Kazuya Kato

The great arithmetician Kazuya Kato visited twice over the last few weeks, so I thought I’d use the occasion to recommend some writings. An undergraduate level textbook on number theory is

Number Theory I: Fermat’s Dream

published by the American Mathematical Society. It is short and covers fairly standard material, but contains many unusual insights. A research article that represents quite well Kato’s vision of number theory is

Lectures on the approach to Iwasawa theory for Hasse-Weil L-functions via BdR. Part I

available online if your institution subscribes to Springer. The background required for a genuine reading of the paper is rather extensive, but even without it, you can enjoy the introduction, the first few sections, and the closing remarks.

A main theme of the work is that the somewhat mysterious p-adic zeta functions and L-functions are the objects with direct relevance to the important problems of arithmetic geometry, while the usual complex functions are a sort of intermediary. It took me a long time to come to terms with this view, especially since I still don’t understand these functions (actually elements of some non-commutative algebra of measures) at all well, but it is eventually an essential component of my own thoughts about Diophantine geometry.

MK

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