# How I have to imagine the quotient ring $\mathbb{Z}[x]/(nx)$?

For example $$\mathbb{Z}[x]/(2x)$$. The ideal $$(2x)$$ contains polynomial with even coefficients and without the zero-degree coefficient.

I don't know how to imagine the classes of this kind of quotient ring.

I think that the classes must be represented by all the elements of $$\mathbb{Z}[x]$$ with zero-degree, taken in (mod2), that is $$\mathbb{Z}_2$$, but I think there are some errors in my reasoning because I can't solve an exercise that asks:

Let $$R=\mathbb{Z}[x]/(2x)$$ and let $$I$$ be the ideal of $$R$$ generated by $$1+1=2$$.

a) Prove that $$R/I$$ is a domain.

Why is the generator written like that? I think it's a tip.

The answer is that $$R/I$$ is isomorphic to the $$\mathbb{Z}_2[x]$$ domain. How is it possible if $$R$$ is isomorphic to $$\mathbb{Z}_2$$?

I'm doing something wrong. Thank you!

• How do you imagine any ring? :-/ Feb 1 '17 at 18:51
• I imagine something, seems like the concept has a shape, but you're right, if I have to describe it, even to myself, it becomes difficult or impossible! I think that "imagine" was a wrong verb in this case, my english is terrible! Feb 2 '17 at 0:19

You're wrong in thinking that $\mathbb{Z}[x]/(2x)$ is isomorphic to $\mathbb{Z}_2$ (the two element ring).

You can imagine the quotient ring $R=\mathbb{Z}[x]/(2x)$ as formed by “mixed polynomials” of the form $a_0+a_1x+\dots+a_nx^n$ where $a_0\in\mathbb{Z}$ and $a_1,\dots,a_n\in\mathbb{Z}_2$. The addition is done by reducing alike terms, using standard addition for the constant term and addition in $\mathbb{Z}_2$ on the other terms. For multiplication, the constant term will act on the residue classes modulo $2$ in the obvious way: if $a_0$ is even, the product is zero, if it is odd, then it doesn't change the term. So, for instance, \begin{align} (3+x+x^3)(-2+x^2)&=-6+x^2+x+x^3+x^3+x^5\\ &=-6+x^2+x^3+x^5 \end{align} (terms with zero coefficient are omitted). So you see that the ring is infinite.

Now, the constant “mixed polynomial” $2$ has quite an easy action by multiplication: $2(b_0+b_1x+\dots+b_nx^n)=2b_0$.

You can think of $I$ as $J/(2x)$, for a unique ideal $J$ in $\mathbb{Z}[x]$. Precisely, $J$ is the set of polynomials $a_0+a_1x+\dots+a_nx^n$ such that the associated “mixed polynomial” $a_0+[a_1]x+\dots+[a_n]x^n$ (where $[z]$ denotes the residue class of $z\in\mathbb{Z}$ modulo $2$) belongs to $I$, that is, $$a_0\text{ is even and }[a_1]=, [a_2]=,\dots,[a_n]=$$

Now it will be clear that $J$ is the ideal generated by $2$ in $\mathbb{Z}[x]$. The quotient ring is then $\mathbb{Z}_2[x]$. This is a domain and not a field, so $I$ is a prime, but not maximal, ideal of $R$.

• Thank you! I thought that x and all his powers were zero in the first quotient ring, in fact all the powers of x are in the ideal, that is the element zero of the quotient. Why was I wrong? Feb 1 '17 at 22:01
• @user411485 No, only the powers of $x$ with an even coefficient are. Feb 1 '17 at 22:02

$$R/I\cong\Bbb Z[x]/(2x,2)\cong\Bbb Z_2[x]$$