Narrow class group

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In algebraic number theory, the narrow class group of a number field K is a refinement of the class group of K that takes into account some information about embeddings of K into the field of real numbers.

Formal definition[edit]

Suppose that K is a finite extension of Q. Recall that the ordinary class group of K is defined to be

where IK is the group of fractional ideals of K, and PK is the group of principal fractional ideals of K, that is, ideals of the form aOK where a is an element of K.

The narrow class group is defined to be the quotient

where now PK+ is the group of totally positive principal fractional ideals of K; that is, ideals of the form aOK where a is an element of K such that σ(a) is positive for every embedding

Uses[edit]

The narrow class group features prominently in the theory of representing of integers by quadratic forms. An example is the following result (Fröhlich and Taylor, Chapter V, Theorem 1.25).

Theorem. Suppose that
where d is a square-free integer, and that the narrow class group of K is trivial. Suppose that
is a basis for the ring of integers of K. Define a quadratic form
,
where NK/Q is the norm. Then a prime number p is of the form
for some integers x and y if and only if either
or
or
where dK is the discriminant of K, and
indicates the Legendre symbol.

Examples[edit]

For example, one can prove that the quadratic fields Q(√−1), Q(√2), Q(√−3) all have trivial narrow class group. Then, by choosing appropriate bases for the integers of each of these fields, the above theorem implies the following:

  • A prime p is of the form p = x2 + y2 for integers x and y if and only if
(This is known as Fermat's theorem on sums of two squares.)
  • A prime p is of the form p = x2 − 2y2 for integers x and y if and only if
  • A prime p is of the form p = x2xy + y2 for integers x and y if and only if
(cf. Eisenstein prime)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • A. Fröhlich and M. J. Taylor, Algebraic Number Theory (p. 180), Cambridge University Press, 1991.