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Geometric number theory

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Geometric number theory

In number theory, the geometry of numbers studies convex bodies and integer vectors in n-dimensional space. The geometry of numbers was initiated by Hermann Minkowski (1910).

The geometry of numbers has a close relationship with other fields of mathematics, especially functional analysis and Diophantine approximation, the problem of finding rational numbers that approximate an irrational quantity.[1]

Minkowski's results

Main article: Minkowski's theorem

Suppose that Γ is a lattice in n-dimensional Euclidean space Rn and K is a convex centrally symmetric body. Minkowski's theorem, sometimes called Minkowski's first theorem, states that if vol(K)>2^nvol(R^n/\Gamma) then K contains a nonzero vector in Γ.

Main article: Minkowski's second theorem

The successive minimum λk is defined to be the inf of the numbers λ such that λK contains k linearly independent vectors of Γ. Minkowski's theorem on successive minima, sometimes called Minkowski's second theorem, is a strengthening of his first theorem and states that[2]

\lambda_1\lambda_2\cdots\lambda_n vol(K)\le 2^n vol(R^n/\Gamma).

Later research in the geometry of numbers

In 1930-1960 research on the geometry of numbers was conducted by many number theorists (including Louis Mordell, Harold Davenport and Carl Ludwig Siegel). In recent years, Lenstra, Brion, and Barvinok have developed combinatorial theories that enumerate the lattice points in some convex bodies.[3]

Subspace theorem of W. M. Schmidt

Main article: Subspace theorem

In the geometry of numbers, the subspace theorem was obtained by Wolfgang M. Schmidt in 1972.[4] It states that if L1,...,Ln are linearly independent linear forms in n variables with algebraic coefficients and if ε>0 is any given real number, then the non-zero integer points x with

|L_1(x)\cdots L_n(x)|<|x|^{-\varepsilon}

lie in a finite number of proper subspaces of Qn.

Influence on functional analysis

Main article: normed vector space

Minkowski's geometry of numbers had a profound influence on functional analysis. Minkowski proved that symmetric convex bodies induce norms in finite-dimensional vector spaces. Minkowski's theorem was generalized to topological vector spaces by Kolmogorov, whose theorem states that the symmetric convex sets that are closed and bounded generate the topology of a Banach space.[5]

Researchers continue to study generalizations to star-shaped sets and other non-convex sets.[6]



  • Matthias Beck, Sinai Robins. Computing the continuous discretely: Integer-point enumeration in polyhedra, Undergraduate texts in mathematics, Springer, 2007.
  • J. W. S. Cassels. An Introduction to the Geometry of Numbers. Springer Classics in Mathematics, Springer-Verlag 1997 (reprint of 1959 and 1971 Springer-Verlag editions).
  • John Horton Conway and N. J. A. Sloane, Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups, Springer-Verlag, NY, 3rd ed., 1998.
  • R. J. Gardner, Geometric tomography, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1995. Second edition: 2006.
  • P. M. Gruber, Convex and discrete geometry, Springer-Verlag, New York, 2007.
  • P. M. Gruber, J. M. Wills (editors), Handbook of convex geometry. Vol. A. B, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1993.
  • M. Grötschel, L. Lovász, A. Schrijver: Geometric Algorithms and Combinatorial Optimization, Springer, 1988
  • (Republished in 1964 by Dover.)
  • Edmund Hlawka, Johannes Schoißengeier, Rudolf Taschner. Geometric and Analytic Number Theory. Universitext. Springer-Verlag, 1991.
  • C. G. Lekkerkererker. Geometry of Numbers. Wolters-Noordhoff, North Holland, Wiley. 1969.
  • L. Lovász: An Algorithmic Theory of Numbers, Graphs, and Convexity, CBMS-NSF Regional Conference Series in Applied Mathematics 50, SIAM, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1986
  • Template:Springer
  • Wolfgang M. Schmidt. Diophantine approximation. Lecture Notes in Mathematics 785. Springer. (1980 [1996 with minor corrections])
  • Rolf Schneider, Convex bodies: the Brunn-Minkowski theory, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993.
  • Anthony C. Thompson, Minkowski geometry, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996.
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