician Évariste Galois

Through this question I wanted to know the original works of Galois. When I was reading Galois theory ( since from last month ) , I have been seeing one common line in every book, whose essence ...
19
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3answers
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What is a local parameter in algebraic geometry?

Shafarevich offers the following theorem-definition: "At any nonsingular point $P$ of an irreducible algebraic curve, there exists a regular function $t$ that vanishes at $P$ and such that every ...
19
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1answer
430 views

cones in the derived category

If I have two exact triangles $X \to Y \to Z \to X[1]$ and $X' \to Y' \to Z' \to X'[1]$ in a triangulated category, and I have morphisms $X \to X'$, $Y \to Y'$ which 'commute' ...
19
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276 views

Tate conjecture for Fermat varieties

I've been looking at Tate's Algebraic Cycles and Poles of Zeta Functions (hard to find online... Google books outline here) and have a question about his work on (conjecturing!) the Tate conjecture ...
18
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5answers
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Why Zariski topology?

Why in algebraic geometry we usually consider the Zariski topology on $\mathbb A^n_k$? Ultimately it seems a not very interesting topology, infact the open sets are very large and it doesn't satisfy ...
18
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4answers
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Why isn't $\mathbb{C}[x,y,z]/(xz-y)$ a flat $\mathbb{C}[x,y]$-module

Why isn't $M = \mathbb{C}[x,y,z]/(xz-y)$ a flat $R = \mathbb{C}[x,y]$-module? The reason given on the book is "the surface defined by $y-xz$ doesn't lie flat on the $(x,y)$-plane". But I don't ...
18
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Who first called the Grothendieck's schéma scheme?

Grothendieck called "schemes" schémas in French. I find it strange we call them schemes. In fact, Grothendieck called them (pre-) schemas(this is an English word) in his talk(in English) at Proceeding ...
18
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1answer
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Why is there “no analogue of $2i\pi$ in $\mathbf C_p$”?

In his paper Fonctions L p-adiques, Pierre Colmez says: Tate a montré qu'il n'existait pas dans $\mathbf C_p$ d'analogue $p$-adique de $2i \pi$ et donc par conséquent que les périodes $p$-adiques ...
18
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2answers
438 views

When is the sheaf corresponding to a vector bundle on a smooth manifold coherent?

In algebraic and analytic geometry, vector bundles are usually interpreted as locally free sheaves of modules (over the structure sheaves). They are in particular examples of quasi-coherent sheaves. ...
18
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Classification of local Artin (commutative) rings which are finite over an algebraically closed field.

A result in deformation theory states that if every morphism $Y=\operatorname{Spec}(A)\rightarrow X$ where $A$ is a local Artin ring finite over $k$ can be extended to every $Y'\supset Y$ where $Y'$ ...
17
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intuitive explantions for the concepts of divisor and genus

when trying to explain AG-codes to computer scientists, the major points of contention i am faced with are the concepts of divisors, Riemann-Roch space and the genus of a function field. are there any ...
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8answers
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(undergraduate) Algebraic Geometry Textbook Recomendations

What are the best algebraic geometry textbooks for undergraduate students?
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Examples of morphisms of schemes to keep in mind?

What are interesting and important examples of morphisms of schemes (especially varieties) to keep in mind when trying to understand a new concept or looking for a counterexamples? Examples of what ...
17
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Intuition for étale morphisms

Currently working on algebraic surfaces over the complex numbers. I did a course on schemes but at the moment just work in the language of varieties. Now i encounter the term "étale morphism" every ...
17
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1answer
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Homological methods in algebraic geometry

This question will probably seem quite silly to those well-versed in algebraic geometry (about which I admittedly hardly know anything); in the preface of Atiyah-Macdonald's book on commutative ...
17
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631 views

Material in a first course in algebraic geometry?

First I would like to say that my question is not about what books to use in algebraic geometry; for this there are many threads that discuss this on Math.SE and on MO. My question is about what ...
17
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What is the largest circle that fits in $\sin(x)?$

Imagine dropping a circle into the trough of $\sin(x)$. Would it reach the bottom or get wedged between two points on the curve? Depends on the size of the circle. So, what is the radius of the ...