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Unformatted text preview: 27. Fields from quotient rings In Lecture 26 we have shown that the quotient ring R [ x ] / ( x 2 + 1) R [ x ] is isomorphic to C , so, in particular, it is a field, while R [ x ] / ( x 2 1) R [ x ] is not a field. The reason we did not get a field in the second case is clear: the polynomial x 2 1 is reducible, that is, has a nontrivial factorization x 2 1 = ( x 1)( x +1), and we have seen in the proof from Example 3 that the existence of factorization ( x 1)( x + 1) is what prevents R [ x ] / ( x 2 1) R [ x ] from being a field. On the other hand, x 2 + 1 is irreducible, although it is not clear how to deduce that R [ x ] / ( x 2 + 1) R [ x ] is a field just from the irreducibility of x 2 + 1. In this lecture we will settle the latter issue: we will show that if F is any field and p F [ x ] is a polynomial, the the quotient ring F [ x ] /pF [ x ] is a field p is irreducible. 27.1. Basic definitions. Definition. Let F be a field and p F [ x ] a polynomial with coefficients in F . Then p is called irreducible if (i) p is nonconstant, or, equivalently, deg( p ) > 0; (ii) p does not have nontrivial factorizations, that is, p cannot be written as p = gh where g,h F [ x ] and both g and h are nonconstant. Remark: Irreducible polynomials are direct counterparts of prime inte gers. The convention not to consider constant polynomials as irreducible corresponds to the convention not to consider 1 as a prime number. As we will see shortly, the analogy between prime integers and irreducible polyno mials goes well beyond the definition. Definition. Let F be a field and p F [ x ] a polynomial with coefficients in F . Then p is called monic if the leading coefficient of p is equal to 1. Next we define the greatest common divisor for polynomials. Definition. Let F be a field and f,g F [ x ] two polynomials. A polynomial d F [ x ] is called the greatest common divisor (gcd) of f and g if the following conditions hold: (i) d is monic (ii) d divides both f and g 1 2 (iii) If h F [ x ] is another polynomial which divides both f and g , then h divides d ....
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This note was uploaded on 01/18/2012 for the course INFORMATIK 2011 taught by Professor Phanthuongcang during the Winter '11 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).
 Winter '11
 PhanThuongCang

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