Further directions (and potential paper topics) in Galois theory
NB: Some of these topics are interrelated
(even among different sublists); some are interactions
of Galois theory with other branches of mathematics
and require tools outside Math 250a and its prerequisites.
Galois theory and algebraic number theory
Galois theory is an important tool for studying the arithmetic
of ``number fields'' (finite extensions of Q)
and ``function fields'' (finite extensions of
F_{q}(t)). In particular:
 Generalities about arithmetic of finite normal extensions
of number fields and function fields
 More detailed study of the Galois groups of extensions of
the padic field Q_{p} and other
``local fields''
 The KroneckerWeber theorem: every abelian extension of
Q is contained in a cyclotomic extension.
 In particular, every quadratic extension of Q
is contained in a cyclotomic extension. This can be used to prove
Quadratic Reciprocity and some generalizations.
One source is Number Fields by Daniel Marcus
(New York: Springer, 1977), QA247.M346 in Cabot.
As you might guess from the title,
function fields aren't the main focus,
but most of the results carry over with little change.
Galois theory and geometry

Galois theory of Riemann surfaces: covering maps as field extensions,
Galois groups and fundamental groups of punctured Riemann surfaces.
Generalizes ideas introduced in PS2, problem 5; PS4, problem 7; and the
example of isogenies between elliptic curves over C.

Galois theory and algebraic geometry: Some of the same ideas in the
algebraic setting, including varieties of degree >1. Again we saw
some of these ideas in the setting of elliptic curves and of
PS2, problem 5; also, the Galois group of the ``general polynomial''
can be interpreted geometrically in terms of the quotient of nspace
with coordinates x_{1},...,x_{n} by S_{n}.
More about ppolynomials:
Dickson invariants, ``linearized algebra'', etc.
Just as the general polynomial has Galois group S_{n},
the general ppolynomial has Galois group
GL_{n}(F_{p}).
The elementary symmetric functions correspond
to ``Dickson invariants'' of the action of
GL_{n}(F_{p})
on polynomials in n variables over F_{p}.
Other aspects of the theory of F[X] require
more interesting modifications in the setting of ppolynomials,
since polynomial multiplication is replaced by composition of
ppolynomials, which is not commutative!
Differential Galois theory
Analogous to the algebraic theory of polynomial equations
X^{n}+a_{1}X^{n1}+...+a_{n1}X+a_{n}=0
over a field is an algebraic theory of linear differential equations
y^{(n)}+a_{1}y^{(n1)}+...+a_{n1}y'+a_{n}y=0
over a differential field. In this context we again have field
extensions, normal closures, and even differential Galois groups,
a differential Galois correspondence, and solvability criterion.
The roles played in classical Galois theory by
[E:F] and the finite subgroup Gal(K/F) of S_{n}
are assumed by the trascendence degree and (usually)
a Lie subgroup of GL_{n}  indeed, differential Galois theory
was Lie's original motivation. For instance, Bessel functions
(except those of halfintegral order) cannot be expressed in terms of
elementary functions and their integrals because the Bessel differential
equation has differential Galois group containing
SL_{2}(R) which is not solvable!
Naturally, I cannot assume extensive background in Lie theory,
because that will be a major topic of Math 250b;
but you should at least be comfortable
thinking about groups like GL_{n} if you want to take this on.
Notes on differential algebra and differential Galois theory, in
PS
and
PDF
Computational issues
 Elimination theory: resultants, etc.
How to actually compute things like the minimal polynomial of x+y
where f(x)=g(y)=0, or where x,y are distinct roots of f(x)?
 Resolvents and the determination of Galois groups.
How to determine the Galois group of a given polynomial
and exhibit the subfields promised by the Galois correspondence?
See Henri Cohen's
A Course in Computational Algebraic Number Theory
(Berlin: Springer, 1993 = Graduate Texts in Mathematics #138),
QA247.C55 in Cabot.
Approaches to the inverse Galois problem
Constructions and results concerning polynomials with prescribed
Galois groups. As noted on the Math 250 homepage, a good starting text
here is J.P. Serre's Topics in Galois Theory
(Boston: Jones & Bartlett, 1992), QA214.S47 in Cabot.