Mathematics and Computer Science Speaker Series
California State University, Stanislaus
Date: Friday, May 21, 2010
1:25 - 2:23 p.m

Speaker: Jack R. Bennett

An Introduction to Non-Unique Factorization

:  Fermat’s last theorem was a problem whose proof eluded some of the greatest mathematicians for 350 years.  In this talk, we introduce the idea of non-unique factorization with a lively discussion of Fermat’s last theorem, and how early attempts at a proof of the theorem failed because factorization was not unique.  We then explore some particular non-unique factorization domains and find that even though irreducibles are no longer prime, these domains still have some amazing properties.  We close by constructing a domain where a single element can have an infinite number of prime divisors!