The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture for elliptic curves.
The aim of this dissertation is to provide an exposition of the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture, considered by many to be one of the most important unsolved problems in modern Mathematics. A review of topics in Algebraic Number Theory and Algebraic Geometry is provided in order to provide a characterisation for elliptic curves over rational numbers. We investigate the group structure of rational points on elliptic curves, and show that this group is finitely generated by the Mordell-Weil Theorem. The Shafarevich-Tate group is introduced by way of an example. Thereafter, with the use of Galois Cohomology, we provide a general definition of this mysterious group. We also discuss invariants like the regulator and real period, which appear in the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture. After defining the L-function, we state the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture and discuss results which have been proved and some consequences. We discuss numerical verification of the Conjecture, and show some computations, including an example of our own.