Singular Points and Tangent Cones

  • Joe Harris
Part of the Graduate Texts in Mathematics book series (GTM, volume 133)


The Zariski tangent space to a variety X ⊂ 𝔸n at a point p is described by taking the linear part of the expansion around p of all the functions on 𝔸n vanishing on X. In case p is a singular point of X, however, this does not give us a very refined picture of the local geometry of X; for example, if X ⊂ 𝔸2 is a plane curve, the Zariski tangent space to X at any singular point p will be all of T p (𝔸 2) = K 2. We will describe here the tangent cone, an object that, while it certainly does not give a complete description of the local structure of a variety at a singular point, is at least a partial refinement of the notion of tangent space.


Singular Point Tangent Space Tangent Line Plane Curve Double Point 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joe Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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