# Abstract Algebra: The Basic Graduate Year

###
About *Abstract Algebra: The Basic Graduate Year:*

Excerpts from book:

This is a text for the basic graduate sequence in abstract algebra, offered by most universities. We study fundamental algebraic structures, namely groups, rings, fields and

modules, and maps between these structures. The techniques are used in many areas of mathematics, and there are applications to physics, engineering and computer science as

well. In addition, I have attempted to communicate the intrinsic beauty of the subject. Ideally, the reasoning underlying each step of a proof should be completely clear, but the

overall argument should be as brief as possible, allowing a sharp overview of the result. These two requirements are in opposition, and it is my job as expositor to try to resolve the conflict.

My primary goal is to help the reader learn the subject, and there are times when informal or intuitive reasoning leads to greater understanding than a formal proof. In the

text, there are three types of informal arguments:

1. The concrete or numerical example with all features of the general case. Here, the

example indicates how the proof should go, and the formalization amounts to substituting Greek letters for numbers. There is no essential loss of rigor in the informal version.

2. Brief informal surveys of large areas. There are two of these, p-adic numbers and

group representation theory. References are given to books accessible to the beginning graduate student.

3. Intuitive arguments that replace lengthy formal proofs which do not reveal why a result is true. In this case, explicit references to a precise formalization are given. I am not saying that the formal proof should be avoided, just that the basic graduate year, where there are many pressing matters to cope with, may not be the appropriate place, especially when the result rather than the proof technique is used in applications.

This is a text for the basic graduate sequence in abstract algebra, offered by most universities. We study fundamental algebraic structures, namely groups, rings, fields and

modules, and maps between these structures. The techniques are used in many areas of mathematics, and there are applications to physics, engineering and computer science as

well. In addition, I have attempted to communicate the intrinsic beauty of the subject. Ideally, the reasoning underlying each step of a proof should be completely clear, but the

overall argument should be as brief as possible, allowing a sharp overview of the result. These two requirements are in opposition, and it is my job as expositor to try to resolve the conflict.

My primary goal is to help the reader learn the subject, and there are times when informal or intuitive reasoning leads to greater understanding than a formal proof. In the

text, there are three types of informal arguments:

1. The concrete or numerical example with all features of the general case. Here, the

example indicates how the proof should go, and the formalization amounts to substituting Greek letters for numbers. There is no essential loss of rigor in the informal version.

2. Brief informal surveys of large areas. There are two of these, p-adic numbers and

group representation theory. References are given to books accessible to the beginning graduate student.

3. Intuitive arguments that replace lengthy formal proofs which do not reveal why a result is true. In this case, explicit references to a precise formalization are given. I am not saying that the formal proof should be avoided, just that the basic graduate year, where there are many pressing matters to cope with, may not be the appropriate place, especially when the result rather than the proof technique is used in applications.