Algebra and Number Theory

The Department of Mathematics at Temple University has a strong tradition of research in algebra and number theory. Under the leadership of Emil Grosswald, a member of our faculty from 1968 to 1980, research in our department developed a particular focus in analytic number theory. Grosswald's memory is honored by our ongoing distinguished lecturer series which carries his name. More recently, research in the Algebra and Number Theory group has diversified and acquired further strengths in several other areas, notably in noncommutative algebra.

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Research Profile

The Algebra and Number Theory group is active in a variety of research areas including:

  • operads
  • homotopy algebras
  • deformation theory
  • algebraic number theory
  • algorithmic approaches to finite-dimensional representation theory
  • noetherian rings
  • invariant theory (noncommutative and commutative)
  • actions of algebraic transformation groups and Hopf algebras on noncommutative spaces
  • applications of Koszul algebras to algebraic combinatorics
  • ring-theoretic structure and representation theory of quantum groups and related algebras


Algebra Seminar: Besides serving as a forum for our faculty, students and invited speakers to report on their latest research activities, the weekly departmental Algebra Seminar regularly offers more leisurely paced series of three or more lectures on various algebraic topics. Our graduate students are the primary targeted audience of these mini-courses, but the format has met with great success among our faculty as well. Here is a list of some recent mini-courses:

  • Molecular vibration: group representation theory in chemistry and physics (6 lectures, Spring 2010)
  • Operads (semester-long mini-course, Fall 2010)
  • Representations of $S_n$: the method of Okounkov and Vershik (3 lectures, Spring 2011)
  • A taste of algebraic geography (4 lectures, Spring 2012)
  • Algebraic operads and homotopy algebras (semester-long mini-course, Fall 2012)
  • Rational homotopy theory (semester-long mini-course, Spring 2013)
  • Introduction to group representations (3 lectures, Fall 2013)
  • Quantum symmetries (3 lectures, Fall 2015)
  • Actions of groups and Hopf algebras (3 lectures, Spring 2016)
  • Introduction to categories (4 lectures, Fall 2017)
  • Introduction to infinite Galois extensions (6 lectures, Spring 2018)
  • Introduction to cluster algebras (5 lectures and 1 exercise session, Fall 2018)
  • Topics in Galois theory (3 lectures, Spring 2019)
  • Hecke algebras and Hecke operators (3 lectures, Spring 2020)

Number Theory Seminar: This seminar was organized for many years by the late Marvin Knopp. It is now hosted by nearby Bryn Mawr College and continues to provide a venue for lively interactions between number theorists from the greater Philadelphia area.

Graduate Studies

Several graduate students have completed Ph.D.s in algebra and number theory in recent years. Interested graduate students are encouraged to take advanced topics courses in these and related areas and to attend the above listed weekly seminars. Summer research stipends (from NSA and NSF) are currently available for eligible graduate students.

General information about graduate study in mathematics at Temple, including a list of our graduate courses, can be found on the graduate program website. Below is a listing, with brief descriptions, of the central courses specifically in Algebra and Number Theory. These courses provide the basic toolkit for aspiring algebraists or number theorists. More advanced courses are also offered frequently; these cover various topics including deformation theory, computational methods in algebra, algebraic geometry, invariant theory, Lie groups etc.

Central Courses

8011/8012. Abstract Algebra I / II, a two-semester sequence that is offered every year, is the foundational course in abstract algebra; it gives an introduction to the terminology and methods of modern abstract algebra. The course sequence should preferably be taken during the first year of graduate studies, since all other courses on algebraic topics build on it. The main topics covered are: groups, rings, fields, Galois theory, modules, and (multi-)linear algebra.

9012/13. Representation Theory I / II. This is an ideal follow-up course to the 8011/12 sequence. Representations of groups, Lie algebras, and other algebraic structures feature in many areas of mathematics besides algebra, yet the basic methods and results are quite accessible. This two-semester course is offered regularly. The first semester generally focuses on representations of finite groups, while the second semester is mainly devoted to finite-dimensional Lie algebras.

9011. Homological Algebra can also be taken directly after the basic 8011/12 course. The topic is more abstract than representation theory and requires slightly greater mathematical maturity. Homological algebra finds widespread use in pure mathematics, including many areas of analysis. The material covered in this one-semester course includes chain complexes, the rudiments of category theory, derived functors, and spectral sequences.

9014/15. Commutative Algebra and Algebraic Geometry I / II. This is a year-long course on the fundamental concepts of commutative algebra and classical as well as modern algebraic geometry. The 8011/12 course sequence suffices for background, but some knowledge of rudimentary point-set topology will be helpful. Topics for the first semester include: ideals of commutative rings, modules, Noetherian and Artinian rings, Noether normalization, Hilbert's Nullstellensatz, rings of fractions, primary decomposition, discrete valuation rings and the rudiments of dimension theory. Topics for the second semester include: affine and projective varieties, morphisms of algebraic varieties, birational equivalence, and basic intersection theory. In the second semester, students will also learn about schemes, morphisms of schemes, coherent sheaves, and divisors.