Advanced Number Theory

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Courier Corporation, 1962 - Mathematics - 276 pages
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"A very stimulating book ... in a class by itself." — American Mathematical Monthly
Advanced students, mathematicians and number theorists will welcome this stimulating treatment of advanced number theory, which approaches the complex topic of algebraic number theory from a historical standpoint, taking pains to show the reader how concepts, definitions and theories have evolved during the last two centuries. Moreover, the book abounds with numerical examples and more concrete, specific theorems than are found in most contemporary treatments of the subject.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I is concerned with background material — a synopsis of elementary number theory (including quadratic congruences and the Jacobi symbol), characters of residue class groups via the structure theorem for finite abelian groups, first notions of integral domains, modules and lattices, and such basis theorems as Kronecker's Basis Theorem for Abelian Groups.
Part II discusses ideal theory in quadratic fields, with chapters on unique factorization and units, unique factorization into ideals, norms and ideal classes (in particular, Minkowski's theorem), and class structure in quadratic fields. Applications of this material are made in Part III to class number formulas and primes in arithmetic progression, quadratic reciprocity in the rational domain and the relationship between quadratic forms and ideals, including the theory of composition, orders and genera. In a final concluding survey of more recent developments, Dr. Cohn takes up Cyclotomic Fields and Gaussian Sums, Class Fields and Global and Local Viewpoints.
In addition to numerous helpful diagrams and tables throughout the text, appendices, and an annotated bibliography, Advanced Number Theory also includes over 200 problems specially designed to stimulate the spirit of experimentation which has traditionally ruled number theory.

 

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In a nutshell, the book serves as an introduction to Gauss' theory of quadratic forms and their composition laws (the cornerstone of his Disquisitiones Arithmeticae) from the modern point of view (ideals in quadratic number fields). I strongly recommend it as a gentle introduction to algebraic number theory (with exclusive emphasis on quadratic number fields and binary quadratic forms). As a bonus, the book includes material on Dirichlet L-functions as well as proofs of Dirichlet's class number formula and Dirichlet's theorem in primes in arithmetic progressions (of course this material requires the reader to have the background of a one-semester course in real analysis; on the other hand, this material is largely independent of the subsequent algebraic developments).
Better titles for this book would be "A Second Course in Number Theory" or "Introduction to quadratic forms and quadratic fields". It is not a very advanced book in the sense that required background is only a one-semester course in number theory. It does not assume prior familiarity with abstract algebra. While exercises are included, they are not particularly interesting or challenging (if probably adequate to keep the reader engaged).
While the exposition is *slightly* dated, it feels fresh enough and is particularly suitable for self-study (I'd be less likely to recommend the book as a formal textbook). Students with a background in abstract algebra might find the pace a bit slow, with a bit too much time spent on algebraic preliminaries (the entire Part I---about 90 pages); however, these preliminaries are essential to paving the road towards Parts II (ideal theory in quadratic fields) and III (applications of ideal theory).
It is almost inevitable to compare this book to Borevich-Shafarevich "Number Theory". The latter is a fantastic book which covers a large superset of the material in Cohn's book. Borevich-Shafarevich is, however, a much more demanding read and it is out of print. For gentle self-study (and perhaps as a preparation to later read Borevich-Shafarevich), Cohn's book is a fine read.
 

Contents

I
1
II
7
III
9
IV
22
V
39
VI
54
VII
75
VIII
91
X
113
XI
131
XII
142
XIII
157
XIV
159
XV
183
XVI
195
XVII
212

IX
93

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