Séminaire Lotharingien de Combinatoire, B35a (1995), 20pp.

Bruce Sagan

Why the Characteristic Polynomial Factors

Abstract. We survey three methods for proving that the characteristic polynomial of a finite ranked lattice factors over the nonnegative integers and indicate how they have evolved recently. The first technique uses geometric ideas and is is based on Zaslavsky's theory of signed graphs. The second approach is algebraic and employs results of Saito and Terao about free hyperplane arrangements. Finally we consider a purely combinatorial theorem of Stanley about supersolvable lattices and its generalizations.

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