Spherical Classes Detected by the Algebraic Transfer

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1 Vietnam Journal of Mathematics 25:l ( Vil.etnann./ourrnatrof l$4atlt{lem.i\]f ltcs 6 Springer-Verlag 1997 Short Communication Spherical Classes Detected by the Algebraic Transfer Nguyen Huu Viet Hung Department of Mathematics, Unioersity of Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam Received August 28, 1996 We are interested in the following classical conjecture on spherical classes in QgSO, i.e., elements belonging to the image of the Hurewicz homomorphism H: zi(so) = z.(oo,so) -- H-(2oso). Here and throughout the note, the coefficient ring for homology and cohomology is always F2, the field of two elements. Coniecture 1 (conjecture on spherical classes). There are no spherical classes in QsS0, except the Hopf inuari.ant one and the Keruaire inuarinnt one elements. Some topologists believe that the conjecture is due to Madsen, while others say it is due to Curtis. (See Curtis [5] and Wellington [20] for a discussion.) Let EK be an elementary Abelian 2-group of rank k. The general linear group GLk: GL(k,F) acts on Ek and therefore on H"(BEk) in the usual way. Let Dr be the Dickson algebra of k variables, Dp :: H* (BEtleu = Fz lxr,...,, where P7.:Fzlxt,..., x*l is the polynomial algebra on k generators xl,..., "k]gto xk, each of dimension l. As the action of the (mod 2) Steenrod algebra,,il, and that of GL1, on P/. commute with each other, Dp is an algebra over d. Let g1,:ext!k+i1f2, Fz) - Dp)i be the Lannes-Zarati homomorphism, which is compatible with the Hurewicz homomorphism (see[8],[9, p.46]). The domain of rpp is the E2-term of the Adams spectral sequence converging to fti(^so) = n-(qsso). According to Madsen's theorem [10], which asserts that Di. is dual to the coalgebra of Dyer-Lashof operations of length /c, the range of gp is a submodule of f1-(00s0). By compatibility of qp and the Hurewicz This work was partially supported by the National Basic Research Programme in Natural Science, No

2 Nguyen Huu Viet Hung homomorphism, we mean {pp is a "lifting" of the latter from the o'e--level" to the "E2-leyel". The Hopf invariant one and the Kervaire invariant one elements are respectively represented by certain pennanent cycles in Exrti (Fz, F2) and Ex(j (F2,F2), on which rp1 and ez are nonzero (see Adams [1], Browder [4], Lannes-Zaratil9l). Therefore, Conjecture I is a consequence of the following one. Coniecture 2. et :0 in any positiue stem i for k > 2. It is well known that the Ext group has intensively been studied, but remains very mysterious. In order to avoid the shortage of our knowledge of the Ext group, we have combined the above data with Singer's algebraic transfer (see[12]). Singer defined in [19] the algebraic transfer Tr1,:F2 I GLe --. Extff+t(Fr, Fr), where PH*(BEk) denotes the submodule consisting of all.il-annihilated elements in H.(BEk).It is shown to be an isomorphism for k < 2 by Singer [19] and for k : 3 by Boardman [2]. Singer also proved in [9] that it is not an isomorphism for k : 5, and conjectured that Trp is a monomorphism for any k. Restricting gp to the image of Trp, we stated in [12] the following conjecture. Conjecture 3 (weak conjecture on spherical classes). /.\ / \- 91,' Tr1,: Fz I PH.(BE\ + P( n.1ank1) :: ( rz I ao I G L * \ c r * / \ d / is zero in positiue dimensions for k > 2. In other words, there are no spherical classes in QsSo, which can be detected by the algebraic transfer, except the Hopf inuarinnt one and the Keruaire inuariant one elements. In [12], we have proved that the inclusion of D;. into P7. is a lifting of Dp --+ Pr)"-o.So, we get the following result. Theorem 4. The weak conjecture on spherical classes is equiualent to the conjecture that the homomorphism / \GLU j*,f2e- eftr) * (r, I ro. d \ " a / / I ' induced by the identity map on Pp is zero in positiue dimensions for k > 2. Let D[,,il+ be respectively the submodules of Dy. and.il consisting of all elements of positive dimensions. Then the above conjecture on jk can equivalently be stated as follows. Coniecture 5.If k > 2, then DI c.il+.pp.

3 Spherical Classes Detected by the Algebraic Transfer lnll2], we have proof of this conjecture for k : 3. To introduce a new approach, we need to summarize Singer's invarianttheoretic description of the lambda algebra [8]. By Dickson [6], Dp = FzlQr,r-r,..., Qt,ol, where Q1,,i denotes the Dickson invariant of dimension 2k -2i. Singer set f7.: DdQi,tl,thelocalization of Dp given by inverting Q1,6, and defined ff to be a certain "not too large" submodule of f7". He also equipped fn with a differential d: ff -- ff, and a coproduct. Then, he showed that the differential coalgebra f^ is dual to the lambda algebra of the six authors of [3]. Thus, I1r(fn) = Tor{(Fz, F2). (Originally, Singer used the notation ff, to denote ff;. However,by DI,il+ we always mean the submodules of Dp and.il respectively consisting of all elements of positive dimensions, so Singer's notation would make a confusion in this note. Therefore, we prefer the notation ff to ff ). One of the main results of this note is the following theorem. Theorem 6. There exists a lifting Lp:ff--F[",11,...,xk!'l of Trf: Tor{(F2, Fz) - whose restriction to Dpc.ff X the inclusion of bp into Pp. Note that every q e Df, is a cycle in the differential module ff. BV means of this theorem, the weak conjecture on spherical classes is an immediate consequence of the following conjecture. Conjecture 7. If q e D[, then [q] : O in Torf; (82, F2) for k > 2. This is a corollary of the following conjecture. Coniecture 8, Let Ker 0p be the submodule of all cycles in ff. fhen, for k > 2, DI c.il+. Ker d7.. We get the following result, which is weaker than the above coniecture. Theorem 9. If k > 2, then nf c "e+.f1. We also have the following theorem. Theorem lo. Conjecture 7 is true for k : 3. Conjecture 5 is related to the difficult problem of the determination of P7". This problem has first been studied by Peterson [15], Wood [21], Singer [19], and Priddy [6] who show its relationship to several classical problems in homotopy theory. Pp has explicitly been computed for k < 3. The cases k : I and 2 are not difficult, while the case k : 3 is very complicated and was solved by Kameko [7]. There is also another approach, the qualitative one, to the problem. By this we mean giving conditions on elements of Pp to show that they go to zero in Pp, i.e.. belong to.il+.p7.. Peterson's conjecture, which was

4 78 Nguyen Huu Viet Hung established by Wood [21], claims that in dimension d such that a(d + k) > ft. Here, a(n) denotes the number of ones in the dyadic expansion of n. Recently, Singer, Monks and Silverman have refined the method of Wood to show that many more monomials in Pp are in.il+.p;". (See Silverman [17] and its references). Conjecture 5 presents a large family, whose elements are predicted to be in.il+.pr. Remark. Conjecture 7, and therefore Conjecture 8, is false when /c: I or 2. Indeed, la?',;t) and lq],',;rl are norzero in Tor((F2, F2). The{ are respectively dual to the'adams element h;eextt"(f2, tr'2) and its square h! eext2*(fz,fz). One easily verifies this assertion by combining Theorem 6 with Theorem 2.1 of ll2l and Proposition 5.3 of [9]. The only Hopf invariant one elements are represented by hi for i : l, 2,3 (see Adams []). Furthennore, the only Kervaire invariant one elements are represented by h!, wherever h! is a permanent cycle in the Adams spectral sequence for spheres (see Browder [4]). Let pi,: Dp --+ Tor{ (Fz, Fz) be the dual of the Lannes-Zarati homomorphism, which is compatible with the Hurewicz one,fl: r-(0050) -- fl-(00,s0). In ll2l we have proved that the inclusion Dp c. Pp is a lifting of Tr[. tp[: This together with Theorem 6 lead us to the following conjecture. Conjecture ll. The inclusion Dp c fl k a lifting of 9[. This conjecture and Conjecture 7 imply the classical conjecture on spherical classes. The results of this note will be published in detail elsewhere. References l. J. F. Adams, On the non-existence of elements of Hopf invariant one, Ann. Math.72 (1960) J. M. Boardman, Modular representations on the homology of powers of real projective space, Algebraic Topology: Oaxtepec 1991, M. C. Tangora (ed.), Contemp. Math., 146 (1993) 49, A. K. Bousfleld, E. B. Curtis, D. M. Kan, D. G. Quillen, D. L. Rector, and J. W. Schlesinger, The mod p lower contral series and the Adams spectral sequence, Topology s (1966) 33r W. Browder, The Kervaire invariant of a framed manifold and its generalization, Ann. Math. 90 (1969) E. B. Curtis, The Dyer Lashof algebra and the lambda algebra, Illinois J. Math. 18 (197s) 23r L. E. Dickson, A fundamental system of invariants of the general modular linear group with a solution of the form problem, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 12 (l9l l) M. Kameko, Products of Projectiue Spaces as Steenrod Modules, Thesis, John Hopkins University, J. Lannes and S. Zarati, Invariants de Hopf d'ordre superieur et suite spectrale d'adams, C. R. Acad. Sci.296 (1983)

5 Spherical Classes Detected by the Algebraic Transfer J. Lannes and S. Zarati, Sur les foncteurs d6viv6s de la d6stabilisation, Math. Zeit. 194 (re87) 2s-s I. Madsen, On the action of the Dyer-Lashof algebra in H*(G), Pacific J. Math. 60 (r97s) 23s-275. I l. N. H. V. Hung, The action of the Steenrod squares on the modular invariants of linear groups, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc.113 (1991) N. H. V. Hung, Spherical classes and the algebraic transfer, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. (to appear). 13. N. H. V. Hung and F. P. Peterson,.il-generators for the Dickson algebra, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. Yi (1995't N. H. V. Hung and F. P. Peterson, Spherical classes and the Dickson algebra, Math. Proc. Camb. Phyl. Soc. (to appear). 15. F. P. Peterson, Generators of H*(RP- n RP-) as a module over the Steenrod algebra, Abstracts Amer. Math. Soc. 833 (1987). 16. S. Priddy, On characterizing summands in the classifying space of a group I, Amer. J. Math. lr2 (1990) J. H. Silverman, Hit polynomials and the canonical antiautomorphism of the Steenrod algebra, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 123(1995) W. M. Singer, Invariant theory and the lambda algebra, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 280 (1983) W. M. Singer, The transfer in homological algebra, Math. Zeit. 202 (1989) R. J. Wellington, The unstable Adams spectral sequence of free iterated loop spaces, Memoirs Amer. Math. Soc.258 (1982). 21. R. M. W. Wood, Steenrod squares of polynomials and Peterson conjecture, Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc.105 (1989)

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