Lawrence Johnstone Burpee was a Canadian librarian, historian and author. Born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, he moved to Ottawa at an early age, where from 1890 to 1905 he worked as private secretary to three federal ministers of justice.
This monograph tells the story of a philosophy of J-P. Serre and his vision of relating that philosophy to problems in affine algebraic geometry. It gives a lucid presentation of the Quillen-Suslin theorem settling Serre's conjecture. The central topic of the book is the question of whether a curve in $n$-space is as a set an intersection of $(n-1)$ hypersurfaces, depicted by the central theorems of Ferrand, Szpiro, Cowsik-Nori, Mohan Kumar, Boratynsk.
The book gives a comprehensive introduction to basic commutative algebra, together with the related methods from homological algebra, which will enable students who know only the fundamentals of algebra to enjoy the power of using these tools. At the same time, it also serves as a valuable reference for the research specialist and as
potential course material, because the authors present, for the first time in book form, an approach here that is an intermix of classical algebraic K-theory and complete intersection techniques, making connections with the famous results of Forster-Swan and Eisenbud-Evans. A study of projective modules and their connections with topological vector bundles in a form due to Vaserstein is included. Important subsidiary results appear in the copious exercises.
Even this advanced material, presented comprehensively, keeps in mind the young student as potential reader besides the specialists of the subject.
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