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Concept# Weil conjectures

Summary

In mathematics, the Weil conjectures were highly influential proposals by . They led to a successful multi-decade program to prove them, in which many leading researchers developed the framework of modern algebraic geometry and number theory.
The conjectures concern the generating functions (known as local zeta functions) derived from counting points on algebraic varieties over finite fields. A variety V over a finite field with q elements has a finite number of rational points (with coordinates in the original field), as well as points with coordinates in any finite extension of the original field. The generating function has coefficients derived from the numbers Nk of points over the extension field with qk elements.
Weil conjectured that such zeta functions for smooth varieties are rational functions, satisfy a certain functional equation, and have their zeros in restricted places. The last two parts were consciously modelled on the Riemann zeta function, a kind of generating function for prime integers, which obeys a functional equation and (conjecturally) has its zeros restricted by the Riemann hypothesis. The rationality was proved by , the functional equation by , and the analogue of the Riemann hypothesis by .
The earliest antecedent of the Weil conjectures is by Carl Friedrich Gauss and appears in section VII of his Disquisitiones Arithmeticae , concerned with roots of unity and Gaussian periods. In article 358, he moves on from the periods that build up towers of quadratic extensions, for the construction of regular polygons; and assumes that p is a prime number congruent to 1 modulo 3. Then there is a cyclic cubic field inside the cyclotomic field of pth roots of unity, and a normal integral basis of periods for the integers of this field (an instance of the Hilbert–Speiser theorem). Gauss constructs the order-3 periods, corresponding to the cyclic group (Z/pZ)× of non-zero residues modulo p under multiplication and its unique subgroup of index three. Gauss lets , , and be its cosets.

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Related publications (1)

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Related concepts (35)

Weil conjectures

In mathematics, the Weil conjectures were highly influential proposals by . They led to a successful multi-decade program to prove them, in which many leading researchers developed the framework of modern algebraic geometry and number theory. The conjectures concern the generating functions (known as local zeta functions) derived from counting points on algebraic varieties over finite fields. A variety V over a finite field with q elements has a finite number of rational points (with coordinates in the original field), as well as points with coordinates in any finite extension of the original field.

Étale cohomology

In mathematics, the étale cohomology groups of an algebraic variety or scheme are algebraic analogues of the usual cohomology groups with finite coefficients of a topological space, introduced by Grothendieck in order to prove the Weil conjectures. Étale cohomology theory can be used to construct l-adic cohomology, which is an example of a Weil cohomology theory in algebraic geometry. This has many applications, such as the proof of the Weil conjectures and the construction of representations of finite groups of Lie type.

Scheme (mathematics)

In mathematics, a scheme is a mathematical structure that enlarges the notion of algebraic variety in several ways, such as taking account of multiplicities (the equations x = 0 and x2 = 0 define the same algebraic variety but different schemes) and allowing "varieties" defined over any commutative ring (for example, Fermat curves are defined over the integers). Scheme theory was introduced by Alexander Grothendieck in 1960 in his treatise "Éléments de géométrie algébrique"; one of its aims was developing the formalism needed to solve deep problems of algebraic geometry, such as the Weil conjectures (the last of which was proved by Pierre Deligne).

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