Pairs of polynomials over the rationals taking infinitely many common values

Algebra Seminar
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 14:05
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
For two polynomials G(X), H(Y) with rational coefficients, when does G(X) = H(Y) have infinitely many solutions over the rationals? Such G and H have been classified in various special cases by previous mathematicians. A theorem of Faltings (the Mordell conjecture) states that we need only analyze curves with genus at most 1.In my thesis (and more recent work), I classify G(X) = H(Y) defining irreducible genus zero curves. In this talk I'll present the infinite families which arise in this classification, and discuss the techniques used to complete the classification.I will also discuss in some detail the examples of polynomial which occur in the classification. The most interesting infinite family of polynomials are those H(Y) solving a Pell Equation H(Y)^2 - P(Y)Q(Y)^2 = 1. It turns out to be difficult to describe these polynomials more explicitly, and yet we can completely analyze their decompositions, how many such polynomials there are of a fixed degree, which of them are defined over the rationals (as opposed to a larger field), and other properties.