Kummer surface

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2020 Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 14J25 [MSN][ZBL]

An algebraic surface of the fourth order and class, reciprocal to itself, having 16 double points, of which 16 groups (each containing 6 points) are situated in one double tangent to the surface (i.e. a plane which is tangent to the surface along a conic section). The equation of degree 16 defining the double element yields a single equation of degree 6 and several quadratic equations. Discovered by E. Kummer (1864). The Kummer surface is a special kind of $K3$-surface; it is determined within the class of $K3$-surfaces by the condition that it contains 16 irreducible rational curves.


A quartic surface in $P^3$ has at most 16 double points (as has the Kummer surface).

From a modern point of view, Kummer surfaces are obtained by taking a $2$-torus $T$, taking the involution $\sigma$ on $T$ defined by $\sigma(x)=-x$, taking the quotient of $T$ divided out by this involution, and resolving the sixteen double points of this surface.


[1] F. Klein, "Development of mathematics in the 19th century" , Math. Sci. Press (1979) (Translated from German)
[2] R.W.H.T. Hudson, "Kummer's quartic surface" , Cambridge (1905) Zbl 0716.14025
[3] F. Enriques, "Le superficie algebraiche" , Bologna (1949)
[a1] W. Barth, C. Peters, A. van der Ven, "Compact complex surfaces" , Springer (1984)
How to Cite This Entry:
Kummer surface. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by M.I. Voitsekhovskii (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article