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Using the internal language of toposes in algebraic geometry

Any scheme has its associated little and big Zariski toposes. These toposes support an internal mathematical language which closely resembles the usual formal language of mathematics, but is "local on the base scheme": For example, from the internal perspective, the structure sheaf looks like an ordinary local ring (instead of a sheaf of rings with local stalks) and vector bundles look like ordinary free modules (instead of sheaves of modules satisfying a local triviality condition). The translation of internal statements and proofs is facilitated by an easy mechanical procedure.

We investigate how the internal language of the little Zariski topos can be exploited to give simpler definitions and more conceptual proofs of the basic notions and observations in algebraic geometry. To this end, we build a dictionary relating internal and external notions and demonstrate its utility by giving a simple proof of Grothendieck's generic freeness lemma in full generality. We also employ this framework to state a general transfer principle which relates modules with their induced quasicoherent sheaves, to study the phenomenon that some properties spread from points to open neighborhoods, and to compare general notions of spectra.

We employ the big Zariski topos to set up the foundations of a synthetic account of scheme theory. This account is similar to the synthetic account of differential geometry, but has a distinct algebraic flavor. Central to the theory is the notion of synthetic quasicoherence, which has no analog in synthetic differential geometry. We also discuss how various common subtoposes of the big Zariski topos can be described from the internal point of view and derive explicit descriptions of the geometric theories which are classified by the fppf and by the surjective topology.

No prior knowledge about topos theory or formal logic is assumed.

Sheaves of rings look like ordinary rings from the internal point of view.


Notes on how to use the internal language of toposes in algebraic geometry




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