# Is the ideal $J:=\langle -y^2+xz,x^5-z^3 \rangle$ prime in $\Bbb{C}[x,y,z]?$

We want to prove that the ideal $J:=\langle -y^2+xz,x^5-z^3 \rangle$ is prime in $\Bbb{C}[x,y,z].$

My attempt. An informal thought is to take the equations $y^2-xz=0,\ x^5-z^3=0 \iff y^2=xz,\ x^5=z^3.$ From this we set $x=t^3,y=t^4,z=t^5.$

So, now we define the mapping $$\phi: \Bbb{C}[x,y,z]\longrightarrow \Bbb{C}[t^3,t^4,t^5],\\ f(x,y,z)\mapsto \phi(f(x,y,z)):=f(t^3,t^4,t^5).$$

It's not difficult to see that $\phi$ is an epimorphism with image $\mathrm{Im}\phi=\Bbb C[t^3,t^4,t^5].$ And $J\subseteq \ker\phi$.

Questions.

1) What about $\ker \phi \subseteq J$? An idea is to take the division algorithm, and from this to claim that if $f\in \ker \phi\implies f=(-y^2+xz)\cdot q_1+r_1$ with $r_1\in \ker\phi,\ f= (x^5-z^3)\cdot q_2+r_2$ with $r_2\in \ker\phi$. But could this help?

2) If $J=\ker\phi,$ then (from 1st Isomorphism Theorem) $$\Bbb C[x,y,z]/\langle -y^2+xz,x^5-z^3 \rangle \cong \Bbb C[t^3,t^4,t^5] \subset \Bbb C [t],$$

so, $$\begin{equation} \begin{split}\Bbb C [t] \text{ is an integral domain }& \implies \Bbb C[t^3,t^4,t^5] \text{ is an integral domain } \\ & \iff \Bbb C[x,y,z]/\langle -y^2+xz,x^5-z^3\rangle \text{ is an integral domain} \\ & \iff J \text{ is prime ideal }. \end{split}\end{equation}$$ Is this claim right?

3) Are there any alternative proofs for 1) and 2) ?

• Any help please??? – Chris Jun 27 '18 at 19:17

Note that $J$ is not a prime ideal because $x^4-y^3,x^4+y^3\notin J$ but that $$(x^4-y^3)(x^4+y^3)=x^8-y^6=x^3(x^5-z^3)+(x^2z^2+xy^2z+y^4)(xz-y^2)\in J.$$

• Oh damn, you beat me to it. Let me just add the geometric reasoning that caused me to look for and find the same two elements that you found, whose product is in $J$: The points $(t^3,t^4,t^5)$ and $(t^3,-t^4,t^5)$ both are in the locus of $J$, but clearly lie on different curves. So the locus of $J$ seemed to me not irreducible. – Lubin Jun 27 '18 at 19:36
• Thank you for your answer. With this, my claim is wrong. Could you please explain why does this happen? What is the mistake in my syllogism? – Chris Jun 27 '18 at 19:38
• Precisely as @Lubin notes, the map $\psi:\ f\ \mapsto\ f(-t^3,t^4,-t^5)$ yields another surjection which shows that $J\subset\ker\phi\cap\ker\psi$, where $\ker\phi\neq\ker\psi$. Hence $J\subsetneq\ker\phi$ or $J\subsetneq\ker\psi$, or both. As $\ker\phi$ and $\ker\psi$ are swapped by mapping $t$ to $-t$, we see that the inclusion is strict for both. – Servaes Jun 27 '18 at 19:41
• @Sarvaes So, the image is ok, but do we have a problem with the kernel? – Chris Jun 29 '18 at 20:44
• What is your question? – Servaes Jul 2 '18 at 12:40

Note that sage does not confirm the primality of the given ideal.

sage: R.<x,y,z> = PolynomialRing(QQ)
sage: J = R.ideal( [ -y^2 + x*z, x^5 - z^3 ] )
sage: J
Ideal (-y^2 + x*z, x^5 - z^3) of Multivariate Polynomial Ring in x, y, z over Rational Field
sage: J.is_prime()
False
sage: J.primary_decomposition()
[Ideal (y^2 - x*z, x^2*y + z^2, x^3 + y*z) of Multivariate Polynomial Ring in x, y, z over Rational Field,
Ideal (y^2 - x*z, x^2*y - z^2, x^3 - y*z) of Multivariate Polynomial Ring in x, y, z over Rational Field]
sage: J.primary_decomposition_complete()
[(Ideal (y^2 - x*z, x^2*y + z^2, x^3 + y*z) of Multivariate Polynomial Ring in x, y, z over Rational Field,
Ideal (y^2 - x*z, x^2*y + z^2, x^3 + y*z) of Multivariate Polynomial Ring in x, y, z over Rational Field),
(Ideal (y^2 - x*z, x^2*y - z^2, x^3 - y*z) of Multivariate Polynomial Ring in x, y, z over Rational Field,
Ideal (y^2 - x*z, x^2*y - z^2, x^3 - y*z) of Multivariate Polynomial Ring in x, y, z over Rational Field)
]


(The last result was adjusted manually.)

Later edit: To obtain some counterexamples we use the fact that $$J = P\cap Q\ ,$$ where $P,Q$ are the above prime ideals offered by sage: \begin{aligned} P &=\langle\ y^{2} - x z,\ x^{2} y + z^{2},\ x^{3} + y z\ \rangle\ ,\\ Q &=\langle\ y^{2} - x z,\ x^{2} y - z^{2},\ x^{3} - y z\ \rangle\ . \end{aligned} The following code checks this situation.

sage: P, Q = J.primary_decomposition()
sage: P.intersection(Q) == J
True
sage: P.is_prime(), Q.is_prime()
(True, True)
sage: P.gens(), Q.gens()
([y^2 - x*z, x^2*y + z^2, x^3 + y*z], [y^2 - x*z, x^2*y - z^2, x^3 - y*z])


Now let us make the following choice of elements in the polynomial ring: \begin{aligned} p &= x^{2} y + z^{2}\in P\ ,\\ q &= x^{2} y - z^{2}\in Q\ ,\\ &\qquad\text{ so the product pq is in both P and Q, i.e.}\\ pq&\in P\cap Q=J\ . \end{aligned} This information is again lacking a "human argument", but we get closer:

sage: p, q = x^2*y + z^2, x^2*y - z^2
sage: p in P, q in Q
(True, True)
sage: p*q in J, p in J, q in J
(True, False, False)

sage: (p*q).lift(J)
[-x^4, z]
sage: p*q == -x^4*(-y^2 + x*z) + z*(x^5 - z^3)
True


This is the counterexample, sage gave us also the "lift" of $pq$ in terms of the generators of $J$, and now we have to show "humanly" that $p\not \in J$ and $q\not \in J$. So assume that there would be a representation $$x^2y\pm z^2 =S(-y^2+xz)+T(x^5-z^3)\ .$$ Then it is impossible to produce $z^2$ by using the monomials $y^2,xz;x^5, z^3$ (multiplied by some other monomials). Contradiction. The assumption is false.

Note: In my answers i always try to deliver all details that were leading to the final solution. From the above, one can extract the simple argument in some lines, but "working in the ring" is more important, and this full experience may show fruitful next time.