Submission: 2014, Jun 30
Using the Rost invariant for torsors under Spin groups one may define an analogue of the Arason invariant for certain hermitian forms and orthogonal involutions. We calculate this invariant explicitly in various cases, and use it to associate to every orthogonal involution with trivial discriminant and trivial Clifford invariant over a central simple algebra of even co-index a cohomology class $f_3$ of degree 3 with $\mu_2$ coefficients. This invariant $f_3$ is the double of any representative of the Arason invariant; it vanishes when the algebra has degree at most 10, and also when there is a quadratic extension of the center that simultaneously splits the algebra and makes the involution hyperbolic. The paper provides a detailed study of both invariants, with particular attention to the degree 12 case, and to the relation with the existence of a quadratic splitting field.
2010 Mathematics Subject Classification: 1E72, 11E81, 16W10
Keywords and Phrases: Cohomological invariant, orthogonal group, algebra with involution, Clifford algebra
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