Disquisitiones Arithmeticae

Disquisitiones Arithmeticae

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The Disquisitiones Arithmeticae (Latin for Number Research) is a textbook of number theory
Number theory
Number theory is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers. Number theorists study prime numbers as well...

 written in Latin by Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician and scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics.Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum...

 in 1798 when Gauss was 21 and first published in 1801 when he was 24. In this book Gauss brings together results in number theory obtained by mathematicians such as Fermat, Euler, Lagrange
Joseph Louis Lagrange
Joseph-Louis Lagrange , born Giuseppe Lodovico Lagrangia, was a mathematician and astronomer, who was born in Turin, Piedmont, lived part of his life in Prussia and part in France, making significant contributions to all fields of analysis, to number theory, and to classical and celestial mechanics...

 and Legendre
Adrien-Marie Legendre
Adrien-Marie Legendre was a French mathematician.The Moon crater Legendre is named after him.- Life :...

 and adds important new results of his own.


The Disquisitiones covers both elementary number theory and parts of the area of mathematics now called algebraic number theory
Algebraic number theory
Algebraic number theory is a major branch of number theory which studies algebraic structures related to algebraic integers. This is generally accomplished by considering a ring of algebraic integers O in an algebraic number field K/Q, and studying their algebraic properties such as factorization,...

. However, Gauss did not explicitly recognize the concept of a group
Group (mathematics)
In mathematics, a group is an algebraic structure consisting of a set together with an operation that combines any two of its elements to form a third element. To qualify as a group, the set and the operation must satisfy a few conditions called group axioms, namely closure, associativity, identity...

, which is central to modern algebra, so he did not use this term. His own title for his subject was Higher Arithmetic. In his Preface to the Disquisitiones Gauss describes the scope of the book as follows:
The inquiries which this volume will investigate pertain to that part of Mathematics which concerns itself with integers.


The book is divided into seven sections, which are :
Section I. Congruent
Congruence relation
In abstract algebra, a congruence relation is an equivalence relation on an algebraic structure that is compatible with the structure...

 Numbers in General
Section II. Congruences of the First Degree
Section III. Residues of Powers
Section IV. Congruences of the Second Degree
Section V. Forms and Indeterminate Equations
Indeterminate equation
An indeterminate equation, in mathematics, is an equation for which there is an infinite set of solutions; for example, 2x = y is a simple indeterminate equation. Indeterminate equations cannot be directly solved from the given information...

 of the Second Degree
Section VI. Various Applications of the Preceding Discussions
Section VII. Equations Defining Sections of a Circle
Circular segment
In geometry, a circular segment is an area of a circle informally defined as an area which is "cut off" from the rest of the circle by a secant or a chord. The circle segment constitutes the part between the secant and an arc, excluding the circle's center...


Sections I to III are essentially a review of previous results, including Fermat's little theorem
Fermat's little theorem
Fermat's little theorem states that if p is a prime number, then for any integer a, a p − a will be evenly divisible by p...

, Wilson's theorem and the existence of primitive roots
Primitive root modulo n
In modular arithmetic, a branch of number theory, a primitive root modulo n is any number g with the property that any number coprime to n is congruent to a power of g modulo n. In other words, g is a generator of the multiplicative group of integers modulo n...

. Although few of the results in these first sections are original, Gauss was the first mathematician to bring this material together and treat it in a systematic way. He was also the first mathematician to realize the importance of the property of unique factorization
In mathematics, factorization or factoring is the decomposition of an object into a product of other objects, or factors, which when multiplied together give the original...

 (sometimes called the fundamental theorem of arithmetic
Fundamental theorem of arithmetic
In number theory, the fundamental theorem of arithmetic states that any integer greater than 1 can be written as a unique product of prime numbers...

), which he states and proves explicitly.

From Section IV onwards, much of the work is original. Section IV itself develops a proof of quadratic reciprocity
Quadratic reciprocity
In number theory, the law of quadratic reciprocity is a theorem about modular arithmetic which gives conditions for the solvability of quadratic equations modulo prime numbers...

; Section V, which takes up over half of the book, is a comprehensive analysis of binary and ternary quadratic form
Quadratic form
In mathematics, a quadratic form is a homogeneous polynomial of degree two in a number of variables. For example,4x^2 + 2xy - 3y^2\,\!is a quadratic form in the variables x and y....

s. Section VI includes two different primality test
Primality test
A primality test is an algorithm for determining whether an input number is prime. Amongst other fields of mathematics, it is used for cryptography. Unlike integer factorization, primality tests do not generally give prime factors, only stating whether the input number is prime or not...

s. Finally, Section VII is an analysis of cyclotomic polynomials, which concludes by giving the criteria that determine which regular polygon
In geometry a polygon is a flat shape consisting of straight lines that are joined to form a closed chain orcircuit.A polygon is traditionally a plane figure that is bounded by a closed path, composed of a finite sequence of straight line segments...

s are constructible
Constructible polygon
In mathematics, a constructible polygon is a regular polygon that can be constructed with compass and straightedge. For example, a regular pentagon is constructible with compass and straightedge while a regular heptagon is not....

 i.e. can be constructed with a compass and unmarked straight edge alone.

Gauss started to write an eighth section on higher order congruences, but he did not complete this, and it was published separately after his death.

The Disquisitiones was one of the last mathematical works to be written in scholarly Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 (an English translation was not published until 1965).

See also: Modular arithmetic
Modular arithmetic
In mathematics, modular arithmetic is a system of arithmetic for integers, where numbers "wrap around" after they reach a certain value—the modulus....


Before the Disquisitiones was published, number theory consisted of a collection of isolated theorems and conjectures. Gauss brought the work of his predecessors together with his own original work into a systematic framework, filled in gaps, corrected unsound proofs, and extended the subject in numerous ways.

The logical structure of the Disquisitiones (theorem
In mathematics, a theorem is a statement that has been proven on the basis of previously established statements, such as other theorems, and previously accepted statements, such as axioms...

 statement followed by proof
Mathematical proof
In mathematics, a proof is a convincing demonstration that some mathematical statement is necessarily true. Proofs are obtained from deductive reasoning, rather than from inductive or empirical arguments. That is, a proof must demonstrate that a statement is true in all cases, without a single...

, followed by corollaries
A corollary is a statement that follows readily from a previous statement.In mathematics a corollary typically follows a theorem. The use of the term corollary, rather than proposition or theorem, is intrinsically subjective...

) set a standard for later texts. While recognising the primary importance of logical proof, Gauss also illustrates many theorems with numerical examples.

The Disquisitiones was the starting point for the work of other nineteenth century Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an mathematicians including Ernst Kummer
Ernst Kummer
Ernst Eduard Kummer was a German mathematician. Skilled in applied mathematics, Kummer trained German army officers in ballistics; afterwards, he taught for 10 years in a gymnasium, the German equivalent of high school, where he inspired the mathematical career of Leopold Kronecker.-Life:Kummer...

, J. P. G. Lejeune Dirichlet
Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet
Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet was a German mathematician with deep contributions to number theory , as well as to the theory of Fourier series and other topics in mathematical analysis; he is credited with being one of the first mathematicians to give the modern formal definition of a...

 and Richard Dedekind
Richard Dedekind
Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind was a German mathematician who did important work in abstract algebra , algebraic number theory and the foundations of the real numbers.-Life:...

. Many of the annotations given by Gauss are in effect announcements of further research of his own, some of which remained unpublished. They must have appeared particularly cryptic to his contemporaries; we can now read them as containing the germs of the theories of L-function
The theory of L-functions has become a very substantial, and still largely conjectural, part of contemporary analytic number theory. In it, broad generalisations of the Riemann zeta function and the L-series for a Dirichlet character are constructed, and their general properties, in most cases...

s and complex multiplication
Complex multiplication
In mathematics, complex multiplication is the theory of elliptic curves E that have an endomorphism ring larger than the integers; and also the theory in higher dimensions of abelian varieties A having enough endomorphisms in a certain precise sense In mathematics, complex multiplication is the...

, in particular.

Gauss' Disquisitiones continued to exert influence in the 20th century. For example, in section V, article 303, Gauss summarized his calculations of class numbers of imaginary quadratic number fields, and conjectured that he had found all imaginary quadratic number fields of class numbers 1, 2, and 3. Sometimes referred to as the Class number problem, this was eventually confirmed in 1986. In section VII, article 358, Gauss proved what can be interpreted as the first non-trivial case of the Riemann Hypothesis
Riemann hypothesis
In mathematics, the Riemann hypothesis, proposed by , is a conjecture about the location of the zeros of the Riemann zeta function which states that all non-trivial zeros have real part 1/2...

 for curves over finite fields (the Hasse–Weil theorem).