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2020 Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 12F [MSN][ZBL]

The mapping $\mathrm{Tr}_{K/k}$ of a field $K$ into a field $k$ (where $K$ is a finite extension of $k$) that sends an element $\alpha \in K$ to the trace of the matrix (cf. Trace of a square matrix) of the $k$-linear mapping $K \rightarrow K$ sending $\beta \in K$ to $\alpha \beta$. $\mathrm{Tr}_{K/k}$ is a homomorphism of the additive groups $K^+ \rightarrow k^+$.

If $K/k$ is a separable extension, then $$ \mathrm{Tr}_{K/k}(\alpha) = \sum_i \sigma_i(\alpha) $$ where the sum is taken over all $k$-isomorphisms $\sigma_i$ of $K$ into an algebraic closure $\bar k$ of $k$. The trace mapping is transitive, that is, if $L/K$ and $K/k$ are finite extensions, then for any $\alpha \in L$, $$ \mathrm{Tr}_{L/k}(\alpha) = \mathrm{Tr}_{K/k}(\mathrm{Tr}_{L/K}(\alpha)) \ . $$


Especially in older mathematical literature, instead of $\mathrm{Tr}_{K/k}$ one finds $\mathrm{Sp}_{K/k}$ (from the German "Spur" ) as notation for this mapping.


[a1] N. Jacobson, "Lectures in abstract algebra" , 3. Theory of fields and Galois theory , Springer, reprint (1975)
[a2] N. Jacobson, "Basic algebra" , 1 , Freeman (1985)
[a3] S. Lang, "Algebra" , Addison-Wesley (1965)
How to Cite This Entry:
Trace. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by L.V. Kuz'min (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article