## Matrix Rings (Pt. II)

**Point of Post: **This is a continuation of this post.

*Ideals of *

As always whenever we define a new construct our first question after basic considerations is “what is the ideal structure of this new construct?” Of course, rings of matrices are no different. Ideally what we would like to do is come up with some kind of classification of these ideals, something of the form “Every ideal of is of the form ______, and everything of the form ______ is an ideal of .” We had a similar goal when we were trying to classify the ideals of product rings where we saw, at least for the finite product of unital rings, that the ideals of were precisely the sets of the form where is an ideal of . Taking this as a template we see that our classification would be best if the _______ were . What we shall see is that, very similar to the case for product rings, is that we will get half our classification (sets of the form are ideals) for general rings and the full classification only for unital rings. So ,let’s get on with it!

Before we prove that every set of the form is an ideal, we make note about a certain ‘functorial’ property about the matrix ring construction. Namely:

**Theorem: ***Let and be rings, then every morphism induces a morphism given by with the property that and .*

**Proof: **Evidently is additive and

Evidently and and since was arbitrary we may conclude that . The conclusion follows.

*Remark: *For those who know the lingo the above theorem says that and is an endofunctor on . Moreover, it’s evident that reduces to an endofunctor on .

From basic category theory we know that functors take isomorphisms to isomorphisms (for those who haven’t had exposure to basic category theory merely note that if is an isomorphism then and similarly and so is an isomorphism with ). Thus, we get as a simple corollary:

**Theorem: ***If then *

More specifically, we see that takes monomorphisms to monomorphism and epimorphisms to epimorphisms as is evident from ‘s specific nature.

With this theorem we have much less messy work to do with the following theorem:

**Theorem: ***Let be a ring, then for every we see that is an ideal of and *

**Proof: **Since the canonical epimorphism (projection) is an epimorphism we have by prior comment that the map is an epimorphism since . Since evidently we have, by common theorem, that is an ideal of and the rest follows from thefirst isomorphism theorem.

We now show the converse for unital rings as claimed, in particular:

**Theorem: ***Let be a unital ring, then every ideal of is of the form for some ideal .*

**Proof: **Let be the ideal in and let be the set of all elements of which appear as an entry in some matrix in . We claim that is an ideal of . Indeed, let be arbitary, by assumption there is some matrix for which is an entry, say entry . We note by assumption that is an ideal that . That said, a quick check shows that is equal to , and so . So, if are arbitrary then by assumption we have that

and so by definition . Since were arbitrary we may conclude that is an ideal of as claimed.

It now suffices to that . Evidently the inclusion is obvious and so it suffices to show the reverse inclusion. To prove this we let be any matrix with elements from and note that by previous comment and so , noting then that finishes the argument.

This really is quite the comforting phenomenon. There is no reason (and I challenge anyone to contest this) that there is no reason to guess a priori that the ideals would be this simple–they could be some kind of crazy, hard to write down, heap of mess. Moreover, their sensitivity to the amount of ideals the underlying ring has means that homomorphisms for matrix rings over division rings, or fields are very nice. In particular, we have the following:

**Theorem: ***Let be a division ring and an arbitrary ring, then any non-zero ring morphism is surjective.*

**Proof:**We know that it suffices to prove is trivial. To do this we merely note that is an ideal of and by the previous theorem that this implies for some ideal of . But, by previous theorem that the only ideals of are trivial, and since by assumption we may conclude that and so the conclusion follows by previous remark.

**References:**

1. Dummit, David Steven., and Richard M. Foote. *Abstract Algebra*. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004. Print.

2. Bhattacharya, P. B., S. K. Jain, and S. R. Nagpaul. *Basic Abstract Algebra*. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire: Cambridge UP, 1986. Print.

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