Involutions of the second kind and ramified double covers

Wed, 28/12/2016 - 10:30

Let K/F be a quadratic Galois field extension and let s be the nontrivial F-automorphism of K. A celebrated theorem of Albert characterizes the kernel of the corestriction map Br(K)-->Br(F) as those Brauer classes containing a central simple K-algebra that admits an s-involution, i.e. an involution whose restriction to K is s.

Saltman generalized this result from quadratic Galois extensions of fields to quadratic Galois extension of commutative rings. A later proof given by Knus, Parimala and Srinivas applies in the greater generality of unramified double covers of schemes.

I will discuss a recent work with B. Williams in which we extend the aforementioned results to ramified double covers of schemes (and more generally of locally ringed topoi). Some fascinating phenomena that can occur only in the ramified case will also be discussed. For example, the classical construction of the corestriction of an Azumaya algebra does produce an Azumaya algebra when the corestriction is taken relative to a ramified double cover (so one cannot use it in proving our result).