# CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES

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1 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES During this first part of the course, we will establish a correspondence between various geometric notions and algebraic ones. Some references for this part of the course are [Har77, Chapter I], [Mum88, Chapter I], and [Sha13, Chapter I]. 1. Algebraic subsets and ideals Let k be a fixed algebraically closed field. We do not make any assumption on the characteristic. Important examples are C, Q, and F p, for a prime integer p. For a positive integer n we denote by A n the n-dimensional affine space. For now, this is just a set, namely k n. We assume that n is fixed and denote the polynomial ring k[x 1,..., x n ] by R. Note that if f R and u = (u 1,..., u n ), we may evaluate f at u to get f(u) k. This gives a surjective ring homomorphism k[x 1,..., x n ] k, f f(u), whose kernel is the (maximal) ideal (x 1 u 1,..., x n u n ). Our goal in this section is to establish a correspondence between certain subsets of A n (those defined by polynomial equations) and ideals in R (more precisely, radical ideals). A large part of this correspondence is tautological. The non-trivial input will be provided by Hilbert s Nullstellensatz, which we will be prove in the next section. Definition 1.1. Given a subset S R, the zero-locus of S (also called the subset of A n defined by S) is the set V (S) := {u A n f(u) = 0 for all f S}. An algebraic subset of A n is a subset of the form V (S) for some subset S of R. Example 1.2. Any linear subspace of k n is an algebraic subset; in fact, it can be written as V (S), where S is a finite set of linear polynomials (that is, polynomials of the form n i=1 a ix i ). More generally, any translation of a linear subspace (that is, an affine subspace) of k n is an algebraic subset. Example 1.3. A union of two lines in A 2 is an algebraic subset (see Proposition 1.6). For example, the union of the two coordinate axes can be written as V (x 1 x 2 ). Example 1.4. Another example of an algebraic subset of A 2 is the hyperbola {u = (u 1, u 2 ) A 2 u 1 u 2 = 1}. Remark 1.5. Recall that if S is a subset of R and I is the ideal of R generated by S, then we can write I = {g 1 f g m f m m 0, f 1,..., f m S, g 1,..., g m R}. 1

2 2 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES It is then easy to see that V (S) = V (I). In particular, every algebraic subset of A n can be written as V (I) for some ideal I in R. We collect in the following proposition the basic properties of taking the zero locus. Proposition 1.6. The following hold: 1) V (R) = ; in particular, the empty set is an algebraic subset. 2) V (0) = A n : in particular, A n is an algebraic subset. 3) If I and J are ideals in R with I J, then V (J) V (I). 4) If (I α ) α is a family of ideals in R, we have ( ) ( ) V (I α ) = V I α = V I α. 5) If I and J are ideals in R, then α α V (I) V (J) = V (I J) = V (I J). Proof. The assertions in 1) 4) are trivial to check. Note also that the inclusions V (I) V (J) V (I J) V (I J) follow directly from 3). In order to show that V (I J) V (I) V (J), we argue by contradiction: suppose that u V (I J) ( V (I) V (J) ). We can thus find f I such that f(u) 0 and g J such that g(u) 0. In this case fg I J and (fg)(u) = f(u)g(u) 0, a contradiction with the fact that k is a domain. An important consequence of the assertions in the above proposition is that the algebraic subsets of A n form the closed subsets for a topology of A n. This is the Zariski topology on A n. The Zariski topology provides a convenient framework for dealing with algebraic subsets of A n. However, we will see that it has a lot less subsets than one is used to from the case of the usual Euclidean space (over R or over C). We now define a map in the other direction, from subsets of A n to ideals in R. Given a subset W of A n, we put I(W ) := {f R f(u) = 0 for all u W }. It is straightforward to see that this is an ideal in R. In fact, it is a radical 1 ideal: indeed, since k is a reduced ring, if f(u) q = 0 for some positive integer q, then f(u) = 0. We collect in the next proposition some easy properties of this definition. Proposition 1.7. The following hold: 1) I( ) = R. 1 An ideal I in a ring R is radical if whenever f q I for some f R and some positive integer q, we have f I. A related concept is that of a reduced ring: this is a ring such that whenever f q = 0 for some f R and some positive integer q, we have f = 0. Note that an ideal I is radical if and only if R/I is a reduced ring. α

3 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 3 2) If (W α ) α is a family of subsets of A n, then I ( α W α) = α I(W α). 3) If W 1 W 2, then I(W 2 ) I(W 1 ). Proof. All assertions follow immediately from definition. We have thus set up two maps between subsets of A n and ideals in R and we are interested in the two compositions. Understanding one of these compositions is tautological, as follows: Proposition 1.8. For every subset Z of A n, the set V ( I(Z) ) is equal to the closure Z of Z, with respect to the Zariski topology. In particular, if Z is an algebraic subset of A n, then V ( I(Z) ) = Z. Proof. We clearly have Z V ( I(Z) ), and since the right-hand side is closed by definition, we have Z V ( I(Z) ). In order to prove the reverse inclusion, recall that by definition of the closure of a subset, we have Z = W W, where W runs over all algebraic subsets of A n that contain Z. Every such W can be written as W = V (J), for some ideal J in R. Note that we have J I(W ), while the inclusion Z W gives I(W ) I(Z). We thus have J I(Z), hence V ( I(Z) ) V (J) = W. Since V ( I(Z) ) is contained in every such W, we conclude that V ( I(Z) ) Z. The interesting statement here concerns the other composition. Recall that if J is an ideal in a ring R, then the set {f R f q J for some q 1} is a radical ideal; in fact, it is the smallest radical ideal containing J, denoted rad(j). Theorem 1.9. (Hilbert s Nullstellensatz) For every ideal J in R, we have I ( V (J) ) = rad(j). The inclusion J I ( V (J) ) is trivial and since the right-hand side is a radical ideal, we obtain the inclusion rad(j) I ( V (J) ). This reverse inclusion is the subtle one and this is where we use the hypothesis that k is algebraically closed (note that this did not play any role so far). We will prove this in the next section, after some preparations. Assuming this, we obtain the following conclusion.

4 4 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES Corollary The two maps I( ) and V ( ) between the algebraic subsets of A n and the radical ideals in k[x 1,..., x n ] are inverse, order-reversing bijections. Remark It follows from Corollary 1.10 that via the above bijection, the minimal nonempty algebraic subsets correspond to the maximal ideals in R. It is clear that the minimal nonempty algebraic subsets are precisely the points in A n. On the other hand, given a = (a 1,..., a n ) A n, the ideal I(u) contains the maximal ideal (x 1 a 1,..., x n a n ), hence the two ideals are equal. We thus deduce that every maximal ideal in R is of the form (x 1 a 1,..., x n a n ) for some a 1,..., a n k. We will see in the next section that the general statement of Theorem 1.9 is proved by reduction to this special case. Exercise Show that the closed subsets of A 1 are A 1 and its finite subsets. Exercise Show that if W 1 and W 2 are algebraic subsets of A n, then I(W 1 W 2 ) = rad ( I(W 1 ) + I(W 2 ) ). Exercise For m and n 1, let us identify A mn with the set of all matrices B M m,n (k). Show that the set is a closed algebraic subset of M m,n (k). M r m,n(k) := {B M m,n (k) rk(b) r} Exercise Show that the following subset of A 3 W 1 = {(t, t 2, t 3 ) t k} is a closed algebraic subset, and describe I(W 1 ). Can you do the same for How about W 2 = {(t 2, t 3, t 4 ) t k}? W 3 = {(t 3, t 4, t 5 ) t k}? Exercise For an arbitrary commutative ring R, one can define the maximal spectrum MaxSpec(R) of R, as follows. As a set, this is the set of all maximal ideals in R. For every ideal J in R, we put V (J) := {m MaxSpec(R) J m} and for every subset S MaxSpec(R), we define I(S) := m S m. i) Show that MaxSpec(R) has a structure of topological space in which the closed subsets are the subsets of the form V (I), for an ideal I in R. ii) Show that for every subset S of MaxSpec(R), we have V ( I(S) ) = S. iii) Show that if R is an algebra of finite type over an algebraically closed field k, then for every ideal J in S, we have I ( V (J) ) = rad(j). iv) Show that if X A n is a closed subset, then we have a homeomorphism X MaxSpec(R/J), where R = k[x 1,..., x n ] and J = I(X).

5 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 5 2. Noether normalization and Hilbert s Nullstellensatz The proof of Hilbert s Nullstellensatz is based on the following result, known as Noether s normalization lemma. As we will see, this has many other applications. Before stating the result, we recall that a ring homomorphism A B is finite if B is finitely generated as an A-module. It is straightforward to check that a composition of two finite homomorphisms is again finite. Moreover, if A B is a finite homomorphism, then for every homomorphism A C, the induced homomorphism C = A A C B A C is finite. A more interesting property that we will need is that if A B is an injective finite homomorphism, with A and B domains, then A is a field if and only if B is a field (for a proof, see Review Sheet 1). Remark 2.1. If A B is an injective, finite homomorphism between two domains, and K = Frac(A) and L = Frac(B), then the induced injective homomorphism K L is finite. Indeed, by tensoring the inclusion A B with K, we obtain a finite, injective homomorphism K K A B between domains. Note that K A B is a ring of fractions of B, hence the canonical homomorphism K A B L is injective. Since K is a field, it follows that K A B is a field, and thus K A B = L. In particular, we see that [L : K] <. Theorem 2.2. Let k be a field and A a finitely generated k-algebra which is an integral domain, with fraction field K. If trdeg(k/k) = n, then there is a k-subalgebra B of A, such that 1) B is isomorphic as a k-algebra to k[x 1,..., x n ], and 2) The inclusion B A is finite. Proof. We only give the proof when k is infinite. This will be enough for our purpose, since in all our applications the field k will always contain an algebraically closed (hence infinite) field. For a proof in the general case, see [Mum88]. The fact that k is infinite will be used via the following property: for every nonzero polynomial f k[x 1,..., x r ], there is λ k r such that f(λ) 0. When r = 1, this follows from the fact that a nonzero polynomial in one variable has at most as many roots as its degree. The general case then follows by an easy induction on r. Let y 1,..., y m A be generators of A as a k-algebra. In particular, we have K = k(y 1,..., y m ), hence m n. We will show, by induction on m, that we can find a change of variable of the form n y i = b i,j z j, for 1 i m, with det(b i,j ) 0, j=1 (so that we have A = k[z 1,..., z m ]) such that the inclusion k[z 1,..., z n ] A is finite. Note that this is enough: if B = k[z 1,..., z n ], then it follows from Remark 2.1 that the induced field extension Frac(B) K is finite. Therefore we have n = trdeg(k/k) = trdeg ( k(z 1,..., z n )/k ),

6 6 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES hence z 1,..., z n are algebraically independent. If m = n, there is nothing to prove. Suppose now that m > n, hence y 1,..., y m are algebraically dependent over k. Therefore there is a nonzero polynomial f k[x 1,..., x m ] such that f(y 1,..., y m ) = 0. Suppose now that we write m y i = b i,j z j, with b i,j k, det(b i,j ) 0. j=1 Let d = deg(f) and let us write f = f d + f d f 0, with deg(f i ) = i or f i = 0. By assumption, we have f d 0. If we write f = c α x α 1 1 x αm m, then we have α Z m 0 0 = f(y 1,..., y m ) = α c α (b 1,1 z b 1,m z m ) α1 (b m,1 z b m,m z m ) αm = f d (b 1,m,..., b m,m )z d m + lower degree terms in z m. Since we assume that k is infinite, we may choose the b i,j such that det(b i,j ) f d (b 1,m,..., b m,m ) 0. In this case, we see that after this linear change of variable, the inclusion k[y 1,..., y m 1 ] k[y 1,..., y m ] is finite, since the right-hand side is generated as a module over the left-hand side by 1, y m,..., ym d 1. Note that by Remark 2.1, the induced extension k(y 1,..., y m 1 ) k(y 1,..., y m ) is finite, hence trdeg ( k(y 1,..., y m 1 )/k ) = n. By induction, we can do a linear change of variable in y 1,..., y m 1, after which the inclusion is finite, in which case the composition k[y 1,..., y n ] k[y 1,..., y m 1 ] k[y 1,..., y n ] k[y 1,..., y m 1 ] k[y 1,..., y m ] is finite. This completes the proof of the theorem. We will use Theorem 2.2 to prove Hilbert s Nullstellensatz in several steps. Corollary 2.3. If k is a field, A is a finitely generated k-algebra, and K = A/m, where m is a maximal ideal in A, then K is a finite extension of k.

7 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 7 Proof. Note that K is a field which is finitely generated as a k-algebra. It follows from the theorem that if n = trdeg(k/k), then there is a finite injective homomorphism k[x 1,..., x n ] K. Since K is a field, it follows that k[x 1,..., x n ] is a field, hence n = 0. Therefore K/k is finite. Corollary 2.4. (Hilbert s Nullstellensatz, weak version) If k is an algebraically closed field, then every maximal ideal m in R = k[x 1,..., x n ] is of the form (x 1 a 1,..., x n a n ), for some a 1,..., a n k. Proof. It follows from Corollary 2.3 that if K = R/m, the field extension K/k is finite. Since k is algebraically closed, the canonical homomorphism k K is an isomorphism. In particular, for every i there is a i R such that x i a i m. Therefore we have (x 1 a 1,..., x n a n ) m and since both ideals are maximal, they must be equal. We can now prove Hilbert s Nullstellensatz, in its strong form. Proof of Theorem 1.9. It follows from Corollary 2.4 that given any ideal a of R, different from R, the zero-locus V (a) of a is nonempty. Indeed, since a R, there is a maximal ideal m containing a. By Corollary 2.4, we have m = (x 1 a 1,..., x n a n ) for some a 1,..., a n k. In particular, we see that a = (a 1,..., a n ) V (m) V (J). We will use this fact in the polynomial ring R[y] = k[x 1,..., x n, y]; this is Rabinovich s trick. It is clear that for every ideal J in R we have the inclusion rad(j) I ( V (J) ). In order to prove the reverse inclusion, suppose that f I ( V (J) ). Consider now the ideal a in R[y] generated by J and by 1 fy. If a R[y], we have seen that there is (a 1,..., a n, b) V (a). By definition of a, this means that g(a 1,..., a n ) = 0 for all g J (that is, (a 1,..., a n ) V (J)) and 1 = f(a 1,..., a n )g(b). In particular, we have f(a 1,..., a n ) 0, contradicting the fact that f I ( V (J) ). We thus conclude that a = R. Therefore we can find f 1,..., f r J and g 1,..., g r+1 R[y] such that r (1) f i (x)g i (x, y) + ( 1 f(x)y ) g r+1 (x, y) = 1. i=1 We now consider the R-algebra homomorphism R[y] R f that maps y to 1. The relation f (1) gives r ( ) f i (x)g i x, 1/f(x) = 1 i=1 and after clearing the denominators (recall that R is a domain), we see that there is a positive integer N such that f N (f 1,..., f r ), hence f rad(j). This completes the proof of the theorem.

8 8 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 3. The topology on the affine space In this section we begin making use of the fact that the ring k[x 1,..., x n ] is Noetherian. Recall that a (commutative) ring R is Noetherian if the following equivalent conditions hold: i) Every ideal in R is finitely generated. ii) There is no infinite strictly increasing sequence of ideals of R. iii) Every nonempty family of ideals of R has a maximal element For this and other basic facts about Noetherian rings and modules, see Review Sheet 2. A basic result in commutative algebra is Hilbert s basis theorem: if R is a Noetherian ring, then R[x] is Noetherian (a proof is given in Review Sheet 2). In particular, since a field k is trivially Noetherian, a recursive application of the theorem implies that every polynomial algebra k[x 1,..., x n ] is Noetherian. As in the previous sections, we fix an algebraically closed field k and a positive integer n. The fact that the ring R = k[x 1,..., x n ] is Noetherian has two immediate consequences. First, since every ideal is finitely generated, it follows that for every algebraic subset W A n, there are finitely many polynomials f 1,..., f r such that W = V (f 1,..., f r ). Second, we see via the correspondence in Corollary 1.10 that there is no infinite strictly decreasing sequence of closed subsets in A n. Definition 3.1. A topological space X is Noetherian if there is no infinite strictly decreasing sequence of closed subsets in X. We have thus seen that with the Zariski topology A n is a Noetherian topological space. This implies that every subspace of A n is Noetherian, by the following Lemma 3.2. If X is a Noetherian topological space and Y is a subspace of X, then Y is Noetherian. Proof. If we have a infinite strictly decreasing sequence of closed subsets of Y F 1 F 2..., consider the corresponding sequence of closures in X: F 1 F Since F i is closed in Y, we have F i Y = F i for all i, which implies that F i F i+1 for every i. This contradicts the fact that X is Noetherian. Remark 3.3. Note that every Noetherian topological space is quasi-compact: this follows from the fact that there is no infinite strictly increasing sequence of open subsets. Example 3.4. The real line R, with the usual Euclidean topology, is not Noetherian. We now introduce an important notion.

9 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 9 Definition 3.5. A topological space X is irreducible if it is nonempty and whenever we write X = X 1 X 2, with both X 1 and X 2 closed, we have X 1 = X or X 2 = X. We say that X is reducible when it is not irreducible. Remark 3.6. By passing to complements, we see that a topological space is irreducible if and only if it is nonempty and for every two nonempty open subsets U and V, the intersection U V is nonempty (equivalently, every nonempty open subset of X is dense in X). Remarks ) If Y is a subset of X (with the subspace topology), the closed subsets of Y are those of the form F Y, where F is a closed subset of X. It follows that Y is irreducible if and only if it is nonempty and whenever Y Y 1 Y 2, with Y 1 and Y 2 closed in X, we have Y Y 1 or Y Y 2. 2) If Y is an irreducible subset of X and if Y Y 1... Y r, with all Y i closed in X, then there is i such that Y Y i. This follows easily by induction on r. 3) If Y and F are subsets of X, with F closed, then Y F if and only if Y F. It then follows from the description in 1) that Y is irreducible if and only if Y is irreducible. 4) If X is irreducible and U is a nonempty open subset of X, then it follows from Remark 3.6 that U is dense in X. Since X is irreducible, it follows from 3) that U is irreducible. In the case of closed subsets of A n, the following proposition describes irreducibility in terms of the corresponding ideal. Proposition 3.8. If W A n is a closed subset, then W is irreducible if and only if I(W ) is a prime ideal in R. Proof. Note first that W if and only if I(W ) R. Suppose first that W is irreducible and let f, g R be such that fg I(W ). We can then write W = ( W V (f) ) ( W V (g) Since both subsets on the right-hand side are closed and W is irreducible, it follows that we have either W = W V (f) (in which case f I(W )) or W = W V (g) (in which case g I(W )). Therefore I(W ) is a prime ideal. Conversely, suppose that I(W ) is prime and we write W = W 1 W 2, with W 1 and W 2 closed. Arguing by contradiction, suppose that W W i for i = 1, 2, in which case I(W ) I(W i ), hence we can find f i I(W i ) I(W ). On the other hand, we have f 1 f 2 I(W 1 ) I(W 2 ) = I(W ), contradicting the fact that I(W ) is prime. Example 3.9. Since R is a domain, it follows from the proposition that A n is irreducible. Example If L A n is a linear subspace, then L is irreducible. Indeed, after a linear change of variables, we have R = k[y 1,..., y n ] such that I(L) = (y 1,..., y r ) for some r 1, and this is clearly a prime ideal in R. Example The union of two lines in A 2 is a reducible closed subset.

10 10 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES Proposition Let X be a Noetherian topological space. Given a closed, nonempty subset Y, there are finitely many irreducible closed subsets Y 1,..., Y r such that Y = Y 1... Y r. We may clearly assume that the decomposition is minimal, in the sense that Y i Y j for i j. In this case Y 1,..., Y r are unique up to reordering. The closed subsets Y 1,..., Y r in the proposition are the irreducible components of Y and the decomposition in the proposition is the irreducible decomposition of Y. Proof of Proposition Suppose first that there are nonempty closed subsets Y of X that do not have such a decomposition. Since X is Noetherian, we may choose a minimal such Y. In particular, Y is not irreducible, hence we may write Y = Y 1 Y 2, with Y 1 and Y 2 closed and strictly contained in Y. Note that Y 1 and Y 2 are nonempty, hence by the minimality of Y, we may write both Y 1 and Y 2 as finite unions of irreducible subsets. In this case, Y is also a finite union of irreducible subsets, a contradiction. Suppose now that we have two minimal decompositions Y = Y 1... Y r = Y 1... Y s, with the Y i and Y j irreducible. For every i r, we get an induced decomposition s Y i = (Y i Y j ), j=1 with the Y i Y j closed for all j. Since Y i is irreducible, it follows that there is j s such that Y i = Y i Y j Y j. Arguing in the same way, we see that there is l r such that Y j Y l. In particular, we have Y i Y l, hence by the minimality assumption, we have i = l, and therefore Y i = Y j. By iterating this argument and by reversing the roles of the Y α and the Y β, we see that r = s and the Y α and the Y β are the same up to relabeling. Remark It is clear that if X is a Noetherian topological space, W is a closed subset of X, and Z is a closed subset of W, then the irreducible decomposition of Z is the same whether considered in W or in X. Recall that by a theorem due to Gauss, if R is a UFD, then the polynomial ring R[x] is a UFD. A repeated application of this result gives that every polynomial ring k[x 1,..., x n ] is a UFD. In particular, a nonzero polynomial f k[x 1,..., x n ] is irreducible if and only if the ideal (f) is prime. Example Given a polynomial f k[x 1,..., x n ] k, the subset V (f) is irreducible if and only if f is a power of an irreducible polynomial. In fact, if the irreducible decomposition of f is f = cf m 1 1 fr mr, for some c k, then the irreducible components of V (f) are V (f 1 ),..., V (f r ). Exercise Let Y be the algebraic subset of A 3 defined by the two polynomials x 2 yz and xz x. Show that Y is a union of three irreducible components. Describe them and find the corresponding prime ideals.

11 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 11 Exercise Show that if X and Y are topological spaces, with X irreducible, and f : X Y is a continuous map, then f(x) is irreducible. Exercise Let X be a topological space, and consider a finite open cover X = U 1... U n, where each U i is nonempty. Show that X is irreducible if and only if the following hold: i) Each U i is irreducible. ii) For every i and j, we have U i U j. Exercise Let X be a Noetherian topological space and Y a subset X. Show that if Y = Y 1... Y r is the irreducible decomposition of Y, then Y = Y 1... Y r is the irreducible decomposition of Y. Exercise Let X be a Noetherian topological space and Y a nonempty closed subset of X, with irreducible decomposition Y = Y 1... Y r. Show that if U is an open subset of X, then the irreducible decomposition of U Y is given by U Y = (U Y i ). i,u Y i We end these general topological considerations by discussing the notion of locally closed subsets. Definition Let X be a topological space. A subset V of X is locally closed if for every x V, there is an open neighborhood U x of x in X such that U x V is closed in U x. Remark One should contrast the above definition with the local characterization of closed subsets: V is closed in X if and only if for every x X, there is an open neighborhood U x of x in X such that U x V is closed in U x. Proposition If V is a subset of a topological space X, then the following are equivalent: i) V is a locally closed subset. ii) V is open in V. iii) We can write V = U F, with U open and F closed. Proof. If V is locally closed, let us choose for every x V an open neighborhood U x of x as in the definition. In this case V is closed in U by Remark 3.21, hence V = U F for some F closed in X, proving i) iii). In order to see iii) ii), note that if if V = U F, with U open and F closed, then V F, hence V = U V is open in V. Finally, the implication ii) i) is clear: if V = W V for some W open in X, then for every x V, if we take U x = W, we have U x V closed in U x.

12 12 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES Let X A n be a closed subset. We always consider on X the subspace topology. We now introduce a basis of open subsets on X. Definition A principal affine open subset of X is an open subset of the form for some f k[x 1,..., x n ]. D X (f) := X V (f) = {x X f(x) 0}, Note that D X (f) is nonempty if and only if f I(X). It is clear that D X (f) D X (g) = D X (fg). Every open subset of X can be written as X V (J) for some ideal J in R. Since J is finitely generated, we can write J = (f 1,..., f r ), in which case X V (J) = D X (f 1 )... D X (f r ). Therefore every open subset of X is a finite union of principal affine open subsets of X. We thus see that the principal affine open subsets give a basis for the topology of X. Exercise Let X be a topological space and Y a locally closed subset of X. Show that a subset Z of Y is locally closed in X if and only if it is locally closed in Y. 4. Regular functions and morphisms Definition 4.1. An affine algebraic variety (or affine variety, for short) is a a closed subset of some affine space A n. A quasi-affine variety is a locally closed subset of some affine space A n, or equivalently, an open subset of an affine algebraic variety. A quasi-affine variety is always endowed with the subspace topology. The above is only a temporary definition: a (quasi)affine variety is not just a topological space, but it comes with more information that distinguishes which maps between such objects are allowed. We will later formalize this as a ringed space. We now proceed describing the allowable maps. Definition 4.2. Let Y A n be a locally closed subset. A regular function on Y is a map ϕ: Y k that can locally be given by a quotient of polynomial functions, that is, for every y Y, there is an open neighborhood U y of y in Y, and polynomials f, g k[x 1,..., x n ] such that g(u) 0 and ϕ(u) = f(u) for all u U y. g(u) We write O(Y ) for the set of regular functions on Y. If Y is an affine variety, then O(Y ) is also called the coordinate ring of Y. By convention, we put O(Y ) = 0 if Y =. Remark 4.3. It is easy to see that O(Y ) is a subalgebra of the k-algebra of functions Y k, with respect to point-wise operations. For example, suppose that ϕ 1 and ϕ 2 are regular functions, y Y and U 1 and U 2 are open neighborhoods of y, and f 1, f 2, g 1, g 2 k[x 1,..., x n ] are such that for all u U y we have g i (u) 0 and ϕ i (u) = f i(u) g i (u) for i = 1, 2.

13 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 13 If we take U = U 1 U 2 and f = f 1 g 2 + f 2 g 1, g = g 1 g 2, then for all u U, we have g(u) 0 and (ϕ 1 + ϕ 2 )(u) = f(u) g(u). Remark 4.4. It follows from definition that if ϕ: Y k is a regular function such that ϕ(y) 0 for every y Y, then the function 1 is a regular function, too. ϕ Example 4.5. If X is a locally closed subset of A n, then the projection π i on the i th component, given by π i (a 1,..., a n ) = a i induces a regular function X k. Indeed, if f i = x i k[x 1,..., x n ], then π i (a) = f i (a) for all a X. When Y is closed in A n, one can describe more precisely O(Y ). It follows by definition that we have a k-algebra homomorphism k[x 1,..., x n ] O(Y ) that maps a polynomial f to the function ( u f(u) ). By definition, the kernel of this map is the ideal I(Y ). With this notation, we have the following Proposition 4.6. The induced k-algebra homomorphism is an isomorphism. k[x 1,..., x n ]/I(Y ) O(Y ) A similar description holds for principal affine open subsets of affine varieties. Suppose that Y is closed in A n and U = D Y (h), for some h k[x 1,..., x n ]. We have a k-algebra homomorphism Φ: k[x 1,..., x n ] h O(U), that maps f to the map ( u f(u)/h(u) m). With this notation, we have the following h m generalization of the previous proposition. Proposition 4.7. The above k-algebra homomorphism induces an isomorphism k[x 1,..., x n ] h /I(Y ) h O ( D Y (h) ). Of course it is enough to prove this more general version. Proof of Proposition 4.7. The kernel of Φ consists of those fractions f such that f(u) = 0 h m h(u) for every u D Y (h). It is clear that this condition is satisfied if f I(Y ). Conversely, if this condition holds, then f(u)h(u) = 0 for every u Y. Therefore fh I(Y ), hence I(Y ) h. This shows that Φ is injective. f = fh h m h m+1 We now show that Φ is surjective. Consider ϕ O ( D Y (h) ). Using the hypothesis and the fact that D Y (h) is quasi-compact (being a Noetherian topological space), we can write D Y (h) = V 1... V r

14 14 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES and we have f i, g i k[x 1,..., x n ] for 1 i r such that g i (u) 0 and ϕ(u) = f i(u) g i (u) for all u V i and all i. Since the principal affine open subsets form a basis for the topology on Y, we may assume that V i = D Y (h i ) for all i, for some h i k[x 1,..., x n ] I(Y ). Since g i (u) 0 for all u Y V (h i ), it follows from Theorem 1.9 that h i rad ( I(Y ) + (g i ) ). After possibly replacing each h i by a suitable power, and then by a suitable element with the same class mod I(Y ), we may and will assume that h i (g i ). Finally, after multiplying both f i and g i by a suitable polynomial, we may assume that g i = h i for all i. We know that on D Y (g i ) D Y (g j ) = D Y (g i g j ) we have f i (u) g i (u) = f j(u) g j (u). Applying the injectivity statement for D Y (g i g j ), we conclude that f i g i = f j g j in k[x 1,..., x n ] gi g j /I(Y ) gi g j. Therefore there is a positive integer N such that (g i g j ) N (f i g j f j g i ) I(Y ) for all i, j. After replacing each f i and g i by f i gi N and g N+1 i, respectively, we may assume that f i g j f j g i I(Y ) for all i, j. On the other hand, we have D Y (h) = r D Y (g i ), hence Y V (h) = Y V (g 1,..., g r ), and by Theorem 1.9, we have i=1 rad ( I(Y ) + (h) ) = rad ( I(Y ) + (g 1,..., g r ) ). In particular, we can write r h m a i g i I(Y ) for some m 1 and a 1,..., a r k[x 1,..., x n ]. i=1 We claim that Indeed, for u D Y (g j ), we have since h(u) m f j (u) = ( ) a1 f a r f r ϕ = Φ. h m f j (u) g j (u) = a 1(u)f 1 (u) a r (u)f r (u) h(u) m ( r r ) a i (u)g i (u)f j (u) = a i (u)f i (u) g j (u). i=1 This completes the proof of the claim and thus that of the proposition. i=1

15 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 15 Example 4.8. In general, it is not the case that a regular function admits a global description as the quotient of two polynomial functions. Consider, for example the closed subset W of A 4 defined by x 1 x 2 = x 3 x 4. Inside W we have the plane L given by x 2 = x 3 = 0. We define the regular function ϕ: W L k given by { u1 u ϕ(u 1, u 2, u 3, u 4 ) = 3, if u 3 0; u 4 u 2, if u 2 0. It is an easy exercise to check that there are no polynomials P, Q k[x 1, x 2, x 3, x 4 ] such that Q(u) 0 and ϕ(u) = P (u) for all u W L. Q(u) We now turn to maps between quasi-affine varieties. If Y is a subset of A m and f : X Y is a map, then the composition X Y A m is written as (f 1,..., f m ), with f i : X k. We often abuse notation writing f = (f 1,..., f m ). Definition 4.9. If X A n and Y A m are locally closed subsets, a map f = (f 1,..., f m ): X Y is a morphism if f i O(X) for all i. Remark It follows from definition that f : X Y is a morphism if and only if the composition X Y A m is a morphism Remark If X A n is a locally closed subset, then a morphism X A 1 is the same as a regular function X k. Example If X is a locally closed of A n, then the inclusion map ι: X A n is a morphism (this follows from Example 4.5). This implies that the identity map 1 X : X X is a morphism. Proposition If X and Y are quasi-affine varieties, then every morphism f : X Y is continuous. Proof. Suppose that X and Y are locally closed in A n and A m, respectively, and write f = (f 1,..., f m ). We will show that if V Y is a closed subset, then f 1 (V ) is a closed subset of X. By assumption, we can write V = Y V (I) for some ideal I k[x 1,..., x n ]. In order to check that f 1 (V ) is closed, it is enough to find for every x X an open neighborhood U x of x in X such that U x f 1 (V ) is closed in U x (see Remark 3.21). Since each f i is a regular function, after replacing X by a suitable open neighborhood of x, we may assume that there are P i, Q i k[x 1,..., x n ] such that Q i (u) 0 and f i (u) = P i(u) Q i (u) for all u X.

16 16 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES For every h I, there are polynomials A h, B h k[x 1,..., x n ] such that ( P1 (u) B h (u) 0 and h Q 1 (u),..., P ) m(u) = A h(u) for all u X. Q m (u) B h (u) It is then clear that for u X we have u f 1 (V ) if and only if A h (u) = 0 for all h I. Therefore f 1 (V ) is closed. Proposition If f : X Y and g : Y Z are morphisms between quasi-affine varieties, the composition g f is a morphism. Proof. Suppose that X A m, Y A n and Z A q are locally closed subsets and let us write f = (f 1,..., f n ) and g = (g 1,..., g q ). We need to show that g i f O(X) for 1 i q. Let us fix such i, a point x X, and let y = f(x). Since g i O(Y ) is a morphism, there is an open neighborhood V y of y and P, Q k[x 1,..., x n ] such that Q(u) 0 and g i (u) = P (u) Q(u) for all u V y. Similarly, since f is a morphism, we can find an open neighborhood U x of x and A j, B j k[x 1,..., x m ] for 1 j n such that B j (u) 0 and f j (u) = A j(u) B j (u) for all u U x. It follows from Proposition 4.13 that U x f 1 (V y ) is open and we have ( ) P A1 (u),..., An(u) B 1 (u) B n(u) g i f(u) = ( ). Q A1 (u),..., An(u) B 1 (u) B n(u) After clearing the denominators, we see that indeed, g i f is a regular function in the neighborhood of x. It follows from Proposition 4.14 (and Example 4.12) that we may consider the category of quasi-affine varieties over k, whose objects are locally closed subsets of affine spaces over k, and whose arrows are the morphisms as defined above. Moreover, since a regular function on X is the same as a morphism X A 1, we see that if f : X Y is a morphism of quasi-affine varieties, we get an induced map f # : O(Y ) O(X), f # (ϕ) = ϕ f. This is clearly a morphism of k-algebras. By mapping every quasi-affine variety X to O(X) and every morphism f : X Y to f #, we obtain a contravariant functor from the category of quasi-affine varieties over k to the category of k-algebras. Definition A morphism f : X Y is an isomorphism if it is an isomorphism in the above category. It is clear that this is the case if and only if f is bijective and f 1 is a morphism.

17 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 17 The following result shows that for affine varieties, this functor induces an antiequivalence of categories. Let AfV ar k be the full subcategory of the category of quasiaffine varieties whose objects consist of the closed subsets of affine spaces over k and let C k denote the category whose objects are reduced, finitely generated k-algebras and whose arrows are the morphisms of k-algebras. Theorem The contravariant functor AfV ar k C k that maps X to O(X) and f : X Y to f # : O(Y ) O(X) is an anti-equivalence of categories. Proof. Note first that if X is an affine variety, then O(X) is indeed a reduced, finitely generated k-algebra. Indeed, if X is a closed subset of A n, then it follows from Proposition 4.6 that we have an isomorphism O(X) k[x 1,..., x n ]/I(X), which gives the assertion. In order to show that the functor is an anti-equivalence of categories, it is enough to check two things: i) For every affine varieties X and Y, the map Hom AfV ark (X, Y ) Hom Ck ( O(Y ), O(X) ), f f # is a bijection. ii) For every reduced, finitely generated k-algebra A, there is an affine variety X with O(X) A. The assertion in ii) is clear: since A is finitely generated, we can find an isomorphism A k[x 1,..., x m ]/J, for some positive integer m and some ideal J. Moreover, since A is reduced, J is a radical ideal. If X = V (J) A m, then it follows from Theorem 1.9 that J = I(X) and therefore O(X) A by Proposition 4.6. In order to prove the assertion in i), suppose that X A m and Y A n are closed subsets. By Proposition 4.6, we have canonical isomorphisms O(X) k[x 1,..., x m ]/I(X) and O(Y ) k[y 1,..., y n ]/I(Y ). If f : X Y is a morphism and we write f = (f 1,..., f n ), then f # (y i ) = f i. Since f is determined by the classes f 1,..., f n mod I(X), it is clear that the map in i) is injective. Suppose now that α: O(Y ) O(X) is a morphism of k-algebras and let f i k[x 1,..., x m ] be such that f i = α(y i ) O(X). It is then clear that f = (f 1,..., f n ) gives a morphism X A n. Its image lies inside Y since for every g I(Y ) we have g(f 1,..., f n ) I(X), hence g ( f(u) ) = 0 for all u X. Therefore f gives a morphism X Y such that f # = α. Definition We extend somewhat the notion of affine variety by saying that a quasi-affine variety is affine if it is isomorphic (in the category of quasi-affine varieties) to a closed subset of some affine space.

18 18 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES An important example that does not come directly as a closed subset of an affine space is provided by the following proposition. Proposition Let X be a closed subset of A n and U = D X (g), for some g k[x 1,..., x n ]. If J is the ideal in k[x 1,..., x n, y] generated by I(X) and 1 g(x)y, then U is isomorphic to V (J). In particular, U is an affine variety 2. Proof. Define ϕ: U V (J) by ϕ(u) = ( u, 1/g(u) ). It is clear that ϕ(u) lies indeed in V (J) and that ϕ is a morphism. Moreover, we also have a morphism ψ : V (J) U induced by the projection onto the first n components. It is straightforward to check that ϕ and ψ are inverse to each other. Notation If X is a quasi-affine variety and f O(X), then we put D X (f) = {u X f(u) 0}. If X is affine, say it is isomorphic to the closed subset Y of A n, then f corresponds to the restriction to Y of some g k[x 1,..., x n ]. In this case, it is clear that D X (f) is isomorphic to D Y (g), hence it is an affine variety. Remark If X is a locally closed subset of A n, then X is open in X. Since the principal affine open subsets of X give a basis of open subsets for the topology of X, it follows from Proposition 4.18 that the open subsets of X that are themselves affine varieties give a basis for the topology of X. Exercise Suppose that f : X Y is a morphism of affine algebraic varieties, and consider the induced homomorphism f : O(Y ) O(X). Show that if u O(Y ), then i) We have f 1 (D Y (u)) = D X (w), where w = f (u). ii) The induced ring homomorphism O(D Y (u)) O(D X (w)) can be identified with the homomorphism induced by f by localization. O(Y ) u O(X) w Exercise Let X be an affine algebraic variety, and let O(X) be the ring of regular functions on X. For every ideal J of O(X), let V (J) := {p X f(p) = 0 for all f J}. For S X, consider the following ideal of O(X) I X (S) := {f O(X) f(p) = 0 for all p S}. Show that for every subset S of X and every ideal J in O(X), we have V ( I X (S) ) = S and I X ( V (J) ) = rad(j). In particular, the maps V ( ) and I X ( ) define order-reversing inverse bijections between the closed subsets of X and the radical ideals in O(X). Via this correspondence, the 2 This justifies calling these subsets principal affine open subsets.

19 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 19 points of X correspond to the maximal ideals in O(X). This generalizes the case X = A n that was discussed in Section 1. We have seen that a morphism f : X Y between affine varieties is determined by the corresponding k-algebra homomorphism f # : O(Y ) O(X). For such a morphism, it follows from the above exercise that the closed subsets in X and Y are in bijection with the radical ideals in O(X) and, respectively, O(Y ). In the next proposition we translate the operations of taking the image and inverse image as operations on ideals. Proposition Let f : X Y be a morphism of affine varieties and ϕ = f # : O(Y ) O(X) the corresponding k-algebra homomorphism. For a point x in X or Y, we denote by m x the corresponding maximal ideal. i) If x X and y = f(x), then m y = ϕ 1 (m x ). ii) More generally, if a is an ideal in O(X) and W = V (a), then I Y ( f(w ) ) = ϕ 1( I X (W ) ). iii) In particular, we have I Y ( f(x) ) = ker(ϕ). Therefore f(x) = Y if and only if ϕ is injective. iv) If b is an ideal in O(Y ) and Z = V (b), then f 1 (Z) = V ( b O(X) ). Proof. The assertion in i) is a special case of that in ii), hence we begin by showing ii). We have I Y ( f(w ) ) = IY ( f(w ) ) = {g O(Y ) g ( f(x) ) = 0 for all x W } = {g O(Y ) ϕ(g) I X (W )} = ϕ 1( I X (W ) ). By taking W = X, we obtain the assertion in iii) Finally, if b and Z are as in iv), we see that f 1 (Z) = {x X g ( f(x) ) = 0 for all g b} = V ( b O(X) ). Remark If f : X Y is a morphism of affine varieties, then f # : O(Y ) O(X) is surjective if and only if f factors as X g Z ι Y, where Z is a closed subset of Y, ι is the inclusion map, and g is an isomorphism. Exercise Let Y A 2 be the cuspidal curve defined by the equation x 2 y 3 = 0. Construct a bijective morphism f : A 1 Y. Is it an isomorphism? Exercise Suppose that char(k) = p > 0, and consider the map f : A n A n given by f(a 1,..., a n ) = (a p 1,..., a p n). Show that f is a morphism of affine algebraic varieties, and that it is a homeomorphism, but it is not an isomorphism. Exercise Use Exercise 3.16 to show that the affine variety is irreducible. Exercise Let n 2 be an integer. M r m,n(k) := {B M m,n (k) rk(b) r}

20 20 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES i) Show that the set { ( ) } B n = (a 0, a 1,..., a n ) A n+1 a0 a rank 1... a n 1 1 a 1 a 2... a n is a closed subset of A n+1. ii) Show that B n = {(s n, s n 1 t,..., t n ) s, t k}. Deduce that B n is irreducible. Exercise In order to get an example of a quasi-affine variety which is not affine, consider U = A 2 {0}. Show that the canonical homomorphism O(A 2 ) O(U) is an isomorphism and deduce that U is not affine. Exercise Show that A 1 is not isomorphic to any proper open subset of itself. Exercise Show that if X is a quasi-affine variety such that O(X) = k, then X consists of only one point. 5. Local rings and rational functions Let X be a quasi-affine variety and W an irreducible closed subset of X. Definition 5.1. The local ring of X at W is the k-algebra O X,W := lim O(U). U W Here the direct limit is over the open subsets of X with U W, ordered by reverse inclusion, and where for U 1 U 2, the map O(U 2 ) O(U 1 ) is given by restriction of functions. Remark 5.2. Note that the poset indexing the above direct limit is filtering: given any two open subsets U 1 and U 2 that intersect W nontrivially, we have U 1 U 2 W (we use here the fact that W is irreducible). Because of this, the elements of O X,W can be described as pairs (U, ϕ), where U is open with W U and ϕ O(U), modulo the following equivalence relation: (U 1, ϕ 1 ) (U 2, ϕ 2 ) if there is an open subset U U 1 U 2, with U W, such that ϕ 1 U = ϕ 2 U. Operations are defined by restricting to the intersection: for example, we have (U 1, ϕ 1 ) + (U 2, ϕ 2 ) = (U 1 U 2, ϕ 1 U1 U 2 + ϕ 2 U1 U 2 ). In order to describe O X,W, we begin with the following lemma. Lemma 5.3. If W is an irreducible closed subset of X and V is an open subset of X with V W, we have a canonical k-algebra isomorphism O X,W O V,W V.

21 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 21 Proof. The assertion follows from the fact that the following subset {U V U open, U W } {U X U open, U W } is final. Explicitly, we have the morphism O V,W V O X,W, (U, ϕ) (U, ϕ), with inverse O X,W O V,W V, (U, ϕ) (U V, ϕ U V ). Given a quasi-affine variety X, the open subsets of X that are affine varieties give a basis for the topology of X (see Remark 4.20). By Lemma 5.3, we see that it is enough to compute O X,W when X is an affine variety. This is the content of the next result. Proposition 5.4. Let X be an affine variety and W an irreducible closed subset of X. If p O(X) is the prime ideal corresponding to W, then we have a canonical isomorphism O X,W O(X) p. In particular, O X,W is a local ring, with maximal ideal consisting of classes of pairs (U, ϕ), with ϕ U W = 0. Proof. Since the principal affine open subsets of X form a basis for the topology of X, we obtain using Proposition 4.7 a canonical isomorphism O X,W lim f O(X) f, where the direct limit on the right-hand side is over those f O(X) such that D X (f) W. This condition is equivalent to f p and it is straightforward to check that the maps O(X) f O(X) p induce an isomorphism lim O(X) f O(X) p. f The last assertion in the proposition follows easily from the fact that O(X) p is a local ring, with maximal ideal po(x) p There are two particularly interesting cases of this definition. First, if we take W = {x}, for a point x X, we obtain the local ring O X,x of X at x. Its elements are germs of regular functions at x. This is a local ring, whose maximal ideal consists of germs of functions vanishing at x. As we will see, this local ring is responsible for the properties of X in a neighborhood of x. If X is an affine variety and m is the maximal ideal corresponding to x, then Proposition 5.4 gives an isomorphism O X,x O(X) m. Exercise 5.5. Let f : X Y be a morphism of quasi-affine varieties, and let Z X be a closed irreducible subset. Recall that by Exercise 3.16, we know that W := f(z) is irreducible. Show that we have an induced morphism of k-algebras g : O Y,W O X,Z

22 22 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES and that g is a local homomorphism of local rings (that is, it maps the maximal ideal of O Y,W inside the maximal ideal of O X,Z ). If X and Y are affine varieties, and p = I X (Z) and q = I Y (W ) = (f # ) 1 (p), then via the isomorphisms given by Proposition 5.4, g gets identified to the homomorphism induced by f # via localization. O(Y ) q O(X) p Exercise 5.6. Let X and Y be quasi-affine varieties. By the previous exercise, if f : X Y is a morphism, p X is a point, and f(p) = q, then f induces a local ring homomorphism ϕ: O Y,q O X,p. i) Show that if f : X Y is another morphism with f (p) = q, and induced homomorphism ϕ : O Y,y O X,x, then ϕ = ϕ if and only if there is an open neighborhood U of p such that f U = g U. ii) Show that given any local morphism of local k-algebras ψ : O Y,q O X,p, there is an open neighborhood W of p, and a morphism g : W Y with g(p) = q, and inducing ψ. iii) Deduce that O X,p and O Y,q are isomorphic as k-algebras if and only if there are open neighborhoods W of p and V of q, and an isomorphism h: W V, with h(p) = q. Another important example of local ring of X occurs when X is an irreducible variety and we take W = X. The resulting local ring is, in fact, a field, the field of rational functions k(x) of X. Indeed, if U X is an affine open subset, then it follows from Lemma 5.3 and Proposition 5.4 that k(x) is isomorphic to the field of fractions of the domain O(X). The elements of k(x) are rational functions on X, that is, pairs (U, ϕ), where U is a nonempty open subset of X and ϕ: U k is a regular function, where we identify two such pairs if the two functions agree on some nonempty open subset of their domains (in fact, as we will see shortly, in this case they agree on the intersection of their domains). We now discuss in more detail rational functions and, more generally, rational maps. Lemma 5.7. If X and Y are quasi-affine varieties and f 1 and f 2 are two morphisms X Y, then the subset {a X f 1 (a) = f 2 (a)} X is closed. Proof. If Y is a locally closed subset in A n, then we write f i = (f i,1,..., f i,n ) for i = 1, 2. With this notation, we have n {a X f 1 (a) = f 2 (a)} = {a X (f 1,j f 2,j )(a) = 0}, j=1 hence this set is closed in X, since each function f 1,j f 2,j is regular, hence continuous.

23 CHAPTER 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES 23 Definition 5.8. Let X and Y be quasi-affine varieties. A rational map f : X Y is given by a pair (U, ϕ), where U is a dense, open subset of X and ϕ: U Y is a morphism, and where we identify (U 1, ϕ 1 ) with (U 2, ϕ 2 ) if there is an open dense subset V U 1 U 2 such that ϕ 1 V = ϕ 2 V. In fact, in this case we have ϕ 1 U1 U 2 = ϕ 2 U1 U 2 by Lemma 5.7. We also note that since U 1 and U 2 are dense open subsets of X, then also U 1 U 2 is a dense subset of X. Remark 5.9. If f : X Y is a rational map and (U i, ϕ i ) are the representatives of f, then we can define a map ϕ: U = i U i Y by ϕ(u) = ϕ i (u) if u U i. This is well-defined and it is a morphism, since its restriction to each of the U i is a morphism. Moreover, (U, ϕ) is a representative of f. The open subset U, the largest one on which a representative of f is defined, is the domain of definition of f. Definition Given a quasi-affine variety X, the set of rational functions X k is denoted by k(x). Since the intersection of two dense open sets is again open and dense, we may define the sum and product of two rational functions. For example, given two rational functions with representatives (U 1, ϕ 1 ) and (U 2, ϕ 2 ), we define their sum by the representative (U 1 U 2, ϕ 1 U1 U 2 + ϕ 2 U1 U 2 ), and similarly for the product. It is straightforward to see that using also scalar multiplication, k(x) is a k-algebra. Note that when X is irreducible, we recover our previous definition. Exercise Let X be a quasi-affine variety, and let X 1,..., X r be its irreducible components. Show that there is a canonical isomorphism k(x) k(x 1 ) k(x r ). Exercise Let W be the closed subset in A 2, defined by x 2 + y 2 = 1. What is the domain of definition of the rational function on W given by 1 y x? Our next goal is to define a category in which the arrows are given by rational function. For simplicity, we only consider irreducible varieties. Definition A morphism f : X Y is dominant if Y = f(x). Equivalently, for every nonempty open subset V Y, we have f 1 (V ). Note that if U is open and dense in X, then f is dominant if and only if the composition U X f Y is dominant. We can thus define the same notion for rational maps: if f : X Y is a rational map with representative (U, ϕ), we say that f is dominant if ϕ: U Y is dominant. Suppose that X, Y, and Z are irreducible quasi-affine varieties and f : X Y and g : Y Z are rational maps, with f dominant. In this case we may define the composition g f, which is a rational map; moreover, if g is dominant, too, then g f is dominant. Indeed, choose a representative (U, ϕ) for f and a representative (V, ψ) for g. Since the morphism ϕ: U Y is dominant, it follows that W := ϕ 1 (V ) is nonempty. We then take g f to be the rational function defined by the composition W f W V Z.

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