Group actions on central simple algebras: A geometric approach

Z. Reichstein, N. Vonessen

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3 Scopus citations


We study actions of linear algebraic groups on central simple algebras using algebro-geometric techniques. Suppose an algebraic group G acts on a central simple algebra A of degree n. We are interested in questions of the following type: (a) Do the G-fixed elements form a central simple subalgebra of A of degree n? (b) Does A have a G-invariant maximal subfield? (c) Does A have a splitting field with a G-action, extending the G-action on the center of A? Somewhat surprisingly, we find that under mild assumptions on A and the actions, one can answer these questions by using techniques from birational invariant theory (i.e., the study of group actions on algebraic varieties, up to equivariant birational isomorphisms). In fact, group actions on central simple algebras turn out to be related to some of the central problems in birational invariant theory, such as the existence of sections, stabilizers in general position, affine models, etc. In this paper we explain these connections and explore them to give partial answers to questions (a)-(c).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1160-1192
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Algebra
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 2006


  • Central simple algebra
  • Division algebra
  • Group action
  • Linear algebraic group


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