Given a prime p and an elliptic curve E (say over Q), one can associate a "mod p Galois representation" of the absolute Galois group of Q by considering the natural action on p-torsion points of E.
In 1972, Serre showed that if the endomorphism ring of E is "minimal", then there exists a prime P(E) such that for all p>P(E), the mod p Galois representation is surjective. This raised an immediate question (now known as Serre's uniformity conjecture) on whether P(E) can be bounded as E ranges over elliptic curves over Q with minimal endomorphism rings.
I'll sketch a proof of this result, the current status of the conjecture, and (time permitting) some extensions of this result (e.g. to abelian varieties with appropriately analogous endomorphism rings).
- Junior Number Theory Seminar