Points of Low Height on Elliptic Curves and Surfaces I: Elliptic Surfaces over  \({\mathbb P}^1\) with Small d

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Abstract

For each of n=1,2,3 we find the minimal height \({\hat{h}}(P)\) of a nontorsion point P of an elliptic curve E over C(T) of discriminant degree d=12n (equivalently, of arithmetic genus n), and exhibit all (E,P) attaining this minimum. The minimal \({\hat{h}}(P)\) was known to equal 1/30 for n=1 (Oguiso-Shioda) and 11/420 for n=2 (Nishiyama), but the formulas for the general (E,P) were not known, nor was the fact that these are also the minima for an elliptic curve of discriminant degree 12n over a function field of any genus. For n=3 both the minimal height (23/840) and the explicit curves are new. These (E,P) also have the property that that mP is an integral point (a point of naïve height zero) for each m=1,2,...,M, where M=6,8,9 for n=1,2,3; this, too, is maximal in each of the three cases.