B3.1 Galois Theory - Archived material for the year 2016-2017

General Prerequisites: 

Rings and Modules is essential and Group Theory is recommended. Students who have not taken Part A Number Theory should read about quadratic residues in, for example, the appendix to Stewart and Tall. This will help with the examples.

Course Term: 
Course Lecture Information: 

16 lectures

Course Weight: 
1.00 unit(s)
Course Level: 

Assessment type:

Course Overview: 

The course starts with a review of second-year ring theory with a particular emphasis on polynomial rings, and a discussion of general integral domains and fields of fractions. This is followed by the classical theory of Galois field extensions, culminating in some of the classical theorems in the subject: the insolubility of the general quintic and impossibility of certain ruler and compass constructions considered by the Ancient Greeks.

Learning Outcomes: 

Understanding of the relation between symmetries of roots of a polynomial and its solubility in terms of simple algebraic formulae; working knowledge of interesting group actions in a nontrivial context; working knowledge, with applications, of a nontrivial notion of finite group theory (soluble groups); understanding of the relation between algebraic properties of field extensions and geometric problems such as doubling the cube and squaring the circle.

Course Synopsis: 

Review of polynomial rings, factorisation, integral domains. Reminder that any nonzero homomorphism of fields is injective. Fields of fractions.

Review of group actions on sets, Gauss' Lemma and Eisenstein's criterion for irreducibility of polynomials, field extensions, degrees, the tower law. Symmetric polynomials.

Separable extensions. Splitting fields and normal extensions. The theorem of the primitive element. The existence and uniqueness of algebraic closure (proofs not examinable).

Groups of automorphisms, fixed fields. The fundamental theorem of Galois theory.

Examples: Kummer extensions, cyclotomic extensions, finite fields and the Frobenius automorphism. Techniques for calculating Galois groups.

Soluble groups. Solubility by radicals, solubility of polynomials of degree at most 4, insolubility of the general quintic, impossibility of some ruler and compass constructions.

Reading List: 
  1. J. Rotman, Galois Theory (Springer-Verlag, NY Inc, 2001/1990).
  2. I. Stewart, Galois Theory (Chapman and Hall, 2003/1989).
  3. D.J.H. Garling, A Course in Galois Theory (Cambridge University Press I.N., 1987).
  4. Herstein, Topics in Algebra (Wiley, 1975).