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Course 311: Michaelmas Term 1999Part I: Topics in Number Theory

D. R. Wilkins

Contents

1 Topics in Number Theory 2

1.1 Subgroups of the Integers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21.2 Greatest Common Divisors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21.3 The Euclidean Algorithm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31.4 Prime Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41.5 The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic . . . . . . . . . . . . 51.6 The Inﬁnitude of Primes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61.7 Congruences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61.8 The Chinese Remainder Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81.9 The Euler Totient Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91.10 The Theorems of Fermat, Wilson and Euler . . . . . . . . . . 111.11 Solutions of Polynomial Congruences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131.12 Primitive Roots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141.13 Quadratic Residues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161.14 Quadratic Reciprocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211.15 The Jacobi Symbol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

1 Topics in Number Theory

1.1 Subgroups of the Integers

A subset

S

of the set

Z

of integers is a

subgroup

of

Z

if 0

∈

S

,

−

x

∈

S

and

x

+

y

∈

S

for all

x

∈

S

and

y

∈

S

.It is easy to see that a non-empty subset

S

of

Z

is a subgroup of

Z

if andonly if

x

−

y

∈

S

for all

x

∈

S

and

y

∈

S

.Let

m

be an integer, and let

m

Z

=

{

mn

:

n

∈

Z

}

. Then

m

Z

(the set of integer multiples of

m

) is a subgroup of

Z

.

Theorem 1.1

Let

S

be a subgroup of

Z

. Then

S

=

m

Z

for some non-negative integer

m

.

Proof

If

S

=

{

0

}

then

S

=

m

Z

with

m

= 0. Suppose that

S

=

{

0

}

. Then

S

contains a non-zero integer, and therefore

S

contains a positive integer (since

−

x

∈

S

for all

x

∈

S

). Let

m

be the smallest positive integer belonging to

S

.A positive integer

n

belonging to

S

can be written in the form

n

=

qm

+

r

,where

q

is a positive integer and

r

is an integer satisfying 0

≤

r < m

. Then

qm

∈

S

(because

qm

=

m

+

m

+

···

+

m

). But then

r

∈

S

, since

r

=

n

−

qm

.It follows that

r

= 0, since

m

is the smallest positive integer in

S

. Therefore

n

=

qm

, and thus

n

∈

m

Z

. It follows that

S

=

m

Z

, as required.

1.2 Greatest Common Divisors

Deﬁnition

Let

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

be integers, not all zero. A

common divisor

of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

is an integer that divides each of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

The

greatest common divisor

of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

is the greatest positive integer that divideseach of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

. The greatest common divisor of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

is denotedby (

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

).

Theorem 1.2

Let

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

be integers, not all zero. Then there exist integers

u

1

,u

2

,...,u

r

such that

(

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

) =

u

1

a

1

+

u

2

a

2

+

···

+

u

r

a

r

.

where

(

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

)

is the greatest common divisor of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

.

Proof

Let

S

be the set of all integers that are of the form

n

1

a

1

+

n

2

a

2

+

···

+

n

r

a

r

for some

n

1

,n

2

,...,n

r

∈

Z

. Then

S

is a subgroup of

Z

. It follows that

S

=

m

Z

for some non-negative integer

m

(Theorem 1.1). Then

m

is a2

common divisor of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

, (since

a

i

∈

S

for

i

= 1

,

2

,...,r

). Moreoverany common divisor of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

is a divisor of each element of

S

and istherefore a divisor of

m

. It follows that

m

is the greatest common divisorof

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

. But

m

∈

S

, and therefore there exist integers

u

1

,u

2

,...,u

r

such that(

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

) =

u

1

a

1

+

u

2

a

2

+

···

+

u

r

a

r

,

as required.

Deﬁnition

Let

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

be integers, not all zero. If the greatest com-mon divisor of

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

is 1 then these integers are said to be

coprime

.If integers

a

and

b

are coprime then

a

is said to be coprime to

b

. (Thus

a

iscoprime to

b

if and only if

b

is coprime to

a

.)

Corollary 1.3

Let

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

be integers, not all zero, Then

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

are coprime if and only if there exist integers

u

1

,u

2

,...,u

r

such that

1 =

u

1

a

1

+

u

2

a

2

+

···

+

u

r

a

r

.

Proof

If

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

are coprime then the existence of the required integers

u

1

,u

2

,...,u

r

follows from Theorem 1.2. On the other hand if there existintegers

u

1

,u

2

,...,u

r

with the required property then any common divisorof

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

must be a divisor of 1, and therefore

a

1

,a

2

,...,a

r

must becoprime.

1.3 The Euclidean Algorithm

Let

a

and

b

be positive integers with

a > b

. Let

r

0

=

a

and

r

1

=

b

. If

b

does not divide

a

then let

r

2

be the remainder on dividing

a

by

b

. Then

a

=

q

1

b

+

r

2

, where

q

1

and

r

2

are positive integers and 0

< r

2

< b

. If

r

2

does not divide

b

then let

r

3

be the remainder on dividing

b

by

r

2

. Then

b

=

q

2

r

2

+

r

3

, where

q

2

and

r

3

are positive integers and 0

< r

3

< r

2

. If

r

3

does not divide

r

2

then let

r

4

be the remainder on dividing

r

2

by

r

3

.Then

r

2

=

q

3

r

3

+

r

4

, where

q

3

and

r

4

are positive integers and 0

< r

4

< r

3

.Continuing in this fashion, we construct positive integers

r

0

,r

1

,...,r

n

suchthat

r

0

=

a

,

r

1

=

b

and

r

i

is the remainder on dividing

r

i

−

2

by

r

i

−

1

for

i

= 2

,

3

,...,n

. Then

r

i

−

2

=

q

i

−

1

r

i

−

1

+

r

i

, where

q

i

−

1

and

r

i

are positiveintegers and 0

< r

i

< r

i

−

1

. The algorithm for constructing the positiveintegers

r

0

,r

1

,...,r

n

terminates when

r

n

divides

r

n

−

1

. Then

r

n

−

1

=

q

n

r

n

forsome positive integer

q

n

. (The algorithm must clearly terminate in a ﬁnitenumber of steps, since

r

0

> r

1

> r

2

>

···

> r

n

.) We claim that

r

n

is thegreatest common divisor of

a

and

b

.3

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