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Irreducibility problem help

  1. Dec 3, 2005 #1
    We are given Z_p, where p is prime. It is known that there is an 'a' such that a^3 = 2 (mod p) and that 3 does not divide p-1. Does this imply that f(x) in (x^3-2) = (x-a)f(x) is irreducible over Z_p?

    I think this should be trivially easy to answer, but my mind is so muddled up at the moment, that i cant even think straight currently.

    -- AI
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2005 #2
    The answer is usually.
    Exceptions are p=2 and p=3
    For p=2, a=0 and eqn is x^3-2=x^3=(x-a)x^2 so f=x^2=x.x
    For p=3 a=-1 and eqn is
    so f=(x+1)^2=(x+1)(x+1)
    Otherwise p must be (3n + or - 1)+1, but except when p=3 this must be 3n+2.
    r.h.s. is then (x-a)(x^2+ax+a^2) so f is x^2+ax+a^2
    which clearly has a root iff (-3/p)=1 (meaning -3 is a quadratic residue mod p).
    If p is 4k+3 then
    (-3/p)=-(3/p)=(p/3)=((3n+2)/3)=(2/3)=-1 so no soap.
    If p is 4k+1 then
    (-3/p)=(3/p)=(p/3)=-1 so also no soap.
    So 2 & 3 are the only exceptions.
  4. Dec 3, 2005 #3
    Aha! (One of those aha moments!)
    p = 2,3 case were being evident but i had no idea how to proceed for the general case.

    Very Neat Solution Martin!!

    -- AI
    P.S -> LoL! For a while i was wondering why we were considering the cases p = 4k+3 and 4k+1 above. Geez it didnt hit me completely for a while :P
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2005
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