In mathematics, Belyi's theorem on algebraic curves states that any non-singular algebraic curve C, defined by algebraic number coefficients, represents a compact Riemann surface which is a ramified covering of the Riemann sphere, ramified at three points only.
This is a result of G. V. Belyi from 1979. At the time it was considered surprising, and it spurred Grothendieck to develop his theory of dessins d'enfant, which describes non-singular algebraic curves over the algebraic numbers using combinatorial data.
Quotients of the upper half-plane
It follows that the Riemann surface in question can be taken to be the quotient
(where H is the upper half-plane and Γ is a subgroup of finite index in the modular group) compactified by cusps. Since the modular group has non-congruence subgroups, it is not the conclusion that any such curve is a modular curve.
A Belyi function is a holomorphic map from a compact Riemann surface S to the complex projective line P1(C) ramified only over three points, which after a Möbius transformation may be taken to be . Belyi functions may be described combinatorially by dessins d'enfants.
Belyi functions and dessins d'enfants – but not Belyi's theorem – date at least to the work of Felix Klein; he used them in his article (Klein 1879) to study an 11-fold cover of the complex projective line with monodromy group PSL(2,11).
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- Klein, Felix (1879). "Über die Transformation elfter Ordnung der elliptischen Functionen" [On the eleventh order transformation of elliptic functions]. Mathematische Annalen (in German). 15 (3–4): 533–555. doi:10.1007/BF02086276.
- Belyĭ, Gennadiĭ Vladimirovich (1980). Translated by Neal Koblitz. "Galois extensions of a maximal cyclotomic field". Math. USSR Izv. 14 (2): 247–256. doi:10.1070/IM1980v014n02ABEH001096. MR 0534593.
- Girondo, Ernesto; González-Diez, Gabino (2012), Introduction to compact Riemann surfaces and dessins d'enfants, London Mathematical Society Student Texts, 79, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-74022-7, Zbl 1253.30001
- Wushi Goldring (2012), "Unifying themes suggested by Belyi's Theorem", in Dorian Goldfeld; Jay Jorgenson; Peter Jones; Dinakar Ramakrishnan; Kenneth A. Ribet; John Tate (eds.), Number Theory, Analysis and Geometry. In Memory of Serge Lang, Springer, pp. 181–214, ISBN 978-1-4614-1259-5