Duke Mathematical Journal

On the mean number of 2 -torsion elements in the class groups, narrow class groups, and ideal groups of cubic orders and fields

Manjul Bhargava and Ila Varma

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Abstract

Given any family of cubic fields defined by local conditions at finitely many primes, we determine the mean number of 2 -torsion elements in the class groups and narrow class groups of these cubic fields when they are ordered by their absolute discriminants. For an order O in a cubic field, we study three groups: Cl 2 ( O ) , the group of ideal classes of O of order 2 ; Cl 2 + ( O ) , the group of narrow ideal classes of O of order 2 ; and I 2 ( O ) , the group of ideals of O of order 2 . We prove that the mean value of the difference | Cl 2 ( O ) | - 1 4 | I 2 ( O ) | is always equal to 1 , regardless of whether one averages over the maximal orders in real cubic fields, over all orders in real cubic fields, or indeed over any family of real cubic orders defined by local conditions. For the narrow class group, we prove that the average value of the difference | Cl 2 + ( O ) | - | I 2 ( O ) | is equal to 1 for any such family. Also, for any family of complex cubic orders defined by local conditions, we prove similarly that the mean value of the difference | Cl 2 ( O ) | - 1 2 | I 2 ( O ) | is always equal to 1 , independent of the family. The determination of these mean numbers allows us to prove a number of further results as by-products. Most notably, we prove—in stark contrast to the case of quadratic fields—that (1) a positive proportion of cubic fields have odd class number, (2) a positive proportion of real cubic fields have isomorphic 2 -torsion in the class group and the narrow class group, and (3) a positive proportion of real cubic fields contain units of mixed real signature. We also show that a positive proportion of real cubic fields have narrow class group strictly larger than the class group, and thus a positive proportion of real cubic fields do not possess units of every possible real signature.

Article information

Source
Duke Math. J., Volume 164, Number 10 (2015), 1911-1933.

Dates
Received: 26 February 2014
Revised: 8 October 2014
First available in Project Euclid: 14 July 2015

Permanent link to this document
https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.dmj/1436909414

Digital Object Identifier
doi:10.1215/00127094-3120636

Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)
MR3369305

Zentralblatt MATH identifier
1335.11093

Subjects
Primary: 11R29: Class numbers, class groups, discriminants
Secondary: 11R45: Density theorems

Keywords
class groups narrow class groups cubic fields

Citation

Bhargava, Manjul; Varma, Ila. On the mean number of $2$ -torsion elements in the class groups, narrow class groups, and ideal groups of cubic orders and fields. Duke Math. J. 164 (2015), no. 10, 1911--1933. doi:10.1215/00127094-3120636. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.dmj/1436909414


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