Jacobson's conjecture

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In abstract algebra, Jacobson's conjecture is an open problem in ring theory concerning the intersection of powers of the Jacobson radical of a Noetherian ring.

It has only been proven for special types of Noetherian rings, so far. Examples exist to show that the conjecture can fail when the ring is not Noetherian on a side, so it is absolutely necessary for the ring to be two-sided Noetherian.

The conjecture is named for the algebraist Nathan Jacobson who posed the first version of the conjecture.


For a ring R with Jacobson radical J, the nonnegative powers are defined by using the product of ideals.

Jacobson's conjecture: In a right-and-left Noetherian ring,

In other words: "The only element of a Noetherian ring in all powers of J is 0."

The original conjecture posed by Jacobson in 1956[1] asked about noncommutative one-sided Noetherian rings, however Israel Nathan Herstein produced a counterexample in 1965[2] and soon after Arun Vinayak Jategaonkar produced a different example which was a left principal ideal domain.[3] From that point on, the conjecture was reformulated to require two-sided Noetherian rings.

Partial results[edit]

Jacobson's conjecture has been verified for particular types of Noetherian rings:


  1. ^ Jacobson, Nathan (1956), Structure of rings, American Mathematical Society, Colloquium Publications, vol. 37, 190 Hope Street, Providence, R. I.: American Mathematical Society, p. 200, MR 0081264. As cited by Brown, K. A.; Lenagan, T. H. (1982), "A note on Jacobson's conjecture for right Noetherian rings", Glasgow Mathematical Journal, 23 (1): 7–8, doi:10.1017/S0017089500004729, MR 0641612.
  2. ^ Herstein 1965.
  3. ^ Jategaonkar 1968.
  4. ^ Cauchon 1974.
  5. ^ Jategaonkar 1974.
  6. ^ Lenagan 1977.
  7. ^ Jategaonkar 1982.