Normal subgroups generated by a single pure element in quaternion algebras

Louis Rowen, Yoav Segev

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Let D be a quaternion division algebra whose center is an arbitrary infinite field K of characteristic ≠2, and let e ∈ D be a pure quaternion. Hence, by definition, e ∈ D {set minus} K and e2 ∈ K. We show that if the characteristic of K is >2, then D× / 〈 e 〉 is abelian-by-nilpotent-by-abelian. Note that by [A.S. Rapinchuk, L. Rowen, Y. Segev, Nonabelian free subgroups in homomorphic images of valued quaternion division algebras, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc., in press] this result is false in characteristic zero. As a consequence we show that the Whitehead group W (G, k), where G is an absolutely simple simply connected algebraic group of type 3, 6D4 defined over a field k of odd characteristic and of k-rank 1, is abelian-by-nilpotent-by-abelian.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-145
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Algebra
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: (L. Rowen), (Y. Segev). 1 Partially support by BSF grant no. 2004-083 and by the Israel Science Foundation Center of Excellence. 2 Partially supported by BSF grant no. 2004-083.


  • Pure quaternion
  • Quaternion division algebra
  • Whitehead group


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