In mathematics, Artin-Schreier theory is a branch of Galois theory, and more specifically is a positive characteristic analogue of Kummer theory, for extensions of degree equal to the characteristic p.
for in K, is called an Artin-Schreier polynomial. It can be shown that when does not lie in the subset , this polynomial is irreducible in K[X], and that its splitting field over K is a cyclic extension of K of degree p. The point is that for any root β, the number β + 1 is again a root.
Conversely, any Galois extension of K of degree p (remember, p is equal to the characteristic of K) is the splitting field of an Artin-Schreier polynomial. This can be proved using additive counterparts of the methods involved in Kummer theory, such as Hilbert's theorem 90 and additive Galois cohomology.
Artin-Schreier extensions, as are called those arising from Artin-Schreier polynomials, play a role in the theory of solvability by radicals, in characteristic p, representing one of the possible classes of extensions in a solvable chain.
They also play a part in the theory of abelian varieties and their isogenies. In characteristic p, an isogeny of degree p of abelian varieties must, for their function fields, give either an Artin-Schreier extension or a purely inseparable extension.
There is an analogue of Artin-Schreier theory which describes cyclic extensions in characteristic p of p-power degree (not just degree p itself), using Witt vectors, which were developed by Witt for precisely this reason.