The point of this post is to provide examples and non-examples for the following ring classes:

**Ring****Commutative Ring****Integral Domain****Integrally Closed Domain****Unique Factorization Domain (UFD)****Principal Ideal Domain (PID)****Euclidean Domain****Field**

This order forms an inclusion that goes from up to down. That is, the set of rings contains the set of commutative rings, the set of UFDs contains the set of PIDs, etc.

First we define a **ring** to be a non-empty set, together with two operations called **addition** and **multiplication**, denoted by and respectively, which satisfy the following axioms:

- is an abelian group with respect to with identity element 0, i.e.:
- Closure under addition.
- Associativity under addition.
- Commutative under addition.
- Existence of additive identity 0.
- Existence of additive inverse such that for all .

- Multiplication is closed, associative, and has identity element 1 satisfying for all . (However, it does not require inverse or commutativity. Beware that some definitions do not require multiplicative identity.)
- The left and right distributive laws hold, i.e.
- .
- .

Many familiar spaces are rings. In fact, by the inclusion chain, every object given below is a ring.

**1. Rings Commutative Rings**

A **commutative ring** is a ring where multiplication is commutative.

Example of a ring which is not a commutative ring:

**Matrix**multiplication is not commutative. For example, , while .

**2. Commutative Rings Integral Domains**

An **integral domain**, also called a **commutative domain**, is a commutative ring that is also a **domain**. That is, it contains no zero-divisors. So if and , then . Note that our definition is consistent as we require the existence of multiplicative identity in a ring.

Examples of commutative rings which are not integral domains:

- The
**quotient rings**where is a composite number. Let , where . Then . - The
**continuous functions**on . Let be on and on , and let be on and on . Then on even though neither nor is the zero function.

**3. Integral Domains** Integrally Closed Domains

An **integrally closed domain** is an integral domain that is integrally closed in its field of fractions.

Examples of integral domains which are not integrally closed domains:

- . For instance, the element is integral over and is in the quotient field, but is not in . This is due to being a
**finite index subgroup**of . In particular, it has index 2. (On the other hand, is integrally closed in its quotient field. Note that is a sixth root of unity and is thus**algebraic**, whereas is not algebraic.) - , as it is a subring of the polynomial ring generated by and . There is a singularity at .

**4. Integrally Closed Domains** Unique Factorization Domains

A **unique factorization domain** (**UFD**) is a commutative domain that satisfies:

- Every non-zero, non-unit of is a product of a finite number of irreducible elements.
- If is a non-zero, non-unit of with for some units and irreducibles , then
- ,
- There exists a one-to-one and onto function and units such that for .

Example of an integrally closed domain which is not a UFD:

- . For instance, the number can be factored the usual way as , or by the unusual way as . These are different factorizations as the only units in are and .

**5. Unique Factorization Domains** Principal Ideal Domains

A **principal ideal domain** (**PID**) is a commutative domain where every ideal is principal.

Examples of UFDs which are not PIDs:

- , the polynomials with coefficients in .
- , the polynomial ring in variables, if .

** 6. Principal Ideal Domains** Euclidean Domains

A euclidean domain is a commutative domain such that there exists a function which takes on non-negative values and for every with , there exist such that with either or .

Examples of PIDs which are not euclidean domains:

- The ring of integers of where .

** 7. Euclidean Domains** Fields

A field is a commutative ring that has a multiplicative inverse for every non-zero element.

Examples of euclidean domains which are not fields:

- The
**integers**. The only integers with inverses in are and . - , the
**formal polynomials**over a field . - , the
**formal power series**over a field .

Examples of fields:

- The
**finite fields**, with characteristic a prime number. - , the set of numbers in the form , where and are rational.
- The
**rational numbers**. - The
**real numbers**. - The
**complex numbers**.

By the inclusion chain, fields also belong in every ring class given above.

**More Info**

For more information about certain types of **rings**, check out the following:

- Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unique_factorization_domain
- Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal_ideal_domain

For more information about the background, see:

Thanks for the post! Currently constructing Z, Q, and R in my intro to advanced math class, and it’s very interesting to see where these concepts are going to fit in next semester in Algebraic Structures when rings are introduced. Just yesterday my professor ended class having proved that R is a linearly ordered field. Happy coincidence!

Keep the posts coming!

Yep, formally constructing fields like , , and for the first time is pretty mind-blowing. It’s like they just naturally arise from the axioms.

Good luck in your class!