In mathematics, a Weierstrass point P on a nonsingular algebraic curve C defined over the complex numbers is a point such that there are more functions on C, with their poles restricted to P only, than would be predicted by the Riemann–Roch theorem. That is, looking at the vector spaces
- L(0), L(P), L(2P), L(3P), ...,
where L(kP) is the space of meromorphic functions on C whose order at P is at least −k and with no other poles.
The concept is named after Karl Weierstrass.
We know three things: the dimension is at least 1, because of the constant functions on C, it is non-decreasing, and from the Riemann–Roch theorem the dimension eventually increments by exactly 1 as we move to the right. In fact if g is the genus of C, the dimension from the k-th term is known to be
- l(kP) = k − g + 1, for k ≥ 2g − 1.
Our knowledge of the sequence is therefore
- 1, ?, ?, ..., ?, g, g + 1, g + 2, ... .
What we know about the ? entries is that they can increment by at most 1 each time (this is a simple argument: if f and g have the same order of pole at P, then f + cg will have a pole of lower order if the constant c is chosen to cancel the leading term). There are
- 2g − 2
question marks here, so the cases g = 0 or 1 need no further discussion and do not give rise to Weierstrass points.
Assume therefore g ≥ 2. There will be g − 1 steps up, and g − 1 steps where there is no increment. A non-Weierstrass point of C occurs whenever the increments are all as far to the right as possible: i.e. the sequence looks like
- 1, 1, ..., 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., g − 1, g, g + 1, ... .
Any other case is a Weierstrass point. A Weierstrass gap for P is a value of k such that no function on C has exactly a k-fold pole at P only. The gap sequence is
- 1, 2, ..., g
for a non-Weierstrass point. For a Weierstrass point it contains at least one higher number. (The Weierstrass gap theorem or Lückensatz is the statement that there must be g gaps.)
For hyperelliptic curves, for example, we may have a function F with a double pole at P only. Its powers have poles of order 4, 6, and so on. Therefore such a P has the gap sequence
- 1, 3, 5, ..., 2g − 1.
In general if the gap sequence is
- a, b, c, ...
the weight of the Weierstrass point is
- (a − 1) + (b − 2) + (c − 3) + ... .
This is introduced because of a counting theorem: on a Riemann surface the sum of the weights of the Weierstrass points is
- g(g2 − 1).
For example a hyperelliptic Weierstrass point, as above, has weight g(g − 1)/2. Therefore there are (at most) 2(g + 1) of them; as those can be found (for example, the six points of ramification when g = 2 and C is presented as a ramified covering of the projective line) this exhausts all the Weierstrass points on C.
Further information on the gaps comes from applying Clifford's theorem. Multiplication of functions gives the non-gaps a semigroup structure, and an old question of Adolf Hurwitz asked for a characterization of the semigroups occurring. A new necessary condition was found by Buchweitz in 1980, and he gave an example of a subsemigroup of the nonnegative integers with 16 gaps that does not occur as the semigroup of non-gaps at a point on a curve of genus 16. A definition of Weierstrass point for a nonsingular curve over a field of positive characteristic was given by F. K. Schmidt in 1939.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2008)|
- P. Griffiths; J. Harris (1994). Principles of Algebraic Geometry. Wiley Classics Library. Wiley Interscience. pp. 273–277. ISBN 0-471-05059-8.
- Farkas; Kra (1980). Riemann Surfaces. Graduate Texts in Mathematics. Springer-Verlag. pp. 76–86. ISBN 0-387-90465-4.