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Harvard University Qualifying Exam

# Harvard University Qualifying Exam

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Harvard University qualifying exam 2008
Harvard University qualifying exam 2008

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11/16/2012

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QUALIFYING EXAMINATION
Harvard University
Department of MathematicsTuesday September 16 2008 (Day 1)
1.
(a) Prove that the Galois group
G
of the polynomial
6
+ 3 over
Q
is of order 6.(b) Show that in fact
G
is isomorphic to the symmetric group
3
.(c) Is there a prime number
p
such that
6
+3 is irreducible over the ﬁniteﬁeld of order
p
?
Solution.
We initially work over any ﬁeld
k
in which the polynomial
6
+3is irreducible. Clearly
k
cannot have characteristic 2 or 3. Let
α
be a root of
6
+3 in an algebraic closure¯
k
of
k
, and set
ω
= (
1+
α
3
)
/
2. Then a simplecalculation gives
ω
2
+
ω
+ 1 = 0, so
ω
3
= 1 but
ω
= 1. In fact, 1,
ω
,
ω
2
,
1,
ω
,
ω
2
are all distinct elements of ¯
k
; they are the six roots of
6
+ 1 = 0,so
α
,
ωα
,
ω
2
α
,
α
,
ωα
,
ω
2
α
are the six roots of
6
+ 3 = 0. These rootsall lie in the extension
k
(
α
), which has degree 6 because
α
is a root of anirreducible degree 6 polynomial. So the Galois group of
6
+ 3 over
k
is of order 6.The Galois group acts transitively on the roots of the polynomial
6
+ 3,so there are elements
σ
and
τ
of the Galois group sending
α
to
ωα
and
α
respectively. Then
σ
(
ω
) =
1 +
σ
(
α
)
3
2=
1 + (
ωα
)
3
2=
1 +
α
3
2=
ω
and
τ
(
ω
) =
1 +
τ
(
α
)
3
2=
1 + (
α
)
3
2=
1
α
3
2=
1
ω
=
ω
2
.
Therefore
τ
(
σ
(
α
)) =
τ
(
ωα
) =
ω
2
α
while
σ
(
τ
(
α
)) =
σ
(
α
) =
ωα
, so
σ
and
τ
do not commute. So
G
is a nonabelian group of order 6, and thus must beisomorphic to the symmetric group
3
.We now ﬁnish the problem.(a) The polynomial
6
+ 3 is irreducible over
Q
by Eisenstein’s criterion atthe prime 3. So the preceding arguments show that the Galois group of
6
+ 3 over
Q
is of order 6.(b) Similarly, we also showed under the same assumption that the Galoisgroup was isomorphic to
3
.

(c) No, there is no prime
p
such that
6
+3 is irreducible over the ﬁnite ﬁeldof order
p
. If there was, then by the preceding arguments, the extensionformed by adjoining a root of
6
+ 3 would be a Galois extension withGalois group
3
. But the Galois groups of ﬁnite extensions of the ﬁeldof order
p
are all cyclic groups, a contradiction.
2.
Evaluate the integral

0
t
(1 +
t
)
2
dt.
Solution.
Write
z
for the branch of the square root function deﬁned on
C
[0
,
) such that
z
has positive real part when
z
=
r
+
ǫi
,
ǫ
small andpositive. Using the identity (
z
)
2
=
z
one can check that
d
zdz
=
12
z
.Deﬁne the meromorphic function
on
C
[0
,
) by
(
z
) =
z/
(1+
z
)
2
. Let
ǫ >
0 be small and
R
large, and let
γ
be the contour which starts at
ǫi
, travelsalong the ray
z
= [0
,
) +
ǫi
until it reaches the circle
|
z
|
=
R
, traversesmost of that circle counterclockwise stopping at the ray
z
= [0
,
)
ǫi
,then travels along that ray backwards, and ﬁnally traverses the semicircle
|
z
|
=
ǫ
in the left half-plane to get back to
ǫi
. Consider the contour integral

γ
(
z
)
dz
. The contribution from the ﬁrst ray is approximately the desiredintegral
=

0
t/
(1+
t
2
)
dt
; the contribution from the large circle is small,because when
|
z
|
=
R
,
|
z/
(1 +
z
)
2
|
R
3
/
2
, and the perimeter of the circle is only about 2
πR
; the contribution from the second ray is about
again, because the sign from traveling in the opposite direction cancels thesign coming from the branch cut in
z
; and the contribution from the smallcircle is small because
(
z
) is bounded in a neighborhood of 0. So2
= lim
ǫ
0
,R
→∞

γ
z
(1 +
z
)
2
dz
= 2
πid
zdz
z
=
1
= 2
πi
12
1=
π
and thus
=
π
.
3.
For
R
3
a smooth oriented surface, we deﬁne the
Gauss map
g
:
2
tobe the map sending each point
p
to the unit normal vector to
at
p
. Wesay that a point
p
is
parabolic
if the diﬀerential
dg
p
:
p
(
)
g
(
p
)
(
2
)of the map
g
at
p
is singular.(a) Find an example of a surface
such that every point of
is parabolic.(b) Suppose now that the locus of parabolic points is a smooth curve
,and that at every point
p
the tangent line
p
(
)
p
(
) coincideswith the kernel of the map
dg
p
. Show that
is a planar curve, that is,each connected component lies entirely in some plane in
R
3
.
Solution.

(a) Let
be the
xy
-plane; then the Gauss map
g
:
2
is constant, soits diﬀerential is everywhere zero and hence singular.(b) Consider the Gauss map of
restricted to
,
g
|
:
2
. Then forany point
p
,
d
(
g
|
)
p
= (
dg
p
)
|
p
(
)
, which is 0 by assumption. Hence
g
|
is locally constant on
. That is, on each connected component
0
of
there is a ﬁxed vector (the value of
g
|
at any point of the component)normal to all of
0
. Hence
0
lies in a plane in
R
3
normal to this vector.
4.
Let
= (
1
×
1
)
\{
p
}
be a once-punctured torus.(a) How many connected, 3-sheeted covering spaces
:
are there?(b) Show that for any of these covering spaces,
is either a 3-times punc-tured torus or a once-punctured surface of genus 2.
Solution.
(a) By covering space theory, the number of connected, 3-sheeted coveringspaces of a space
is the number of conjugacy classes of subgroupsof index 3 in the fundamental group
π
1
(
). (We consider two coveringspaces of
isomorphic only when they are related by an homeomorphismover the identity on
, not one over any homeomorphism of
.) So wemay replace
by the homotopy equivalent space
=
1
1
. If weview this new space
as a graph with one vertex and two directed loopslabeled
a
and
b
, then a connected 3-sheeted cover of
is a connectedgraph with three vertices and some directed edges labeled
a
or
b
such thateach vertex has exactly one incoming and one outgoing edge with eachof the labels
a
and
b
. Temporarily treating the three vertices as havingdistinct labels
x
,
y
,
z
, we ﬁnd six ways the
a
edges can be placed: loopsat
x
,
y
and
z
; a loop at
x
and edges from
y
to
z
and from
z
to
y
; similarlybut with the loop at
y
; similarly but with the loop at
z
; edges from
x
to
y
,
y
to
z
, and
z
to
x
; and edges from
x
to
z
,
z
to
y
, and
y
to
x
. Analogouslythere are six possible placements for the
b
edges. Considering all possiblecombinations, throwing out the disconnected ones, and then treating twographs as the same if they diﬀer only in the labels
x
,
y
,
z
, we arrive atseven distinct possibilities.(b) Let
be a small loop in
1
×
1
around the removed point
p
, and let
0
be the torus with the interior of
removed, so that
0
is acompact manifold with boundary
=
1
. Now let
be any connected,3-sheeted covering space of
. Pull back the covering map
alongthe inclusion
0
to obtain a 3-sheeted covering space
0
of
0
.Since
0
is a homotopy equivalence, so is
0
and in particular
0
is still connected. We can recover
from
0
by gluing a strip
D
×
[0
,
1)along the preimage
D
of
in
0
. So, it will suﬃce to show that
is