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Elliptic Curves Homework 1 solutions

February 3, 2006

1.1a The line through two rational points P, Q is a rational line. Say P = (a, b), Q = (c, d), with a, b, c, d Q. The line L through P, Q has equation (c a)(y b) = (d b)(x a), which has rational coefcients, hence is rational. 1.1b The intersection of two rational lines L1 , L2 in the plane is either empty or a rational point. By plane the authors mean the afne plane C2 . Say the lines have equations L1 : ax + by = e, where a, . . . f Q. If the matrix A = L2 : cx + dy = f,

a b has zero determinant then the lines are parallel, and their intersecc d tion occurs at the point [b, a, 0] P2 (Q) Q2 . If ad bc = 0, then 1 d b x = c a y ad bc so x, y Q. 2a b d 1.2 C is the conic with equation F = ax2 + bxy + cy 2 + dx + ey + f = 0, and = det b 2c e . The d e 2f point (x, y ) C is a singular point iff 2ax + by + d = 0 = bx + 2cy + e = 0. Using these to eliminate d and e in F , we get 0 = F (x, y ) = ax2 + bxy + cy 2 (2ax + by )x (bx + 2cy )y + f = f (ax2 + bxy + cy 2 ). On the other hand, plugging equations (1) into , multiplying out and factoring, we get 2a b 2ax 2cy b 2c bx 2cy = 2(b2 4ac)(ax2 + bxy + cy 2 f ). = det 2ax 2cy bx 2cy 2f (2) (1) e , f

(3)

Comparing equations (2) and (3), we see that if (x, y ) is a singular point on C , then = 0, while if b2 4ac = 0 and = 0, then (x, y ) is a singular point on C . 1

Additional comment: The signicance of and the condition b2 4ac = 0 is more clearly seen if we consider the projectivized version of C , with equation F = aX 2 + bXY + cY 2 + dXZ + eY Z + f Z 2 = 0. Now the conditions for a singular point are 2aX + bY + dZ = 0 bX + 2cY + eZ = 0 dX + eY + 2f Z = 0. (4)

(Recall that 2F = XFX + Y FY + ZFZ , so a point [X, Y, Z ] satisfying equations (4) is automatically on C .) Equations (4) have a nonzero solution iff the coefcient matrix has nonzero determinant, which is . So in projective space the result is cleaner (and easier to prove): C is nonsingular iff = 0. What about b2 4ac? The intersection of C with the line Z = 0 is given by aX 2 + bXY + cY 2 = 0. This consists of two distinct points if b2 4ac = 0, and one double point if b2 4ac = 0. In the former case, the equations (4) have no nontrivial solution with Z = 0, so if = 0, the singular point must line in the afne plane (Z = 0). This is the singular point detected in the afne solution above. Meanwhile, if b2 4ac = 0, then there is a unique point P = [X, Y, 0] P2 such that 2aX + bY = 0 bX + 2cY + = 0. (5)

There are two possibilities: If dX + eY = 0, then P is a singular point. If dX + eY = 0, then Z = 0 is the tangent line to C at P . 1.3 Let C be the conic with equation F = x2 3xy + 2y 2 x + 1 = 0. We compute that = 12, so C nonsingular (as long as 6 = 0). Let L be the line y = x + . This intersects C at points x where 0 = F (x, x + ) = x2 3x(x + ) + 2(x + )2 x + 1 = Ax2 + Bx + C, where A = 1 3 + 22 , B = 4 3 1, C = 2 2 + 1. Assume there are two points of intersection: (x0 , y0 ) and (x1 , y1 ). This means A(x x0 )(x x1 ) = 0, and A = 0. Comparing coefcients of x, we get B = A(x0 + x1 ), B , A If , , x0 , y0 Q, then A, B Q, so x1 , y1 Q. x1 = x0 1.4 Find a bunch of primitive Pythagorean triples. Choose integers n > m, one odd, one even, gcd(n, m) = 1. The triple is a = n2 m2 , b = 2nm, c = n2 + m2 . so y1 = x 0 + B A .

To have c 30 we must have 30 n2 + m2 2m2 , so m 3. We get the table 2

m 1 1 2 2 3

n 2 4 3 5 4

a b 3 4 15 8 5 12 21 20 7 24

c 5 17 13 29 25

1.5 Find all rational points on the circle x2 + y 2 = 2. Use the line L : y = x. Any point on L is of the form P = (t, t). The line through P and (1, 1) has equation 1+t y= (x 1) + 1. 1t The problem at t = 1 goes away in the end, since if t = 1 then x = 1 so the zeros cancel. Plugging this into x2 + y 2 = 2 and expanding gives 2(1 + t2 ) 2 4t(1 + t) 2t2 + 4t 2 x x + = 0. (1 t)2 (1 t)2 (1 t)2 Factoring out the known root x = 1, we get the other root x= Putting this into (a) gives us t2 2t 1 y= . t2 + 1 You can check this by verifying that t2 + 2t 1 t2 + 1
2 2

t2 + 2t 1 . t2 + 1

t2 2t 1 t2 + 1

= 2.