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Let $p\neq 2,5$ be prime. I wish to show that: $x^2 +5y^2 = p \Leftrightarrow p\equiv 1,9 $ mod $(20)$.

I proved to $\Rightarrow$ part, means $x^2 +5y^2=p \Rightarrow p\equiv 1,9 $ mod $(20)$.

For $\Leftarrow$ , $p\equiv 1,9(20) \Rightarrow p\equiv 1(4)$ , $p\equiv1 ,4 (5)$ thus $(\frac{4}{p})=1,(\frac{-1}{p}) =1$ (using legendre symbols) , also $(\frac{5}{p})=_{p\equiv1(4)}(\frac{p}{5})$ and $p\equiv1(5)$ so $(\frac{5}{p})=1$ , so $(\frac{-20}{p})=(\frac{5}{p})(\frac{4}{p})(\frac{-1}{p}) = 1$. So $-20$ is a quadratic residue mod $p$.

Yet I don't succeed to go on from this point (I don't know even if its possible to do so).

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  • $\begingroup$ See Cox primes of the form x^2+ny^2 $\endgroup$ – Kenny Lau Jan 2 '19 at 10:09
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Let $p\equiv1$ or $9\pmod{20}$. Then $-5$ is a quadratic residue modulo $p$, so there are integers $r$ and $s$ with $$r^2+ps=-5.$$ This means that the integer quadratic form $$f(X,Y)=pX^2+2rXY+sY^2$$ has discriminant $-20$ and is also positive definite. Then $p$ is represented by $f$. Now $f$ is equivalent to a reduced form. There are two reduced forms of discriminant $-20$: $g_1(X,Y)=X^2+5Y^2$ and $g_2(X,Y)=2X^2+2XY+3Y^2$. But $g_2$ cannot represent any number congruent to $1$ or $9$ modulo $20$. Therefore $g_1$ represents $p$.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry but I am not familiar with the terminology of "reduced form" and $f$ which represents prime. May you please suggest a good source for me to read about it? $\endgroup$ – dan Dec 31 '18 at 8:36
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    $\begingroup$ Try Davenport's The Higher Arithmetic. $\endgroup$ – Lord Shark the Unknown Dec 31 '18 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ For questions of this type,you'll find all you need in D. Cox's marvelous book, "Primes of the form $x^2+ny^2"$ $\endgroup$ – nguyen quang do Jan 2 '19 at 17:33
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An alternative solution: the class number of $K=\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{-5})$ is $2$, its Hilbert class field is $L=\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{-5},\sqrt{-1})$. A prime $p\neq 2,5$ can be written as $p=x^2+5y^2$, iff $p$ splits into two principal prime ideals in $K$, iff $p$ splits completely in $L$, iff $p$ splits in both $\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{5})$ and $\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{-1})$, iff $$\left(\frac{-1}{p}\right) = 1 \qquad \left(\frac{5}{p}\right)= \left(\frac{p}{5}\right) = 1$$ which happens iff $p\equiv 1,9 \pmod{20}$.


The solution using reduced binary quadratic form works here, because when $D=-20$ there are only one form $x^2+5y^2$ in the principal genus. This also happens for some other small $|D|$.

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