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- MATHEMATICAL COMBINATORICS (INTERNATIONAL BOOK SERIES), Volume 4 / 2011
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A Principal Ideal Domain (PID) is an integral domain A in which every ideal is principal. If

a A is a generator of a nonzero ideal I in A the other generators of I are A a (the elements

of A that are associate to a, i.e., multiples of a by a unit in A. The nonzero prime ideals of A are

given by irreducible elements of A, i.e., elements a A such that for every factorization a = b c

either b or c is a unit. Often one says that a prime element of a ring is an element that generates

a prime ideal, so one might capture the above discussion by saying that in a PID prime elements

and irreducible elements are the same. If k is a field the ring of polynomials over k in one variable,

A = k[t], is a PID.

A Unique Factorization Domain (UFD) is an integral domain A in which every nonzero element

a admits a factorization

a = up1 p2 . . . ps

where u A , s 0, and the pi are irreducible elements; moreover, this factorization is unique

in the evident sense of uniqueness: you can change the order of the irreducible elements, you can

change each of the irreducible elements by replacing them by associate irreducible elements and

you then can (i.e., must) change the unit u to suit.

Let A be a PID. Step one: Every nonzero element a A Has a decomposition into a product

of irreducible elements as above. Consider S the set of principal ideals in A that have generators

not admitting prime factorizations. Find a maximal ordered set of ideals in S and consider their

unionsince A is a PID it is generated by a single element a which must also not have a prime

factorization. But considering any factorization a = b c you argue to reach a contradiction.

Step two: Uniqueness. Assume two factorizations of teh same nonzero element and lop off prime

factors by Lemma ??.

Definition 1 If A is a UFD, K its field of fractions, and p an irreducible element of A (now taken

up to multiplication by a unit) define the function ordp by setting ordp (0) = andfor a K

ordp (a) =: the exponent of p in the unique factorization of a.

That is,

ordp : K Z {}

is defined by (setting ordp (0) = and) so that that

Y

a=u

pordp (a)

p

Definition 2 If A is a UFD, K its field of fractions, extend the above definition of ordp to polynomials f (X) = an X n + . . . + a0 by setting ordp (f ) = the minimum of the ordp of the coefficients

ai . If f is not identically zero, define the content of f (X) (an element of K moduloA ) to be

Y

cont(f ) :=

pordp (f ) .

p

To say that cont(f ) = 1 is to say that f A[X] and the gcd pof its coefficients is 1. We may write

for any f not identically zero,

f = cont(f ) f1

where f1 has content one. Also cont(a f ) = a cont(f ) for any a K and f K[X].

Lemma 2 (Gauss):

cont(f g) = cont(f ) cont(g)

Proof: It suffices to show that cont(f1 g1 ) = 1 or ordp ((f1 g1 ) = 0 for all p. This we do.

Lemma 3 Let A be a UFD. The irreducible elements of A[X] are given (up to multiplication by

units in A) by irreducible polynomials of K[X] of content 1, and irreducible elements of A (viewed

as polynomials of degree zero in A[X]).

Lemma 4 (Eisenstein): Let A be a UFD and p an irreducible element of A. If

f (X) = an X n + + ai X i + + a0 A[X] K[X]

has the property that

2

ordp (an ) = 0,

ordp (ai ) > 0 for i < n,

ordp (a0 ) = 1,

then f (X) is irreducible in K[X].

Corollary 3

Gal(Q(p )/Q) ' (Z/pZ) .

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