||One of my favorite graduate courses at Berkeley is Math 251, a one-semester course in ring theory offered to second-year level graduate students. I taught this course in the Fall of 1983, and more recently in the Spring of 1990, both times focusing on the theory of noncommutative rings. This book is an outgrowth of my lectures in these two courses, and is intended for use by instructors and graduate students in a similar one-semester course in basic ring theory.
Ring theory is a subject of central importance in algebra. Historically, some of the major discoveries in ring theory have helped shape the course of development of modern abstract algebra. Today, ring theory is a fertile meeting ground for group theory (group rings), representation theory (modules), functional analysis (operator algebras), Lie theory (enveloping algebras), algebraic geometry (finitely generated algebras, differential operators, invariant theory), arithmetic (orders, Brauer groups), universal algebra (varieties of rings), and homological algebra (cohomology of rings, projective modules, Grothendieck and higher /("-groups). In view of these basic connections between ring theory and other branches of mathematics, it is perhaps no exaggeration to say that a course in ring theory is an indispensable part of the education for any fledgling algebraist.
The purpose of my lectures was to give a general introduction to the theory of rings, building on what the students have learned from a standard first-year graduate course in abstract algebra. We assume that, from such a course, the students would have been exposed to tensor products, chain conditions, some module theory, and a certain amount of commutative algebra. Starting with these prerequisites, I designed a course dealing almost exclusively with the theory of noncommutative rings. In accordance with the historical development of the subject, the course begins with the Wedderburn-Artin theory of semisimple rings, then goes on to Jacobson's general theory of the radical for rings possibly not satisfying any chain con-