## 1: Unique Factorisation of Ideals

The next few posts will be me detailing some interesting results in the area of Maths that I hope to specialise in: Algebraic Number Theory. The first result will be the unique prime factorisation of ideals. But first, what is an ideal?

## Ideals

If you’re not familiar with the definition of a ring click here, as we’ll need this for the following discussion.

An ideal, I, is a subset of a ring R if :

• It is closed under addition and has additive inverses (i.e. it is an additive subgroup of (R, +. 0);
• If aI and bR, then a · bI.

I is a proper ideal if does not equal R.

## Ring of Integers

In order to prove the result, I need to introduce the concept of number fields and the ring of integers. A number field is a finite field extension over the rationals.

Field Extension: a field extension F of a field E  (written F/E) is such that the operations of E are those of restricted to E, i.e. is a subfield of F.

Given such a field extension, F is a vector space over E, and the dimension of this vector space is called the degree of the extension. If this degree is finite, we have a finite field extension.

So if is a number field, E would be the rationals.

Suppose is a number field. An algebraic integer is simply a fancy name for an element of F such that there exists a polynomial f with integer coefficients, which is monic (the coefficient of the largest power of x is 1), such that f(a) = 0.

The algebraic integers in a number field F form a ring, called the ring of integers, which we denote as OF. It turns out that the ring of integers is very important in the study of number fields.

## Prime Ideals

If P is a prime ideal in a ring R, then for all x, y in R, if xyP, then x ∈ P or y ∈ P. As OF is a ring we can consider prime ideals in OF.

## Division = Containment

We want to try and deal with ideals in the same way we deal with numbers, as ideals are easier to deal with (ideals are a sort of abstraction of the concept of numbers). After formalising what it means to be an ideal and proving certain properties of ideals, we can prove that given two ideals I and J, I dividing (written I|J) is equivalent to J containing I.

## Three Key Results

Now, there are three results that we will need in order to prove the prime factorisation of ideals that I will simply state:

1. All prime ideals P in Oare maximal (in other words, there are no other ideals contained between P and R). Furthermore, the converse also holds: all maximal ideals in OF are prime.
2. Analogously to numbers (elements of a number field F), if I, J are ideals in Owith J|I, there exists an ideal contained in I, such that I = JK.
3. For prime ideal P, and ideals I,J of  OF , PIJ implies PI or PJ.

## Main Theorem

Theorem: Let I be a non-zero ideal in OF . Then I can be written uniquely as a product of prime ideals.

Proof:  There are two things we have to prove: the existence of such a factorisation and then its uniqueness.

Existence: If is prime then we are done, so suppose it isn’t. Then it is not maximal (by 1) so there is some ideal J, properly contained in I. So J|I, so (by 2) there is an ideal K, contained in I, such that I = JK. We can continue factoring this way and this must stop eventually (for the curious, I make the technical note that this must stop as we have an infinite chain of strictly ascending ideals, and OF is Noetherian).

Uniqueness: If P1 · · · Pr = Q1 · · · Qs, with Pi , Qj prime, then we know P1 | Q1 · · · Qs, which implies P1 | Qi for some i (by 3), and without loss of generality i = 1. So Q1 is contained in P1. But Q1 is prime and hence maximal (by 1). So P1 = Q1. Simplifying we get P2 · · · Pr = Q2 · · · Qs. Repeating this we get r = s and Pi = Qi for all i (after renumbering if necessary).

## Why is this important?

For numbers, we only get unique prime factorisation in what is called a unique factorisation domain (UFD). Examples of UFDs are the complex numbers and the rationals. However, the integers mod 10 no longer form a UFD because, for example, 2*2 = 4 = 7*2 (mod 10).

However, we have the unique prime factorisation of ideals in the ring of algebraic integers of any number field. This means that we can prove many cool results by using this unique prime factorisation, which we can then translate into results about numbers in that number field. I will detail some of these in future blog posts.

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## NEWS: New year, new prime

Mathematicians celebrate the new year with the recent discovery of the largest prime. It has 23,249,425 digits, which is 910,807 digits more than than the previously known largest prime.

“If every second you were to write five digits to an inch then 54 days later you’d have a number stretching over 73 miles (118 km) — almost 3 miles (5 km) longer than the previous record prime.”

On December 26th 2017, Jonathan Pace, a GIMPS volunteer for 14 years, discovered the 50th Mersenne prime, which is also the largest prime known to mankind:

277,232,917-1

It is also known as M77232917.

## MATHS BITE: Sierpinski Number

A Sierpinski number is an odd natural number k such that  is not prime for all natural numbers n. In 1960, Sierpinski proved that there are infinitely many odd integers k with this property, but failed to give an example. Numbers in such a set with odd k and k < 2^n are called Proth numbers.

78557, 271129, 271577, 322523, 327739, 482719, 575041, 603713, 903983, 934909,….

-List of some known Sierpinski Numbers

### Sierpinski Problem

The Sierpinski problem asks what the smallest Sierpinski number is. In 1967, Sierpinski and Selfridge conjectured that 78557 is the smallest Sierpinski number. To show this is true, we need to show that all the odd numbers smaller than 78557 are not Sierpinski numbers, i.e. for every odd k below 78557 there is a positive interger n such that  is prime. There are only five numbers which have not been eliminated:

k = 21181, 22699, 24737, 55459, and 67607

### Numberphile Video

Find out more here. M x

## NEWS: New Prime Found

On August 29th PrimeGrid discovered the largest generalised Fermat Prime:

A generalised Fermat Prime is a prime number of the form  for a >0. It is called ‘generalised’ as a Fermat Prime is a number of this form with a = 0.

The discovery was made by Sylvanus A. Zimmerman of the United States.

“Until now only 392 generalised Fermat primes had been found: this new discovery makes 393. At 6,253,210 digits long, it’s now the 12th largest of all known primes, and the second-largest known non-Mersenne prime.”

-Aperiodical

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## NEWS: 13532385396179

Recently, James Davis found a counterexample to John H. Conway’s ‘Climb to a Prime’ conjecture, for which Conway was offering \$1,000 for a solution.

The conjecture states the following:

Let n be a positive integer. Write the prime factorisation in the usual way, where the primes are written in ascending order and exponents of 1 are omitted. Then bring the exponents down to the line, omit the multiplication signs, giving a number f(n). Now repeat.”

For example, f(60) = f(2^2 x 3 x 5) = 2235. As 2235 = 3 x 5 x 149, f(2235) = 35149. Since 35149 is prime, we stop there.

Davis had a feeling that the counterexample would be of the form

where p is the largest prime factor of n. This motivated him to look for x of the form

The number Davis found was 13532385396179 = 13 x 53^2 x 3853 x 96179, which maps to itself under f (i.e. its a fixed point). So, f will never map this composite number to a prime, hence disproving the conjecture.

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## Ulam Spiral

The Ulam Spiral, discovered in 1963 by Stanislaw Ulam, is a graphical depiction of the set of prime numbers.

If you were to arrange the positive numbers in a spiral, starting with one at the centre, then circle all of the prime numbers, what would you get? As prime numbers don’t have a predictive structure, you would expect to get little or even nothing out of arranging the primes this way. But, Ulam discovered something incredible:

To his surprise, the circled numbers tended to line up along diagonal lines. In the 200×200 Ulam spiral shown above, diagonal lines are clearly visible, confirming the pattern. Although less prominent, horizontal and vertical lines can also be seen.

Even more amazing, this pattern still appears even if we don’t start with 1 at the centre!

There are many patterns on this plot. One of the simplest ones is that there are many integer constants b and c such that the function:

generates, a number of primes that is large by comparison with the proportion of primes among numbers of similar magnitude, as n counts up {1, 2, 3, …}.

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## MATHS BITE: Leyland Numbers

A Leyland number is an integer of the form , where x and y are integers greater than 1. This condition is very important as, without it, every positive integer would be a Leyland number of the form x1 + 1x.

They are named after Paul Leyland, a British number theorist who studied the factorisation of integers and primality testing.

Leyland numbers are of interest as some of them are very large primes.

### Leyland Primes

A Leyland prime is a Leyland number that is also prime. The first of such primes are:

17, 593, 32993, 2097593, 8589935681, 59604644783353249, 523347633027360537213687137, 43143988327398957279342419750374600193, …

which correspond to:

32+23, 92+29, 152+215, 212+221, 332+233, 245+524, 563+356, 3215+1532, …

The largest known Leyland prime is .

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## Prime Number Theorem

Today I thought I’d quickly discuss a extremely important theorem in one of my favourite areas in mathematics: Number Theory (as you can probably tell by the number of posts that I’ve published about primes!).

Perhaps the first property of π(x) – the number of primes less than or equal to x – is that π(x) tends to infinity as x tends to infinity. In other words, the prime numbers are infinite, which was proved by Euclid in “Elements”. A more precise result, established by Euler in 1737, was that the series of reciprocals of the prime numbers:

is a divergent series. In doing so, Euler found an alternative way to prove that there was an infinite number of primes, as if there wasn’t then the series would have a finite value.

The Prime Number Theorem states that if π(x) is the number of primes less than or equal to x, then

Although the notation ~ may be unfamiliar, it simply means that π(x) is asymptotically equal to x/lnx, i.e.

Note that the prime number theorem is equivalent to saying that the nth prime number pn satisfies the following relationship:

The PNT was proposed by Gauss in 1792 when he was only 15 years old! (Makes you wonder what you’ve been doing with your life so far…) He later refined this estimate to

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! M x

## Math’s Bite: Mills’ Constant

In number theory, Mills’ theorem states that there exists a real constant A such that  is prime for all positive integers n (note that this is a floor function). Mills’ constant is defined as the smallest real positive number such that Mills’ theorem is true.

This constant is named after William H. Mills, who proved the existence of A based on results of Guido Hoheisel and Albert Ingham on the prime gaps in 1947.

If Riemann’s hypothesis is true, Mills’ constant is approximately:

### Mills’ Primes

The primes generated using Mills’ constant are known as Mills’ primes:

“If ai denotes the ith prime in this sequence, then ai can be calculated as the smallest prime number larger than $a_{i-1}^3$. In order to ensure that rounding $A^{3^n}$ produces this sequence of primes, it must be the case that $a_i < (a_{i-1}+1)^3$.”

In 2005, Caldwell and Cheng computed 6850 base 10 digits of Mills’ constant under the assumption that the Riemann hypothesis is true.

Hope you enjoyed this installment of ‘Math’s Bite’! M x

## Maths Bite: Skewes’ Number

Skewes’ Number:

Skewes’ number is the number above which

$\pi(x) > \operatorname{li}(x),$

where π(x) is the prime-counting function and li(x) is logarithmic integral function.

Prime Counting Function: is the function counting the number of prime numbers less than or equal to some real number x.

Logarithmic Integral Function: used in prime number theorem as an estimate of the number of prime numbers less than a given value.

In 1912, it was proved by Littlewood that this limit existed, and it – Skewes’ number – was subsequently found by Stanley Skewes, South African mathematician, in 1933.

However this limit has been improved to   by Lehman in 1966.

Numberphile Video:

Hope you enjoyed this quick maths bite! M x