# Thread: Affine Algebraic Sets - D&F Chapter 15, Section 15.1

1. ## Affine Algebraic Sets - D&F Chapter 15, Section 15.1

I am reading Dummit and Foote Ch 15, Commutative Rings and Algebraic Geometry. In Section 15.1 Noetherian Rings and Affine Algebraic Sets, Example 2 on page 660 reads as follows: (see attachment)

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(2) Over any field k, the ideal of functions vanishing at $(a_1, a_2, ... ... ... a_n) \in \mathbb{A}^n$ is a maximal ideal since it is the kernel of the surjective ring homomorphism from $k[x_1, x_2, ... ... x_n]$ to the field k given by evaluation at $(a_1, a_2, ... ... ... a_n)$.

It follows that $I((a_1, a_2, ... ... ... a_n)) = (x - a_1, x_ a_2, ... ... ... , x - a_n)$

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I can see that $(x - a_1, x_ a_2, ... ... ... , x - a_n)$ gives zeros for each polynomial in $k[ \mathbb{A}^n ]$ - indeed, to take a specific example involving $\mathbb{R} [x,y]$ we have for, let us say, a particular polynomial $g \in \mathbb{R} [x,y]$ where g is as follows:

$g(x,y) = 6(x - a_1)^3 + 11(x - a_1)^2(y - a_2) + 12(y - a_2)^2$

so in this case, clearly $g(a_1, a_2) = 0$ ... ... ... and, of course, other polynomials in $\mathbb{R} [x,y]$ similarly.

BUT ... ... I cannot understand D&Fs reference to maximal ideals. Why is it necessary to reason about maximal ideals.

Since I am obviously missing something, can someone please help by explaining what is going on in this example.

Would appreciate some help.

Peter