# AN INTRODUCTION TO GALOIS THEORY

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1 AN INTRODUCTION TO GALOIS THEORY STEVEN DALE CUTKOSKY In these notes we consider the problem of constructing the roots of a polynomial. Suppose that F is a subfield of the complex numbers, and f(x) is a polynomial over F. We wish to give a rational formula for constructing the roots of f(x). The quadratic formula is an example of such a formula. Let f(x) = ax 2 + bx + c, where a 0. We make the substitution y = x + b 2a to obtain the equation y 2 = b2 4a 2 c a, which yields a formula for the two roots of f(x), x = b ± b 2 4ac. 2a This formula was known in ancient times, while formulas for solving cubic and quadric equations where discovered in the Renaissance. Suppose that f(x) = ax 3 + bx 2 + cx + d, with a 0. We first make the substitution y = x + b 3a to obtain the equation y 3 + py + q = 0 (with p = c a b2 3a 2, q = d a bc 3a 2 + 2b3 27a 3 ). Now make the substitution y = z p 3z z 3 p3 27z 3 + q = 0. We multiply the equation by z 3 and use the quadratic formula to obtain to obtain z 3 = q q 2 ± p3 27. Taking cube roots, we obtain six solutions for z. Substituting into y = z p 3z we obtain 3 distinct solutions. Next, we solve the quartic equation. Suppose that f(x) = ax 4 + bx 3 + cx 2 + dx + e with a 0. substitute z = x + b 4a to obtain the equation For all u C, this expression is equal to z 4 + pz 2 + qz + r = 0. (1) z 4 + z 2 u + u2 4 z2 u u2 4 + pz2 + qz + r = 0, or (z 2 + u 2 )2 [(u p)z 2 qz + ( u2 r)] = 0. 4 Date: November 16,

2 Let P = z 2 + u 2. The quadratic polynomial (u p)z2 qz +( u2 4 r) is of the form Q2, where Q is a linear polynomial in z, precisely when the discriminant of (u p)z 2 qz + ( u2 4 r) is zero. This occurs for values of u such that q 2 = 4(u p)( u2 4 r). Solving this cubic equation for u, we set u to be a root of this equation, so that (1) has the form 0 = P 2 Q 2 = (P + Q)(P Q), or (2) (z 2 + u 2 + L)(z2 + u 2 L) = 0 where L is a linear function of z. Equation (2) is a product of two quadratic equations, each of which can be solved for z using the quadratic formula. We have thus obtained the solutions to our quartic equation f(x). At this point, one may wonder if, with sufficient cleverness, it may be possible to solve fifth and higher degree equations. This is actually not the case, as was discovered only in the nineteenth century, by Abel, Ruffini and Galois. The remainder of these notes will be devoted to proving the insolvability of higher degree equations. All rings R will be assumed to have a multiplicative identity 1 R. We will denote 1 R by 1 when there is no danger of confusion. All ring homomorphisms Φ : R S will be required to satisfy Φ(1 R ) = 1 S. In particular, if R is a field, then Φ is 1-1. Suppose that R, S are commutative rings (with identity), and U is a subset of S. We define the subring of S generated by R and U by R[U] = { r 1 i 1 =0 If U = {u}, r n r n=0 a i1 i n u i 1 1 u in n n N, u 1,..., u n U, r 1,..., r n N and a i1 i n R}. R[u] = { r a i u i r N and a i R}. i=0 Suppose that K is a subfield of a field L, and U is a subset of L. We define the subfield of L generated by K and U to be K(U) = { f g f, g K[U] and g 0}. The polynomial ring in the indeterminates {x 1,..., x n } is a ring R[x 1,..., x n ] generated by R and the set {x 1,..., x n } which has the property that for a polynomial with coefficients a i1 i n R, f(x 1,..., x n ) = r 1 i 1 =0 r n r n=0 a i1 i n x i 1 1 x in n = 0 if and only if all coefficients a i1 i n = 0. The polynomial ring R[x 1,..., x n ] has the following universal property. Theorem 0.1. Suppose that Φ : R S is a ring homomorphism (of commutative rings with identity), and u 1,..., u n S. Then there is a unique ring homomorphism Φ : R[x 1,..., x n ] S such that Φ(r) = r for r R and Φ(x i ) = u i for 1 i n. 2

3 Suppose that F is a subfield of a field K, and u K. u is called algebraic over F if there exist a positive integer n and a 0, a 1,..., a n F not all zero such that a 0 +a u + +a n u n = 0. u is called transcendental over F if u is not algebraic over F. By the universal property of polynomial rings, there is a surjective ring homomorphism Ψ : F [x] F [u] such that Ψ(f(x)) = f(u) for f(x) F [x]. Let I be the kernel of Ψ. Since F [x] is a PID, I = (f) = {fg g F [x]} for some f F [x]. By the first isomorphism theorem, Ψ : F [x]/i F [u] defined by Ψ(g + I) = Ψ(g) is a ring isomorphism. Since F [u] is a domain, I is a prime ideal in F [x] and thus either I is the zero ideal, or f(x) is irreducible in F [x]. There is a relation a 0 + a 1 u + + a n u n = 0 in F [u] with n a nonnegative integer and a i F for all i if and only if the polynomial g(x) = a 0 + a 1 x + + a n x n is in the kernel I of Ψ. Thus u is transcendental over F if and only if the Kernel I of Ψ is the zero ideal. If u is transcendental over F, then F [u] is (isomorphic to) a polynomial ring, so F [u] is not a field. The field F (u) generated by F and u is the rational function field F (u) = { f(x) g(x) f, g F [x] and g 0}. The statement that u is transcendental over F is equivalent to the statement that the set {u i i N} is a basis of F [u]. Suppose that u is algebraic over F, so that the kernel I of Ψ is generated by an irreducible polynomial f(x). Since the units in F [x] are the nonzero elements of F, there is a unique monic polynomial f(x) which generates I. A polynomial f(x) is monic if its leading coefficient is 1. That is, f(x) has an expression f(x) = a 0 + a 1 x + + a n 1 x n 1 + x n for some n 1. This unique monic polynomial f(x) which generates the kernel I of Ψ is called the minimal polynomial of u. We say that u is a root of a polynomial g(x) F [x] if g(u) = 0 (or equivalently g I). Theorem 0.2. Suppose that F is a field and u is algebraic over F. minimal polynomial of u over F. Then Let f(x) be the 1. f(x) is the monic polynomial in F [x] of smallest degree with the property that f(u) = f is irreducible in F [x]. 3. u is a root of g(x) F [x] if and only if f divides g. The following criteria is useful for finding the minimal polynomial. Corollary 0.3. Suppose that F is a field and u is algebraic over F. A polynomial f(x) F [x] is the minimal polynomial of u over F if and only if 1. u is a root of f. 2. f is monic and irreducible in F [x] Lemma 0.4. Suppose that R is a domain which contains a field F such that R is a finite dimensional vector space over F. Then R is a field. 3

4 Proof. Suppose a R is a nonzero element. Define T : R R by T (b) = ab for b R. The kernel of T is {0} since T is a domain. Since R is a finite dimensional vector space, T is onto by the rank nullity theorem. Thus there exists b R such that ab = 1. Lemma 0.5. Suppose that u is algebraic over F with minimal polynomial f(x) F [x]. Let n = deg(f). Then F [u] is an n-dimensional vector space over F. Further, {1, u,..., u n 1 } is an F -basis of F. Thus F [u] is a field. Proof. Suppose that β F [u]. Then β = g(u) for some polynomial g(x) F [x]. By Euclidean division, g(x) = q(x)f(x) + r(x) where q, r F [x] and deg(r) < n. β = g(u) = q(u)f(u) + r(u) = r(u). Thus {1, u, u 2,..., u n 1 } span F [u] as a vector space over F. Suppose that there is a relation a 0 + a 1 u + a 2 u a n 1 u n 1 = 0 for some a 0, a 1,..., a n 1 F. Let g(x) = a 0 +a 1 x+ +a n 1 x n 1 F [x]. Since g(u) = 0, we have that f divides g in F [x]. If g 0 we must then have that n 1 deg(g) deg(f) = n, a contradiction. Thus we must have that g = 0, and we see that {1, u,..., u n 1 } are linearly independent over F and are thus a basis of F [u]. F [u] is a field by Lemma 0.4. Definition 0.6. Suppose that F is a subfield of a field K, so that K is a vector space over F. Denote the dimension of K as a vector space over F by [K : F ]. Thus u is algebraic over F if and only if [F [u] : F ] <. A useful criterion for irreducibility of polynomials of small degree is the following lemma. Lemma 0.7. Suppose that F is a field and f(x) F [x] is a nonzero polynomial of degree 2 or 3. Then f(x) is irreducible if and only if f has no root in F. Example 0.8. The above criterion is not valid for polynomials of degree 4. A simple example is f(x) = (x 2 + 1) 2 Q[x] which has no root in Q, but is not irreducible. Lemma 0.9. Suppose that f(x) = a 0 + a 1 x + + a n x n with a i Z and a n 0. Suppose that γ Q is a root of f(x). Write γ = α β where α, β are relatively prime integers. Then α divides a 0 and β divides a n. Example f(x) = x is the minimal polynomial of 1 over Q. [Q[i] : Q] = 2. The n-th roots of unity in a field F is the set {ξ F ξ n = 1}. In C, the n-th roots of unity is the set {e m2π 1 n 0 m n 1}. Example Suppose that p is a prime number. Let ξ = e 2π 1 p C. ξ p = 1 so that ξ is a root of the polynomial x p 1 Q[x]. x p 1 factors as the product x p 1 = (x p 1 + x p x + 1)(x 1) in Q[x]. Since ξ 1 0, ξ is a root of the cyclotomic polynomial f(x) = x p 1 + x p x + 1. Since p is a prime, f(x) is irreducible in Q[x] by Eisenstein s criterion. Thus f(x) is the minimal polynomial of ξ over Q. Q[ξ] = Q[x]/(f(x)) and [Q[ξ] : Q] = p 1. Returning to Example 0.10, observe that ( 1) 4 = 1 but [Q[ 1] : Q] = 2, not 3. This is because the cyclotomic polynomial x 3 + x 2 + x + 1 = (x + 1)(x 2 + 1) is not irreducible. Lemma Suppose that K L M are fields. Then [M : K] = [M : L][L : K]. 4

5 Lemma 0.12 is proven by showing that if {u i } is a basis of L over K and {v j } is a basis of M over L, then {u i v j } is a basis of M over K. Definition Suppose that F is a field and f(x) F [x] is a nonzero polynomial. An extension field E of F is a splitting field of f(x) over F if the following two conditions hold: 1. f(x) factors into a product of linear factors in E[x]. That is, there exist distinct elements u 1,..., u k E, a nonzero element c F and positive integers e 1,..., e k such that (3) f(x) = c(x u 1 ) e 1 (x u 2 ) e2 (x u k ) e k. 2. E = F [u 1,..., u k ] (so that E is generated by the roots of f(x) and F ). We say that f has multiple roots if some e i > 1 in (3). Theorem Suppose that F is a field and f(x) is an irreducible polynomial in F [x]. Then there exists an extension field K = F [α] of F such that f(α) = 0. Proof. Set K = F [x]/(f(x)). Let α = x + (f(x)). We have f(α) = f(x) + (f(x)) = 0. Theorem Suppose that F is a field, and f(x) F [x] is a nonzero polynomial. Then there exists a splitting field E of f(x) over F. Proof. We prove the theorem by induction on the degree of f(x). Let p(x) be an irreducible factor of f(x) in F [x]. By Theorem 0.14 there exists an extension field K = F [α] of F such that α is a root of p(x). Thus f(x) is a product of the linear polynomial (x α) and a polynomial g(x) K[x]. By induction, there exists a splitting field E of g(x) over K. Thus E is a splitting field of f(x) over F. Example Suppose that Suppose that f(x) = ax 2 + bx + c Q[x] is irreducible. Then b 2 4ac 0, so that f has two distinct roots u 1 = b + b 2 4ac 2a and u 2 = b b 2 4ac 2a (where b 2 4ac is a choice of square root). K = Q[u 1, u 2 ] is a splitting field of f(x) over Q. We have K = Q[u 1 ] since u 2 = u 1 b a Q[u 1]. [K : Q] = 2 since Q[u 1 ] = Q[x]/(f(x)). Example Let f(x) = x 3 2 Q[x]. Let u = 3 2 be the (unique) real cube root of 2. Let ω = e 2π 1 3. f(x) = (x u)(x ωu)(x ω 2 u) in C[x]. Thus K = Q[u, ωu, ω 2 u] = Q[u, ω] is a splitting field of f(x) over Q. Observe that Q[u] is not equal to K, since Q[u] is contained in R, which does not contain ω. As f(x) has degree 3 and has no root in Q, f(x) is irreducible in Q[x] and is the minimal polynomial of u over Q. Thus Q[u] = Q[x]/(x 3 2), so [Q[u] : Q] = 3. Let L = Q[u]. x 2 + x + 1 = (x ω)(x ω 2 ). x 2 + x + 1 is irreducible in L[x] since x 2 + x + 1 has degree 2 and x 2 + x + 1 does not have a root in L. Thus K = L[ω] = L[x]/(x 2 + x + 1), and [K : L] = 2. We have [K : Q] = [K : L][L : Q] = 6. Example Let f(x) = x 3 + x + 1 Z 2 [x]. f(0) = f(1) = 1 so f has no roots in Z 2. Since f has degree 3, f(x) is irreducible in Z 2 [x]. Let K = F [x]/(f(x)), an extension field 5

6 of Z 2. Set α = x + (f(x)). K = Z 2 [α]. α is a root of f(x) since α 3 + α + 1 = 0. We have a factorization x 3 + x + 1 = (x + α)(x + α 2 )(x + α + α 2 ). Thus K is a splitting field of f(x) over Z 2. [K : Z 2 ] = 3. K consists of the 8 elements K = {s + tα + uα 2 s, t, u Z 2 }. Definition A field F is algebraically closed if f(x) F [x] and deg(f) > 0 implies f(x) has a root in F. By Euclidian division, a field F is algebraically closed if and only if every polynomial f(x) F [x] factors into a product of linear factors in F [x]. Definition A field K is an algebraic closure of a field F if K is algebraic over F and K is algebraically closed. The algebraic closure of a field is uniquely determined up to isomorphism. Theorem Every field has an algebraic closure. The idea of the proof of Theorem 0.21 is to successively apply Theorem 0.15 to all polynomials in F [x]. This requires some care, as F could have a large cardinality. By the fundamental theorem of algebra, C is algebraically closed. As C is algebraic over R, C is the algebraic closure of R. Define Q = {u C u is algebraic over Q}. Q is an algebraic closure of Q. As there are transcendental numbers such as π and e, Q is strictly smaller than C. Since Q is countable, the polynomials Q[x] are countable. Since every polynomial of a fixed degree d has at most d roots, we conclude that Q is countable. Since R is uncountable, C is uncountable. Thus C is vastly larger than Q. Definition Suppose that F is a subfield of a field K. t 1,..., t r are algebraically independent over F if f(t 1,..., t r ) 0 for every nonzero polynomial f(x 1,..., x r ) in the polynomial ring F [x 1,..., x r ]. It follows from the definition that the surjective ring homomorphism F [x 1,..., x r ] F [t 1,..., t r ] defined by f(x 1,..., x r ) f(t 1,..., t r ) is an isomorphism if and only if t 1,... t r are algebraically independent over F. Lemma Suppose that r is a positive integer. Let L be a subfield of C which is algebraic over Q. Then there exist t 1,..., t r C which are algebraically independent over L. Proof. Suppose that there exists a number r such that there do not exist t 1,..., t r C which are algebraically independent over L. Let r be the smallest number with this property. Set s = r 1. Then there exist elements t 1,..., t s in C such that t 1,..., t s are algebraically independent over L and C is algebraic over the field K = L(t 1,..., t s ). Thus 6

7 C is an algebraic closure of K. K is countable since L is countable (as L Q). Thus the algebraic closure C of K is countable (by the argument we used to show that Q is countable). This is a contradiction, since C is uncountable. Definition Suppose that F is a subfield of a field K. The F -automorphisms of K is the group Aut F K = { field automorphisms σ : K K σ(a) = a for a F }. Suppose that η : F K is a homomorphism of fields. We have an induced homomorphism of polynomial rings η : F [x] K[x], defined by for η(f(x)) = η(a 0 ) + η(a 1 )x + + η(a n )x n f(x) = a 0 + a 1 x a n x n F [x], with a 0,..., a n F. Denote η(f(x)) by f η (x). We have (fg) η = f η g η for f, g F [x]. Theorem Suppose that η : F F is an isomorphism of a field F onto a field F. Let K be an extension field of F and K be an extension field of F. Suppose that b K is algebraic over F with minimal polynomial g(x). Then η can be extended to a homomorphism ζ : F [b] K if and only if g η (x) has a root in K. If g η (x) has a root in K, then the number of such extensions is equal to the number of distinct roots of g η (x) in E. Proof. Suppose that an extension ζ : F [b] K exists. Write with a i F. Then g(x) = a 0 + a 1 x + a 2 x a n 1 x n 1 + x n 0 = ζ(0) = ζ(g(b)) = ζ(a 0 + a 1 b + a 2 b a n 1 b n 1 + b n ) = ζ(a 0 ) + ζ(a 1 )ζ(b) + ζ(a 2 )ζ(b) ζ(a n 1 )ζ(b) n 1 + ζ(b) n = η(a 0 ) + η(a 1 )ζ(b) + η(a 2 )ζ(b) η(a n 1 )ζ(b) n 1 + ζ(b) n = g η (ζ(b)). Thus ζ(b) is a root of g η in K. We further have that ζ is completely determined by ζ(b). Conversely, suppose that α is a root of g η (x) in K. g η (x) is the minimal polynomial of α over F since g η (x) is irreducible in F [x] (as η is an isomorphism). Thus F [α] = F [x]/(g η (x)). The isomorphism η : F [x] F [x] takes the ideal (g(x)) to the ideal (g η (x)). Thus we have an induced isomorphism F [x]/(g(x) = F [x]/(g η (x)). Since F [b] = F [x]/(g(x)), we may compose these isomorphisms to obtain an isomorphism ζ : F [b] = F [α] which extends η, and such that ζ(b) = α. Corollary Suppose that F is a field, and f(x) is an irreducible polynomial in F [x]. Let K = F [x]/(f(x)). Then Aut F K is the number of distinct roots of f(x) in K. Theorem (Extension Theorem) Suppose that η : F F is an isomorphism of a field F onto a field F. Suppose that f(x) F [x] is a nonzero polynomial, and let f η (x) be the corresponding polynomial in F. Let E be a splitting field of f(x) over F and E be a splitting field of f η (x) over F. Then η can be extended to an isomorphism of E onto E. Moreover, the number of such extensions is less than or equal to [E : F ] and it is precisely [E : F ] if f η (x) has no multiple roots in E. 7

8 Proof. We prove the theorem by induction on [E : F ]. Let p(x) be an irreducible factor of f(x) in F [x] of degree d 1. Then p η is an irreducible factor of f η in F [x]. p η has e d = [F [u] : F ] distinct roots v 1,..., v e in E. Let u be a root of p in E. By Theorem 0.25, there are e distinct extensions of η to a homomorphism from F [u] to E, η i : F [u] F [v i ], where η i (u) = v i. These are all of the extensions of η to a homomorphism η : F [u] E since η (u) must be a root of p η in E. By induction (replacing F with F [u] and F with F [v i ]), for 1 i e, there are less than or equal to [E : F [u]] extensions of η i : F [u] E to a homomorphism E E. Hence there are less than or equal to [E : F [u]][f [u] : F ] = [E : F ] extensions of η to E, with equality if f η (x) has no multiple roots in E. Such an extension η of η to E takes a basis of E as a vector space over F to a basis of the image of η as a vector space over F. Thus [E : F ] [E : F ]. Applying the above proof to η 1 : F F, we see that [E : F ] [E : F ], so that [E : F ] = [E : F ]. Thus all extensions of η to a homomorphism η from E to E are isomorphisms. Remark We will see in Corollary 0.37, that if F is a field of characteristic zero, then any splitting field E over F of a polynomial in F [x] is the splitting field of a polynomial with no multiple roots. Theorem Suppose that K is a splitting field of a nonzero polynomial f(x) F [x] of degree n. Then Aut F K is isomorphic to a subgroup of S n and thus Aut F K n!. Proof. Let u 1,..., u k be the distinct roots of f(x) in K, so that K = F [u 1,..., u k ]. Write f(x) = a 0 + a 1 x + a 2 x a n x n with a i F and a n 0. Suppose that σ Aut F K. Then for 1 i k, 0 = σ(0) = σ(f(u i )) = σ(a 0 + a 1 u i + a 2 u 2 i + + a nu n i ) = σ(a 0 ) + σ(a 1 )σ(u i ) + σ(a 2 )σ(u i ) σ(a n )σ(u i ) n = a 0 + a 1 σ(u i ) + a 2 σ(u i ) a n σ(u i ) n = f(σ(u i )). Thus an element σ Aut F (K) permutes the roots of f(x). Further, since K is generated by {u 1,..., u k } and F, σ fixes all of these roots if and only if σ is the identity map. Thus the map Λ : Aut F K Sym({u 1,..., u k }) defined by restriction to the set {u 1,..., u k } is a 1-1 group homomorphism. If k n, we can include {u 1,..., u k } into a set with n elements to get an inclusion of groups Sym({u 1,..., u k }) into S n. Example Recall from Example 0.17 that K = Q[u, ω] is a splitting field of x 3 2 over Q, where u = 3 2 is the real cube root of 2 and ω = e 2π 1 3. Let L = Q[u]. [L : Q] = 3 but Aut Q L = {id} by Corollary 0.26 since u is the only root of x 3 2 in L. We will determine Aut Q K by computing its action on the set of roots {u, ωu, ωu 2 } of x 3 2. Recall from Example 0.17 that K = L[ω] = L[x]/(x 2 + x + 1). Since ω, ω 2 K are the two roots of x 2 + x + 1, it follows from Theorem 0.25 and Corollary 0.26 that Aut L K = Z 2 with generator σ which satisfies σ(ω) = ω 2 and σ(t) = t for t L. Thus σ(u) = u, σ(uω) = uω 2, σ(uω 2 ) = uω. Let M = Q[ω]. [M[u] : M] = [K : M] = [K : Q]/[M : Q] = 3. Thus the minimal polynomial of u over M has degree 3. Since u is a root of the degree 3 monic polynomial x 3 2 M[x], x 3 2 is the minimal polynomial of u over M. Thus 8

9 K = M[u] = M[x]/(x 3 2). By Corollary 0.26, Aut M K = Z 3 since x 3 2 has 3 roots in K. By Theorem 0.25, a generator of Aut M K is the M-automorphism τ which satisfies τ(u) = ωu. Thus τ(u) = ωu, τ(uω) = uω 2, τ(uω 2 ) = u. We have inclusions of groups Aut L K Aut Q K and Aut M K Aut Q K. Thus Aut Q K contains an element of order two and an element of order 3. Since Aut Q K is a subgroup of S 3 by Theorem 0.29, we have that Aut Q K = S 3 is generated by σ and τ. Definition Suppose that F is a field. A nonzero polynomial f(x) F [x] of degree n is separable over F if it has n distinct roots in a splitting field N of f over F. If f(x) is not separable over F, it is called inseparable. Definition Suppose that F is a field, and f(x) F [x] is a polynomial. f(x) = a 0 + a 1 x + + a n x n with a i F. The formal derivative of f(x) is f (x) = a 1 + 2a 2 x + 3a 3 x na n x n 1. Lemma Suppose that f, g F [x]. Then 1. (f+g) =f +g. 2. (fg) = fg + f g. 3. Suppose that m N. Then (f m ) = mf m 1 f. Write Suppose that F is a subfield of a field K, and f(x), g(x) F [x] are polynomials. Recall that a greatest common divisor of f(x) and g(x) in F [x] is a greatest common divisor of f(x) and g(x) in K[x]. To prove this, observe that a greatest common divisor of f(x) and g(x) in F [x] is a generator d of the principal ideal generated by f and g in F [x]. Thus d is also a generator of the ideal generated by f and g in K[x], and thus d is a greatest common divisor of f and g in K[x] also. Theorem Suppose that F is a field and f(x) F [x] is a nonzero polynomial. Then f(x) is separable over F if and only if 1 is a greatest common divisor of f and f. Proof. Let N be a splitting field of f over F. Let u 1,..., u k be the distinct roots of f(x) in N. Then there exist positive integers e 1,..., e k and a nonzero c F such that We have f(x) = c(x u 1 ) e 1 (x u 2 ) e2 (x u k ) e k. f (x) = c ( e 1 (x u 1 ) e 1 1 (x u 2 ) e2 (x u k ) e k + (x u 1 ) e 1 [(x u 2 ) e2 (x u k ) e k ] ). Thus (x u 1 ) divides f (x) in N[x] if and only if e 1 > 1. The same argument applied to other factors of f(x) shows that x u i divides f (x) in N[x] if and only if e i > 1. Since the only irreducible factors of f(x) in N[x] are x u i, 1 i k, we have that 1 is a greatest common divisor of f and f if and only if e i = 1 for 1 i k. Corollary Suppose that F is a field and f(x) F [x] is an irreducible polynomial. Then f(x) is separable unless its formal derivative is zero. Proof. Suppose that f(x) is not separable. Since 1 is not a greatest common divisor of f and f, and f(x) is irreducible, we have that f(x) divides f (x). Thus f = 0 since deg(f ) < deg(f). 9

10 Corollary Suppose that F is a field of characteristic zero. If f(x) F [x] is an irreducible polynomial, then f(x) is separable. Proof. Since F has characteristic zero, and f(x) has positive degree, f (x) 0. Corollary If K is a splitting field over a field F of characteristic zero of a polynomial f(x) F [x], then K is the splitting field of a separable polynomial over F. Proof. Let g be the product of the distinct irreducible factors of f in F [x]. Then K is the splitting field of g(x). The irreducible factors of g(x) are separable by Corollary Since the irreducible factors of g must be relatively prime (in F [x] and K[x]), they have no common roots. Thus g is separable Example Let F = Z p (t) where p is a prime number and t is an indeterminate. Let f(x) = x p t F [x]. f(x) is irreducible but f(x) is not separable over F, as f(x) = (x p t) p. A splitting field of f over F is K = F [ p t]. [K : F ] = p, but Aut F K = {id}. Theorem Suppose that N is the splitting field of a separable polynomial f(x) F [x]. Then Aut F N = [N : F ]. Proof. By the Extension Theorem (Theorem 0.27), the identity automorphism of F extends to [N : F ] distinct automorphisms of N, since f(x) has no multiple roots. Definition Let G be a finite group of automorphisms of a field K. Define the fixed field K G of G by K G = {a K σ(a) = a for all a K}. The fact that K G is a field follows from the facts that K is a field and G is a group of automorphisms. The fixed field of Aut F K necessarily contains F. Definition Suppose that F is a subfield of a field K and K is finite over F (that is [K : F ] < ). We say that K is Galois over F (or K/F is Galois) if F is the fixed field of Aut F K. If F is a subfield of a field K and L is the fixed field of Aut F K, then K is Galois over L. Theorem Suppose that F is a subfield of a field N. Then N is the splitting field of a separable polynomial f(x) F [x] if and only if N/F is Galois. Proof. First suppose that N is a splitting field of a separable polynomial f(x) F [x]. Let K be the fixed field of Aut F N. Then N is a splitting field of F over K and f(x) is separable over K also. By applying Theorem 0.39 to both subfields F and K of N, we have Aut F N = [N : F ] = [N : K][K : F ] = Aut K N [K : F ]. Since Aut F N = Aut K N, we have [K : F ] = 1 and thus K = F, since 1 is then a basis of K as a vector space over F. Now suppose that N is Galois over F. Let G = Aut F N. N = F [u 1,..., u k ] for some u i N. For 1 i k, let a i,1,..., a i,λi be the distinct elements of the set S i = {σ(u i ) σ G}. Any two of these sets S i are either disjoint or equal. After reindexing, we may assume that the first n sets S 1,..., S n are pairwise disjoint, and every S i for 1 i k is one of 10

11 these sets. We have that N is generated over F be the sets S 1,..., S n. Let n λ i f(x) = (x a i,j ) N[x]. f(x) is separable, and f η (x) = i=1 j=1 n λ i (x η(a i,j )) = f(x) i=1 j=1 for η G, since η permutes the a ij S i. Thus η fixes the coefficients of f(x), and it follows that f(x) F [x], since F is the fixed field of G. Thus N is a splitting field of f over F. Example The splitting field K of an irreducible (and hence separable) quadratic polynomial f(x) Q[x] (Example 0.16) is Galois with Aut Q K = Z 2. Example Let u = 3 2 be the real cube root of 2, and let ω = e 2π 1 3, a cube root of unity. Let K be the splitting field of x 3 2 over Q constructed in Examples 0.17 and f = x 3 2 is separable (f = 3x 2 0). Thus K is Galois over Q. We showed that Aut Q K = S 3. The intermediate field L = Q[u] is not Galois over Q, as the only root of x 3 2 in L is u. We computed that Aut Q L = {id}, so 1 = Aut Q L < [L : Q] = 3. However, K is Galois over L with Aut L K = Z 2. Let M = Q[ω]. M is a splitting field for the separable polynomial g = x 2 + x + 1 over Q (g = 2x 0) so M is Galois over Q. We have Aut Q M = Z 2. K is Galois over M with Aut M K = Z 3. Theorem Let F be a field of characteristic zero, and r be a positive integer. Then there exists an extension field K of F and a splitting field N of F such that Aut K N = S r. Proof. Let t 1,..., t r be algebraically independent over F. Expand the product f(x) = (x t 1 )(x t 2 ) (x t r ) as f(x) = x r P 1 x r 1 + +( 1) r P r with each P i F [t 1,..., t r ]. P 1,..., P r are called the elementary symmetric functions of t 1,..., t r. For every σ S r, we have (by Theorem 0.1) an F -automorphism T σ : F [t 1,..., t r ] = F [t 1,..., t r ] defined by T σ (t i ) = t σ(i) for 1 i r. T σ induces an F -automorphism of N = F (t 1,..., t r ). Set K = F (P 1,..., P r ). We have that f(x) K[x], and N is a splitting field of f(x). We have T σ Aut K N for all σ S r. Thus Aut K N contains a subgroup isomorphic to S r. Since f(x) has degree r, Aut K N is then isomorphic to S r by Theorem Definition A finite group G is called solvable if it contains a chain of subgroups {0} = G s G s 1 G 2 G 1 = G such that G i+1 is a normal subgroup of G i for all i and G i /G i+1 is abelian for all i. Lemma Let G be a group and H a normal subgroup. Then G is solvable if and only if H and G/H are solvable. This is proven in Theorem I.3.2 [1]. Theorem The symmetric group S n is not solvable if n 5. This is proven in Theorem I.5.4 [1]. 11

12 Definition Suppose that F is a subfield of a field K. K is a radical extension of F if there exists a sequence of subfields (4) F = K 0 K 1 = F [u 1 ] K 2 = K 1 [u 2 ] K n = K n 1 [u n ] = K and for 1 i n there exist positive integers r i such that a i = u r i i K i 1. There are examples of field extensions F E K such that K is Galois over E and E is Galois over F but K is not Galois over F (see Exercise 15). Lemma Suppose that F is a field of characteristic zero and K is a radical extension of F. Then there exists a radical extension N of F which is Galois over F and contains K. Proof. Suppose that K is generated by v 1,..., v r over F. Let g i (x) be the minimal polynomial of v i over F, and let L be a splitting field of r i=1 g i over F which contains K (L exists by Theorem 0.15). L is Galois over F by Corollary 0.37 and Theorem Let G = Aut F L. Write K as a tower of fields of (4). Let n f(x) = (x σ(u i )). i=1 σ G We have that f τ = f for τ G, since τ permutes the roots of f, so the coefficents of f(x) are in the fixed field F of G. Thus f(x) F [x]. Index G as G = {σ 1,..., σ s }, where s = G = [L : F ]. Define E ij = Let N = E n,0. We have a tower of fields E 0,0 if i = j = 0, E i 1,s 1 [σ s (u i )] if i > 0 and j = 0, E i,j 1 [σ j (u i+1 )] if 1 j s 1. (5) F = E 0,0 E 0,1 E 0,s 1 E 1,0 E n 1,s 1 E n,0 = N. Further, σ j (u i+1 ) r i+1 = σ j (u r i+1 i+1 ) σ j(k i ) E i,0 E i,j 1 for all i and j. Thus (5) is a radical extension. Since N is a splitting field of f(x) over F, and F has characteristic zero, N is Galois over F by Theorem By our construction, N contains K. Definition Suppose that E is a splitting field of a separable polynomial f(x) F [x]. E is solvable by radicals over F (and f(x) = 0 is solvable by radicals over F ) if E is a subfield of a radical extension of F. Suppose that F is a field and f(x) F [x] is a polynomial. We would like to find a rational formula for constructing the roots of f(x); that is, we would like to break up the solution of f(x) = 0 into a sequence of operations on numbers already determined, each individual operation being addition, multiplication, subtraction or division or the extraction of an n-th root. An example of a rational formula for contructing roots is the quadratic formula. There are similar formulas for solving cubic and quartic equations (given at the beginning of these notes). The impossibility of finding such a formula for equations of degree 5 was found in the 19th century (by Abel, Ruffini and Galois). We will now prove this result. 12

13 If there is a rational formula for constructing the roots of f(x) F [x], then the roots of f(x) are contained in a radical extension K of F ; that is, f(x) is solvable by radicals over F. The formulas for solving cubics and quartics f(x) may lead to the construction of a radical extension K of F which properly contains a splitting field E of f(x). We will prove the impossibility of solving the general polynomial of degree 5. The proof is simpler if we assume that our field F already contains all roots of unity, so we make this assumption. Lemma Suppose that F is a subfield of C which contains all roots of unity and K = F [u] is a subfield of C where a = u r F. Then 1. K is a splitting field of x r a over F (so that K is Galois over F by Theorem 0.42). 2. Aut F K is isomorphic to Z s, where s divides r. Proof. The roots of x r a are τ i u for 0 i r 1, where τ = e 2π 1 r F. Thus τ i u K for all i, so that K is a splitting field of x r a over F. Let s be the smallest positive integer such that u s F. Write r = as+b with 0 b < s. u b = ur (u s ) F implies b = 0. Hence s divides r. let α = u s F. Let f(x) = x s α F [x]. a 1 Let ω = e 2π s F. Suppose that a monic nonconstant polynomial g(x) F [x] divides f(x). Let n s be the degree of g(x). Then the constant term of g(x) is ω i u n for some integer i, so that u n F. Thus n = s and g(x) = f(s), so that f(x) is irreducible in F [x]. Since f(u) = 0, f(x) is the minimal polynomial of u over F. By Theorem 0.25, the F -automorphisms of K are maps Φ i : K K for 1 i s 1, which are defined by the two conditions Φ i (u) = ω i u and Φ i (γ) = γ for γ F. For a given i, we have Φ i (u) = ω i u = Φ i 1 (u), and Φ i(γ) = Φ i 1 (γ) = γ for γ F. Thus Φ i = Φ i 1, and Aut F K = Z s with generator Φ 1. Lemma Suppose that F is a subfield of C which contains all roots of unity and K is a radical Galois extension of F which is contained in C. Then Aut F K is solvable. Proof. We have a sequence of fields (6) F = K 0 K 1 = F [u 1 ] K 2 = K 1 [u 2 ] K n = K n 1 [u n ] = K and there exist positive integers r i such that a i = u r i i K i 1, with u i K i 1. We prove that Aut F K is solvable by induction on [K : F ]. Given σ Aut F K, σ(u 1 ) is a root of x r 1 a 1 F [x]. Thus σ(u 1 ) = τu 1 where τ is an r 1 -th root of unity. It follows that σ : K 1 K 1. So restriction to K 1 gives us a homomorphism Λ : Aut F K Aut F K 1. Λ is a surjection since the Extension Theorem (Theorem 0.27) shows that any σ Aut F K 1 extends to Aut F K. Aut F K 1 = Zs for some s by Lemma The kernel of Λ is Kernel(Λ) = {σ Aut F K : the restriction σ K 1 = id} = Aut K1 K. By induction on [K : F ], we have that Aut K1 K is solvable, since K is a radical Galois extension of K 1, and [K : K 1 ] = [K : F ]/[K 1 : F ] < [K : F ]. Since the kernel and image of of Λ are solvable, Aut F K is solvable by Lemma Theorem Suppose that F is a subfield of C which contains all roots of unity and E is a subfield of C which is a splitting field over F such that E is solvable by radicals over F. Then Aut F E is solvable. 13

14 Proof. By Lemma 0.50, E is a subfield of a radical Galois extension K of F. K is a splitting field over E since K is a splitting field over F. Restriction to E gives a group homomorphism Aut F K Aut F E since E is a splitting field over F. Further, Aut F K Aut F E is onto by the Extension Theorem (Theorem 0.27). By Lemmas 0.53 and 0.47, Aut F E is solvable. Theorem For every integer r 5 there exists a subfield F of C and a polynomial f(x) F [x] of degree r which is not solvable by radicals over F. Proof. Let L be a subfield of Q which contains all roots of unity. By Lemma 0.23, there exist t 1,..., t r C which are algebraically independent over L. Let F = L(P 1,..., P r ) where P i are the elementary symmetric functions of the t i. Let K = F (t 1,..., t r ). K is a splitting field of f(x) = x r P 1 x r ( 1) r P r = (x t 1 )(x t 2 ) (x t r ) over F. Aut F K = S r by Theorem S r is not solvable for r 5 by Theorem 0.48, so f(x) is not solvable by radicals over F by Theorem 0.54 We end by stating a few more results, which will be useful in the exercises. Definition Suppose that K is an algebraic extension of a field F. K is a normal extension of F if every irreducible polynomial in F [x] which has a root in K is a product of linear factors in K[x]. Theorem Suppose that K is a splitting field of a polynomial f(x) F [x]. Then K is a normal extension of F. This is proven in Theorem 33 [1]. Theorem Let G be a finite group of automorphisms of a field K. Then (7) [K : K G ] G. Proof. Let F = K G. The fact that F is a field follows from the facts that K is a field and G is a group of automorphisms. Let n = G. Index G as G = {σ 1 = id, σ 2,..., σ n }. Suppose that u 1,..., u m K with m > n. We will show that u 1,..., u m are linearly independent over F. Since u 1,..., u m F are arbitrary, it will follow that [K : F ] n, which establishes (7). The homogeneous system of equations (8) m σ i (u j )x j = 0, 1 i n j=1 in the n unknowns x 1,..., x m has a nontrivial solution in K m since m > n. Choose a nontrivial solution (b 1,..., b m ) to (8) with the least number of nonzero b i. After possibly reordering the b i, we may assume that b 1 0. Since b 1 1 (b 1,..., b m ) is also a solution, we may assume that b 1 = 1. We will next establish that every b j is in F. This 14

15 will prove the linear dependence of u 1,..., u n over F since from the first equation of (8) we have the dependence relation m u j b j = 0. j=1 Suppose some b j F. We will derive a contradiction. After possibly reindexing the b i, we may assume that b 2 F. Since F is the fixed field of G, there exists σ k G such that σ k (b 2 ) b 2. Apply σ k to the system of equations m σ i (u j )b j = 0, 1 i n to get j=1 m (σ k σ i )(u j )σ k (b j ) = 0, 1 i n. j=1 Since (σ k σ 1,..., σ k σ n ) is a permutation of (σ 1,..., σ n ), we have the system m σ i (u j )σ k (b j ) = 0, 1 i n. j=1 Thus (1, σ k (b 2 ),..., σ k (b m )) is also a solution to (8). Subtracting this from the solution (1, b 2,..., b m ), we obtain the solution (0, b 2 σ k (b 2 ),..., b m σ k (b m )) which is nontrivial since b 2 σ k (b 2 ) 0. This solution has fewer nonzero entries than (b 1, b 2,..., b m ), in contradiction to our choice of (b 1,..., b m ). Thus all b i are in F, from which we obtain [K : F ] G. Theorem 0.58 is a major ingredient in the proof of the following Fundamental Theorem of Galois Theory. Theorem Suppose that K is a finite field extension of a field F such that K is Galois over F. Let G = Aut F K. Then the function H K H is a bijective map from the set of subgroups of G to the set of intermediate fields E between F and K. The inverse function is E Aut E K. The correspondence has the following properties. 1. If E is an intermediate field between F and K then [K : E] = Aut E K and [E : F ] = [G : Aut E K]. 2. A subgroup H of G is a normal subgroup of G if and only if K H is a normal field extension of F. In this case, Aut F K H = G/H. This theorem is proven in Chapter VI, Section 1 on Galois Theory in [1]. Exercises 1. Prove Theorem Prove Lemma Prove Lemma Prove Lemma Prove Corollary Be sure to establish that any homomorphism from K to K you construct is onto, so that it is actually an isomorphism. 6. Suppose that f(x) R[x] is a polynomial. Show that the nonreal roots of f(x) are of an even number, consisting of pairs of a complex number and its complex conjugate. 15

16 7. Let K be a splitting field of f(x) = x 4 2x over Q. a. Show that f(x) is irreducible in Q[x]. b. Compute the index [K : Q]. c. Compute the order of Aut Q K. d. Compute the group Aut Q K. If it is isomorphic to a group you know, identify the group. 8. Let K be a splitting field of f(x) = x 5 6x + 3 over Q. a. Show that f(x) is irreducible in Q[x]. b. Compute the index [K : Q]. c. Compute the order of Aut Q K. d. Compute the group Aut Q K. If it is isomorphic to a group you know, identify the group. Some hints for Problem 8: Use calculus to show that f(x) has exactly 3 real roots. You may use (without proof) the following Sylow Theorem. Let G be a finite group, H a subgroup, p a prime number. H is called a Sylow Subgroup of G if H = p n and p n is the largest power of p dividing G. Theorem (Theorem I.6.2 [1]) Let G be a finite group and p a prime number dividing the order of G. Then there exists a p-sylow subgroup of G. 9. Suppose that F is a field and u is algebraic over F, where the degree of the minimal polynomial of u over F is odd. Show that F [u] = F [u 2 ]. 10. Suppose that G is a finite group. Show that there exists a field F and a polynomial f(x) F [x] which is separable over F such that G = Aut F K where K is a splitting field of f(x) over F. 11. Prove the following lemma: Lemma Suppose that F is a subfield of C, r is a positive integer, and ω = e 2π 1 r. Let K = F [ω]. Then K is Galois over F and Aut F K is Abelian. 12. Use Lemma 0.61 to prove the following theorem: Theorem Suppose that F is a subfield of C and E is a subfield of C which is a splitting field over F such that E is solvable by radicals over F. Then Aut F E is solvable. 13. Use Theorem 0.62 to give an example of a polynomial which is not solvable by radicals over Q. 14. Prove Theorem Give an example of finite field extensions F E K such that K is Galois over E and E is Galois over F, but K is not Galois over F. Hint: Use the Fundamental Theorem of Galois Theory. 16. Deduce from the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra that the irreducible polynomials in the polynomial ring R[x] are the linear polynomials and the quadratic polyomials with negative discriminant. 17. Suppose that F is a field of characteristic zero and K is a finite field extension. Show that there are only finitely many intermediate field L between F and K. References [1] Serge Lang, Algebra, revised third edition, Springer-Verlag, New York, Berlin, Heidelberg (2002). 16

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