Jacobson's Commutativity Problem

18 June 2021
Mike Daas

It is a well-known fact that Boolean rings, those rings in which $x^2 = x$ for all $x$, are necessarily commutative. There is a short and completely elementary proof of this. One may wonder what the situation is for rings in which $x^n = x$ for all $x$, where $n > 2$ is some positive integer. Jacobson and Herstein proved a very general theorem regarding these rings, and the proof follows a widely applicable strategy that can often be used to reduce questions about general rings to more manageable ones. We discuss this strategy, but will also focus on a different approach: can we also find ''elementary'' proofs of some special cases of the theorem? We treat a number of these explicit computations, among which a few new results.

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  • Junior Algebra and Representation Theory Seminar