Absolute Galois group

In mathematics, the absolute Galois group GK of a field K is the Galois group of Ksep over K, where Ksep is a separable closure of K. Alternatively it is the group of all automorphisms of the algebraic closure of K that fix K. The absolute Galois group is well-defined up to inner automorphism. It is a profinite group.

(When K is a perfect field, Ksep is the same as an algebraic closure Kalg of K. This holds e.g. for K of characteristic zero, or K a finite field.)

Complex conjugate picture
The absolute Galois group of the real numbers is a cyclic group of order 2 generated by complex conjugation, since C is the separable closure of R and [C:R] = 2.


  • The absolute Galois group of an algebraically closed field is trivial.
  • The absolute Galois group of the real numbers is a cyclic group of two elements (complex conjugation and the identity map), since C is the separable closure of R and [C:R] = 2.
  • The absolute Galois group of a finite field K is isomorphic to the group

(For the notation, see Inverse limit.)

The Frobenius automorphism Fr is a canonical (topological) generator of GK. (Recall that Fr(x) = xq for all x in Kalg, where q is the number of elements in K.)
  • The absolute Galois group of the field of rational functions with complex coefficients is free (as a profinite group). This result is due to Adrien Douady and has its origins in Riemann's existence theorem.[1]
  • More generally, let C be an algebraically closed field and x a variable. Then the absolute Galois group of K = C(x) is free of rank equal to the cardinality of C. This result is due to David Harbater and Florian Pop, and was also proved later by Dan Haran and Moshe Jarden using algebraic methods.[2][3][4]
  • Let K be a finite extension of the p-adic numbers Qp. For p ≠ 2, its absolute Galois group is generated by [K:Qp] + 3 elements and has an explicit description by generators and relations. This is a result of Uwe Jannsen and Kay Wingberg.[5][6] Some results are known in the case p = 2, but the structure for Q2 is not known.[7]
  • Another case in which the absolute Galois group has been determined is for the largest totally real subfield of the field of algebraic numbers.[8]


  • No direct description is known for the absolute Galois group of the rational numbers. In this case, it follows from Belyi's theorem that the absolute Galois group has a faithful action on the dessins d'enfants of Grothendieck (maps on surfaces), enabling us to "see" the Galois theory of algebraic number fields.
  • Let K be the maximal abelian extension of the rational numbers. Then Shafarevich's conjecture asserts that the absolute Galois group of K is a free profinite group.[9]

Some general results


  1. ^ Douady 1964
  2. ^ Harbater 1995
  3. ^ Pop 1995
  4. ^ Haran & Jarden 2000
  5. ^ Jannsen & Wingberg 1982
  6. ^ Neukirch, Schmidt & Wingberg 2000, theorem 7.5.10
  7. ^ Neukirch, Schmidt & Wingberg 2000, §VII.5
  8. ^ http://math.uci.edu/~mfried/paplist-cov/QTotallyReal.pdf
  9. ^ Neukirch, Schmidt & Wingberg 2000, p. 449.
  10. ^ Fried & Jarden (2008) p.12
  11. ^ Fried & Jarden (2008) pp.208,545


  • Douady, Adrien (1964), "Détermination d'un groupe de Galois", Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences de Paris, 258: 5305–5308, MR 0162796
  • Fried, Michael D.; Jarden, Moshe (2008), Field arithmetic, Ergebnisse der Mathematik und ihrer Grenzgebiete. 3. Folge, 11 (3rd ed.), Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-540-77269-9, Zbl 1145.12001
  • Haran, Dan; Jarden, Moshe (2000), "The absolute Galois group of C(x)", Pacific Journal of Mathematics, 196 (2): 445–459, doi:10.2140/pjm.2000.196.445, MR 1800587
  • Harbater, David, "Fundamental groups and embedding problems in characteristic p", Recent developments in the inverse Galois problem, Contemporary Mathematics, 186, Providence, RI: American Mathematical Society, pp. 353–369, MR 1352282
  • Jannsen, Uwe; Wingberg, Kay (1982), "Die Struktur der absoluten Galoisgruppe -adischer Zahlkörper", Inventiones Mathematicae, 70: 71–78, Bibcode:1982InMat..70...71J, doi:10.1007/bf01393199
  • Neukirch, Jürgen; Schmidt, Alexander; Wingberg, Kay (2000), Cohomology of Number Fields, Grundlehren der Mathematischen Wissenschaften, 323, Berlin: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-540-66671-4, MR 1737196, Zbl 0948.11001
  • Pop, Florian (1995), "Étale Galois covers of affine smooth curves. The geometric case of a conjecture of Shafarevich. On Abhyankar's conjecture", Inventiones Mathematicae, 120 (3): 555–578, Bibcode:1995InMat.120..555P, doi:10.1007/bf01241142, MR 1334484
B-admissible representation

In mathematics, the formalism of B-admissible representations provides constructions of full Tannakian subcategories of the category of representations of a group G on finite-dimensional vector spaces over a given field E. In this theory, B is chosen to be a so-called (E, G)-regular ring, i.e. an E-algebra with an E-linear action of G satisfying certain conditions given below. This theory is most prominently used in p-adic Hodge theory to define important subcategories of p-adic Galois representations of the absolute Galois group of local and global fields.

Bost–Connes system

In mathematics, a Bost–Connes system is a quantum statistical dynamical system related to an algebraic number field, whose partition function is related to the Dedekind zeta function of the number field. Bost & Connes (1995) introduced Bost–Connes systems by constructing one for the rational numbers. Connes, Marcolli & Ramachandran (2005) extended the construction to imaginary quadratic fields.

Such systems have been studied for their connection with Hilbert's Twelfth Problem. In the case of a Bost–Connes system over Q, the absolute Galois group acts on the ground states of the system.

Dessin d'enfant

In mathematics, a dessin d'enfant is a type of graph embedding used to study Riemann surfaces and to provide combinatorial invariants for the action of the absolute Galois group of the rational numbers. The name of these embeddings is French for a "child's drawing"; its plural is either dessins d'enfant, "child's drawings", or dessins d'enfants, "children's drawings".

A dessin d'enfant is a graph, with its vertices colored alternately black and white, embedded in an oriented surface that, in many cases, is simply a plane. For the coloring to exist, the graph must be bipartite. The faces of the embedding must be topological disks. The surface and the embedding may be described combinatorially using a rotation system, a cyclic order of the edges surrounding each vertex of the graph that describes the order in which the edges would be crossed by a path that travels clockwise on the surface in a small loop around the vertex.

Any dessin can provide the surface it is embedded in with a structure as a Riemann surface. It is natural to ask which Riemann surfaces arise in this way. The answer is provided by Belyi's theorem, which states that the Riemann surfaces that can be described by dessins are precisely those that can be defined as algebraic curves over the field of algebraic numbers. The absolute Galois group transforms these particular curves into each other, and thereby also transforms the underlying dessins.

For a more detailed treatment of this subject, see Schneps (1994) or Lando & Zvonkin (2004).

Field arithmetic

In mathematics, field arithmetic is a subject that studies the interrelations between arithmetic properties of a field and its absolute Galois group.

It is an interdisciplinary subject as it uses tools from algebraic number theory, arithmetic geometry, algebraic geometry, model theory, the theory of finite groups and of profinite groups.

Field of definition

In mathematics, the field of definition of an algebraic variety V is essentially the smallest field to which the coefficients of the polynomials defining V can belong. Given polynomials, with coefficients in a field K, it may not be obvious whether there is a smaller field k, and other polynomials defined over k, which still define V.

The issue of field of definition is of concern in diophantine geometry.

Genus character

In number theory, a genus character of a quadratic number field K is a character of the genus group of K. In other words, it is a real character of the narrow class group of K. Reinterpreting this using the Artin map, the collection of genus characters can also be thought of as the unramified real characters of the absolute Galois group of K (i.e. the characters that factor through the Galois group of the genus field of K).

Grothendieck–Teichmüller group

In mathematics, the Grothendieck–Teichmüller group GT is a group closely related to (and possibly equal to) the absolute Galois group of the rational numbers. It was introduced by Vladimir Drinfeld (1990) and named after Alexander Grothendieck and Oswald Teichmüller, based on Grothendieck's suggestion in his Esquisse d'un Programme to study the absolute Galois group of the rationals by relating it to its action on the Teichmüller tower of Teichmüller groupoids Tg,n, the fundamental groupoids of moduli stacks of genus g curves with n points removed. There are several minor variations of the group: a discrete version, a pro-l version, a k-pro-unipotent version, and a profinite version; the first three versions were defined by Drinfeld, and the version most often used is the profinite version.

Langlands dual group

In representation theory, a branch of mathematics, the Langlands dual LG of a reductive algebraic group G (also called the L-group of G) is a group that controls the representation theory of G. If G is defined over a field k, then LG is an extension of the absolute Galois group of k by a complex Lie group. There is also a variation called the Weil form of the L-group, where the Galois group is replaced by a Weil group. The Langlands dual group is also often referred to as an L-group; here the letter L indicates also the connection with the theory of L-functions, particularly the automorphic L-functions. The Langlands dual was introduced by Langlands (1967) in a letter to A. Weil.

The L-group is used heavily in the Langlands conjectures of Robert Langlands. It is used to make precise statements from ideas that automorphic forms are in a sense functorial in the group G, when k is a global field. It is not exactly G with respect to which automorphic forms and representations are functorial, but LG. This makes sense of numerous phenomena, such as 'lifting' of forms from one group to another larger one, and the general fact that certain groups that become isomorphic after field extensions have related automorphic representations.

Local Euler characteristic formula

In the mathematical field of Galois cohomology, the local Euler characteristic formula is a result due to John Tate that computes the Euler characteristic of the group cohomology of the absolute Galois group GK of a non-archimedean local field K.

Local Tate duality

In Galois cohomology, local Tate duality (or simply local duality) is a duality for Galois modules for the absolute Galois group of a non-archimedean local field. It is named after John Tate who first proved it. It shows that the dual of such a Galois module is the Tate twist of usual linear dual. This new dual is called the (local) Tate dual.

Local duality combined with Tate's local Euler characteristic formula provide a versatile set of tools for computing the Galois cohomology of local fields.

Moshe Jarden

Moshe Jarden (Hebrew: משה ירדן‎) is an Israeli mathematician, specialist in field arithmetic.

Neukirch–Uchida theorem

In mathematics, the Neukirch–Uchida theorem shows that all problems about algebraic number fields can be reduced to problems about their absolute Galois groups.

Jürgen Neukirch (1969) showed that two algebraic number fields with the same absolute Galois group are isomorphic, and Kôji Uchida (1976) strengthened this by proving Neukirch's conjecture that automorphisms of the algebraic number field correspond to outer automorphisms of its absolute Galois group. Florian Pop (1990, 1994) extended the result to infinite fields that are finitely generated over prime fields.

The Neukirch–Uchida theorem is one of the foundational results of anabelian geometry, whose main theme is to reduce properties of geometric objects to properties of their fundamental groups, provided these fundamental groups are sufficiently non-abelian.

Quasi-split group

In mathematics, a quasi-split group over a field is a reductive group with a Borel subgroup defined over the field. Simply connected quasi-split groups over a field correspond to actions of the absolute Galois group on a Dynkin diagram.

Taniyama group

In mathematics, the Taniyama group is a group that is an extension of the absolute Galois group of the rationals by the Serre group. It was introduced by Langlands (1977) using an observation by Deligne, and named after Yutaka Taniyama. It was intended to be the group scheme whose representations correspond to the (hypothetical) CM motives over the field Q of rational numbers.

Tate module

In mathematics, a Tate module of an abelian group, named for John Tate, is a module constructed from an abelian group A. Often, this construction is made in the following situation: G is a commutative group scheme over a field K, Ks is the separable closure of K, and A = G(Ks) (the Ks-valued points of G). In this case, the Tate module of A is equipped with an action of the absolute Galois group of K, and it is referred to as the Tate module of G.

Tate twist

In number theory and algebraic geometry, the Tate twist, named after John Tate, is an operation on Galois modules.

For example, if K is a field, GK is its absolute Galois group, and ρ : GK → AutQp(V) is a representation of GK on a finite-dimensional vector space V over the field Qp of p-adic numbers, then the Tate twist of V, denoted V(1), is the representation on the tensor product VQp(1), where Qp(1) is the p-adic cyclotomic character (i.e. the Tate module of the group of roots of unity in the separable closure Ks of K). More generally, if m is a positive integer, the mth Tate twist of V, denoted V(m), is the tensor product of V with the m-fold tensor product of Qp(1). Denoting by Qp(−1) the dual representation of Qp(1), the -mth Tate twist of V can be defined as

Weil group

In mathematics, a Weil group, introduced by Weil (1951), is a modification of the absolute Galois group of a local or global field, used in class field theory. For such a field F, its Weil group is generally denoted WF. There also exists "finite level" modifications of the Galois groups: if E/F is a finite extension, then the relative Weil group of E/F is WE/F = WF/W cE (where the superscript c denotes the commutator subgroup).

For more details about Weil groups see (Artin & Tate 2009) or (Tate 1979) or (Weil 1951).

Weil–Châtelet group

In arithmetic geometry, the Weil–Châtelet group or WC-group of an algebraic group such as an abelian variety A defined over a field K is the abelian group of principal homogeneous spaces for A, defined over K. Tate (1958) named it for François Châtelet (1946) who introduced it for elliptic curves, and Weil (1955), who introduced it for more general groups. It plays a basic role in the arithmetic of abelian varieties, in particular for elliptic curves, because of its connection with infinite descent.

It can be defined directly from Galois cohomology, as H1(GK,A), where GK is the absolute Galois group of K. It is of particular interest for local fields and global fields, such as algebraic number fields. For K a finite field, Schmidt (1931) proved that the Weil–Châtelet group is trivial for elliptic curves, and Lang (1956) proved that it is trivial for any algebraic group.

Wilson operation

In topological graph theory, the Wilson operations are a group of six transformations on graph embeddings. They are generated by two involutions on embeddings, surface duality and Petrie duality, and have the group structure of the symmetric group on three elements. They are named for Stephen E. Wilson, who published them for regular maps in 1979; they were extended to all cellular graph embeddings (embeddings all of whose faces are topological disks) by Lins (1982).

The operations are: identity, duality, Petrie duality, Petrie dual of dual, dual of Petrie dual, and dual of Petrie dual of dual or equivalently Petrei dual of dual of Petrie dual. Together they constitute the group S3.

These operations be characterized algebraically as the only outer automorphisms of certain group-theoretic representations of embedded graphs. Via their action on dessins d'enfants, they can be used to study the absolute Galois group of the rational numbers.

One can also define corresponding operations on the edges of an embedded graph, the partial dual and partial Petrie dual, such that performing the same operation on all edges simultaneously is equivalent to taking the surface dual or Petrie dual. These operations generate a larger group, the ribbon group, acting on the embedded graphs. As an abstract group, it is isomorphic to , the -fold product of copies of the three-element symmetric group.

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