Apologies for the lack of posts lately; it’s been a busy semester. This post is essentially my notes for a talk I gave in my analytic number theory class.

Our goal is to obtain bounds on the distribution of prime numbers, that is, on functions of the form {\pi(x)}. The closely related function

\displaystyle \psi(x) = \sum_{n \leq x} \Lambda(n)

turns out to be amenable to study by analytic means; here {\Lambda(n)} is the von Mangolt function,

\displaystyle \Lambda(n) = \begin{cases} \log p & \text{if } n = p^m, p \ \text{prime} \\ 0 & \text{otherwise} \end{cases}.

Bounds on {\psi(x)} will imply corresponding bounds on {\pi(x)} by fairly straightforward arguments. For instance, the prime number theorem is equivalent to {\psi(x) = x + o(x)}.

The function {\psi(x)} is naturally connected to the {\zeta}-function in view of the formula

\displaystyle - \frac{\zeta'(s)}{\zeta(s)} = \sum_{n=1}^\infty \Lambda(n) n^{-s}.

In other words, {- \frac{\zeta'}{\zeta}} is the Dirichlet series associated to the function {\Lambda}. Using the theory of Mellin inversion, we can recover partial sums {\psi(x) = \sum_{n \leq x} \Lambda(x)} by integration of {-\frac{\zeta'}{\zeta}} along a vertical line. That is, we have

\displaystyle \psi(x) = \frac{1}{2\pi i} \int_{\sigma - i \infty}^{\sigma + i \infty} -\frac{\zeta'(s)}{\zeta(s)} \frac{x^s}{s} ds ,

at least for {\sigma > 1}, in which case the integral converges. Under hypotheses on the poles of {-\frac{\zeta'}{\zeta}} (equivalently, on the zeros of {\zeta}), we can shift the contour appropriately, and estimate the integral to derive the prime number theorem. (more…)

Today, we will prove the second inequality: the norm index of the ideles is at most the degree of the field extension. We will prove this using ideles (cf. the discussion of how ideles and ideals connect to each other), and some analysis.

1. A Big Theorem

We shall use one key fact from the theory of L-series. Namely, it is that:

Theorem 1 If {k} is a number field, we have

\displaystyle  \sum_{\mathfrak{p}} \mathbf{N}  \mathfrak{p}^{-s} \sim \log \frac{1}{s-1} (*)

as {s \rightarrow 1^+}. Here {\mathfrak{p}} ranges over the primes of {k}. The notation {\sim} means that the two differ by a bounded quantity as {s \rightarrow  1^+}.

This gives a qualititative expression for what the distribution of primes must kinda look like—with the aid of some Tauberian theorems, one can deduce that the number of primes of norm at most {N} is asymptotically {N/\log  N} for {N \rightarrow \infty}, i.e. an analog of the standard prime number theorem. In number fields. We actually need a slight refinement thereof.

Theorem 2 More generally, if {\chi} is a character of the group {I(\mathfrak{c})/P_{\mathfrak{c}}}, we have\displaystyle  \sum_{ \mathfrak{p} \not\mid  \mathfrak{c}} \chi(\mathfrak{p}) \mathbf{N} \mathfrak{p}^{-s} \sim \log  \frac{1}{s-1}

if {\chi \equiv 1}, and otherwise it tends either to a finite limit or {-\infty}.

Instead of just stating this as a random, isolated fact, I’d like to give some sort of context.  Recall that the Riemann-zeta function was defined as {\zeta(s)=\sum_n n^{-s}}. There is a generalization of this to number fields, called the Dedekind zeta function. The Dedekind-zeta function is not defined by summing over {\sum |N(\alpha)|} for {\alpha} in the ring of integers (minus 0). Why not? Because the ring of integers is not a unique factorization domain in general, and therefore we don’t get a nice product formula. (more…)

So.  First off, surely the five remaining readers of this increasingly erratic blog have noticed the change of theme.

I want to next discuss the second inequality in class field theory, which is an upper bound on the norm index of the idele group.  There are two ways I know of to prove this: one analytic, one algebraic.  I will first sketch the analytic one. I say sketch because to do a full proof would get into the details of Dirichlet series, lattice points in homogeneously expanding domains, the construction of a certain fundamental domain for the action of the units, etc., etc., and I’d rather outline those ideas rather than do all the details because this is a series on class field theory. What I do plan on doing properly, however, is the algebraic (due to Chevalley in 1940) proof of the second inequality, which heavily uses results of field theory (e.g. Kummer theory) and local fields (e.g. power index computations).  I still thought it worthwhile to sketch the analytic approach, though. Rather than jumping right into it (I have to first say something about how the ideal and idele groups are connected), I decided to give an expository post on L-functions and Dirichlet’s theorem—in the case of the rational numbers.

1. Ramblings on the Riemann-zeta function

Recall that the Riemann-zeta function is defined by {\zeta(s) =  \sum n^{-s}}, and that it is intimately connected with the distribution of the prime numbers because of the product formula

\displaystyle  \zeta(s) = \prod_p (1 -  p^{-s})^{-1}

valid for {Re(s)>1}, and which is a simple example of unique factorization. In particular, we have

\displaystyle  \log \zeta(s) = \sum_p p^{-s} +  O(1) , \ s \rightarrow 1^+.

It is known that {\zeta(s)} has an analytic continuation to the whole plane with a simple pole with residue one at {1}. The easiest way to see this is to construct the analytic continuation for {Re (s)>0}. For instance, {\zeta(s) - \frac{1}{s-1}} can be represented as a certain integral for {Re(s)>1} that actually converges for {Re(s)>0} though. (The functional equation is then used for the rest of the analytic continuation.) The details are here for instance. As a corollary, it follows that

\displaystyle  \sum_p p^{-s} = \log  \frac{1}{s-1} + O(1) , \ s \rightarrow 1^+.

This fact can be used in deducing properties about the prime numbers. (Maybe sometime I’ll discuss the proof of the prime number theorem on this blog.) Much simpler than that, however, is the proof of Dirichlet’s theorem on the infinitude of primes in arithmetic progressions. I will briefly outline the proof of this theorem, since it will motivate the idea of L-functions.

Theorem 1 (Dirichlet) Let {\{an+b\}_{n  \in \mathbb{Z}}} be an arithmetic progression with {a,b} relatively prime. Then it contains infinitely many primes.

The idea of this proof is to note that the elements of the arithmetic progression {\{an+b\}} can be characterized by so-called “Dirichlet characters.” This is actually a general and very useful (though technically trivial) fact about abelian groups, which I will describe now.