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Math Help - Group theory question

  1. #1
    Ant
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    Group theory question

    Hi,

    Let H_{1}, H_{2}, H_{3} be subgroups of a group G under addition. Moreover suppose x\in H_{1}, y\in H_{2}, x+y \in H_{3}

    I'm wondering if it then follows that H_{1} = H_{2} = H_{3}



    Could anyone offer any help as to whether or not this is true?

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    GJA
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    Re: Group theory question

    Hi Ant,

    Take a look at H_{1}=2\mathbb{Z}, H_{2}=3\mathbb{Z} and H_{3}=5\mathbb{Z} as subgroups of (\mathbb{Z}, +) to see if you can come up with a counterexample.

    If this is too cryptic let me know and I'll try to provide more details. Good luck!
    Thanks from Ant and topsquark
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  3. #3
    Ant
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    Re: Group theory question

    Yes of course.  2 \in H_{1} ,  3 \in H_{2} and  2+3=5 \in H_{3} yet clearly these subgroups are not equal. Thanks! No wonder I couldn't prove it!
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  4. #4
    Ant
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    Re: Group theory question

    The problem I'm working is actually:

    Let R be a commutative ring with unity. Prove that if the sum of two non units is a non unit then R has a unique maximal ideal.

    My working so far:

    Let x,y be non zero non units. So the ideals they generate are proper subgroups of R. Furthermore the ideal that x+y generates is also proper. We also know that every proper ideal is contained in a maximal ideal.

    so (x) \subset  J_{1}, (y) \subset  J_{2}, (x+y) \subset  J_{3}. For  J_{1}, J_{2}, J_{3} maximal ideals.

    Our goal is to prove that  J_{1} = J_{2} = J_{3} i.e. that There is unique maximal ideal.

    The only thing I can think of to do at the moment, is use the closure of ideals to show that the intersection of (x) and (y) will contain xy = yx. but I'm not sure how, if at all, that helps me...
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  5. #5
    GJA
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    Re: Group theory question

    Seems like a fun problem! I think looking at the ideal generated by a non unit is a good idea. Here's my two cents (for what it's worth):

    By way of contradiction suppose R contains two distinct maximal ideals M_{1} and M_{2}. Without loss of generality take x\in M_{1}-M_{2}. Since x\in M_{1} and M_{1}\neq R, x is a non-unit. Now take a look at the ideal (x)+M_{2} and see if you can use the assumption to get a contradiction.

    Good luck!
    Thanks from Ant
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  6. #6
    Ant
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    Re: Group theory question

    Thanks! I'll try that and see if I can come up with anything
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  7. #7
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    Re: Group theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by GJA View Post
    Seems like a fun problem! I think looking at the ideal generated by a non unit is a good idea. Here's my two cents (for what it's worth):

    By way of contradiction suppose R contains two distinct maximal ideals M_{1} and M_{2}. Without loss of generality take x\in M_{1}-M_{2}. Since x\in M_{1} and M_{1}\neq R, x is a non-unit. Now take a look at the ideal (x)+M_{2} and see if you can use the assumption to get a contradiction.

    Good luck!
    oh i like that! (x) + M2 is an ideal containing M2, and so we have two choices:

    a)(x) + M2 = R
    b)(x) + M2 = M2.

    b) is out of the question since x is in (x) + M2 (as the element 1x + 0) and by supposition, x is not in M2.

    the key to ruling out a) is that M2 is proper, and thus doesn't contain any units, and neither does (x). but certainly 1 is in R.
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  8. #8
    Ant
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    Re: Group theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by Deveno View Post
    oh i like that! (x) + M2 is an ideal containing M2, and so we have two choices:

    a)(x) + M2 = R
    b)(x) + M2 = M2.

    b) is out of the question since x is in (x) + M2 (as the element 1x + 0) and by supposition, x is not in M2.

    the key to ruling out a) is that M2 is proper, and thus doesn't contain any units, and neither does (x). but certainly 1 is in R.
    This seems to work perfectly. However, as far as I can see, at no point in this argument do we use the fact that if x,y are non units them so is their sum, x+y. This concerns me!
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  9. #9
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    Re: Group theory question

    sure we do. take any element of (x) (which is to say rx for some r in R). this cannot be a unit, for if so, we have, say rx = u, then we have:

    (u-1r)x = 1, contradicting the fact that x is not a unit (and we know x is not a unit, because x is in M1, and M1 ≠ R

    -this is using the fact that if an ideal of a commutative ring with unity contains a unit, it contains 1, and thus it is the entire ring).

    by the same reasoning, any element of M2 is ALSO not a unit.

    now if (x) + M2 = R, then:

    rx + m = 1, for some r in R, and some m in M2.

    so we have:

    non-unit + non-unit = unit, contradicting what we are given as a condition on R. thus any two maximal ideals of R cannot be distinct (the assumption that allowed us to assume x existed).
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  10. #10
    Ant
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    Re: Group theory question

    Ah okay, thanks. For some reason I was thinking that (x) + M2 was the union of (x) and M2. Which is why I thought we didn't need to use the closure under + of non units. BTW I've since realized that in fact considering the union isn't helpful as it may no even be an ideal.

    If anyone is interested, here's another proof (which I believe is also correct!):

    Consider the set J of all non units in R.

    Claim 1: J is an ideal of R.
    Proof: It's clear that 0 is in R. Let x be a non unit, assume -x is a unit. So there exists u s.t. -xu = 1 then  x(-u) = 1 so  x is a unit. So -x must be a non unit. Closure follows by assumption. so J forms an abelian group under +. The product of two non units is clearly non unit, and so is the product of a unit with a non unit. (let u be a unit, x be a non unit. Assume ux is a unit. So there exists w s.t uxw=wux =1 = (wu)x So wu is inverse of x and thus x is a unit. Contradiction proves ux is non unit). So J is an ideal.

    Claim 2: J is unique maximal.
    Proof: J \ne R because R contains 1. So we must still prove unique maximality.

    (Uniqueness) Consider an arbitrary proper ideal of R, I. I is proper and therefore cannot contain any units. As J is the set of all units, we have that I \subset J.

    (Maximality) Recall that J contain all non units. This means that if we want to find an ideal of R which is larger than J we must include some non unit of R. But the inclusion of a non unit will immediately give us all of R. So J is maximal.
    Last edited by Ant; November 30th 2012 at 06:26 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Group theory question

    for claim 2 i would word it like so:

    let I be a maximal ideal of R. since I is a maximal ideal it is proper, and therefore contains no units. since J contains all non-units, I is contained in J, hence I = J (by the maximality of I, since J ≠ R).

    i would be curious to see what kind of ring R might have to be, since the integers don't qualify: -2 and 3 are not units, but -2+3 is. the ring Q[x] also doesn't appear to work:

    neither x nor 1-x are units, but their sum is. the only examples of such rings that spring to mind are fields (which have boring maximal ideals: {0}), but there might be others (i haven't thought about it too much).
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  12. #12
    Ant
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    Re: Group theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by Deveno View Post
    for claim 2 i would word it like so:

    let I be a maximal ideal of R. since I is a maximal ideal it is proper, and therefore contains no units. since J contains all non-units, I is contained in J, hence I = J (by the maximality of I, since J ≠ R).

    i would be curious to see what kind of ring R might have to be, since the integers don't qualify: -2 and 3 are not units, but -2+3 is. the ring Q[x] also doesn't appear to work:

    neither x nor 1-x are units, but their sum is. the only examples of such rings that spring to mind are fields (which have boring maximal ideals: {0}), but there might be others (i haven't thought about it too much).
    Yes, that's a bit more succinct.

    Apparently they're called "local rings"
    Local ring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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