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# MMA320

Introduction to Algebraic
Geometry
Jan Stevens
Matematik
Goteborgs universitet
Introduction
What is algebraic geometry?
Euclidean geometry studies gures composed of lines and planes,
culminating in the classication of the Platonic solids. Already in an-
tiquity more complicated curves and surfaces were considered. Since
Descartes it is customary to describe them by equations.
We recall the possible (smooth) curves of degree two:
ellipse
x
2
a
2
+
y
2
b
2
= 1
parabola y = ax
2
hyperbola
x
2
a
2

y
2
b
2
= 1
This list gives a classication up to Euclidean transformations: we have
used coordinate transformations to place the gure in a particularly
nice position. If we are not interested in metrical properties, we do not
consider ellipses with dierent a, b as distinct, and we allow rescaling
of the axes. Then there is only one type of ellipse.
These curves are known as conic sections, or shortly conics. The name
is explained by the following uniform description: take an ordinary
cone z
2
= x
2
+ y
2
and intersect with planes in 3-space, not passing
3
4 INTRODUCTION
through the origin. If the normal vector of the plane lies inside the
cone, we get an ellipse, if it lies outside the cone an hyperbola, and
nally a parabola if the plane is parallel to a line on the cone. The
picture is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conic section, by
Remark. We get singular conics (two intersecting lines or a double
line) by taking planes through the origin.
So in a certain sense there is only one type of nonsingular conic.
This is made precise in projective geometry. If we have two planes,
then projection from the origin sets up a correspondence between the
points of both planes, except that some points do not have an image,
while other ones are not an image, because lines parallel to a plane do
not intersect it. To get rid of these exceptions, we adjoin these points as
ideal points, which are called points at innity. In this way each line
through the origin in 3-space corresponds to a point in the projective
plane. Now two lines always intersect in one point, and there are no
parallel lines anymore. The dierence between ellipse, parabola and
hyperbola only occurs if we go back to an ane (Euclidean) plane by
singling out a line as line at innity.
We are going to study the solution sets of equations (often in projec-
tive space). In algebraic geometry this is done with algebraic methods.
In contrast to analysis, we do not have the concept of limit and con-
vergence of series. So equations have to be nite sums of terms. We
can now give a rst answer to the question, what algebraic geometry
is.
Algebraic geometry studies the solution sets of systems
of polynomial equations.
The algebra needed goes under the name of commutative algebra,
which might be described as the study of systems of polynomials.
We had one type of conic section, which might be exemplied by
the equation x
2
+y
2
= 1. But what about x
2
+y
2
= 1? This equation
also denes a curve, if we allow complex solutions. In fact, even if one is
interested in problems about real solution sets of real equations, a good
strategy is to rst solve the problem over the complex numbers, and
then study the reality of the solution. Most often we will be interested
in the complex case.
We allow coecients in an arbitrary eld: we look at systems of
polynomials in the polynomial ring
k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] .
Special cases are of course k = C, but also k = Q, important for number
theory. But k can also be a nite eld. This case has applications to
coding theory.
WHAT IS ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY? 5
It is probably surprising that algebraic geometry is also very much
related to theoretical physics. There are theories that the world is not
four-dimensional (space-time), but that it has some extra dimensions,
on a much smaller scale, making them not directly observable. Accord-
ing to one theory, the world is 10-dimensional, with the six extra real
dimensions accounted for by compact complex 3-dimensional algebraic
manifolds.
In this course we will develop the general theory of ane and pro-
jective varieties (in arbitrary dimensions), but the concrete applications
will be to curves and surfaces. The rst one concerns cubic curves. It
turns out that they are not only points sets, but also have the structure
of an abelian group. This makes them relevant for coding theory. The
second concrete case is that of cubic surfaces.
In the following picture (by Oliver Labs, from The Cubic Surface
Homepage at www.cubics.algebraicsurface.net) one can see some
straight lines on such a surface. In fact there are always exactly 27
(again allowing complex solutions). To prove this, we rst develop
some more general theory.
Due to lack of time we do not treat the resolution of curve singu-
larities, mentioned in the course syllabus.
CHAPTER 1
Ane algebraic varieties
1.1. Algebraic sets
We want to study solutions of polynomial equations in several vari-
ables.
Definition 1.1. Let k be a eld. The ane n-space over k, de-
noted by A
n
(k) or simply A
n
, if the eld k is understood, is the set of
n-tuples of elements of k:
A
n
(k) = (a
1
, . . . , a
n
) [ a
i
k for 1 i n .
Let k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] be the ring of polynomials in n variables with
coecients in k. A point P = (a
1
, . . . , a
n
) A
n
(k) is a zero of a
polynomial f k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] if f(P) = f(a
1
, . . . , a
n
) = 0.
Definition 1.2. Given a set S of polynomials in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] the
zero set of S is
V (S) = P A
n
(k) [ f(P) = 0 for all f S A
n
(k) .
A subset X A
n
(k) is an algebraic set if X = V (S) for some S
k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
].
Note that dierent subsets of k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] can give rise to the
same algebraic set. If I is the ideal generated by S, that is
I = f k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] [ f =
l

i=1
q
i
h
i
with h
i
S ,
then V (I) = V (S). Therefore every algebraic set is of the form V (I)
for some ideal I.
Proposition 1.3. Every algebraic set is the common zero set of a
nite number of polynomials.
Notation. We write V (f
1
, . . . , f
n
) in stead of the more correct
V (f
1
, . . . , f
n
).
The proposition follows from a theorem in commutative algebra,
known as Hilbert basis theorem, which we prove below.
PropositionDefinition 1.4. Let R be a commutative ring. The
following conditions are equivalent:
(1) every ideal I is nitely generated
7
8 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
(2) R satises the ascending chain condition (a.c.c): every ascend-
ing chain of ideals I
1
I
2
I
3
. . . is eventually stationary,
that is, for some m we have I
m
= I
m+1
= I
m+2
= . . . .
If R satises these conditions, it is called Noetherian.
Proof.
(1) (2). Given I
1
I
2
I
3
. . . , we set I :=

i
I
i
. Then I is
an ideal, generated by nitely many elements f
1
, . . . , f
k
. Each f
J
is
contained in some I
m(j)
. Set m = maxm(j). Then f
j
I
m(j)
I
m
for all j, so I
m
= I and therefore I
m
= I
m+1
= I
m+2
= . . . .
(2) (1). Assume that there is an ideal I that cannot be generated
by nitely many elements. We construct inductively a sequence of
elements f
j
I by taking f
1
arbitrary and f
j+1
I (f
1
, . . . , f
j
). Then
the sequence (f
1
) (f
1
, f
2
) (f
1
, f
2
, f
3
) . . . is not stationary.
Example 1.1. A eld k is a Noetherian ring, as the only ideals are
(0) and (1) = k.
Theorem 1.5 (Hilbert Basis Theorem). If R is a Noetherian ring,
then R[X] is Noetherian.
Remark 1.2. From the example and Hilberts Basis Theorem it
follows by induction that every ideal in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] can be generated
by a nite set of elements. In old-fashioned terminology an ideal basis
is a nite generating set, so the previous statement can be formulated
as: every ideal in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] has a basis. This explains the name of
the theorem.
Proof of the Theorem. Suppose I R[X] is not nitely gen-
erated. We dene a sequence f
j
I: let f
1
be a polynomial of minimal
degree d
1
, and pick f
j+1
of lowest degree d
j+1
in I (f
1
, . . . , f
j
). For all
j let c
j
be the leading coecient of f
j
(i.e., f
j
= c
j
X
d
j
+c

j
X
d
j
1
+. . . ).
The chain of ideals (c
1
) (c
1
, c
2
) . . . in the Noetherian ring R is
eventually stationary, so there is an m with c
m+1
(c
1
, . . . , c
m
). Let
c
m+1
=

m
i=1
r
i
c
i
for some elements r
i
R. Then the polynomial
f
m+1

i=1
r
i
X
d
m+1
d
i
f
i
is not contained in (f
1
, . . . , f
m
), but has lower degree than f
m+1
, con-
m+1
. Therefore R[X] is Noetherian.
We note the following properties of algebraic sets.
Lemma 1.6.
(1) V (0) = A
n
(k), V (k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]) = V (1) =
(2) if I J, then V (I) V (J)
(3) V (I
1
I
2
) = V (I
1
) V (I
2
)
(4) V (

) =

V (I

)
1.2. HILBERTS NULLSTELLENSATZ 9
Proof. Only the third property is not obvious. As I
i
I
2
I
1
,
we have V (I
1
) V (I
i
I
2
). Also V (I
2
) V (I
i
I
2
), which gives the
inclusion . For the opposite inclusion, suppose that P V (I
i
I
2
),
but P / V (I
1
). Then there exists an f I
1
with f(P) ,= 0. For all
g I
2
we have fg I
1
I
2
, so f(p)g(p) = 0 and therefore g(P) = 0.
This means that P V (I
2
).
The properties (1), (3) and (4) are the dening properties of a
topology by means of closed sets.
Definition 1.7. The Zariski topology on A
n
is the topology whose
closed sets are the algebraic sets.
Remark 1.3. The Zariski topology is not Hausdor. E.g., a closed
subset of A
1
(k) consists of nitely many points. An open sets is there-
fore the complement of nitely many points. If the eld k is innite,
two non-empty open sets always have an non-empty (in fact innite)
intersection.
1.2. Hilberts Nullstellensatz
We associated to an ideal a zero set by the operation V (). Now
we want to go in the other direction.
Definition 1.8. Let X be a subset of A
n
(k). The ideal of X is
I(X) = f k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] [ f(P) = 0 for all P X .
Example 1.4. Let X be the subset of A
1
(R), consisting of all points
with integer coordinate. Then I(X) = (0).
Proposition 1.9.
(1) X Y I(X) I(Y )
(2) X V (I(X)) with equality if and only if X is an algebraic set
(3) J I(V (J))
Proof. We prove only the equality statement in (2). If X = V (J),
then J I(X) and we get X V (I(X)) V (J) = X. Conversely, if
X = V (I(X), then X is an algebraic set dened by the ideal I(X).
What about equality (3)? There are two ways in which it can go
wrong.
Example 1.5. Let k = R, J = (X
2
+ 1) R[X]. Then V (J) = ,
but J ,= I() = R[X]. So if the eld is not algebraically closed, there
might not be enough zeroes.
Example 1.6. Let k be algebraically closed, and f a polynomial
in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]. Then f(P) = 0 f
2
(P) = 0, so V (f) = V (f
2
), but
(f
2
) ,= (f).
10 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
Definition 1.10. Let I be an ideal in a commutative ring R. The

I = f R [ f
n
I for some n .
Remark 1.7. The radical is again an ideal. Suppose f, g

I, so
f
m
I and g
n
I. Then (f +g)
r
=
_
r
k
_
f
k
g
rk
I if r n+m1.
Remark 1.8. Obviously V (I) = V (

I).
Theorem 1.11 (Nullstellensatz). Let k be an algebraically closed
eld. For every ideal J k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] one has
I(V (J)) =

J .
This theorem follows from the weak form of the Nullstellensatz,
with Rabinowitsch trick.
Theorem 1.12 (Weak form of the Nullstellensatz). If J ,= (1) is
an ideal in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
], k algebraically closed, then V (I) ,= .
Proof of the nullstellensatz from its weak form.
Obviously

## J I(V (J)). Now let f I(V (J)), so f(P) = 0 for

all P V (J). Consider the ideal

J k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
, T] generated by
Tf 1 and J. Then

J has no zero in A
n+1
(k), as f(P) = 0 for all
common zeroes P of J. Therefore, by the weak Nullstellensatz, 1

J,
so we can write
1 =
k

i=1
a
i
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
, T)f
i
+ b(X
1
, . . . , X
n
, T)(Tf 1) ,
where (f
1
, . . . , f
k
) are generators of J. Let N be the highest power of
T appearing in the a
i
and b. Multiplying the above identity gives a
relation of the form
f
N
=
k

i=1
a

i
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
, Tf)f
i
+ b

(X
1
, . . . , X
n
, Tf)(Tf 1) .
Now substitute T = 1/f, that is Tf = 1. We nd that
f
N
=
k

i=1
a

i
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
, 1)f
i
,
so f
N
I.
In the older literature the weak form is shown using elimination
theory. Following Andre Weils slogan
eliminate elimination theory
most books now follow ArtinTate and Zariski, and reduce it to an
algebraic fact, that a eld, which is nitely generated as k-algebra, is
algebraic over k. The advent of computer algebra has led to renewed
interest for older methods. We now give a proof using elimination. We
need to recall some facts about resultants, which we use later on again.
1.3. THE RESULTANT 11
1.3. The resultant
Let k be a eld. Then the polynomial ring k[X] is a unique fac-
torisation domain (UFD). Another example of a UFD is the ring of
integers Z. There is a strong analogy between primes and irreducible
polynomials. In general, given an integral domain A, one has the con-
cepts of prime and irreducible: let p A, p ,= 0, p not a unit, then p
is irreducible if p = ab implies a or b is a unit, and p is prime if p[ab
implies p[a or p[b. Every prime element is irreducible, but the converse
is false in general.
Example 1.9. Let A = C[X, Y, Z]/(Z
2
XY ). The class z of Z is
irreducible, but not prime, as z[xy but neither z[x nor z[y. The ring A
is an integral domain, but not a UFD: the element z
2
has two dierent
factorisations: z
2
= z z and z
2
= x y.
In a UFD every irreducible element is prime. If A is a UFD,
also A[X] is a UFD, and by induction we obtain for a eld k that
k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] is a UFD.
Let A be a unique factorisation domain. We are interested in the
question when two polynomials f(X), g(X) A[X] have a common
factor. Cases of interest are A = k, but also A = k[Y, Z]. Let:
f = a
0
X
m
+ a
1
X
m1
+ + a
m
,
g = b
0
X
n
+ b
1
X
n1
+ + b
n
,
where the case that either a
0
= 0 or b
0
= 0 (but not both) is allowed.
Proposition 1.13. The polynomials f and g in A[X] have a non-
constant factor h in common, if and only there exist polynomials u
and v of degree less than m, resp. n, not both vanishing, such that
vf + ug = 0.
Proof. We may suppose that a
0
,= 0, so m = deg f. All irreducible
factors of f have to occur in ug, and not all can occur in u, because
deg u < deg f; therefore f and g have a factor in common. Conversely,
given f one nds a v and u, such that f = uh and g = vh, so the
equation vf + ug = 0 is satised.
Now put:
u = u
0
X
m1
+ + u
m1
,
v = v
0
X
n1
+ + v
n1
,
and consider the coecients as indeterminates. Comparison of coef-
cients of powers of X in vf + ug = 0 gives the system of linear
12 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
equations:
a
0
v
0
+ b
0
u
0
= 0
a
1
v
0
+ a
0
v
1
+ b
1
u
0
+ b
0
u
1
= 0
.
.
.
a
m
v
n1
+ b
n
u
m1
= 0 .
This system has a solution if and only if its determinant vanishes: the
vanishing of the determinant is a necessary and sucient condition for
the existence of a solution over the quotient eld Q(A) of A, and by
clearing denominators we get a solution over A. After transposing we
get the following determinant, which is called the Resultant of f and
g:
R(f, g) =

a
0
a
1
a
2
. . . a
m
a
0
a
1
a
2
. . . a
m
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
a
0
a
1
a
2
. . . a
m
b
0
b
1
. . . b
n1
b
n
b
0
b
1
. . . b
n1
b
n
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
b
0
b
1
. . . b
n1
b
n

.
Remark 1.10. Writing the resultant as the determinant of the
transpose of the coecient matrix is traditional. A dierent way to
nd the matrix is the following. Consider the free module A[X]
n+m1
of polynomials of degree at most m+n1 and write polynomials as row
vector of coecients. The existence of a relation vf +ug = 0 is equiv-
alent to the fact that the polynomials f, Xf, . . . , X
n1
f, g, Xg, . . . ,
X
m1
g are linearly dependent row vectors in the (m + n)-dimensional
vector space Q(A)[X]
n+m1
. The resultant is the determinant express-
ing this fact.
Remark 1.11. If A is a polynomial ring, and a
i
and b
i
are homo-
geneous polynomials of degree i, then R(f, g) A is a polynomial of
degree mn.
Remark 1.12. The resultant is in fact a universal polynomial in
the a
i
and b
j
with integral coecients.
Leaving out the last equation a
m
v
n1
+ b
n
u
m1
= 0 describes the
condition that vf +ug does not involve X. The maximal minors of the
matrix yield a solution (v, u) such that vf + ug = R(f, g) (Cramers
rule!). So for any two polynomials f and g there exist u and v with
deg u < deg f and deg v < deg g, such that:
vf + ug = R(f, g).
From Proposition 1.13 follows:
1.4. HILBERTS NULLSTELLENSATZ (CONTINUED) 13
Proposition 1.14. The polynomials f and g have a non-constant
factor h in common, if and only R(f, g) = 0 A.
1.4. Hilberts Nullstellensatz (continued)
We will prove the Nullstellensatz by induction on the number of
variables. In the induction step the last variable will play a special role,
and we have to bring polynomials in suitable form. For an algebraically
closed eld this is possible by the following lemma.
Lemma 1.15. Let f k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] be a polynomial of degree d
over an innite eld k. After a suitable coordinate transformation this
polynomial has a term of the form cX
d
n
for some non-zero c k.
Proof. Introduce new coordinates by X
i
= Y
i
+ a
i
for i < n. Let
f
d
be the highest degree part of f. Then
f(Y
1
+ a
1
, . . . , Y
n1
+ a
n1
, X
n
) = f
d
(a
1
, . . . , a
n1
, 1)X
d
n
+ ,
where the dots stand for terms of lower degree in X
n
. As k is innite,
we can nd values for the a
i
such that f
d
(a
1
, . . . , a
n1
, 1) ,= 0.
Theorem 1.16 (Weak form of the Nullstellensatz). If J ,= (1) is
an ideal in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
], k algebraically closed, then V (I) ,= .
Proof. We use induction on the number of variables. For n = 1
each proper ideal in k[X
1
] is principal, so the result follows because k
is algebraically closed.
Let J ,= be a proper ideal in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]. If J = (0), then
V (J) = A
n
(k). Otherwise we can, as the algebraically closed eld k is
innite, by a suitable coordinate transformation achieve that J contains
an element f of degree d, in which the term cX
d
n
, c ,= 0, occurs. Let
J
n1
= J k[X
1
, . . . , X
n1
] .
It consists of all polynomials in J, not involving X
n
. This is an
ideal (possibly the zero ideal) in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n1
]. As 1 / J and
J
n1
J, we have 1 / J
n1
. By the induction hypothesis V (J
n1
) ,=
in A
n1
(k). Let A = (a
1
, . . . , a
n1
) V (J
n1
) and consider the
roots b
i
of f(a
1
, . . . , a
n1
, X
n
). Suppose that none of the points P
i
=
(a
1
, . . . , a
n1
, b
i
) is a common zero of J. So for each P
i
there exists a
polynomial g
i
J with g
i
(P
i
) ,= 0. Therefore one can nd a g J
with g(P
i
) ,= 0 for all i. An explicit formula can be given with a
kind of Lagrange interpolation. Set g =

i
g
i

j=i
(X
n
b
j
). By
construction f(a
1
, . . . , a
n1
, X
n
) and g(a
1
, . . . , a
n1
, X
n
) have no com-
mon roots, and therefore their resultant is non-zero. This means that
the resultant R(f, g) K[X
1
, . . . , X
n1
] does not vanish at A. But
R(f, g) = vf +ug J
n1
, so R(f, g)(A) = 0. This contradiction shows
that at least one of the points P
i
is a zero of J.
14 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
Proposition 1.17. A proper ideal I k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
], with k al-
gebraically closed, is a maximal ideal if and only if I is of the form
(X
1
a
1
, . . . , X
n
a
n
) for some point P = (a
1
, . . . , a
n
).
Proof. We abbreviate R = k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]. A proper ideal I is
maximal if and only if R/I is a eld. Consider now the surjective
evaluation map R k, f f(P). Its kernel is the ideal (X
1

a
1
, . . . , X
n
a
n
), so we nd that R/(X
1
a
1
, . . . , X
n
a
n
)

= k, and
the ideal is maximal (this direction holds for any eld).
Let now I be a maximal ideal and P = (a
1
, . . . , a
n
) V (I), ex-
isting by the weak Nullstellensatz. Then I(P) I(V (I)) I, so by
maximality I = I(P). As (X
1
a
1
, . . . , X
n
a
n
) I(P), we get maps
k R/I(P) R/(X
1
a
1
, . . . , X
n
a
n
)

= k, whose composition is
an isomorphism. Therefore I(P) = (X
1
a
1
, . . . , X
n
a
n
).
Remark 1.13. For general k there are maximal ideals, which look
dierently, e.g., (X
2
+ 1) R[X]. Observe that R[X]/(X
2
+ 1)

= C.
1.5. Irreducible components
For R = k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] we have now two operations V () and I(),
ideals of R
V

I
subsets of A
n
(k)
which for algebraically closed k induce bijections
radical ideals of R algebraic subsets of A
n
(k)

maximal ideals of R points of A
n
(k)
Between radical ideals and maximal ideals lie prime ideals. Recall that
a proper ideal I is prime if ab I implies that a I or b I. We
discuss what this concept corresponds to on the side of algebraic sets.
Definition 1.18. An algebraic set X is irreducible, if whenever
X = X
1
X
2
with X
1
, X
2
algebraic, then X = X
1
or X = X
2
.
Proposition 1.19. An algebraic set X is irreducible if and only if
its ideal I(X) is prime.
Proof.
() Suppose X = X
1
X
2
is a non-trivial decomposition. As X
i
,= X
there are functions f
i
I(X
i
) I(X), i = 1, 2. As f
1
f
2
I(X), the
ideal I(X) is not prime.
() Suppose f
1
f
2
I(X), but f
i
/ I(X). Then X
i
= V (f
i
, I(X)) is
algebraic with X
i
X, but X X
1
X
2
.
Remark 1.14. We can formulate the concept of irreducibility for
any topological space: X is reducible if X = X
1
X
2
with X
1
, X
2
proper
closed subsets of X. For other topologies than the Zariski topology this
concept is not interesting: a Hausdor space is always reducible unless
it consists of at most one point.
1.6. PRIMARY DECOMPOSITION 15
Definition 1.20. A topological space X is Noetherian if it satises
the descending chain condition: every descending chain X X
1

X
2
. . . of closed subsets is eventually stationary.
Remark 1.15. An ane algebraic set is a Noetherian topological
space.
Proposition 1.21. Every Noetherian topological space has a de-
composition
X = X
1
X
r
into irreducible components X
i
, satisfying X
i
, X
j
for all i ,= j. It is
unique (up to permutation).
Proof. Suppose that there exists a space X for which the state-
ment is false. Then X = X
1
X

1
is reducible and at least one of X
1
,
X

1
is reducible and does not have a decomposition into a nite number
of components, say X
1
. Then X
1
= X
2
X

2
with say X
2
does not have
a decomposition. Continuing this way we nd an innite chain
X X
1
X
2
. . . ,
contradicting the fact that X is Noetherian.
The condition X
i
, X
j
can be satised by omitting superuous terms.
Uniqueness is left as an exercise.
Definition 1.22. An irreducible algebraic subset V A
n
(k) is
called an ane k-variety, or ane variety.
Remark 1.16. Some authors do not include irreducibility in the
denition, and call our algebraic sets for varieties. The reason for our
(traditional) terminology will soon become clearer.
Actually, we shall later on change the denition a bit and intro-
duce (abstract) ane varieties, independent of a given embedding in a
particular ane space.
1.6. Primary decomposition
Now we have extended our correspondence with one more layer:
ideals of R
V

I
subsets of A
n
(k)

1:1
algebraic subsets of A
n
(k)

prime ideals of R
1:1
irreducible subsets of A
n
(k)

maximal ideals of R
1:1
points of A
n
(k)
where the bijections hold for k algebraically closed. We would like to
change the top line to obtain a bijection also there, that is, we would
16 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
like to associate to an arbitrary (non-radical) ideal some kind of space.
Such situations occur naturally.
Example 1.17. Consider the projection of the parabola V (X
Y
2
) A
2
onto the X-axis.

_
Over the reals there lie two points over each X > 0, one over 0 and no
points over an X < 0. In the complex case for each c ,= 0 there are
two points over X = c, namely (c, y) with y a root of the quadratic
equation y
2
= 0. As usually, to make it true that a quadratic equation
always has two roots, we count them with multiplicity. We say therefore
that y
2
= 0 has a double root. Also geometrically we want to say that
over each complex point X = c there lie two points, so we say that
over the origin we have a double point. It is on the Y -axis dened by
the ideal (Y
2
), and in the plane by (X, Y
2
).
A somewhat dierent, but related way to consider the situation is that
for c ,= 0 we have two points, which come together in the limit c 0.
Definition 1.23. A fat point P is dened by an ideal I, whose
radical is a maximal ideal, dening a single point P
red
. The multiplicity
of P is dim
k
k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]/I.
More generally, to an ideal I k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] we associate a space
X. This will be called a k-scheme. We do not give a construction here,
algebraic set X
red
.
For algebraic sets we had a (unique) decomposition into irreducible
components. We want to have something similar for k-schemes. We
study the problem algebraically, purely in terms of ideals.
Definition 1.24. Let R be a Noetherian ring. An ideal I is irre-
ducible if I = I
1
I
2
implies I = I
1
or I = I
2
.
1.6. PRIMARY DECOMPOSITION 17
Lemma 1.25. In a Noetherian ring every ideal is a nite intersec-
tion of irreducible ideals.
Example 1.18. A prime ideal is irreducible, but not every irre-
ducible ideal is prime: the ideal (X, Y
2
) k[X, Y ] is irreducible. The
ideal (X
2
, XY, Y
2
) is not irreducible.
Definition 1.26. A proper ideal in a commutative ring R with
unit is primary if ab I implies that a I or b
n
I for some n.
PropositionDefinition 1.27. Let I be a primary ideal. The

## I of I is the smallest prime ideal containing I. If p =

I,
then I is called p-primary.
Proof. If ab

I, then (ab)
m
I for some m and therefore
a
m
I or b
mn
I for some mn, that is, a

I or b

I, showing
that

## I is prime. Let p I be a prime ideal, and a

I. Then
a
n
I p for some n, so a p, as p is prime. Therefore

I p.
Proposition 1.28. In a Noetherian ring R every irreducible ideal
is primary.
Proof. Let I be irreducible, and let ab I. Suppose a / I.
Consider the sequence of ideals
I (I : b) (I : b
2
) . . . ,
where for a c R
(I : c) = r R [ rc I .
By the ascending chain condition there is an n such that (I : b
n
) = (I :
b
n+1
). We show that (I + (b
n
)) (I + (a)) = I. If x I + (a), then
xb I and if also x I + (b
n
), then x = rb
n
+ i for some r R and
i I; as xb I, we have rb
n+1
I, so r (I : b
n+1
) = (I : b
n
) and
rb
n
I, so also x I. Because I is irreducible and a / I, we must
have that I + (b
n
) = I, so b
n
I, showing that I is primary.
It now follows that in a Noetherian ring every ideal I has a primary
decomposition, that is, I =

k
i=1
I
i
, with I
i
primary.
We want to discuss uniqueness of the decomposition. First we can
collect all ideals with the same radical.
Lemma 1.29. If the ideals I
1
, . . . , I
k
are p-primary then I =

k
i=1
I
i
is p-primary.
Proof. First of all,

I =

I
i
=

i
= p. Now let ab I,
a / I, then there is an i such that a / I
i
, hence b
n
I
i
, b

I
i
= p.
So b

I
i
= p for all i, b
m(i)
I
i
. For m = max m(i) we have
b
m
I
i
= I.
Definition 1.30. A primary decomposition I = I
i
is minimal if
all

I
i
are distinct and I
i
,

j=i
I
j
.
18 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
We can achieve the rst property by the lemma and the second by
omitting superuous terms.
Theorem 1.31. Let I = I
i
be a minimal primary decomposi-
tion. Set p
i
=

I
i
. The ideals p
i
are independent of the particular
decomposition.
Proof. We show that the p
i
are precisely the prime ideals occur-
ring in the set of ideals
_
(I : r), with r ranging over R.
We rst describe the ideals (I : r). If r I, then (I : r) = R. Now
suppose that I is p-primary. If r / I, then (I : r) is p-primary and
_
(I : r) = p, for if a (I : r), then ar I and as r / I, a
n
I, so
a p. Hence I (I : r) p and by taking radicals,
_
(I : r) = p.
Furthermore, if ab (I : r) and b / p, then abr I gives ar I, so
a (I : r), showing that (I : r) is primary. Finally, if r / p, then
(I : r) = I.
For any r R we have (I : r) = ( I
i
: r) = (I
i
: r). Therefore
_
(I : r) =
_
(I
i
: r) =

r / I
i
p
i
. If
_
(I : r) is prime, it must be one
of the p
i
. Conversely, for each i there exists an r
i
/ I
i
and r
i

j=i
I
j
,
as the decompositions is minimal. Then
_
(I : r) = p
i
.
Definition 1.32. The prime ideals p
i
of the theorem are associated
with I. The minimal elements of the set p
i
, . . . , p
k
are the isolated
prime ideals associated with I. The other ones are called embedded
prime ideals.
Let I be an ideal in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
], for simplicity k algebraically
closed. Then I denes a k-scheme. The radical

## I denes the alge-

braic set X
red
. The minimal primes p
i
correspond to the irreducible
components of X
red
, and the embedded primes to subvarieties of these:
varieties embedded in irreducible components.
Example 1.19. Let I = (X
2
, XY ) k[X, Y ]. A primary decom-
position is I = (X) (X
2
, XY, Y
2
). The zero set V (I) is obviously
the Y -axis. This is the isolated component, whereas (X, Y ) is an em-
bedded component. The primary decomposition is not unique: we can
also write I = (X) (X
2
, Y ).
Proposition 1.33. The isolated primary components are uniquely
determined by the ideal I.
Proof. LetI = I
i
be a minimal primary decomposition. Then
the p
i
are uniquely determined. If the component p
i
is isolated, then
there exists an r / p
i
with r p
j
for j ,= i. Then (I : r
n
) = I
i
,
depending only on the p
i
.
1.7. The ground eld
As we have seen, we need an algebraically closed eld (typically
C) to assure that equations have solutions. But often the coecients
1.8. POLYNOMIAL MAPS 19
lie in a subeld (typically Q, in fact we mostly write equations with
integral coecients). One then says that the variety is dened over the
subeld. To take this into account, we generalise the denition of the
operations V () and I().
Let k K be a eld extension. We consider ideals in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
],
but look at their zero sets in A
n
(K). So given J one has
V (J) = P A
n
(K) [ f(P) = 0 for all f J
and conversely for a subset X A
n
(K),
I(X) = f k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] [ f(P) = 0 for all P X .
This sets up a correspondence between ideals in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] and
algebraic k-sets in A
n
(K). We have a Zariski k-topology on A
n
(K). If
X = V (J), then one says that X is dened over k and that k is the
eld of denition, or ground eld, of X. We regain the previous set-up
by taking k = K.
It is easy to check that the properties of V () and I() proved
above also hold in the more general situation of a eld extension k
K. Also the Nullstellensatz I(V (J)) =

## J remains true with the

same proof, starting from the weak form: if J ,= (1) is an ideal in
k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
], then V (J) A
n
(K) is non-empty if K is algebraically
closed.
As consequence of the Nullstellensatz we saw that the maximal
ideals in K[X
1
, . . . , X
n
], K algebraically closed, are of the from (X
1

a
1
, . . . , X
n
a
n
). This is no longer true if K is not algebraically closed.
E.g., the maximal ideals in Q[X] are of the form (f) with f a poly-
nomial, irreducible over Q. The algebraic theory suggests that also
for general elds maximal ideals in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] dene points. So
(X
2
+ 1) R[X] is two complex conjugate points.
For simplicity (not at least of notation) we consider in the sequel,
just as before, only one eld, and often we suppose it to be algebraically
closed.
1.8. Polynomial maps
Each polynomial f k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] denes a polynomial function
f : A
n
(k) k by the formula P f(P). The polynomial function
determines the polynomial if k is innite: if f, g k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] and
f(P) = g(P) for all P A
n
(k), then f = g.
Definition 1.34. Let V be an algebraic set in A
n
. A polyno-
mial function f : V k is the restriction of a polynomial function
F : A
n
(k) k to V .
Two polynomials F, G k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] dene the same function on
V if and only if (F G)(P) = 0 for all P V , that is, if and only if
F G I(V ).
20 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
Definition 1.35. The coordinate ring of V is the k-algebra k[V ],
which is the quotient
k[V ] = k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]/I(V ) .
The coordinate ring is the smallest ring, containing containing the
coordinate functions, explaining the traditional terminology.
Let X V be an ane algebraic set, then I(V ) I(X) and
I(X)/I(V ) is an ideal in k[V ] = k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]/I(V ). So also on V we
have operations V () and I(), and a Zariski topology.
Let now V A
n
(k) and W A
m
(k) be algebraic sets and write
X
1
, . . . , X
n
for the coordinates on A
n
(k), and Y
1
, . . . , Y
m
for those on
A
m
(k).
Definition 1.36. A map f : V W is a polynomial map if there
are polynomials F
1
, . . . , F
m
k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
], such that
f(P) = (F
1
(P), . . . , F
m
(P)) W A
m
(k)
for all P V .
Lemma 1.37. A map f : V W is a polynomial map if and only
if f
j
:= Y
j
f k[V ] for j = 1, . . . , m.
Proof. If f is a polynomial map, then we can write f
j
(P) = F
j
(P)
for some polynomials, determined up to I(V ), so f
j
is a well-determined
element of k[V ].
Conversely, if f
j
= Y
j
f k[V ], then by denition there exists a
polynomial F
j
with F
j
(P) = f
j
(P), so f(P) = (F
1
(P), . . . , F
m
(P)).
The composition of polynomial maps is dened in the obvious way.
Definition 1.38. A polynomial map f : V W is an isomor-
phism, if f is a bijection with polynomial inverse: if there exists a
polynomial map g : W V with f g = id
W
and g f = id
V
.
Example 1.20. Let V = A
1
(k), W = V (Y
2
1
Y
3
2
) A
2
(k). The
polynomial map f : V W, given by (Y
1
, Y
2
) = (X
3
, X
2
), is a bijec-
tion, but its inverse X = Y
1
/Y
2
is not a polynomial map.
Theorem 1.39. Let V A
n
(k) and W A
m
(k) be as above.
(1) A polynomial map f : V W induces a k-algebra homomor-
phism f

## : k[W] k[V ], given by f

(g) = g f.
(2) Any k-algebra homomorphism : k[W] k[V ] is of the form
= f

## for a uniquely determined polynomial map f : V W.

Proof.
(1) One has f

(g
1
+g
2
) = (g
1
+g
2
)f = g
1
f +g
2
f = f

(g
1
)+f

(g
2
)
and f

(g
1
g
2
) = (g
1
g
2
)f = (g
1
f)(g
2
f) = (f

g
1
)(f

g
2
). Furthermore
f

(a) = a for a k.
(2) Let y
i
= Y
i
mod I(V ) be the i-th coordinate function. We have
to dene y
i
= f
i
(x
1
, . . . , x
n
), and we do this by f
i
(x
1
, . . . , x
n
) = (y
i
).
1.9. REGULAR AND RATIONAL FUNCTIONS 21
Then f = (f
1
, . . . , f
m
) is a polynomial map f : V A
n
(k). We have
to show that f(V ) W, or I(W) I(f(V )). Let G I(W). Then
G f is a polynomial in the f
i
= (y
i
). As is a homomorphism,
G f = (G) = (0) = 0. So G f I(V ) and G I(f(V ). An
homomorphism is determined by its values on generators, so = f

and f

## is uniquely determined and therefore f.

Lemma 1.40.
(1) If U
f
V
g
W, then (g f)

= f

.
(2) f : V W is an isomorphism if and only if f

: k[W] k[V ]
is an isomorphism.
Remark 1.21. If I k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] is an arbitrary ideal, then we
also call k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]/I =: k[X] the coordinate ring of the associated
k-scheme X. In particular, if X is a fat point, then k[X] is a nite-
dimensional k-algebra. A polynomial map f : X Y is as before
given by restriction of a polynomial map A
n
A
m
and the correspon-
dence between polynomial maps and k-algebra homomorphims works
as above.
1.9. Regular and rational functions
In the remaining sections let k be an algebraically closed eld.
Definition 1.41. Let V be an ane algebraic set and f k[V ].
The set
D(f) = P V [ f(P) ,= 0
is a basic open set.
Definition 1.42. Let U be an open subset of V . A function
r : U k is regular in P U if there exist elements g, h k[V ] such
that P D(h) U and r = g/h on D(h). We denote the k-algebra of
all functions, regular on the whole of U, by O(U).
Remark 1.22. The representation r = f/g need not be unique.
For an example see the exercises.
Theorem 1.43. For a basic open set D(f) one has O(D(f)) =
k[V ][
1
f
].
Corollary 1.44. O(V ) = k[V ].
Proof of the theorem. Let r O(D(f)). Consider the ideal
of denominators of r

r
= 0 h k[V ] [ D(h) D(f), r =
g
h
on D(h) .
This is an ideal, as g/h = gk/hk, and if r = g/h = k/l, then also
r = (g + k)/(h + l). For all P D(f) we have P / V (
r
), so f
vanishes on V (
r
) and therefore f
n

r
, by the Nullstellensatz. This
implies that r = g/f
n
on D(f
n
) = D(f).
22 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
Lemma 1.45. Let U
1
and U
2
be open sets of V , r
1
O(U
1
), r
2

O(U
2
). Suppose that r
1
[
U
= r
2
[
U
on an open dense subset U with
U U
1
U
2
. Then r
1
[
U
1
U
2
= r
2
[
U
1
U
2
.
Proof. Set A = P U
1
U
2
[ r[
U
1
U
2
(P) = r
2
[
U
1
U
2
(P). It is a
closed subset of U
1
U
2
: if P U
1
U
2
A and r
1
[
U
1
U
2
r
2
[
U
1
U
2
= f/g
on D(g) U
1
U
2
, then f(P) ,= 0 and r ,= 0 on D(f) D(g). As
U A and U is dense in V , we have A = U
1
U
2
.
Corollary 1.46. Let U V be dense and open and r O(U).
Then there are a uniquely determined dense open subset U

with U U

and an r

O(U

) with r

[
U
= r, such that r

cannot be extended to a
strictly larger open dense subset.
Definition 1.47. A regular function r, dened on an open dense
subset U V , is called a rational function on V . The maximal open
subset U

## to which r can be extended, is called the domain of denition

dom(r) of r, and V dom(r) its polar set.
One adds, subtracts and multiplies rational functions by doing this on
the intersection of their domains of denition. This makes the set R(V )
of all rational functions on V into a k-algebra.
Theorem 1.48. Let V =

k
i=1
V
i
be the decomposition of V into
irreducible components. The map
R(V ) R(V
1
) R(V
k
) , r (r[
V
1
, . . . , r[
V
k
)
is an isomorphism of k-algebras.
Proof. We rst show that the map is well-dened. Let r R(V ).
If W is an irreducible component of V , then dom(r) W is open and
dense in W, and the restriction of R is regular on dom(r) W: just
represent r locally as f/g with f, g k[V ], then r =

f/ g with

f, g the
residue classes of f and g in k[W] = k[V ]/I(W).
Now let (r
1
, . . . , r
k
)

R(V
i
) and consider for all i the restriction
r

i
of r
i
to (V
i

j=i
) U
i
= U

i
. Then U

i
is open and dense in V
i
and
U

i
U

j
= for i ,= j. The r

i
dene a regular function on the open
and dense subset U
i
of V and therefore a rational function r on V .
Lemma 1.45 implies that the map (r
1
, . . . , r
k
) r is the inverse of the
map in the statement.
If V is an (irreducible) variety, its ideal is prime, and the ring k[V ]
does not contain zero divisors. Therefore this ring has a quotient eld
k(V ).
Theorem 1.49. Let V be an ane variety. Then R(V ) is isomor-
phic to the quotient eld k(V ).
Proof. Each f/g k(V ) denes a rational function, as f/g is
regular on the open and dense set D(g). Conversely, let r be dened on
U. Then the closed set V U is of the form V (g
1
, . . . , g
k
), so U D(g)
1.10. THE LOCAL RING OF A POINT 23
for some polynomial g. By theorem 1.43 the restriction of r to D(g) is
of the form f/g
n
for some n.
1.10. The local ring of a point
Let P V be a point of an ane algebraic set. Consider the
collection U of all open subsets of V containing P. On

UU
O(U) we
dene the equivalence relation r
1
O(U
1
) r
2
O(U
2
) if there exists
an U U
1
U
2
U such that r
1
[
U
= r
2
[
U
. An equivalence class is
called a germ of a regular function at P.
Definition 1.50. Let P V be a point of an ane algebraic set.
Its local ring is the ring of germs of regular functions at P V
Remark 1.23. If V is irreducible, then
O
V,P
= r R(V ) [ r is regular in P .
Lemma 1.51. The ring O
V,P
is a local ring, that is, it has exactly
one maximal ideal, which is
m
V,P
= r O
V,P
[ r(P) = 0 .
Proof. Let I O
V,P
be an ideal which contains an f with f(P) ,=
0. Then 1/f O
V,P
and 1 = (1/f) f I.
We recall the concept of localisation in rings.
Definition 1.52. Let R be a commutative ring with unit. A mul-
tiplicative system in R is subset S R

## = R 0 with the properties

that 1 S and if a, b S, then ab S.
Example 1.24. An ideal I is prime if and only if R I is a multi-
plicative system. A ring R is an integral domain if and only if the zero
ideal is prime, that is if and only if R

is a multiplicative system.
We now allow elements of S in the denominator. Dene the follow-
ing equivalence relation on R S:
(r
1
, s
1
) (r
2
, s
2
) s S: s(r
1
s
2
r
2
s
1
) = 0 .
An equivalence class is denoted by
r
s
and the set of equivalence classes
by R
S
. With the usual addition and multiplication
r
1
s
1
+
r
2
s
2
=
r
1
s
2
+ r
2
s
1
s
1
s
2
,
r
1
s
1
r
2
s
2
=
r
1
r
2
s
1
s
2
R
S
becomes a ring with identity 1 =
1
1
and the map R R
S
, r
r
1
is
a ring homomorphism. It is injective if and only if S does not contain
zero divisors.
Definition 1.53. The ring R
S
is the localisation of R with respect
to the multiplicative system S.
24 1. AFFINE ALGEBRAIC VARIETIES
Example 1.25. If R is an integral domain and S = R

, then R
S
is
the eld of fractions Q(R). If R is arbitrary, and S the multiplicative
system of non-zero-divisors, then R
S
is the total ring of fractions, also
denoted by Q(R). For an integral domain and an f R let S
f
= f
n
[
n 0. We set R
f
:= R
S
f
. Then R
f
= R[1/f]. Let p be a prime ideal
and S
p
= Rp. We set R
p
:= R
S
p
; it is a local ring with maximal ideal
pR
p
.
Example 1.26. For an ane algebraic set V is R(V ) isomorphic
to the total ring of fractions Q(k[V ]).
Lemma 1.54. Let M
P
= f k[V ] [ f(P) = 0 be the maximal
ideal dening a point P V The local ring of a point P is a localisation
of k[V ]: we have O
V,P
= k[V ]
M
P
.
Proof. The condition that two fractions f/h O(U
1
) and g/k
O(U
2
) represent the same germ is that they agree on the intersection
with an open subset of the type D(w) for some w k[V ] M
P
, that
is wfg(f/h gk) = 0 k[V ]. This is the denition of localisation in
M
P
.
1.11. Rational maps
Just as rational functions, which are not functions in a set-theoretic
sense, as they are not everywhere dened, we often need maps, which
are only dened on dense open subsets.
Definition 1.55. A rational map f : V W A
m
(k) between
algebraic sets is a map, dened on a dense open subset U V , as
f = (f
1
, . . . , f
m
) with f
i
O(U) and f(U) W.
For the denition of the composition of two rational maps f : V
W and g : W X one has to be careful. What should be g(f(P))
if f(P) lies outside the domain of denition of g? In particular, if the
whole image of V lies outside, we are in trouble. If we want to dene
the composition for all g, we need that the image is dense.
Definition 1.56. A rational map f : V W is dominant if
f(dom(f)) is a Zariski dense subset of W.
We now investigate what this means algebraically. As rational maps
can be dened on each irreducible component independently, we do this
only for varieties.
Proposition 1.57. A rational map f : V W between varieties
is dominant if and only if the induced map f

tive.
Proof. The map f

## is dened, as we always can replace y

i
by f
i
in a polynomial. Then g ker f

## if and only if g(f(P) = 0 for all

P dom(f) if and only if f(dom(f)) V (g). So f

is not injective if
and only if f(dom(f)) is a proper algebraic subset.
1.12. QUASI-AFFINE VARIETIES 25
If f

## is injective, we can also replace the y

i
by f
i
in denominators,
so we get a map f

## : k(W) k(V ) between function elds. Similar to

theorem 1.39 we have
Theorem 1.58.
(1) A dominant rational map f : V W between varieties in-
duces a eld homomorphism f

: k(W) k[V ].
(2) Any eld homomorphism : k(W) k[V ] is of the form =
f

## for a uniquely determined dominant map f : V W.

Definition 1.59. A dominant rational map f : V W between
varieties is a birational isomorphism if f

is an isomorphism.
Definition 1.60. A variety V is rational if its function eld k(V )
is isomorphic to k(X
1
, . . . , X
n
).
Example 1.27. An irreducible conic (with a point P dened over
k) is k-rational: parametrise using the pencil of lines through P.
1.12. Quasi-ane varieties
Definition 1.61. A quasi-ane variety is an open subset of an
ane variety.
A morphism f from a quasi-ane variety U
1
V to U
2
W is a
rational map f : V W, which is regular at every point P U
1
,
such that f(U
1
) U
2
.
An isomorphism is a morphism f : U
1
U
2
with inverse morphism:
there exists a morphism g : U
2
U
1
with g f = id
U
1
and f g = id
U
2
.
Example 1.28. A basic open set D(f) V is a quasi-ane va-
riety. It is isomorphic to an ane variety, namely
f
V A
1
, the
graph of 1/f. If V = V (I) with I k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
], then
f
is de-
ned by the ideal I + (Tf 1) k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
, T]. The maps
f

D(f), (x
1
, . . . , x
n
, t) (x
1
, . . . , x
n
), and D(f)
f
, (x
1
, . . . , x
n
)
(x
1
, . . . , x
n
, 1/f(x
1
, . . . , x
n
)), are each others inverse.
We would like to say that D(f) is an ane variety. We extend
the concept of variety to be independent of a particular embedding in
ane space.
Definition 1.62. An (abstract) ane variety is a set V together
with a nitely generated k-algebra k[V ] of functions f : V k, such
that for some choice of generators x
1
, . . . , x
n
the map V A
n
(k),
P (x
1
(P), . . . , x
n
(P)) gives a bijection between V and an ane
variety im(V ) A
n
(k).
CHAPTER 2
Projective varieties
2.1. Projective space
Let V be a (nitely-dimensional) vector space over k. We dene
the projectivisation of V as the space of all lines through the origin
(that is, all 1-dimensional linear subspaces).
Definition 2.1. Let V be a k-vector space. Consider on V 0
the equivalence relation
v w k

: v = w .
The projective space P(V ) associated to V is the quotient
P(V ) := (V 0)/ .
The dimension of P(V ) is dimV 1.
In particular, if V = k
n+1
, we get projective n-space P
n
= P(k
n+1
).
Its elements are called points. Two points (a
0
, . . . , a
n
) k
n+1
and
(a
0
, . . . , a
n
) k
n+1
, k

## , dene the same point in P

n
, so only the
ratios of a
i
have a meaning. We write therefore (a
0
: : a
n
).
Definition 2.2. If X
0
, . . . , X
n
are coordinates on k
n+1
, then their
ratios are homogeneous coordinates on P
n
, denoted by (X
0
: : X
n
).
We can embed A
n
in P
n
by (X
1
, . . . , X
n
) (X
0
: : X
n
).
Example 2.1. Take n = 1. Over the reals we have RP
1

= A
1
.
Topologically, we get RP
1
by identifying opposite points on the circle.
So RP
1
is homeomorphic to S
1
.
"!
#

## In the complex case we have something similar: CP

1

= C ,
also known as the Riemann sphere. Stereographic projection maps
S
2
north pole conformally onto C and can be extended to S
2
CP
1
.
27
28 2. PROJECTIVE VARIETIES
Example 2.2. For n = 2 we have that a line through the origin
intersects the ane plane V (X
0
1) k
3
in a point, except when it
is parallel to this plane, that is, when it lies in V (X
0
). The space of
lines in this plane is a P
1
, also called the line at innity. So we have a
decomposition P
2
= A
2
P
1
. Two lines in A
2
with the same direction
are parallel in A
2
, but share the same point at innity (represented by
the line through their common direction vector). Therefore two lines
in P
2
always intersect.
X
X
X
2
0
1
For every 0 i n we have a standard way to decompose P
n
into
ane space A
n
i
and a hyperplane at innity H
i
= (X
0
: : X
n
) [
X
i
= 0; we embed A
n
by (X
1
, . . . , X
n
) (X
1
: : X
i
: 1 : X
i+1
:
: X
n
). The image A
n
i
is given by X
i
,= 0.
Definition 2.3. A projective subspace of P(V ) is a subset of the
form P(W) for W a linear subspace W V .
Lemma 2.4. Let P(W
1
) and P(W
2
) be projective subspaces of P(V ).
If dimP(W
1
) + dimP(W
2
) dimP(V ), then P(W
1
) P(W
2
) ,= .
Proof. We have P(W
1
) P(W
2
) = P(W
1
W
2
) and dimW
1

W
2
1 dimW
1
+ dimW
2
dimV 1 = dimP(W
1
) + dimP(W
2
)
dimP(V ) 0.
We want to look at zeroes in P
n
of polynomials. The condition
that f k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] has a zero in (a
0
: : a
n
) P
n
means
that f vanishes on the whole line through (a
0
, . . . , a
n
) A
n+1
, that
is f(a
0
, . . . , a
n
) = 0 for all k

.
Definition 2.5. A polynomial f k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] is homogeneous
(of degree d) if all monomials in f have the same degree (namely, d).
Lemma 2.6. We have f(X
0
, . . . , X
n
) =
d
f(X
0
, . . . , X
n
) for all
k, if f is homogeneous of degree d. The converse holds if k is in-
nite. For all elds holds that f is homogeneous of degree d if and only if
f(X
0
, . . . , X
n
)
d
f(X
0
, . . . , X
n
) as a polynomial in k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
, ]
is the zero polynomial.
Now write f = f
0
+ +f
d
as a sum of homogeneous components.
Then f(a
0
, . . . , a
n
) = f
0
(a
0
, . . . , a
n
) + +
d
f
d
(a
0
, . . . , a
n
) and if
2.1. PROJECTIVE SPACE 29
f(a
0
, . . . , a
n
) = 0 for innitely many , then f
0
(a
0
, . . . , a
n
) = =
f
d
(a
0
, . . . , a
n
) = 0. This means that (a
0
: : a
n
) P
n
is a zero of
homogeneous polynomials.
Remark 2.3. While the zero set of a homogeneous polynomial in
P
n
is thus well dened, the value of a polynomial function in a point
makes no sense. In fact the only regular functions on P
n
, and more
generally on projective varieties, are the constant functions.
Let

f(X
0
, . . . , X
n
) be a homogeneous polynomial and consider an
ane subspace A
n
P
n
, say the one given by X
0
,= 0. Putting X
0
= 1
in

f gives a polynomial f(X
1
, . . . , X
n
) =

f(1, X
1
, . . . , X
n
) in inhomo-
geneous coordinates (X
1
, . . . , X
n
). Conversely, given V = V (f) A
n
we nd an equation

f for the projective closure

V by homogenising:
replace X
i
by X
i
/X
0
and multiply with X
d
0
to clear denominators.
So if f(X
1
, . . . , X
n
) = f
0
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
) + + f
d
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
), then

f(X
0
, X
1
, . . . , X
n
) = X
d
0
f
0
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
) + + f
d
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
).
Example 2.4. Consider the plane cubic curve C: Y
2
= X
3
X.
We study how it looks like at innity. We rst homogenise: the curve

C P
2
is given by ZY
2
= X
3
XZ
2
. We can look at two ane
charts, namely X = 1 and Y = 1. To choose the appropriate one, we
rst intersect

C with the line at innity V (Z) by putting Z = 0 in the
equation. We nd that X
3
= 0. The only point at innity is the origin
of the chart Y = 1. We have then the equation Z = X
3
XZ
2
. The
picture shows that the origin is an inection point.
Y
2
= X
3
X Z = X
3
XZ
2
This is an example of a cubic in Weierstrass form. Such a normal form
can always be achieved by coordinate transformations.
Coordinate transformations of P
n
should come from coordinate
transformations in k
n+1
, which map lines through the origin to lines
through the origin. We also want them to be algebraic. The easiest
way to achieve this is to take linear transformations in k
n+1
, given
by an invertible (n + 1) (n + 1)-matrix. These are in fact the only
automorphisms of P
n
.
Definition 2.7. The group of projective transformations of P
n
is
PGl(n + 1, k) = Gl(n + 1, k)/k

.
30 2. PROJECTIVE VARIETIES
2.2. Algebraic subsets
Definition 2.8. An ideal I k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] is homogeneous if
for all f I the components f
j
of the homogeneous decomposition
f = f
0
+ + f
d
satisfy f
j
I.
Proposition 2.9. An ideal is homogeneous if it can be generated
by homogeneous elements.
Proof. The collection of homogeneous components of a set of gen-
erators also generate the ideal.
Conversely, if I is generated by homogeneous elements f
(i)
of degree
d
i
, and f =

r
(i)
f
(i)
, we can decompose the r
(i)
into homogeneous
components r
(i)
j
and the homogeneous component of f of degree k is

r
(i)
kd
i
f
(i)
I.
Now we can dene the homogeneous V I correspondences between
homogeneous ideals and subsets of P
n
.
V (J) = P P
n
[ f(P) = 0 for all homogeneous f J ,
I(X) = f k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] [ f(P) = 0 for all P X .
Definition 2.10. An algebraic subset of P
n
is a set of the form
V (J). The Zariski topology on P
n
has the algebraic subsets as closed
sets.
With the Zariski topology P
n
is a Noetherian topological space. In
particular, the concept of irreducibility is dened.
We want to give the projective version of the Nullstellensatz. It
follows from the ane case: the zero set of a homogeneous ideal I
k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] is, considered in A
n+1
, a cone with vertex at the origin.
There is one problem: whereas in A
n+1
the empty set is dened by the
ideal (1), this is not the only ideal with V (I) = P
n
.
Proposition 2.11. Let I k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
], k algebraically closed,
be a homogeneous ideal. Then
V (I) = P
n
(X
0
, . . . , X
n
)

I .
Proof. Let V
a
(I) be the zero set of I in A
n+1
. Then V (I) =
if and only if V
a
(I) 0, and V
a
(I) = 0 if and only if

I =
(X
0
, . . . , X
n
).
Definition 2.12. A homogeneous ideal I k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] with

I = (X
0
, . . . , X
n
) is called irrelevant.
If J is a homogeneous ideal and I is an irrelevant ideal, then V (J) =
V (I J). We can get rid of I by taking the radical, but this will not
do if we care about multiple structures.
2.2. ALGEBRAIC SUBSETS 31
Example 2.5. The ideal J = (X
2
) denes a double line in P
2
.
There are many other ideals, which do the same, e.g.,
(X
5
, X
2
Y
3
, X
2
Z
3
) = (X
2
) (X
3
, Y
3
, Z
3
) .
In terms of primary decomposition, the ane cone over the double line
(a double plane in 3-space) has now an embedded component at its
vertex.
Definition 2.13. The saturation of a homogeneous ideal I is
I
sat
= f k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] [ s g (X
0
, . . . , X
n
)
s
: gf I .
In the sequel we only consider saturated homogeneous ideals.
Theorem 2.14 (projective Nullstellensatz). Let k be algebraically
closed. For every homogeneous ideal J k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] with V (J) ,=
we have I(V (J)) =

J.
Proof. If V (J) ,= then f I(V (J)) f I(V
a
(J)) f

J.
If we associate the irrelevant prime ideal (X
0
, . . . , X
n
) to the empty
set, we obtain as before bijections (k algebraically closed) between ho-
mogeneous ideals of k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] and subsets in P
n
:
proper homog. saturated ideals
1:1
proj. k-schemes

1:1
proj. algebraic sets

proper homog. prime ideals
1:1
proj. varieties

proper homog. maximal ideals
1:1
points
Besides taking the ane cone there is another important operation
between ane and projective geometry, of taking the projective closure.
Definition 2.15. Let A
n
P
n
be the open subset with X
0
,=
0. The projective closure

V of an ane algebraic set V A
n
is the
smallest closed subset containing V .
Definition 2.16. Let f k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] with homogeneous decom-
position f
0
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
) + +f
d
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
), f
d
,= 0. The homogeni-
sation of f with respect to the variable X
0
is the homogeneous poly-
nomial

f(X
0
, X
1
, . . . , X
n
) = X
d
0
f
0
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
) + +f
d
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
).
The homogenisation of an ideal I k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] is the ideal in
k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
], generated by the homogenisations of all elements of I:

I = (

f [ f I) .
32 2. PROJECTIVE VARIETIES
Remark 2.6. For a principal ideal I = (f) one has

I = (

f), but
in general

I is not generated by the homogenisations of the generators
of I. As an example, consider the generators X
2
1
+X
3
2
, X
2
1
+X
3
2
+X
3
of the ideal I = (X
2
1
+ X
3
2
, X
3
). Then

I = (X
0
X
2
1
+ X
3
2
, X
3
), but
homogenising only the generators gives the ideal (X
0
X
2
1
+X
3
2
, X
0
X
2
1
+
X
3
2
+ X
2
0
X
3
) = (X
0
X
2
1
+ X
3
2
, X
2
0
X
3
). This ideal has an irreducible
component, contained in the hyperplane at innity.
A set of generators (f
1
, . . . , f
k
) of I such that

I = (

f
1
, . . . ,

f
k
), is
called a standard basis. Buchbergers algorithm nds standard bases.
It is implemented in computer algebra systems like Singular and
Macaulay 2.
Proposition 2.17. The ideal of the projective closure

V of an
ane algebraic set V with I(V ) = I is

I.
Proof. Write g(1, ) for the polynomial in k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] obtained
by substituting X
0
= 1 in g(X
0
, . . . , X
n
). If g

I, then g(1, ) I,
for if g =

r
i

f
i
, where f
i
I, then g(1, ) =

r
i
(1, )f
i
I. So
g(1, ) vanishes on V and therefore its homogenisation (which is g/X
a
0
for some a 0) vanishes on the closure

V . This shows that

I I(

V ).
Conversely, if g I(

## V ), then g(1, ) vanishes on V , so g(1, ) I

and its homogenisation is contained in

I, by denition. Therefore g

I
An ideal I k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] is prime if and only if its homogenisation

I k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] is prime (see the exercises).
Proposition 2.18. The map V

V , which associates to an ane
algebraic set V its projective closure, is a bijection between the set of
non-empty ane algebraic sets in A
n
and the set of projective alge-
braic sets in P
n
without irreducible components, totally contained in
the hyperplane at innity.
The set V is irreducible if and only if

V is irreducible.
2.3. Rational maps
We now dene when a function is regular. This goes analogously to
the ane case (section 1.9). We suppose k to be algebraically closed.
Definition 2.19. Let V be a projective algebraic set, with ideal
I(V ) k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
]. The homogeneous coordinate ring of V is the
quotient
k[V ] = k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
]/I(V ) .
Definition 2.20. Let V be a projective algebraic set and f k[V ].
The set
D(f) = P V [ f(P) ,= 0
is a basic open set.
2.3. RATIONAL MAPS 33
Definition 2.21. Let U be an open subset of V . A function
r : U k is regular in P U if there exist homogeneous elements
g, h k[V ] of the same degree such that P D(h) U and r = g/h
on D(h). We denote the k-algebra of all functions, regular on the whole
of U, by O(U).
Now lemma 1.45 and corollary 1.46 hold with the same proof.
Definition 2.22. A regular function r, dened on an open dense
subset U V , is called a rational function on V . The maximal open
subset U

## to which r can be extended, is called the domain of denition

dom(r) of r, and V dom(r) its polar set.
One adds, subtracts and multiplies rational functions by doing this on
the intersection of their domains of denition. This makes the set R(V )
of all rational functions on V into a k-algebra.
We can study the ring of rational functions projective varieties by
looking at ane pieces. Let

V be a projective algebraic set. Then
there exists a linear function l such that no irreducible component of

V is contained in V (l): if l I(

V
i
) for all l, then (X
0
, . . . , X
n
) I(

V
i
)
so

V
i
= . So l / I(

V
i
) for all l in an open and dense set in the space
of linear forms. Take now a linear form in the intersection of these
open sets. By a (linear) coordinate transformation we can assume that
l = X
0
.
Let U be an open and dense set in V and therefore also in

V .
Let O
V
(U) be the ring of ane regular functions on U and O
V
(U)
that of projective rational functions, regular on U. Every r O
V
(U)
can be considered as element of O
V
(U): represent r = F/G on U
with F, G k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]. Now make F and G homogeneous of the
same degree; this makes r =

f/ g for some

f, g k[

V ]. Conversely,
dehomogenising by setting X
0
= 1 shows that O
V
(U) O
V
(U). We
conclude:
Lemma 2.23. Let U be an open set in an ane algebraic set V with
projective closure

V . Then O
V
(U) = O
V
(U).
Theorem 2.24. Let

V be the projective closure of a non-empty
ane algebraic set V . Then R(

V )

= R(V ). If

V is irreducible, then
R(

V ) is a eld.
Definition 2.25. A rational map f : V A
m
from a projective
algebraic set V to ane space is a (partially dened map), given by
P (f
1
(P), . . . , f
m
(P)) with f
i
R(V ). A rational map f : V
W A
m
is given by a rational map f : V A
m
with f(domf) W.
Given a rational map f : V A
m
we can consider it as a map
f : V A
m
P
m
and clear denominators.
Definition 2.26. A rational map f : V P
m
from a projective
algebraic set V to projective space is a (partially dened map), given
34 2. PROJECTIVE VARIETIES
by P (f
0
(P) : : f
m
(P)) with the f
i
k[V ] homogeneous of the
same degree.
There is a bijection between the set of rational maps f : V A
m
and the set of rational maps f : V P
m
with the property that
f(V ) , (X
0
= 0). We get the following characterisation of regularity.
PropositionDefinition 2.27. A rational map f : V P
m
is regular at a point P V if there is a representation f = (f
0
:
: f
m
) such that there is at least one i with f
i
(P) ,= 0, that is
P / V (f
0
, . . . , f
m
). The open set, where f is regular, is the domain of
denition domf of f.
Definition 2.28. A rational map f : V W P
m
is given by a
rational map f : V P
m
with f(domf) W
Example 2.7 (The rational normal curve of degree n in P
n
). Dene
f : P
1
P
n
by (S : T) (S
n
: S
n1
T : : T
n
). This is a regular
map. Its image is given by
_
n
2
_
equations, conveniently written as
Rank
_
X
0
X
1
. . . X
n1
X
1
X
2
. . . X
n
_
1 ,
meaning that the 2 2 minors X
i
X
j+1
X
i+1
X
j
vanish.
Definition 2.29. A rational map f : V W between (ane or
projective) algebraic sets is birational, or a birational equivalence, if f
has a rational inverse g : W V , i.e., f g = id
W
and g f = id
V
.
Proposition 2.30. A map f : V W between varieties is bira-
tional if and only if f is dominant and f

## : k(W) k(V ) is an iso-

morphism. This is the case if and only if there exist open sets V
0
V
and W
0
W such that f[
V
0
: V
0
W
0
is an isomorphism.
Proof. The only problem is to nd V
0
and W
0
. As Miles Reid
remarks in his book, you should skip this proof if you want to avoid
an headache. We have that f[
domf
: domf W is regular, just as
g[
domg
: domg V , where g is the inverse to f. We set
V
0
= (f[
domf
)
1
_
(g[
domg
)
1
(domf)
_
,
W
0
= (g[
domg
)
1
_
(f[
domf
)
1
(domg)
_
.
Note that V
0
domf. So f[
domf
(P) (g[
domg
)
1
(domf) for P V
0
.
We observe that on (g[
domg
)
1
(domf) domg the map f g is a
composition of regular maps. As it equals the identity as rational map,
we get f[
domf
g[
domg
(Q) = Q for all Q (g[
domg
)
1
(domf). Therefore
f[
domf
(P) = f[
domf
g[
domg
f[
domf
(P) and f[
V
0
(P) W
0
. The map
f[
V
0
: V
0
W
0
is regular with inverse g[
W
0
: W
0
V
0
.
We have now two types of isomorphism. Birational equivalence
gives a coarse classication, which is rened by biregular isomorphy.
Classical Italian algebraic geometry was mostly birational geometry.
2.4. PRODUCTS 35
Our earlier denition of rational varieties can be formulated as: a
variety is rational if it is birational to some P
n
.
Example 2.8. The map f : P
1
C := V (ZY
2
X
3
) P
2
, given
by (S : T) (ST
2
: T
3
: S
3
), is birational. The restriction
f
0
: P
1
(1 : 0)

= A
1
C (0 : 0 : 1)
is an isomorphism.
Example 2.9 (Projection from a point). The map : P
n
P
n1
,
(X
0
: : X
n
) (X
0
: : X
n1
) is a rational map, everywhere
dened except at the point P = (0 : : 0 : 1). Anely, in the chart
(X
0
= 1), this is just parallel projection A
n
A
n1
.
Let now n = 3 and consider the quadric Q = V (X
0
X
3
X
1
X
2
).
Then P = (0 : 0 : 0 : 1) lies on Q and the projection from P restricts
to a birational map Q P
2
with inverse
(X
0
, X
1
, X
2
) (X
2
0
: X
0
X
1
: X
0
X
2
: X
1
X
2
) .
The inverse is dened outside the set V (X
2
0
, X
0
X
1
, X
0
X
2
, X
1
X
2
) =
V (X
0
, X
1
X
2
), that is, outside the points (0 : 1 : 0) and (0 : 0 : 1).
2.4. Products
Contrary to the ane case, where A
n
A
m
= A
n+m
, the product
of projective spaces is not a projective space: P
n
P
m
,= P
n+m
. We
argue in this section that it is a projective variety.
To dene an abstract projective variety we cannot mimic the deni-
tion of an abstract ane variety (denition 1.62), as the homogeneous
coordinate ring is not preserved by biregular isomorphisms. E.g., the
rational normal curve of example 2.7 is isomorphic to P
1
, but its coor-
dinate ring is just the subring k[S
n
, S
n1
T, . . . , T
n
] k[S, T].
We need a more general concept of variety. Just as a manifold is a
space obtained by glueing together pieces that look like R
n
, a variety
can be obtained by glueing together ane varieties. Projective varieties
are of this type, because they have a covering by standard ane charts.
As we already have the variety as global object, we do not have to worry
Returning to P
n
P
m
, we can easily give a covering by ane pieces.
Recall that A
n
i
P
n
is the set X
i
,= 0. Then A
n
i
A
m
j

= A
n+m
is for
every i, j a standard ane piece.
Definition 2.31. The Segre embedding s
n,m
: P
n
P
m
P
N
, N =
(n + 1)(m+ 1) 1, is the map given in bihomogeneous coordinates by
(X
0
, . . . , X
n
; Y
0
, . . . , Y
m
) (X
0
Y
0
: X
0
Y
1
: : X
n
Y
m1
: X
n
Y
m
) .
With coordinates Z
ij
on P
N
it is the map Z
ij
= X
i
Y
j
.
36 2. PROJECTIVE VARIETIES
The image
m,n
= s
n,m
(P
n
P
m
) is the projective variety given by
the determinantal equations
Rank
_
_
Z
00
. . . Z
0m
.
.
.
.
.
.
Z
n0
. . . Z
nm
_
_
1 .
The ane piece A
n
i
A
m
j

= A
n+m
is mapped isomorphically to the
ane variety
n,m
Z
ij
,= 0.
So once the appropriate denitions are made, we can state that
the Segre embedding induces an isomorphism P
n
P
m

m,n
and
that P
n
P
m
is an abstract projective variety. As we do not have
these denitions at our disposal, we have to content us with dening
the product of P
n
and P
m
to be
m,n
. The product of a projective
subvarieties of P
n
and P
m
is a subvariety of
m,n
.
Definition 2.32. A quasi-projective variety is an open subset of a
projective variety.
This concept includes ane and projective varieties.
2.5. Linear systems
Example 2.10. The Veronese embedding of P
2
in P
5
is given by
(X : Y : Z) (X
2
: XY : XZ : Y
2
: Y Z : Z
2
) .
Its image, the Veronese surface V
2
, is given by the (2 2)-minors of a
symmetric (3 3)-matrix:
Rank
_
_
X
0
X
1
X
2
X
1
X
3
X
4
X
2
X
4
X
5
_
_
1 .
The inverse map V
2
P
2
is given by the rational map (X
0
: X
1
: X
2
:
X
3
: X
4
: X
5
) (X
0
: X
1
: X
2
). This map is regular: at the points
where the given formula does not work we take the ratios of another
row of the dening matrix.
The hyperplane section X
2
= X
3
is the image of the plane curve
V (XZ Y
2
). The Veronese map embeds this conic as rational normal
curve of degree 4; with X
2
= X
3
the minors of the symmetric (3 3)-
matrix dene the same ideal as the minors of the matrix in example
2.7 in the case n = 4.
By projecting from a point outside the surface we obtain a surface
in P
4
, which again can be projected to a quartic surface in P
3
. By
imposing extra symmetry we obtain in this way a well known surface,
the Steiner Roman surface, with parametrisation
(X : Y : Z) (X
2
+ Y
2
+ Z
2
: Y Z : XZ : XY )
2.5. LINEAR SYSTEMS 37
and equation
X
2
X
3
+ X
1
X
3
+ X
1
X
2
X
0
X
1
X
2
X
3
= 0 .
In R
3
: X
0
,= 0 this is a model of the real projective plane. The map is
not an immersion, but has pinch points.
This example can be generalised to all dimensions and degrees;
the parametrisation of the rational normal curve of degree n is then a
special case of this construction.
Let S
d
be the vector space of all homogeneous polynomials of degree
d in k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] (together with the zero polynomial). Two non-zero
elements f and f, k

## , determine the same hypersurface in P

n
(possible with multiple components). So the space of all hypersurfaces
of degree d is P(S
d
).
Let now V P
n
be a projective variety with homogeneous coordi-
nate ring k[V ]. The vector space S
d
(V ) of elements of degree d in k[V ]
is the image of S
d
under the quotient map k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] k[V ] =
k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
]/I(V ).
Definition 2.33. A linear system on V is P(L), where L S
d
(V )
is a linear subspace.
If we take a basis of L and represent it by homogeneous polynomials
f
0
, . . . , f
k
k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
], then we can write the equations of the
hypersurfaces in the linear system (also called divisors) as

0
f
0
(X
0
, . . . , X
n
) + +
k
f
k
(X
0
, . . . , X
n
) = 0 .
The formula Y
i
= f
i
denes a rational map

L
: V P
k
.
38 2. PROJECTIVE VARIETIES
The hyperplane sections of
L
(V ) are precisely the hypersurfaces in
P(L). In particular, the coordinate hyperplanes intersect
L
(V ) in the
hypersurfaces f
i
= 0. We can formulate this without coordinates:
the linear system gives a rational map
L
: V P(L

), where L

is
the dual vector space. We have indeed the dual vector space, as the
evaluation ev
P
: f f(P) in a point P V is a linear function on L,
well dened up to scalar multiplication. The image of a point P V is
the intersection of all hyperplanes corresponding to the hypersurfaces
passing through P. In particular,
L
is not regular in P if all the
hypersurfaces in the linear system pass through P (cf. denition 2.27).
Such points are called base points of the linear system.
Example 2.11. Let P(L) be the linear system of conics in P
2
through three points, not on a line. The three points are the base
points of the system. The whole line connecting two base points is
mapped onto the same image point: the only conics through a third
point on the line are reducible, consisting of the line itself and a line
through the third base point.
We give a description with coordinates. Take the three points to
be (1 : 0 : 0), (0 : 1 : 0) and (0 : 0 : 1). A conic V (aX
2
+ bXY +
cXZ+dY
2
+eY Z+fZ
2
) passes through these three points if and only
if a = d = f = 0. A basis of L is (Y Z, XZ, XY ), so
L
is the map
(X : Y : Z) (Y Z : XZ : XY ) .
This is the standard Cremona transformation. It is an involution, as
can be seen by rewriting (Y Z : XZ : XY ) = (1/X : 1/Y : 1/Z). Using
the original formula we nd

L

L
= (X
2
Y Z : XY
2
Z : XY Z
2
) .
The Cremona transformation is an isomorphism on the complement
of the coordinate triangle V (XY Z). It blows down the coordinate
lines to points and blows up the points to lines. We can factor the
transformation
L
: P
2
P
2
as P
2
P
6
P
2
, with P
6
P
2
the
blow up of three points. In fact, P
6
is a Del Pezzo surface of degree 6,
lying in P
6
, and the inverse P
2
P
6
is the map determined by the
linear system of cubics through the three points.

P
2
(1:0:0)

P
2
(1:0:0)

P
6

2.6. BLOWING UP A POINT 39
2.6. Blowing up a point
The blow-up of point in A
n
replaces it with the P
n1
of all lines
through the point. Suppose that the point is the origin 0 k
n

= A
n
.
The quotient map k
n
0 P
n1
denes a rational map : A
n

P
n1
, which is not dened at the origin. We eliminate the indetermi-
nacy of this map by the following construction. The graph of is an
open subset of the quasi-projective variety A
n
P
n1
.
Definition 2.34. The blow up Bl
0
A
n
of 0 is the closure of the
graph of . The rst projection induces a regular map : Bl
0
A
n
A
n
.
The inverse image of the point 0 is called the exceptional divisor.
The projection A
n
P
n1
P
n1
on the second factor induces a
regular map : Bl
0
A
n
P
n1
, which extends . As rational maps
=
1
.
We give an explicit description in coordinates in the case n = 2. Let
(X, Y ) be coordinates on A
2
and ( : ) homogeneous coordinates on
P
1
. Then (X, Y ) = (X : Y ). If we see P
1
as k, then is just the
rational function X/Y . Where is dened, we have ( : ) = (X : Y ).
The blow up Bl
0
A
2
, which is the closure of the graph, is therefore
V (X Y ) A
2
P
1
.
The variety Bl
0
A
2
can be covered by two ane charts: for = 1 we
have Y = X, so (X, ) are ane coordinates, while for = 1 we have
X = Y and (, Y ) are ane coordinates. The map : Bl
0
A
2
A
2
40 2. PROJECTIVE VARIETIES
is given in these coordinates by (X, Y ) = (X, X) = (Y, Y ). We
compute the transition functions from the one chart to the other to be
=
1

, X = Y .
Remark 2.12. It is impossible to make a real picture, which is
correct in all aspects. One the one hand the exceptional curve is a
line, on the other hand RP
1
is dieomorphic to a circle. In fact, a
neighbourhood of the exceptional curve is a Moebius band.
An animated picture by Oliver Labs and Hans-Christian von Both-
mer can be found on calendar.algebraicsurface.net (day 09).
CHAPTER 3
Projective plane curves
A hypersurface of degree d in P
(
k) is the k-scheme dened by one
equation, so its ideal I is principal: I = (f) with f a homogeneous
polynommial of degree d. Let f = f
m
1
1
. . . f
m
k
k
be the factorisation of
f. Let D
i
= V (f
i
) be an irreducible component of V (f). We want
V (f) to be non-empty; as explained in section 1.7, we achieve this by
considering V (f) in P
n
(K) with the Zariski k-topology, for an alge-
braically closed eld extension K/k. We say that D
i
has multiplicity
m
i
.
Definition 3.1. A divisor on a projective variety is a linear combi-
nation of irreducible components of hypersurfaces, that is, an element
of the free Abelian group generated by irreducible components of sets
of the type V (f).
Let (f) denote the divisor of zeroes of f (counted with multiplicity).
Then (f) =

m
i
D
i
.
In particular, if n = 1, we consider homogeneous polynomials in
two variables (also called binary forms). The multiplicity of a point is
just the multiplicity of the corresponding root of the inhomogeneous
equation of one variable.
For n = 2 we call divisors on P
2
with nonnegative coecients for
curves. So if we write C, then it is understood that there may be
multiple components.
3.1. Bezouts Theorem
The main result about the intersection of plane curves is Bezouts
Theorem, which was already formulated by Newton; it occurs explicitly
in Bezouts book of 1779.
Theorem 3.2. Let C and D be plane curves in P
2
(k) of degree m
and n, without common component. Then the number of intersection
points of C and D in P
2
(k) is at most mn, and in P
2
(K) equal to
mn, counted with multiplicities. Here K is an algebraically closed eld
extension of k.
We will use the resultant to dene the multiplicities in such a way,
that the theorem becomes trivial. But rst we need to know that the
number of intersection points is nite. We start with an easy special
case of the theorem.
41
42 3. PROJECTIVE PLANE CURVES
Lemma 3.3. Let L be a line and C = (f) a curve of degree d. If L
is not a component of C, then the number of intersection points of L
and C is at most d.
Proof. We parametrise L. If P = (a
0
: a
1
: a
2
) and Q = (b
0
: b
1
:
b
2
) are two points on L, then P +Q is a rational parametrisation of
the line. In coordinates (X
0
: X
1
: X
2
) = (a
0
: a
1
: a
2
) +(b
0
: b
1
: b
2
).
A point on the line lies also on C = (f) if and only f(P + Q) = 0.
The homogeneous polynomial f(P + Q) k[, ] has at most d
linear factors.
Lemma 3.4. Let f, g k[X, Y, Z] be polynomials without common
factor. The number of common zeroes is nite.
Proof. We consider F and G as polynomials in X, with coe-
cients in A = k[Y, Z]. By proposition 1.14 the resultant R(f, g) is not
identically zero, because F and G have no factor in common. Therefore
R(f, g) is a homogeneous polynomial in Y and Z, which vanishes only
for a nite number of values (Y : Z). A common zero of f and g, which
is not (1 : 0 : 0), is of the form (X
0
: Y
0
: Z
0
) with (Y
0
: Z
0
) one of the
nitely many zeroes of R(f, g). It lies on the line though (1 : 0 : 0) and
(0 : Y
0
: Z
0
). This line is not a component of both V (f) and V (g), so
there are only nitely many common zeroes of f and g on it. Therefore
the total number of common zeroes is also nite.
Remark 3.1. Eliminating X from the equations F = G = 0
amounts geometrically to projecting onto the line X = 0 (which has
homogeneous coordinates (Y, Z)) from the point (1 : 0 : 0). This map
is not regular at the point (1 : 0 : 0), see example 2.9.
To count the number of common zeroes, that is, intersection points,
we want that each line as above only contains one . Therefore we want
that the projection point (1 : 0 : 0) does not lie on C = (f) and D = (g)
and lies outside all lines connecting two common zeroes of f and g; this
is possible by a coordinate transformation, which moves C and D, if k
is innite, so surely if k is algebraically closed.
Definition 3.5. Let the coordinates be chosen as above. Let P =
(X
0
: Y
0
: Z
0
) be an intersection point of C = (f) and D = (g);
by construction it is the only one on the line V (Z
0
Y Y
0
Z). The
intersection multiplicity I
P
(C, D) of C and D at the point P is the
multiplicity of (Y
0
: Z
0
) as zero of the resultant R(f, g).
Proof of B

## ezouts theorem. The rst statement follows from

the second. To prove the second, we may assume that k is algebraically
closed. We dene the intersection multiplicity as above. The theorem
now follows, because the resultant is a homogeneous polynomial in two
variables of degree mn.
3.1. B

EZOUTS THEOREM 43
Remark 3.2. A priory our denition of intersection multiplicity
depends on the chosen coordinates. But in fact it does not.
A projective coordinate change is given by an invertible 3 3
matrix M = (m
ij
). Consider all coordinate changes at once. The re-
sultant R(f, g)(Y, Z) depends now polynomially on the coecients m
ij
:
it is an element of k[m
ij
][Y, Z], homogeneous in Y and Z of degree mn.
We factorise it in irreducible factors. For each intersection point P of
C and D we known that R(f, g)(Y, Z) vanishes on the projection on
X = 0 of (P). This locus is given by a polynomial in k[m
ij
][Y, Z], lin-
ear in Y and Z. It is therefore a factor of R(f, g)(Y, Z). Its multiplicity
is the common value of the intersection multiplicity I
(P)
((C), (D))
for an open and dense set of matrices. We denote this by I
P
(C, D). We
have that

P
I
P
(C, D) = mn. Therefore, if we specialise to a specic
coordinate transformation, with the property that (1 : 0 : 0) does not
lie on (C) and (D) and lies outside all lines connecting intersection
points, then the intersection multiplicity I
(P)
((C), (D)) is exactly
the multiplicity of the corresponding factor of R(f, g)(Y, Z), which is
I
P
(C, D), independent of the chosen coordinates.
Example 3.3. We compute the intersection of a curve V (f) with a
line L not passing through (1 : 0 : 0). Let L be given by l = Xa(Y, Z)
and let f =

b
i
(Y, Z)X
ni
. The resultant is
R(l, f) =

1 a
1 a
.
.
.
1 a
1 a
b
0
b
1
b
2
. . . b
n2
b
n1
b
n

,
which we compute to be

b
i
a
ni
, the result of replacing every X in
the equation of f by a(Y, Z). It is also the polynomial we obtain by
restricting f to the line L.
Definition 3.6. The multiplicity m
P
(C) of a curve C in a point
P C is the minimal intersection number of C with a line through P
(this is the intersection with a general line).
Lemma 3.7. The multiplicity m
P
(C) of a point P C = (f) is the
maximal number m such that f M
m
P
, where M
P
is the homogeneous
maximal ideal in k[X
0
, X
1
, X
2
] of P.
Proof. We may assume that P = (1 : 0 : 0) and work in ane
coordinates (X
0
= 1). We write the inhomogeneous equation as sum
of non-zero homogeneous components f(X
1
, X
2
) = f
m
(X
1
, X
2
) + +
f
d
(X
1
, X
2
). Then f M
m
P
M
m+1
P
and m is also the multiplicity of C
at the origin.
44 3. PROJECTIVE PLANE CURVES
Definition 3.8. The homogeneous equation f
m
denes a set of
lines through P, which are the tangent lines to C in P. A point P is
a simple point, if the multiplicity m
P
(C) = 1.
Definition 3.9. Two curves C and D intersect transversally at P
if P is a simple point both on C and D, and if the tangent lines to C
and D at P are distinct.
Proposition 3.10. Two curves C and D intersect transversally at
P if and only if I
P
(C, D) = 1.
More generally we have
Proposition 3.11. The intersection multiplicity satises
I
P
(C, D) m
P
(C) m
P
(D) ,
with equality if and only if C and D have no tangent lines in common
at P.
Proof. We may suppose that P = (1 : 0 : 0). We compute
I
P
(C, D) in inhomogeneous coordinates Z = 1, using the resultant.
Let C = (f) have multiplicity r at P, and D = (g) multiplicity s.
Write f =

m
i=0
a
i
(Y )X
mi
and g =

m
i=0
b
i
(Y )X
ni
. The assump-
tion on the multiplicity means that a
i
(Y ) is divisible by Y
r+im
for
m r i m, and b
i
(Y ) by Y
s+in
. Write a
i
(Y ) = Y
r+im
a

i
(Y )
and b
i
(Y ) = Y
s+in
b

i
(Y ). We claim that the resultant R(f, g) is di-
visible by Y
rs
. To show this we multiply some rows of the matrix by
suitable powers of Y , such that columns become divisible by Y . E.g.,
the last column has only two non-zero entries, a
m
(Y ) = Y
r
a

m
(Y ),
and b
n
(Y ) = Y
s
b

n
(Y ). If we multiply the n-th row by Y
s
and the
last row by Y
r
, then the last column is divisible by Y
r+s
. We mul-
tiply row n i by Y
si
, 0 i s, and row n + m i by Y
ri
,
0 i r. This makes the column n+mi divisible by r +s i. The
number of factors Y that we can take out of the matrix is therefore
1 + +r +(r +1) + +(r +s) (1 + +r) (1 + +s) = rs.
This shows the inequality.
To investigate equality we take a closer look at the matrix dening
the resultant. We write it as Y
rs
D(Y ) and determine the matrix D(0).
The entry a
j
, divisible by Y
r+jm
if j m r, in row i stands in
column i +j. We multiplied by max(s +i n, 0) factors Y and divided
by max(r +s+i +j nm, 0) factors. Now we set Y = 0. This means
that we replace in row ns+1 up till n the a
j
with j < mr by 0 and
the a
j
with j mr by a

j
(0). We have an s(n+mrs) block with
zeroes, followed by an sr+s block containing only a

mr
(0), . . . , a

m
(0).
In the upper (n s) (n +mr s) block, where we did not divide,
all a
j
, divisible by a positive power of Y , become zero, that is for all
j > m r. The rows with b
j
have a similar description. From this
block structure we see that the determinant of D(0) is up to sign the
3.1. B

EZOUTS THEOREM 45
product of two resultants. The rst one is the resultant of a
0
(0)X
mr
+
+ a
mr
and b
0
(0)X
ns
+ + b
ns
. It is always non-zero, as by
assumption there are no other intersection points on the line Y = 0,
besides P. The other resultant is the resultant of the homogeneous
forms a

mr
(0)X
r
+ +a

m
(0)Y
r
and b

ns
(0)X
s
+ +b

n
(0)Y
s
, that
is of f
r
and g
s
. It vanishes if and only if C and D have tangent lines
in common at P.
Remark 3.4. Our denition of intersection multiplicity gives a
quick proof of Bezouts theorem, but is not very well suited for actual
computations. There are several other approaches to the denition,
which are easier to use in practice.
What should the intersection multiplicity be? A very classical idea
(which can be made rigorous, but not easily) is to move one of the
curves until they intersect transversally.
The number of points, coming out of the non transverse intersection, is
the intersection multiplicity. This agrees with the denition using the
resultant: if we compute for the moving curves, we see that a multiple
root of the resultant splits in simple roots. In fact, any denition
which gives always the same total intersection multiplicity mn and
local multiplicity one for transverse intersection, should give the same
result.
To motivate the most common denition, which can be found for
example in [Fulton], we remark that for transverse intersection the total
intersection multiplicity is just the number of points; we can formulate
this in a more complicated way as the k-dimension of the ring of rational
functions R(V ) on the intersection V = C D. To describe it, we use
ane coordinates. So we suppose that no intersection point lies on
the line at innity. Then R(V ) is nothing but the coordinate ring
k[X, Y ]/(f, g) of C D = V (f, g). So mn = dim
k
k[X, Y ]/(f, g). One
can show that also for non transverse intersection dim
k
k[X, Y ]/(f, g) =
mn, as long as f and g have no factor in common. The ideal I = (f, g)
has primary decomposition I = I
1
I
k
. Each component I
i
denes
a fat point, lying at P
i
= V (I
i
), with coordinate ring k[X, Y ]/I
i
. By the
Chinese remainder theorem k[X, Y ]/I = k[X, Y ]/I
1
k[X, Y ]/I
k
.
So Bezouts theorem holds if we dene the intersection multiplicity at
46 3. PROJECTIVE PLANE CURVES
P
i
as the multiplicity dim
k
k[X, Y ]/I
i
of the fat point (denition 1.23).
The use of primary decomposition can be replaced by localisation.
Definition 3.12. Let P be an intersection point of the ane curves
C = (f) and D = (g). The intersection multiplicity at P is
I(P, C D) = dim
k
O
A
2
,P
/(f, g) .
Remark 3.5. As it should be, this number is the same as our
I
P
(C, D) dened above. In fact, one can show that the construction
with the resultant computes the dimension of the vector space in ques-
tion, both globally that of k[X, Y ]/(f, g) and locally O
A
2
,P
/(f, g), see
[EisenbudHarris, The Geometry of Schemes]. However, this requires
more tools from commutative algebra than we now have at our disposal.
Lemma 3.13. The intersection multiplicity I(P, C D) is the mul-
tiplicity of the fat point at P, which is a component of C D.
Proof. Let I
P
be the primary component of (f, g) with V (I
P
) =
P. We prove that dim
k
O
A
2
,P
/(f, g) = dim
k
k[X, Y ]/I
P
in two steps.
Step 1: The ideal in O
A
2
,P
generated by (f, g) is the same as the
ideal generated by I
P
. There exists a polynomial h with h(P) ,= 0 and
h(Q) = 0 for all other intersection points. Then h
N

Q
I
Q
for some
N, so we may assume that already h

Q
I
Q
. Then I
P
= ((f, g) : h),
see the proof of theorem 1.31. As h
1
O
A
2
,P
, we have I
p
O
A
2
,P

(f, g)O
A
2
,P
.
Step 2: O
A
2
,P
/I
P
= k[X, Y ]/I
P
. The natural map k[X, Y ]/I
P

O
A
2
,P
/I
P
is surjective: let g/(1 h) O
A
2
,P
/I
P
with h(P) = 0. Then
h
N
I
P
for some N. It follows that g/(1 h) = g(1 + + h
N1
) +
gh
N
/(1h) g(1+ +h
N1
) mod I
P
. A similar computation shows
that it is injective. If for k k[X, Y ] we have k = g/(1 h) with
g I
P
, then k I, because k(1 h
N
) = g(1 + + h
N1
) I.
We formulate some consequences of Bezouts theorem.
Corollary 3.14. If C and D meet in mn distinct points, m =
deg C, n = deg D, then C and D intersect transversally in all these
points.
Corollary 3.15. If two curves of degrees m and n have more than
mn points in common, then they have a common component.
Proposition 3.16 (Pascals theorem). If a hexagon is inscribed in
an irreducible conic, then the opposite sides meet in collinear points.
Proof. Let the sides be given by linear forms l
1
, . . . , l
6
with V (l
i
)
V (l
i+1
) a point on the conic. The two triangles V (l
1
l
3
l
5
) and V (l
2
l
4
l
6
)
intersect in the 6 vertices of the hexagon and the intersection points
of opposite sides. Consider the pencil of cubics C
(:)
: l
1
l
3
l
5
+l
2
l
4
l
6
.
Choose a point P on the conic. There exists a cubic C
(:)
passing
3.2. INFLECTION POINTS 47
through P. As it intersects the conic in seven points, the conic is a
component. The other component is a line, which contains the three
intersection points.
3.2. Inection points
Let f(X
0
, X
1
, X
2
) be the equation of a plane curve C, and P =
(a
0
: a
1
: a
2
) a simple point on it. The tangent line T
P
at P is given
by the equation
(*)
f
X
0
(P)X
0
+
f
X
1
(P)X
1
+
f
X
2
(P)X
2
= 0 .
If
_
f
X
0
(P),
f
X
1
(P),
f
X
2
(P)
_
= 0, then P is a singular point.
Remark 3.6. Dierentiation of a polynomial can be dened purely
algebraically (product rule!), and involves no analysis. The formula (*)
is in fact just the familiar one for the tangent space. There are several
ways to understand it.
We can view f as equation on A
3
, and describe the tangent plane in
any point on the line, which projects onto P (k
3
0)/k

= P
2
.
As this plane passes through the origin, it is given by (*).
In ane coordinates (x
1
, x
2
), write F(x
1
, x
2
) = f(1, X
1
, X
2
); the
tangent line is
F
x
1
(p)(x
1
a
1
) +
F
x
2
(p)(x
2
a
2
) = 0. By Eulers
formula:

X
i
f
X
i
= mf,
where m is the degree of f, and the fact that f(a
0
, a
1
, a
2
) = 0, we
obtain in homogeneous coordinates the expression (*).
Finally, the tangent line is the line which intersects f in P with
multiplicity at least two. Let Q = (b
0
, b
1
, b
2
), and consider the line
P + tQ. By Taylors formula:
f(P + tQ) = f(P) + t

f
X
i
(P) b
i
+ higher order terms.
The condition that t = 0 is at least a double root, gives that Q
satises (*).
Definition 3.17. A tangent line L, tangent to C = (f) in the point
P, is an inectional tangent, or ex for short, and P is an inection
point, if the intersection multiplicity of L and C at p is at least 3. The
ex is called ordinary if I
P
(L, C) = 3, a higher ex otherwise.
Definition 3.18. The Hessian H
f
of f is the curve, dened by the
equation:
det
_

2
f
X
i
X
j
_
= 0 .
48 3. PROJECTIVE PLANE CURVES
Remark 3.7. The Hessian curve passes through the singular points
of F: by Eulers formula (m1)
f
X
j
=

X
i

2
f
X
i
X
j
, so the columns of
the matrix are dependent in a singular point.
Theorem 3.19. Let C = (f) with f k[X, Y, Z], k a eld of
characteristic zero, be a projective curve of degree m without lines as
components. A simple point P C is an inection point if and only if
P lies on the Hessian H
f
. More precisely, I
p
(C, T
P
) = I
P
(C, H
f
) + 2.
Proof. Choose coordinates such that P = (0 : 0 : 1) and the
tangent line T
P
is the line X = 0. Now we can write the equa-
tion of the curve in the form f = Xu(X, Y, Z) + Y
r+2
g(Y, Z) with
u(0, 0, 1) ,= 0 and g(0, 1) ,= 0. For the Hessian we do the same thing,
collecting all terms containing X in a rst summand. The result is
H
F
= Xv(X, Y, Z) + Y
r
h(Y, Z), where the second summand is com-
puted by putting X = 0 in the determinant, dening H
F
:

2u
X
u
Y
u
Z
u
Y
(r+2)(r+1)Y
r
g+2(r+1)Y
r+1
g
Y
+Y
r+2
g
Y Y
(r+2)Y
r+1
g
Z
+Y
r+2
g
Y Z
u
Z
(r+2)Y
r+1
g
Z
+Y
r+2
g
Y Z
Y
r+2
g
ZZ

.
We multiply the rst row with Y
r
, and divide the second and third
columns with Y
r
. The new determinant is equal to h(Y, Z). We com-
pute h(0, 1) by putting Y = 0. Note that r = 0 is allowed. We nd
h(0, 1) =

2u
X
u
Y
u
Z
u
Y
(r + 2)(r + 1)g 0
u
Z
0 0

,
so h(0, 1) = (r + 2)(r + 1)u
2
Z
(0, 0, 1)g(0, 1). As (m 1)U = Xu
X
+
Y u
Y
+ Zu
Z
, one has u(0, 0, 1) ,= 0 if and only if u
Z
(0, 0, 1) ,= 0, and
therefore h(0, 1) ,= 0 (here we use char k = 0). This shows that P H
F
if and only if r > 0.
To compute the intersection multiplicity of F and H
F
at p, we
choose suitable coordinates such that p is the only intersection point of
F and H
F
on Y = 0. The last column of the determinant dening the
resultant has only two nonzero entries, which are Y
r+2
g and Y
r
h. By
expanding the determinant along this column we compute the resultant
to be of the form Y
r+2
gq
1
+ Y
r
hq
2
with q
2
(0, 1) up to sign itself the
resultant of u(X, 0, Z) and Xv(X, 0, Z), which is non-zero, as P is the
only intersection on Y = 0.
Corollary 3.20. A nonsingular cubic curve over an algebraically
closed eld k with char k = 0 has exactly nine distinct inection points.
3.3. Linear systems
Let S
d
be the vector space of all homogeneous polynomials of degree
d in X, Y and Z (plus the zero polynomial). It has dimension
_
d+2
2
_
; a
3.3. LINEAR SYSTEMS 49
basis consists of all monomials. For d = 3 we get
Z
3
XZ
2
Y Z
2
X
2
Z XY Z Y
2
Z
X
3
X
2
Y XY
2
Y
3
The space of all projective plane curves is P(S
d
), a projective space
of dimension
d(d+3)
2
. A linear system of curves of degree d is a linear
subspace of P(S
d
).
Given a point P P
2
, the condition that the curve C = (f) passes
through P, is that f(P) = 0, and this gives one linear condition on the
coecients of f.
Definition 3.21. Let P
1
, . . . , P
k
be k points in the plane. The
linear system P(S
d
(P
1
, . . . , P
k
)) is the linear system of curves of degree
d passing through the k given points.
The dimension of P(S
d
(P
1
, . . . , P
k
)) is at least
d(d+3)
2
k. If the
points impose independent conditions, the dimension is the minimal
value
d(d+3)
2
k. We want to know for low degrees when this is the
case. Degree one and two are left as exercise.
Definition 3.22. The points P
1
, . . . , P
k
are collinear if they all
lie on one and the same line. They are conconic if they lie on a non-
degenerate conic.
By corollary 3.15 to Bezouts theorem no four points an irreducible
cubic are collinear and no seven points are conconic.
Proposition 3.23. Let P
1
, . . . , P
8
be eight points in the plane.
Assume that no four points of them are collinear and no seven points
conconic. Then the linear system P(S
3
(P
1
, . . . , P
8
)) of cubics through
the eight points has dimension 1.
Proof. As the dimension cannot go down under eld extension,
we may assume that the eld k is innite. Suppose for a contradiction
that the linear system has dimension P(S
3
(P
1
, . . . , P
8
)) at least two.
We rst assume that no three points are collinear and no six con-
conic. Let L: H = 0 be a line through two points We choose two points
P
9
, P
10
on L outside the eight given points; this is possible as k is in-
nite. The dimension of P(S
3
(P
1
, . . . , P
10
)) is at least zero, so there is
a cubic C P(S
3
(P
1
, . . . , P
10
)). As L intersects it with multiplicity at
least four, the line is a component, so we can write C = Q L. The
remaining six of the original eight points have to lie on the conic Q.
According to our assumption Q has to be a degenerate conic, either
two lines, or a double line. But then there must be a line containing
at least three points.
50 3. PROJECTIVE PLANE CURVES
Now suppose that three points are collinear, lying on a line L.
Choose a point P
9
L. The linear system P(S
3
(P
1
, . . . , P
9
)) has di-
mension at least one. Every element is reducible, of the form QL. The
Q form a linear system of conics through ve points, of dimension at
least one. Two elements have therefore a line in common, which cannot
contain four points, so we end up with a linear system of lines though
at least two points, of dimension at least one, which is impossible.
The last possibility is that six points are conconic, on the conic Q.
We choose P
9
on the conic. Then every element of the linear system
P(S
3
(P
1
, . . . , P
9
)) is reducible, of the form Q L, and the L form a
linear system of through two points of dimension at least one, which
we already concluded to be impossible.
This proposition continues to hold, if we consider fat points, with
total multiplicity eight. The condition that a curve C = (f) passes
through a fat point Z with coordinate ring k[X, Y ]/I, is the inclusion
of ideals (f) I.
Example 3.8. Let I = (X
2
, XY, Y
2
). A curve passes through
the corresponding fat point, if and only if it has a singular point at
the origin. There is another type of fat point of multiplicity 3, with
dening ideal (Y, X
3
). A curve passes through this point, if the origin
is an inection point, with as ex the X-axis.
Definition 3.24. A fat point Z is curvilinear if it lies on a curve
and the reduced point Z
red
is a simple point of the curve.
In ane coordinates (X, Y ) with the point at the origin, and tan-
gent of the curve the X-axis, the ideal of a curvilinear point of multi-
plicity m looks like (Y +f
2
+. . . f
d
, Y
m
, Y
m1
X, . . . , X
m
). Using only
the rst terms of a power series Ansatz we write Y = g(X) mod (X
m
),
so other generators for the ideal are (Y g(X), X
m
). Anely this is
isomorphic to (Y, X
m
), but projectively we can only use projectively
linear coordinate changes.
Definition 3.25. Let I be the intersection of a nite number of
saturated homogeneous ideals, dening fat points Z
i
with multiplicity
m
i
. We say that a curve (f) intersects these fat points with multiplicity
n if the ideal I + (f) denes a fat points with total multiplicity n.
Proposition 3.26. Let Z
1
, . . . , Z
k
be curvilinear fat points with
total multiplicity 8. Assume that no line intersects Z := Z
1
Z
k
with multiplicity at least 4, and no irreducible conic intersects with
multiplicity at least 7. Then the linear system P(S
3
(Z
,
. . . , Z
k
)), of
cubics passing through Z, has dimension 1.
Proof. With appropriate changes, the proof of proposition 3.23
goes through. First we suppose that no non-degenerate conic intersects
Z with multiplicity 6, and no line intersects Z with multiplicity 3.
3.4. THE GROUP LAW ON CUBIC CURVES 51
We pick a line L = V (l) intersecting with multiplicity 2, and take
two additional points on it. We nd a cubic with L as component.
Its second component is a conic, passing through fat points of total
multiplicity 6, with ideal (I : l), where I is the ideal of Z. In the same
way we adapt the rest of the argument.
3.4. The group law on cubic curves
Let k be a eld of characteristic dierent from 2. Consider an
irreducible cubic curve C = (f) P
2
, which is also irreducible over
the algebraic closure of k. Let K be an extension of k, not necessarily
algebraically closed; an important case is K = k. We shall construct a
group law on the set of simple points C
reg
(K) C(K). Therefore we
assume that this set is nonempty. If no confusion arises, we suppress
the eld from the notation.
We x a point E C, which will be the neutral element. We
will consider collections of simple points, which we think of as being
variable. Then it may be that some points coincide. We can give a
precise meaning to this, using fat points. A fat point Z of multiplicity
m with Z
red
= P a simple point of a curve C has coordinate ring
isomorphic to k[X]/(X
m
). We say that m points coincide at P. A line
through two coinciding points P
1
= P
2
= P is a line, which intersects
the curve with multiplicity at least two in P, that is, a tangent line.
Let P and Q be simple points on the irreducible cubic C, dened
over K. The line L through P and Q is not a component, and intersects
C in three points: the restriction of the equation f to the line L

= P
1
is a homogeneous polynomial of degree three in two variables, which is
divisible by linear forms dening P and Q, so it factorises over K in
three linear factors. The point dened by the third linear factor will be
called the third intersection point of L and C, and denoted by (PQ);
it may coincide with P or Q. It is again a simple point: if it is distinct
from the simple points P and Q, then L intersects C in the point with
multiplicity 1.
Lemma 3.27. The map : C
reg
C
reg
C
reg
, (P, Q) = (PQ), is
a regular map.
Definition 3.28. The addition P Q on C
reg
is given by
P Q = ((PQ)E) ,
so P Q is the third intersection point on the line through (PQ) and
E.
Theorem 3.29. This operation makes (C
reg
, ) into an abelian
group with neutral element E.
Proof. Apart from associativity this is easy. Commutativity is
obvious. Let us construct P E. Let (PE) be the third intersection
52 3. PROJECTIVE PLANE CURVES
point on the line L through P and E. Then P is the third intersection
point on the line through (PE) and E (which is the line L), so P E =
P.
For the inverse, let (EE) be the third intersection point on the
tangent line to C at the point E, then the third point ((EE)P) on the
line through P and (EE) satises P ((EE)P) = E, so P is the
point ((EE)P.
For associativity
_
(P Q) R = P (QR)
_
it suces to show
that points ((P Q)R) and (P(Q R)) in the penultimate step of
the construction coincide. There are 8 more points involved, which we
write in the following 3 3 square.
P QR ?
(PQ) E P Q
Q (QR) R
The points in each row and each column are collinear. The question
mark stands in the rst row for the point ((PQ)R), while it represents
in the last column the point (P(QR)), so the points which we want
to prove to be equal. All the eight named points in the square lie not
only on C, but also on two other cubics, being the product of the lines
determined by the rows, respectively the columns, of the square; note
that multiple factors may occur.
There are now two ways to nish the proof.
The rst way is to rst consider the case that all eight points are
distinct. Then the result follows from proposition 3.23: the curve C
lies in the pencil of cubics, spanned by the two products of lines and
therefore the intersection point of the line of the rst row and the line
of the third column lies on C: it is the point, denoted by the question
mark.
Using the fact that the third point map is regular, one nds that
the subset of C
reg
C
reg
C
reg
, where associativity holds, is closed.
As it contains a dense open set, it is the whole of C
reg
C
reg
C
reg
.
The second way is to use proposition 3.26 to arrive directly at the
desired conclusion.
The group law can be simplied by taking an inection point, if the
cubic has one, as neutral element. Then the third point, in which the
tangent at E intersects the curve, is E itself. So the inverse P is the
third point on the line EP. Therefore we obtain
P + Q + R = 0 P, Q and R collinear .
We can take coordinates with the ex being the line at innity and
the inection point (0 : 1 : 0). By completing the square (char k ,= 2)
we get an equation of the form Y
2
= X
3
+ pX
2
+ qX + r, which if
char k ,= 3 can be simplied further to
Y
2
= X
3
+ aX + b .
3.4. THE GROUP LAW ON CUBIC CURVES 53
If P = (X, Y ), then P = (X, Y ).
Remark 3.9. Over the complex numbers a non-singular cubic curve
is a Riemann surface of genus 1, so topologically a torus. Let be a
point in the upper half plane. Then the Riemann surface is C/(ZZ).
The group structure comes from addition on C. Meromorphic functions
on the Riemann surface are doubly periodic functions in the complex
plane. In particular, one has the Weierstra function given by
(z) =
1
z
2
+

(m,n)=(0,0)
_
1
(z mn)
2

1
(m + n)
2
_
.
It satises the equation
(

(z))
2
= 4 ((z))
3
g
2
(z) g
3
.
CHAPTER 4
Dimension
In this section we dene the dimension of ane and projective va-
rieties. This is done using a general denition for the dimension of
commutative rings. It will take some time to prove that the dimension
of P
n
(as projective variety) is n.
In this chapter k will be an innite eld, with an algebraically closed
extension K. Zero sets will consist of points with coordinates in K.
4.1. Krull dimension
Definition 4.1. Let X be a topological space. If X = , then its
dimension is 1. Otherwise, the Krull dimension dimX of X is the
supremum of the lengths n of chains
X
0
X
1
X
n
of non-empty irreducible subsets X
i
of X.
If Y X is a non-empty closed irreducible subspace, then the
codimension codim
X
Y of Y in X is the supremum of lengths of chains
starting with X
0
= Y . The codimension of the empty set is .
Lemma 4.2.
(1) If X

## is the family of irreducible components of X, then

dimX = sup

dimX

.
(2) If Y ,= , then dimY + codim
X
Y dimX.
(3) If X is irreducible and dimX < , then dimY < dimX if
and only if Y ,= X.
The denition applies to ane and projective varieties. If

V is the
projective closure of an ane variety V , then dimV dim

V ; this
follows immediately from proposition 2.18. We shall later see that in
fact equality holds.
It is not so clear how to compute this dimension, or even to see that
it is nite. We translate the problem into one about rings.
Let R be a ring, as always commutative with unit. Similar to the
denition above we dene the dimension of the ring.
Definition 4.3. The Krull dimension dimR of a ring R is the
supremum of the lengths n of chains
p
0
p
1
p
n
of prime ideals of R.
55
56 4. DIMENSION
The height of a prime ideal p of R is the supremum of lengths of
chains ending with p
n
= p.
If I is an ideal, then dimI is the dimension of the ring R/I.
For an ane variety V A
n
(K) we have dimV = dimk[V ]. We not
only have dened the dimension for ane algebras, but also for their
local rings. We can dene the dimension of V at P as the dimension
of the local ring O
V,P
.
Example 4.1. dimk[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] n.
Consider the chain (0) (x
1
) (X
1
, X
2
) (X
1
, . . . , X
n
).
Example 4.2. dimZ = 1.
4.2. Integral ring extensions
If R S is a subring of a ring S, we also say that S is a ring
extension of R.
Definition 4.4. A ring S is nite over R, if S is a nitely generated
R-module. This means that there is an epimorphism R
m
S of a free
R-module onto S.
A ring S is of nite type over R, if S is a nitely generated as R-
algebra. This means that there is an epimorphism R[y
1
, . . . , y
m
] S.
Definition 4.5. Let R S be a ring extension. An element x S
is integral over R, if x satises a monic equation
x
n
+ r
1
x
n1
+ + r
n
= 0 ,
where the a
i
lie in R.
If I is an ideal in R, and all r
i
I, then x is integral over I.
If every x S is integral over R, then S is called integral over R, or
an integral extension of R.
Lemma 4.6. The following are equivalent:
(1) S is integral over R (over I).
(2) R[x] is nite over R (and x rad IR[x]).
(3) R[x] is contained in a subring S

## S, which is nite over R

).
Proof.
(1) (2) Let f R[X] be a monic polynomial X
n
+r
1
X
n1
+ +r
n
such that f(x) = 0 is the integral equation for x S. Division
with remainder in R[X], possible because f is monic, yields that every
g R[X] can be written as g = qf +r with deg r < n = deg f. There-
fore 1, . . . , X
N1
generate R[X]/(f) as R-module, and 1, . . . , x
N1
gen-
erate R[x]. If all the coecients of f are in I, then the monic equation
implies that x
n
(2) (3) Just take S

= R[x].
4.2. INTEGRAL RING EXTENSIONS 57
(3) (1) Let m
1
, . . . , m
k
be generators of S

as R-module. Multiplica-
tion by x is an endomorphism of S

. We have xm
i
=

a
ij
m
j
, a
ij
R,
which we can write in matrix form as
(xI A)m = 0 ,
where A is the square matrix with entries a
ij
and m is the column
vector of the m
i
. Multiplying with the matrix of cofactors we obtain
det(xI A)m
i
= 0 for all i. As 1 S

## can be written as R-linear

combination of the m
i
, we get det(xI A) = 0. This is the desired
relation.

, then x
l
IS

## for some l, and consider multiplication

by x
l
. We can write x
l
m
i
=

a
ij
m
j
with a
ij
I. As before, the
characteristic polynomial gives the desired relation.
Corollary 4.7. If S is a nite R-module, then S is integral over
R, and x S is integral over I if and only if x rad IS.
Corollary 4.8. If x
1
,. . . , x
m
S are integral over R, then
R[x
1
, . . . , x
m
] is nite over R. If the x
i
are integral over I, then
x
i
1
, . . . , x
m
].
Proof. By induction. The case m = 1 is already proved. Write
R[x
1
, . . . , x
m
] = R[x
1
, . . . , x
m1
][x
m
], then R[x
1
, . . . , x
m
] is, by the case
m = 1, a nite R[x
1
, . . . , x
m1
]-module as x
m
is also integral over
R[x
1
, . . . , x
m1
]. Hence R[x
1
, . . . , x
m
] is nite over R.
Corollary 4.9. The set of elements of S which are integral over
R is a subring of S containing R.
Proof. If x, y S are integral over R, then S

= R[x, y] is nite
over R, so xy and xy are integral over R by part (3) of the proposition.

Definition 4.10. The set of the above corollary is called the in-
tegral closure of R in S. If R is its own integral closure, then R is
integrally closed in S. A ring is integrally closed (without qualica-
tion), if it is integrally closed in its total ring of fractions.
Definition 4.11. The integral closure

R of R in its total ring of
fractions is called the normalisation of R. The ring R is normal if

R = R.
Example 4.3. Every unique factorisation domain is normal, e.g.,
Z and k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]. Let Q(R) be the quotient eld of R and x =
r
s
integral over R. The equation x
n
+ r
1
x
n1
+ + r
n
= 0 implies
r
n
+ r
1
r
n1
s + + r
n
s
n
= 0. Every prime element dividing s also
divides r, so after cancelling factors s is a unit, and x R.
Corollary 4.12 (transitivity of integral extensions). If R S
T are ring extensions and if S is integral over R, and T integral over
S, then T is integral over R.
58 4. DIMENSION
Proof. Let x T satisfy x
n
+ s
1
x
n1
+ + s
n
= 0. Then
S

= R[s
1
, . . . , s
n1
] is nite over R, and S

, as x is
integral over S

. As S

## [x] T is nite over R, x is integral over R.

Proposition 4.13. Let S be an integral extension of a ring R. If
is a multiplicative system in R, then the localisation S

is integral
over the localisation R

. Moreover, if

R is the integral closure of R in
S, then

R

## is the integral closure of R

in S

.
Proof. Let x/s S

. The equation x
n
+ r
1
x
n1
+ + r
n
= 0
gives (x/s)
n
+ (r
1
/s)(x/s)
n1
+ +r
n
/s
n
= 0, which shows that x/s
is integral over R

.
It follows that

R

is integral over R

## . Conversely, if x/s is integral

over R

, there is an equation
(x/s)
n
+ (r
1
/s 1)(x/s)
n1
+ + r
n
/s
n
= 0 .
Let t = S
1
. . . s
n
and multiply the equation by (st)
n
. This yields an
integral equation for xt over R, so x/s = xt/st

R

.
For an integral extension R S there is a close connection between
chains of prime ideals in R and in S. We need a lemma on the existence
of prime ideals.
Lemma 4.14 (Krulls prime existence lemma). Let I be an ideal in
a ring R and let be a multiplicative system in R with I = . Then
there exists a prime ideal p of R containing I, and such that p = .
Proof. The set of ideals J with I J and J = is partially
ordered by inclusion and nonempty since it contains I. If J

is
a totally ordered subset, then also

## is an ideal in the set. By

Zorns lemma, there is a maximal element p. We show that p is a prime
ideal. First of all, p is a proper ideal as 1 is not contained in R.
Let r
1
, r
2
Rp and suppose r
1
r
2
p. As p is a maximal element, the
ideal p +(r
i
),i = 1, 2, satises p +(r
i
) ,= . We can nd p
i
p and
a
i
R such that p
i
+a
i
r
i
. Then (p
1
+a
1
r
1
)(p
2
+a
2
r
2
) Rp,
1
r
2
p. Therefore p is prime.
Theorem 4.15. Let S be an integral extension of a ring R. Let p
be a prime ideal in R.
(1) There exists a prime ideal q of S with q R = p.
(2) Let q
1
q
2
be prime ideals in S. If q
1
R = q
2
R = p, then
q
1
= q
2
.
(3) A prime ideal q with p = q R of S is maximal if and only if
p is maximal.
Definition 4.16. Let S be an integral extension of a ring R and
p a prime ideal in R. We say that a prime ideal q of S lies over p if
q R = p.
4.2. INTEGRAL RING EXTENSIONS 59
Proof of the theorem.
(1) We will show that the ideal pS S and the multiplicative system
= R p S satisfy pS = . Krulls prime existence lemma gives
an ideal q S with pS q and q R p = . Hence, q is a prime
ideal of S lying over p.
If x pS, then x is integral over p, so there is an equation x
n
+
r
1
x
n1
+ +r
n
= 0 with the r
i
p. If x pS R, then x
n
p,
so x p, contradicting x = R p. Hence pS = .
(2) Note that S/q
1
is integral over R/p: just reduce an integral equation
for x S modulo the ideal q
1
. Both rings S/q
1
and R/p are integral
domains. The ideal q
2
/q
1
satises (q
2
/q
1
) (R/p) = (0). Suppose
x ,= 0 q
2
/q
1
. Let x
n
+ r
1
x
n1
+ + r
n
= 0 be an integral equation
of lowest possible degree. As r
n
(q
2
/q
1
) (R/p) = (0), we have
r
n
= 0. Because S/q
1
does not contain zero divisors, we can divide by
x and obtain an equation of lower degree. This contradiction shows
that q
1
= q
2
.
(3) If p is maximal, then q is maximal as well by part (2). For the
converse, consider the integral extension R/p S/q. If S/q is a eld,
its only prime ideal is (0). Then, by the rst part, (0) is the only prime
ideal of R/p, so R/p is a eld.
Corollary 4.17. If S is Noetherian, only nitely many prime
ideals of S lie over p.
Example 4.4. The ring extension R = Z S = Z[

5] is integral,
and the ideal (2) Z is maximal. But the ideal generated by 2 in
Z[

5] is not prime: (1 +

5)(1

5) = 3 2. A prime ideal q
with q Z = (2) is the ideal (2, 1 +

## 5). This is in fact the only

maximal ideal lying over (2).
Theorem 4.18 (Going up theorem). Let S be an integral extension
of a ring R. Let p
1
p
2
p
n
be a chain of prime ideals of R,
and q
1
q
m
(m < n) a chain of prime ideals of S, such that
q
i
R = p
i
. Then the chain q
1
q
m
can be extended to a chain
q
1
q
n
lying over p
1
p
n
.
Proof. It suces (induction!) to consider the case m = 1, n = 2.
As S = S/q
1
is integral over R = R/p
1
, there exists a prime ideal q
2
of S lying over p
2
/p
1
. The preimage q
2
of q
2
in S has the required
properties.
Corollary 4.19. dimS = dimR.
Definition 4.20. A polynomial map f : V W of ane algebraic
sets with dense image is nite if f

## : k[W] k[V ] is an integral (and

hence nite) ring extension.
Note that f has dense image if and only if f

is injective. Then we
can consider k[W] as subring of k[V ].
60 4. DIMENSION
Example 4.5. Let V = V (Y
2
x) A
2
and W = A
1
. The
projection f : V W, (X, Y ) X is nite. Indeed, f

: k[X]
k[X, Y ]/(Y
2
X) is injective and k[X, Y ]/(Y
2
X), which is as k[X]-
module generated by 1 and the class of Y , is as ring generated by the
one element Y , which satises the monic equation Y
2
X = 0.
Example 4.6. The algebraic set V (Y
2
X Y ) is the union of a
hyperbola and the X-axis. Projection on the X-axis is a surjective
polynomial map with nite bres. But is is not a nite map.
There is also a going down theorem. This needs the stronger
hypothesis that R is normal. We rst prepare a lemma.
Lemma 4.21. Let R be a normal ring with quotient eld K = Q(R),
and p a prime ideal of R. Let L/K be a eld extension. If x L is
integral over p, then x is algebraic over K, and all coecients of the
minimal polynomial m = X
n
+ + a
n
of x over K lie in p.
Proof. Clearly s is algebraic over K. Let x = x
1
, . . . , x
n
be the
roots of m in the algebraic closure K of K. There is an automorphism
of K xing K, which maps x to x
i
. So if f(x) = 0 is an integral equation
for x with coecients in p, then also f(x
i
) = 0 for each i, that is the x
i
are integral over p. Since the coecients of m are symmetric functions
in the x
i
, they lie in rad p

R, where

R is the normalisation of R. Since
R =

R and p is prime, they actually lie in p
Theorem 4.22 (Going down theorem). Let the integral domain S
be an integral extension of a normal domain R. Let p
1
p
2
p
n
be a chain of prime ideals of R, and q
1
q
m
(m < n) a chain of
prime ideals of S, such that q
i
R = p
i
. Then the chain q
1
q
m
can be extended to a chain q
1
q
n
lying over p
1
p
n
.
Proof. We may assume m = 1, n = 2. We consider three multi-
plicative systems in S:
1
:= S q
1
,
2
:= R p
2
and :=
1

2
=
s
1
s
2
[ s
1

1
, s
2

2
. Then
i
. If p
2
S = , then Krulls
prime existence lemma gives a prime ideal q
2
in S with p
2
S q
2
and
q
2
= . As q
2

1
= , q
2
q
1
; from q
2

2
= follows that q
2
lies over p
2
.
Suppose therefore that x p
2
S . Then x is is integral over p2,
so by the lemma above the minimal polynomial m = X
n
+ + a
n
of
s L = Q(S) over K = Q(R) has coecients in p
2
. As x , we may
write x = sr with r
1
and s
2
. Then X
n
+ + a
n
/r
n
is the
minimal polynomial of s over K. Its coecients a
i
/r
i
are contained
in R, as s is integral over R, by the same lemma. Put a
i
= b
i
r
i
. As
r / p
2
and a
i
p
2
, we have that b
i
p
2
and s is integral over p
2
, and
2
S q
1
1
.
Corollary 4.23. For every prime ideal q of S the height h(q) is
equal to h(q R).
4.3. NOETHER NORMALISATION 61
4.3. Noether normalisation
We return to the proof of weak Nullstellensatz 1.16. In it we pro-
jected the zero set of an ideal J to a space of one dimension lower. In
general the image of an algebraic set is not closed, but using a suitable
coordinate transformation (lemma 1.15) we ensured that it is so. This
procedure can be repeated until the ideal J k[X
1
, . . . , X
d
] is the zero
ideal. Then we have found a nite projection onto A
d
. So V (J) has
the same dimension as A
d
. Algebraically this means that we are in the
situation of the following denition.
Definition 4.24. A Noether normalisation of an ane algebra
A = k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]/J is a nite ring extension k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] A such
that the Y
i
A are algebraically independent over k.
Remark 4.7. Noether normalisation should not be confused with
the normalisation of denition 4.11.
To show that A
d
has dimension d, we need a renement of Noether
normalisation.
Theorem 4.25 (Noether normalisation). Let A = k[x
1
, . . . , x
n
] be
an ane algebra over an innite eld k and I A a proper ideal.
There exists numbers d and elements Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
A such that
(1) Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
are algebraically independent over k,
(2) k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] A is a nite extension,
(3) I k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] = (Y
+1
, . . . , Y
d
).
(4) for 1 i the Y
i
can be chosen as linear combination of
the x
i
.
Proof.
Step 1. Suppose that A = k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] and I = (f) ,= (0) is principal.
We set Y
n
= f and take coordinates Y
i
as in the proof of lemma 1.15.
Then A = k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n1
][X
n
] and X
n
is integral over k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
],
as 0 = f Y
n
= cX
m
+ Y
n
. So A is nite over k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
].
The elements Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
are algebraically independent, for otherwise
K(Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
) and therefore also K(X
1
, . . . , X
n
) would have transcen-
dence degree less than n over k. To show that I k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
] = (Y
n
)
we write a g I k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
] as g = GY
n
with G A. An integral
equation G
s
+ + a
s
= 0 with a
i
k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
] gives an equation
f
s
+ + a
s
Y
s
n
= 0, which shows that f is also divisible by Y
n
in
k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
].
Step 2. Let A still be the polynomial ring and I an arbitrary ideal. If
n = 1, every ideal is principal, and we are done by Step 1. Let f I
and construct k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
] with Y
n
= f as in Step 1.
The induction hypothesis is that there exist algebraically indepen-
dent T
1
, . . . , T
d1
k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n1
] such that k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n1
] is nite
over k[T
1
, . . . , T
d1
] and I k[T
1
, . . . , T
d1
] = (T
+1
, . . . , T
d1
) for some
62 4. DIMENSION
< d. As k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
] is nite over k[T
1
, . . . , T
d1
, Y
n
], the same holds
for A. Then d = n and T
1
, . . . , T
d1
, Y
n
are algebraically independent
over k. Every g Ik[T
1
, . . . , T
d1
, Y
n
] is of the form g = g

+GY
n
with
g

I k[T
1
, . . . , T
n1
] = (T
+1
, . . . , T
n1
) and G k[T
1
, . . . , T
d1
, Y
n
].
So T
+1
, . . . , T
n1
, Y
n
generate I k[T
1
, . . . , T
n1
].
Step 3. For A = k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
]/J we nd as in the previous step a
subalgebra k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
] with J k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
] = (Y
d+1
, . . . , Y
n
). We
identify the image of k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
n
] in A with k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] and A is -
nite over this subalgebra. Step 2, applied to I

= Ik[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
], yields
a nite extension k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
] k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
], with I

k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
] =
(T
+1
, . . . , T
d
) with d. As A is also nite over k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
], the
elements T
1
, . . . , T
d
satisfy the requirements of the theorem.
The geometric interpretation of the theorem is as follows. If V A
n
is an algebraic set and W a subset, then there is a surjective map
V A
d
with nite bres, mapping W onto a linear subspace of A
d
.
4.4. Dimension of ane and projective varieties
Finally we can prove that the polynomial ring k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] has
Krull dimension n.
We say that a chain p
0
p
1
p
n
of prime ideal in a ring
R is maximal if it cannot be extended to a longer chain by inserting a
prime ideal.
Theorem 4.26. Let k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] A be a Noether normalisation
of an ane algebra A. Then dimA = d. If moreover A is an integral
domain, then all maximal chains of prime ideals have length d.
Proof. We have already seen that dimA = dimk[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] d.
Let q
0
q
m
be a chain of prime ideals. We have to show that m
d. We use induction on d. Put p
i
= q
i
k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
]. Then p
0

p
m
be a chain of prime ideals in k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
]. The induction start d = 0
is trivial. Suppose now m > 0. There exists a Noether normalisation
k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
] k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] with p
1
k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
] = (T
+1
, . . . , T
d
). As
p
1
,= (0), < d by theorem 4.15. Then k[T
1
, . . . , T

] k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
]/p
1
is also a Noether normalisation. By the induction hypothesis the length
of the chain (0) = p
1
/p
1
p
m
/p
1
is m1 < d, so m < d.
If A is an integral domain and the given chain is maximal, then
q
0
= (0) and q
m
is a maximal ideal. We show that also p
0

p
m
is a maximal chain in k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
]. Suppose one could insert a
prime ideal between p
i
and p
i+1
. Choose a Noether normalisation
k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
] k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] with p
i
k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
] = (T
+1
, . . . , T
d
).
Then k[T
1
, . . . , T

] k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
]/p
i
is also a Noether normalisation.
One can now insert a prime ideal between (0) and p
i+1
/p
i
k[T
1
, . . . , T

].
But k[T
1
, . . . , T

] A/q
i
is also a Noether normalisation. By going
down one can then insert a prime ideal between (0) and q
i+1
/q
i
, so
between q
i
and q
i+1
, contradicting the maximality of the chain.
4.4. DIMENSION OF AFFINE AND PROJECTIVE VARIETIES 63
We show m = d by induction on d. If d > 0 we take as above
a Noether normalisation k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
] k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] satisfying p
1

k[T
1
, . . . , T
d
] = (T
+1
, . . . , T
d
). This ideal has height 1. The = d 1
and (0) = p
1
/p
1
p
m
/p
1
is a maximal chain in k[T
1
, . . . , T
d1
],
of length d 1 by the induction hypothesis.
Theorem 4.27. Let V A
n
be an algebraic set and

V P
n
its
projective closure. Then dimV = dim

V .
Proof. It suces to consider the case that V is irreducible. Con-
sider a chain
, = V
0
V
d
= V V
n
= A
n
of varieties, where d = dimV . By taking the projective closure we get
a chain
, =

V
0

V
d
=

V

V
n
= P
n
,
which corresponds to a chain of homogeneous prime ideals
p
0
p
d
= I(

V ) p
n
= (0)
in the polynomial ring k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
]. Here p
0
,= (X
0
, . . . , X
n
), as

V
0
is not empty. Because a chain of prime ideals in k[X
0
, . . . , X
n
] has
length at most n + 1, the chain p
0
p
d
= I(

V ) is a maximal
one, starting with I(

## V ) and ending with an ideal properly contained

in (X
0
, . . . , X
n
). Therefor dim

V = d.
Remark 4.8. If V is an ane variety with Noether normalisation
k[Y
1
, . . . , Y
d
] k[V ], then dimV = d is also the transcendence degree
of the function eld k(V ) over k. This was the classical denition of
the dimension of ane and projective varieties.
CHAPTER 5
Tangent space and nonsingularity
In this chapter we dene what it means that a variety is smooth.
In the case k = C one gets, as it should be, that V A
N
is smooth
at P if and only if V is a complex submanifold of A
N
in an Euclidean
neighborhood of P.
There are two notions of tangent space. Firstly, we can consider
the tangent space as linear subspace of the ambient ane or projective
space; the projective one will be the projective closure of the ane tan-
gent space, dened on a ane open set of projective space. The other
notion is intrinsic, dened without explicit reference to an embedding.
It is no restriction to treat this only in the ane case. After all, the
tangent space should be the best local approximation.
5.1. Embedded tangent space
nition used for curves.
Definition 5.1. Let V = (f) P
n
be a projective hypersurface.
The tangent space T
P
V is to V at P is the linear subvariety
V (
f
X
0
(P)X
0
+
f
X
1
(P)X
1
+ +
f
X
n
(P)X
n
) .
The point P is a nonsingular point if T
P
V is a hypersurface, that is, if
df(p) = (
f
X
0
(P), . . . ,
f
X
n
(P)) ,= 0.
The tangent space to an ane hypersurface V = (f) A
n
in the
point P = (a
1
, . . . , a
n
) is the linear subvariety
V
_
f
x
1
(p)(X
1
a
1
) + +
f
x
n
(p)(X
n
a
n
)
_
.
Proposition 5.2. Let f k[X
1
, . . . , X
n
] a polynomial without
multiple factors. The set of nonsingular points of V = (f) is an open
dense subset of V .
Proof. We have to show that the set of singular points is a proper
closed subset of each irreducible component. The singular set is
V (f,
f
x
i
), so closed. Suppose that an irreducible component V (f
j
) of
V is contained in . This means that all partial derivatives
f
x
i
vanish
on V (f
j
). By the product rule this is the case if and only if all
f
j
x
i
vanish on V (f
j
). So we may as well assume that f is irreducible.
65
66 5. TANGENT SPACE AND NONSINGULARITY
We then have that
f
x
i
(f), and therefore
f
x
i
= 0, as its degree is
lower than that of f. If char k = 0, this implies that f is constant,
contradicting our assumption that V is a hypersurface. If char k = p >
0, we conclude that f is a polynomial in X
p
1
, . . . , X
p
n
. Then f = g
p
,
where the coecients of g are pth roots of those of f. This contradicts
the fact that (f) is a radical ideal.
Example 5.1. Let f = g
2
for an irreducible polynomial g. Then
every point in V (f) = V (g) is singular.
We now look at arbitrary algebraic sets.
Definition 5.3. Let V be an ane or projective algebraic set. The
tangent space T
p
V to V in the point P V is the linear subvariety
T
P
V =

fI(V )
T
p
V (f) .
To describe the tangent space it suces to use generators of the
ideal. In the projective case, if (f
1
, . . . , f
k
) generate the homogeneous
ideal of V , then T
P
V = V (

j
f
1
X
j
(P), . . . ,

j
f
k
X
j
(P)), and analo-
gously in the ane case.
This last formulation works for any ideal. E.g., for the fat point
with coordinate ring k[X, Y ]/(X, Y
2
) the tangent space at the origin is
V (X), whereas for the fat points with ring k[X, Y ]/(X
2
, XY, Y
2
) it is
A
2
.
Lemma 5.4. Let (f
1
, . . . , f
k
) generate the ideal of V . Then
dimT
P
V = n Rank(
f
i
X
j
) ,
where (
f
i
X
j
) is the Jacobian matrix.
The function V N, P dimT
P
V , is upper semicontinous in the
Zariski topology on V . That is, for any integer r the subset P A [
dimT
P
V r is Zariski closed.
Proof. This is just linear algebra. The Jacobian matrix has rank
at most n r is and only if all the (n r + 1) (n r + 1) minors
vanish.
Example 5.2. Let V = V (XZ, Y Z) A
3
. Its zero set consists of
a line L (the Z-axis) and a plane (the X, Y -plane) through the origin
O. Then dimT
P
V = 1 for P L O, dimT
P
V = 2 for P O
and dimT
O
V = 3.
Definition 5.5. Let P V A
n
be point of an algebraic set.
The local dimension of V at P, written dim
P
V , is dimO
V,P
.
The dimension dim
P
V is the maximum dimension of an irreducible
component of V containing P.
5.2. ZARISKI TANGENT SPACE 67
Remark 5.3. We always have dimT
P
V dim
P
V . In contrast to
the hypersurface case, however, the result for arbitrary algebraic sets
does not follow directly from the denitions.
We sketch several approaches to it.
The rst one reduces it to the case of hypersurfaces. One needs the
intrinsic description of the tangent space below, and shows that the
minimal dimension is a birational invariant. Every variety is birational
to a hypersurface. This follows from Noether normalisation together
with the Theorem of the Primitive Element: let K L be a nite
separable eld extension of an innite eld, then there exists an x L
such that L = K(x).
In the complex case the fact that the Jacobian matrix has rank
nd, say that the rst (nd) (nd) minor does not vanish, implies
that in an Euclidean neighbourhood of P the zero set of f
1
, . . . , f
nd
is
a submanifold of dimension d. But the implicit function theorem does
not hold with Zariski open sets, because they are much too large. It
does hold using formal power series. One has to show that dimO
V,P
=
dimk[[X
1
a
1
, . . . , X
n
a
n
]]/I(V ).
The best proof requires more commutative algebra. One needs
again the intrinsic characterisation of the tangent space, as (m/m
2
)

,
where m is the maximal ideal of the local ring O
V,P
. Then it is a general
fact about local Noetherian rings, that dim
R/m
m/m
2
dimR. We will
prove it below for the local rings of ane algebraic sets.
Definition 5.6. An algebraic set V in A
n
or P
n
is smooth (or
nonsingular) at P V if dimT
P
V = dim
P
V . Then P is a smooth (or
nonsingular) point of V . Otherwise, V is singular at P, and P is a
singular point or a singularity of V .
The set
V
of singular points of V is called the singular locus of V .
If
V
is empty, that is, if V is smooth at each of its points, then V is
called smooth.
5.2. Zariski tangent space
Usually elements of the ane tangent space are called tangent vec-
tors; indeed, T
P
V is not only an ane linear subspace, but it has a
distinguished point, P, which can serve as origin of a vector space.
A point Q T
P
V is then the endpoint of the vector

PQ. There are
therefore two coordinates involved, those of P = (a
1
, . . . , a
n
) A
n
and
Q = (a
1
+ b
1
, . . . , a
n
+ b
n
) A
n
(so that the b
i
are the coordinates of
Q when P is the orgin). A convenient way to write the coordinates of
a tangent vector is as (a
1
+b
1
, . . . , a
n
+b
n
), where is as in analysis
a very small number, algebraically expressed by
2
= 0. Recall that
the inclusion P V corresponds to a k-algebra homomorphism
ev
p
: k[V ] k, given by ev
P
(f) = f(a
1
, . . . , a
n
). This can be seen as
a map from an abstract point P to V , where by changing the map (by
68 5. TANGENT SPACE AND NONSINGULARITY
changing the a
i
) we vary the point P V . Now consider the fat point
T with coordinate ring k[] = k[t]/(t
2
), sometimes called the ring of
dual numbers. Then in the same sense a tangent vector is a map from
T to V , given by evaluation ev

PQ
. By Taylors formula and
2
= 0 we
have
ev

PQ
(f) = f(a
1
+ b
1
, . . . , a
n
+ b
n
)
= f(a
1
, . . . , a
n
) +

b
i
f
X
i
(a
1
, . . . , a
n
) .
Example 5.4. Let Gl(n, k) be the ane algebraic variety of invert-
ible n n matrices. We determine the tangent space at I, the identity
matrix. Let A M(n, n; k) be any nn matrix. Then we have det(I +
A) = 1 + Tr A, which is a unit in k[]. So T
I
Gl(n, k) = M(n, n; k).
For Sl(n, k), the matrices with det = 1, we nd T
I
Sl(n, k) = A
M(n, n; k) [ Tr A = 0.
Another way to distinguish the coordinates b
i
is to write a tangent
vector as dierential operator. A tangent vector is then X =

b
i

X
i
.
The condition that X T
P
V is that X(f)(P) = 0 for all f I(V ).
We can use this description to give an intrinsic characterisation of the
tangent space.
Theorem 5.7. Let P V be a point on an ane algebraic set,
with maximal ideal M
P
k[V ]; let m
p
be the maximal ideal in O
V,P
.
The k[V ]-module M
P
/M
2
P
is naturally a k-vector space, as is the O
V,P
-
module m
P
/m
2
P
. There are natural isomorphisms of vector spaces
T
P
V

= (M
P
/M
2
P
)

= (m
P
/m
2
P
)

,
where the denotes the dual vector space.
Proof. We rst note that m
P
/m
2
P
is a module over O
V,P
/m
P
= k,
so a k-vector space.
A tangent vector X =

b
i

X
i
gives a linear function on M
P
, which
is well-dened modulo I(V ), as X(f) = 0 for all f I(V ). Conversely,
if a linear function l is given, we dene b
i
= l(X
i
).
The inclusion M
P
m
P
induces an injection M
P
/M
2
P
m
P
/m
2
P
.
We show that it is surjective. Let f/g be a representative of a function
germ in m
P
. Let c = g(P). Then f/cf/g = f(1/c1/g) m
P
/m
2
P
, so
the classs of f/g in m
P
/m
2
P
is the image of the class of f/c M
P
/M
2
P
.
Note that a tangent vector X =

b
i

X
i
acts on m
P
by the quotient
rule.
Definition 5.8. We call (m
P
/m
2
P
)

## the Zariski tangent space to V

at P.
Definition 5.9. Let f : V W be a regular map between ane
algebraic sets, and let f

## : k[W] k[V ] be the corresponding map of

coordinate rings. Suppose f(P) = Q. Then the dual of the induced
5.3. KRULLS PRINCIPAL IDEAL THEOREM 69
map f

: m
Q
/m
2
Q
m
P
/m
2
P
is the dierential d
P
f : T
P
V T
Q
W of f
at P.
5.3. Krulls Principal Ideal Theorem
Theorem 5.10 (Nakayamas Lemma). Let R be a local ring with
maximal ideal m, let M be a nitely generated R-module, and let N
M be a submodule. Then N + mM = M if and only if N = M.
Proof. Replacing M by M/N, we may assume N = 0. We have
to show that mM = M implies M = 0. Let m
1
, . . . , m
r
be generators
of M. If mM = M we may write m
i
=

a
ij
m
j
for each i with the
a
ij
m, or in matrix notation,
(I A)m = 0 ,
where A is the square matrix with entries a
ij
and m is the column vector
of the m
i
. Therefore det(I A)m
i
= 0. As det(I A) 1 mod m, it
is a unit and m
i
= 0 for all i. Thus M = 0.
Corollary 5.11. Elements m
1
, . . . , m
r
generate M as R-module if
and only their residue classes m
i
+mM generate M/mM as R/m-vector
space. In particular, any minimal set of generators for M corresponds
to an R/m-basis for M/mM, and any two such sets have the same
number of elements.
Proof. Take N = (m
1
, . . . , m
r
) M.
Definition 5.12. Let R be a ring. An R-module M is Artinian, if
it satises the descending chain condition for submodules (any innite
descending sequence of submodules is stationary). A ring is an Artinian
ring if it is Artinian over itself as a module.
If m is a maximal ideal of R, then any nite-dimensional (R/m)-
vector space is clearly Artinian (as R-module). Suppose now that m
is nitely generated. Then m/m
2
is a nite-dimensional (R/m)-vector
space and as the n-th symmetric product Sym
n
(m/m
2
) maps surjec-
tively onto m
n
/m
n+1
, the latter vector space is also nitely dimensional.
Therefore it is an Artinian R-module.
Lemma 5.13. If 0 M

M M

0 is an exact sequence of
modules, then M is Artinian if and only if M

and M

are Artinian.
Lemma 5.14. If R is a Noetherian ring with one prime ideal m,
then R is Artinian.
Proof. As
_
(0) is a prime ideal, it must be m. Therefore some
power of each of the generators is 0, so there exists an n with m
n
= 0.
We have a nite ltration R m m
n
= 0, all of whose
quotients are Artinian, so R is Artinian as well.
70 5. TANGENT SPACE AND NONSINGULARITY
Theorem 5.15. Let R be a Noetherian ring, and let (f) ,= R be
a principal ideal. Then the height h(p) 1 for every every minimal
prime p of (f). Equality holds if f is not a zero divisor of R.
Proof. The second statement of the theorem follows from the rst
one. Indeed, each minimal prime ideals of R contains only zero divisors.
To show the rst statement of the theorem, we consider a minimal
prime p of (f). Its height satises h(p) = dimR
p
. The ideal pR
p
is a
minimal prime of (f)R
p
. Replacing R by R
p
, we may assume that R is
local ring whose maximal ideal m is a minimal prime of (f). The rst
statement of the theorem follows once we show that h(q) = dimR
q
= 0
for every prime ideal q p.
Let q
(i)
be the i-th symbolic power of q. This is the q-primary
component of q
n
. Explicitly, one has
q
(i)
= r R [ ur q
n
for some u / q .
It is the preimage of q
i
R
q
under the localization map R R
q
. We
form the chain of ideals
(f) + q
(1)
(f) + q
(2)
. . .
As the maximal m/(f) of R/(f) is the only prime ideal of the ring
R/(f), this ring is Artinian. Hence, our descending chain is eventually
stationary. Let (f) +q
(n)
= (f) +q
(n+1)
. Now any element g q
(n)
can
be written as g = rf + h with h q
(n+1)
. Then rf q
(n)
. Since p is a
minimal prime of (f), we have f / q and thus r q
(n)
. This shows that
q
(n)
= (f)q
(n)
+ q
(n+1)
. Since f is contained in the maximal ideal p of
R, Nakayamas lemma yields that q
(n)
= q
(n+1)
. Then q
n
R
q
= q
n+1
R
q
.
By Nakayamas lemma applied in R
q
, we get q
n
R
q
= (0). We conclude
that dimR
q
= 0, as desired.
Corollary 5.16. Let V be an ane or projective variety of di-
mension d, and H a hypersurface. If V H ,= and V , H, then all
irreducible components of V H have dimension d 1.
Proof. It suces to prove the ane case. The hypersurface H
corresponds to a principal ideal (f) in the coordinate ring k[V ], with
(f) ,= k[V ] as V H ,= , and f ,= 0 as V , H. Furthermore
K[V H] = (k[V ]/(f))
red
. All minimal primes of (f) have height 1 and
therefore dimension d1. The same therefore holds for K[V H].
Corollary 5.17. Let V be an ane (or projective) variety. Let
f
1
, . . . , f
m
k[V ] be (homogeneous) elements of the (homogeneous)
coordinate ring of V , with non empty zero set on W = V (f
1
, . . . , f
m
)
V . Then dimZ dimV m for every irreducible component Z of W.
We can now prove the statement about the dimension of the Zariski
tangent space.
5.3. KRULLS PRINCIPAL IDEAL THEOREM 71
Theorem 5.18. Let P V be a point of an ane algebraic set.
Then dimT
P
V dim
P
V .
Proof. Let M
P
be the maximal ideal of P in k[V ], and m
P
the
maximal ideal in O
V,P
. Then dimT
P
V = dim
k
m
P
/m
2
P
. Say that this
dimension is m. Choose elements f
1
, . . . , f
m
k[V ], which project onto
a basis of M
P
/M
2
P

= m
P
/m
2
P
. By Nakayamas lemma (f
1
, . . . , f
m
) =
m
P
. Therefore P is an irreducible component of V (f
1
, . . . , f
m
) V ,
of dimension 0. Let V
1
be an irreducible component of V passing
through P, with dimV
1
= dim
P
V . Then P is also an irreducible
component of V (f
1
, . . . , f
m
) V
1
, of dimension 0 dimV
i
m. There-
fore m dim
P
V .
Theorem 5.19. Let f : V W be a regular surjective map of
irreducible algebraic sets, n = dimV , m = dimW. Then dimF
n m for any point Q W and every irreducible component F of the
bre f
1
(Q).
Proof. Let P f
1
(Q). By taking ane neighbourhoods of P
and Q we may suppose that V and W are ane. Let : W A
m
be a nite map (Noether normalisation!). Then the bre of f
over (Q) (with reduced structure) is the disjoint union of the bres
of f over the points of
1
((Q)). It suces to prove the statement
for f : V A
m
, that is, we may assume that W = A
m
. Then
I(Q) = (Y
i
b
i
), and the bre is given by the m equations f
i
= b.
Therefore each irreducible component has dimension at least nm.