The Nullstellensatz - Then and Now

Walter Tholen
(York Univ.)

After a brief tour of the development of the Nullstellensatz through David
Hilbert in the 1890s and Emmy Noether in the 1920s, we follow up on a
fairly recent idea by Bill Lawvere and exhibit the categorical essence of
the Nullstellensatz via Birkhoff's Subdirect Representation Theorem for
general algebras. Hence, we shall prove this theorem for quite general
categories without requiring any particular expertise by the audience.