elliptic curve
1 Basics
An elliptic curve^{} over a field $K$ is a projective nonsingular^{} algebraic curve^{} $E$ over $K$ of genus 1 together with a point $O$ of $E$ defined over $K$. The word “genus” is taken here in the algebraic geometry^{} sense, and has no relation^{} with the topological notion of genus (defined as $1\chi /2$, where $\chi $ is the Euler characteristic) except when the field of definition $K$ is the complex numbers^{} $\u2102$.
Using the RiemannRoch theorem for curves, one can show that every elliptic curve $E$ is the zero set^{} of a Weierstrass equation of the form
$$E:{y}^{2}+{a}_{1}xy+{a}_{3}y={x}^{3}+{a}_{2}{x}^{2}+{a}_{4}x+{a}_{6},$$ 
for some ${a}_{i}\in K$, where the polynomial^{} on the right hand side has no double roots. When $K$ has characteristic^{} other than 2 or 3, one can further simpify this Weierstrass equation into the form
$$E:{y}^{2}={x}^{3}27{c}_{4}x54{c}_{6}.$$ 
The extremely strange numbering of the coefficients is an artifact of the process by which the above equations are derived. Also, note that these equation are for affine curves; to translate^{} them to projective curves, one has to homogenize the equations (replace $x$ with $X/Z$, and $y$ with $Y/Z$).
2 Examples
We present here some pictures of elliptic curves over the field $\mathbb{R}$ of real numbers. These pictures are in some sense not representative of most of the elliptic curves that people work with, since many of the interesting cases tend to be of elliptic curves over algebraically closed fields. However, curves over the complex numbers (or, even worse, over algebraically closed fields in characteristic $p$) are very difficult to graph in three dimensions^{}, let alone two.
Figure 1 is a graph of the elliptic curve ${y}^{2}={x}^{3}x$.
Figure 2 shows the graph of ${y}^{2}={x}^{3}x+1$:
3 The Group Law
The points on an elliptic curve have a natural group structure^{}, which makes the elliptic curve into an abelian variety^{}. There are many equivalent^{} ways to define this group structure; two of the most common are:

•
Every Weyl divisor^{} on $E$ is linearly equivalent to a unique divisor of the form $[P][O]$ for some $P\in E$, where $O\in E$ is the base point. The divisor class group of $E$ then yields a group structure on the points of $E$, by way of this correspondence.

•
Let $O\in E$ denote the base point. Then one can show that every line joining two points on $E$ intersects a unique third point of $E$ (after properly accounting for tangent lines as a multiple^{} intersection^{}). For any two points $P,Q\in E$, define their sum as:

(a)
Form the line between $P$ and $Q$; let $R$ be the third point on $E$ that intersects this line;

(b)
Form the line between $O$ and $R$; define $P+Q$ to be the third point on $E$ that intersects this line.
This addition^{} operation^{} yields a group operation^{} on the points of $E$ having the base point $O$ for identity^{}.

(a)
4 Elliptic Curves over $\u2102$
Over the complex numbers, the general correspondence between algebraic^{} and analytic theory specializes in the elliptic curves case to yield some very useful insights into the structure of elliptic curves over $\u2102$. The starting point for this investigation is the Weierstrass $\U0001d52d$–function, which we define here.
Definition 1.
A lattice^{} in $\u2102$ is a subgroup^{} $L$ of the additive group^{} $\u2102$ which is generated by two elements ${\omega}_{1},{\omega}_{2}\in \u2102$ that are linearly independent^{} over $\mathbb{R}$.
Definition 2.
For any lattice $L$ in $\u2102$, the Weierstrass ${\mathrm{p}}_{L}$–function of $L$ is the function ${\U0001d52d}_{L}:\u2102\u27f6\u2102$ given by
$${\U0001d52d}_{L}(z):=\frac{1}{{z}^{2}}+\sum _{\omega \in L\setminus \{0\}}\left(\frac{1}{{(z\omega )}^{2}}\frac{1}{{\omega}^{2}}\right).$$ 
When the lattice $L$ is clear from context, it is customary to suppress it from the notation and simply write $\U0001d52d$ for the Weierstrass $\U0001d52d$–function.
Properties of the Weierstrass $\mathrm{p}$–function:

•
$\U0001d52d(z)$ is a meromorphic function with double poles at points in $L$.

•
$\U0001d52d(z)$ is constant on each coset of $\u2102/L$.

•
$\U0001d52d(z)$ satisfies the differential equation
$${\U0001d52d}^{\prime}{(z)}^{2}=4\U0001d52d{(z)}^{3}{g}_{2}\U0001d52d(z){g}_{3}$$ where the constants ${g}_{2}$ and ${g}_{3}$ are given by
${g}_{2}$ $:=$ $60{\displaystyle \sum _{\omega \in L\setminus \{0\}}}{\displaystyle \frac{1}{{\omega}^{4}}}$ ${g}_{3}$ $:=$ $140{\displaystyle \sum _{\omega \in L\setminus \{0\}}}{\displaystyle \frac{1}{{\omega}^{6}}}$
The last property above implies that, for any $z\in \u2102/L$, the point $(\U0001d52d(z),{\U0001d52d}^{\prime}(z))$ lies on the elliptic curve $E:{y}^{2}=4{x}^{3}{g}_{2}x{g}_{3}$. Let $\varphi :\u2102/L\u27f6E$ be the map given by
$$\varphi (z):=\{\begin{array}{cc}(\U0001d52d(z),{\U0001d52d}^{\prime}(z))\hfill & z\notin L\hfill \\ \mathrm{\infty}\hfill & z\in L\hfill \end{array}$$ 
(where $\mathrm{\infty}$ denotes the point at infinity on $E$). Then $\varphi $ is actually a bijection (!), and moreover the map $\varphi :\u2102/L\u27f6E$ is an isomorphism^{} of Riemann surfaces as well as a group isomorphism (with the addition operation on $\u2102/L$ inherited from $\u2102$, and the elliptic curve group operation on $E$).
We can go even further: it turns out that every elliptic curve $E$ over $\u2102$ can be obtained in this way from some lattice $L$. More precisely, the following is true:
Theorem 3.

1.
For every elliptic curve $E:{y}^{2}=4{x}^{3}bxc$ over $\u2102$, there is a unique lattice $L\subset \u2102$ whose constants ${g}_{2}$ and ${g}_{3}$ satisfy $b={g}_{2}$ and $c={g}_{3}$.

2.
Two elliptic curves $E$ and ${E}^{\prime}$ over $\u2102$ are isomorphic if and only if their corresponding lattices $L$ and ${L}^{\prime}$ satisfy the equation ${L}^{\prime}=\alpha L$ for some scalar $\alpha \in \u2102$.
References
 1 Dale Husemoller, Elliptic Curves. Springer–Verlag, New York, 1997.
 2 James Milne, Elliptic Curves, online course notes. http://www.jmilne.org/math/CourseNotes/math679.htmlhttp://www.jmilne.org/math/CourseNotes/math679.html
 3 Joseph H. Silverman, The Arithmetic of Elliptic Curves. Springer–Verlag, New York, 1986.
Title  elliptic curve 
Canonical name  EllipticCurve 
Date of creation  20130322 12:03:02 
Last modified on  20130322 12:03:02 
Owner  djao (24) 
Last modified by  djao (24) 
Numerical id  32 
Author  djao (24) 
Entry type  Definition 
Classification  msc 11G07 
Classification  msc 11G05 
Classification  msc 14H52 
Related topic  Isogeny^{} 
Related topic  ComplexMultiplication 
Related topic  RankOfAnEllipticCurve 
Related topic  HeightFunction 
Related topic  LSeriesOfAnEllipticCurve 
Related topic  BirchAndSwinnertonDyerConjecture 
Related topic  JInvariant 
Related topic  MordellWeilTheorem 
Related topic  ConductorOfAnEllipticCurve 
Defines  $\U0001d52d$function 