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Concept# Perfect field

Summary

In algebra, a field k is perfect if any one of the following equivalent conditions holds:
Every irreducible polynomial over k has distinct roots.
Every irreducible polynomial over k is separable.
Every finite extension of k is separable.
Every algebraic extension of k is separable.
Either k has characteristic 0, or, when k has characteristic p > 0, every element of k is a pth power.
Either k has characteristic 0, or, when k has characteristic p > 0, the Frobenius endomorphism x ↦ x^p is an automorphism of k.
The separable closure of k is algebraically closed.
Every reduced commutative k-algebra A is a separable algebra; i.e., is reduced for every field extension F/k. (see below)
Otherwise, k is called imperfect.
In particular, all fields of characteristic zero and all finite fields are perfect.
Perfect fields are significant because Galois theory over these fields becomes simpler, since the general Galois assumption of field extensions being separable is automatically satisfied over these fields (see third condition above).
Another important property of perfect fields is that they admit Witt vectors.
More generally, a ring of characteristic p (p a prime) is called perfect if the Frobenius endomorphism is an automorphism. (When restricted to integral domains, this is equivalent to the above condition "every element of k is a pth power".)
Examples of perfect fields are:
every field of characteristic zero, so and every finite extension, and ;
every finite field ;
every algebraically closed field;
the union of a set of perfect fields totally ordered by extension;
fields algebraic over a perfect field.
Most fields that are encountered in practice are perfect. The imperfect case arises mainly in algebraic geometry in characteristic p > 0. Every imperfect field is necessarily transcendental over its prime subfield (the minimal subfield), because the latter is perfect. An example of an imperfect field is the field , since the Frobenius sends and therefore it is not surjective. It embeds into the perfect field
called its perfection.

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Frobenius endomorphism

In commutative algebra and field theory, the Frobenius endomorphism (after Ferdinand Georg Frobenius) is a special endomorphism of commutative rings with prime characteristic p, an important class which includes finite fields. The endomorphism maps every element to its p-th power. In certain contexts it is an automorphism, but this is not true in general. Let R be a commutative ring with prime characteristic p (an integral domain of positive characteristic always has prime characteristic, for example).

Separable extension

In field theory, a branch of algebra, an algebraic field extension is called a separable extension if for every , the minimal polynomial of over F is a separable polynomial (i.e., its formal derivative is not the zero polynomial, or equivalently it has no repeated roots in any extension field). There is also a more general definition that applies when E is not necessarily algebraic over F. An extension that is not separable is said to be inseparable.

Absolute Galois group

In mathematics, the absolute Galois group GK of a field K is the Galois group of Ksep over K, where Ksep is a separable closure of K. Alternatively it is the group of all automorphisms of the algebraic closure of K that fix K. The absolute Galois group is well-defined up to inner automorphism. It is a profinite group. (When K is a perfect field, Ksep is the same as an algebraic closure Kalg of K. This holds e.g. for K of characteristic zero, or K a finite field.) The absolute Galois group of an algebraically closed field is trivial.

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