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Some problems in blocking sets

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Some problems in blocking sets
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Kitto, Cyrus L., 1947-
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iv, 68 leaves : ; 28 cm.

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Integers ( jstor )
Mathematics ( jstor )
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1991.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 66-67).
General Note:
Typescript.
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Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Cyrus L. Kitto.

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SOME PROBLEMS IN BLOCKING SETS


By


CYRUS L. KITTO




















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO TIE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1991















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I thank my advisor Dr. David Drake for his patience and excellent guidance.















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...................... ii

ABSTRACT . iv

CHAPTERS

1. INTRODUCTION ....... ................. 1

2. A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART I .. 2

3. A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART II 14

4. A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART III 28

5. A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART IV 32

6. SMALL BLOCKING SETS OF HERMITIAN DESIGNS, PART I 46

7. SMALL BLOCKING SETS OF HERMITIAN DESIGNS, PART II 58

8. FINAL REMARKS ...................... 65

REFERENCES . 66

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................... 68


- iii -
















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to
the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree
of Doctor of Philosophy


SOME PROBLEMS IN BLOCKING SETS

By

Cyrus L. Kitto

December 1991







Chairman: Dr. David A. Drake
Major Department: Mathematics


In this dissertation some new results are obtained on the cardinality of blocking

sets in block designs. Firstly, lower bounds are established on the cardinality of

blocking sets of R6dei type in finite projective planes. Secondly, a block design

E is formed using the Hermitian unitals of PG(2,q2), q an odd prime power, as

blocks, and then a lower and upper bound are established on the cardinality of

a committee of E; also, a characterization of the Desarguesian projective plane

PG(2,9) is established.


- iv -















CHAPTER 1


INTRODUCTION

An incidence structure is an ordered pair (A, B), where A is a set and B a

collection of subsets of A. The elements of A are called points and those of B

are called blocks. A t (v, k, A) design is an incidence structure (A, B) where the

cardinality of A is v, each block of B contains exactly k points and each subset of

t points of A is contained in exactly A blocks of B. For t = 2 one calls such an

incidence structure a block design. A projective plane of order n, n > 2, is a block

design with v = n2 + n + 1, k = n + 1 and A = 1. If II represents a projective plane

of order n, then it is straightforward to show that each pair of distinct blocks of I

intersect in a unique point, and that there are four distinct points of H no three of

which are contained in the same block. A block of a projective plane is called a line.

A hitting set H of an incidence structure I = (A, B) is a subset of A so that

each block of B has non-empty intersection with H. If H is a hitting set of I so

that no block is a subset of H, then H is called a blocking set of I.

The purpose of this dissertation is to prove some original theorems concerning

the cardinality of blocking sets of block designs.















CHAPTER 2


A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART I


We begin Chapter 2 by introducing the notation and terminology that will be
used throughout Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5. Most of the lemmas proven in Chapter 2

will also find use in the succeeding three chapters.

Let II represent a finite projective plane of order n, and let S represent a
blocking set of I. For each line I of I, call the number I S I I the strength of I
and denote it by st(l). If st(l)=i > 2, then call I a secant or an i line. If st(l)=1,
then call 1 a tangent.

LEMMA 2.1. There exists an integer 6 > 1 such that I S I= n + 6.

PROOF: Let 1 be a line of I. One can choose a point X on I yet not in S. The n

lines other than I through X are each incident with at least one point of S. Thus,

IS 1> n+st(l).

Q.E.D.

LEMMA 2.2. Let S be such that I S |= n + 6. Let g and h represent distinct lines
of H. If st(g)+st(h)> 6 + 2, then the point g n h is in S.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that for distinct lines g and h one has

st(g)+st(h)> 6+2 and (gnh) S. The n-1 lines other than g and h through point
g n h are each incident with at least one point of S. Thus, I S > n 1+st(g)+st(h)

> n + 6 + 1, a contradiction.

Q.E.D.


-2-








-3-
LEMMA 2.3. Let S be such that I S |= n + 6. Then for any line I one has st(l)< 6.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that st(l)> 6 for some secant I. Choose

point X E I \ S. The n lines other than I through X are each incident with at least

one point of S. Thus, I S 1> n+st(l) > n + 6, a contradiction.

Q.E.D.

One says that a blocking set S is of Redei type if I S J= n + 6 implies the

existence of a secant l of strength 6. Such a secant I will sometimes be called a

secant of maximum strength. By Lemma 2.2, if S is of R6dei type, then every

secant intersects every secant of maximum strength in a point of S.

Let S be of R6dei type with I S I= n + 6. Let U represent a point of II.

One says that U is of type a = (a, ..., am) if U lies on exactly m secants li,..., m

with ai=st(li) and al < ... < am. For point U of type a, define the constant

F(U)=aY + ... + am; arguments using the computation of F(U) will often be called

a fan count on U. For point U and integer i > 2, let ri(U), or just ri if the point U

is clear, equal the number of i-lines through U, and define r(U) = r2 +... + r6. Also,

for integer i > 2, let bi equal the total number of i-lines and b the total number of

secants.

LEMMA 2.4. Let S be a blocking set of Redei type with I S J= n+6. Let P E S be a

point not incident with every secant of maximum strength. Then F(P) = n + 26- 1.

PROOF: Let I be a 6-line not incident with point P E S. Then F(P) =1 S I +(6-1)

since every secant through P meets I at a point of S.

Q.E.D.

LEMMA 2.5. Let S be a blocking set of Redei type with I S I= n + 6. Let X S be

a point of type a = (al,..., am). Then F(X) = 6 1 + m.








-4-
PROOF: This should be clear since I S 1= F(X) + (n + 1 m).

Q.E.D.

LEMMA 2.6. Let S be a blocking set of Ridei type with I S 1= n + 6. Assume that

there is a unique secant I of maximum strength. Let j > 3 be some fixed integer. If

every P E S \ I lies on a secant g with st(g)> j, then every point P E S \ 1 lies on

a secant h with st(h)< + 1 -j.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that every point in S\ lies on a secant g
with st(g)2 j and point P E S\l is of type a with al > 6+2-j. Since 6+2-j > 3,
one can choose a point Q E S \ I such that PQ = 11. By assumption, Q lies on
a secant g with st(g)> j. Since al 2 6 + 2 j, Lemma 2.2 implies that secant g
intersects the 6 secants through P at points of S. Thus, st(g)> 6, a contradiction
since Q 1, the unique 6-line.

Q.E.D.

LEMMA 2.7. Let S be a blocking set with I S I= n + 6. Let P,Q and R be three
distinct points of S such that PQ $ PR and st(PR)=j. Then through Q there are

at most j 1 secants g # PQ of strength 6 + 2 j or more.

PROOF: By Lemma 2.2, a secant g i PQ through Q of strength 6 + 2 j or more

intersects line PR at a point of S. There are only j 1 points of PR where g can
intersect.

Q.E.D.
For secant g, define g* to be the set of points in g \ S, and define L(g*) to be
the set of secants h 0 g such that the point g n h is not in S.








-5-
LEMMA 2.8. Let S be a blocking set with I S J= n + S. Let g be a secant of strength

less than 6. Then

n + 1 st(g) =1 g* 1
PROOF: This should be clear since Lemma 2.5 and the fact st(g) < 6 imply that

each X E g \ S lies on at least two secants.

Q.E.D.

We are now ready to introduce the main objective of Chapters 2 and 3.

It was proven by A. Bruen that for any blocking set S, I S 1> n + n1/2 + 1. [8,
Theorem, and; 9, Theorem 3.8] Under the additional assumption that n is a non-

square greater than 5, J. Bierbrauer proved that I S I> n + n1/2 + 2. [1, Theorem]

(If n is square, then Baer subplanes offer counterexamples.) If n = 10 and S is of

R6dei type, then J. Bierbrauer showed that I S I> 10 + 101/2 + 3. [3, Theorem]

The main objective of Chapters 2 and 3 is to extend this last result and prove the
following theorem.

THEOREM 2.9. Let H be a finite projective plane of non-square order n = t2- e
t > 4, 1 < e < 2t -2 and n # 10. Let S be a blocking set of Redei type. Then

IS > n+t + 3.

An immediate consequence of Theorem 2.9 and an observation by Bierbrauer
[1, Corollary] is the following.

COROLLARY 2.10. A net of non-square order > 11 with more than n-(nl/2+2)
parallel classes can be completed in at most one way to a projective plane of order
n.

In view of J. Bierbrauer's work in [1, Theorem], Theorem 2.9 can be proven by
showing that I S I/ (t2 e) + t + 2. Henceforth, assume I S 1= (t2 e) + t + 2.








-6-
CLAIM 2.11. ([2, Theorem]) There is exactly one (t + 2)-line.

Henceforth, let I denote the unique secant of strength t + 2.

CLAIM 2.12. For every point P E S \ 1,


t2 + 5 < F(P) < t2 + 2t + 2.


PROOF: This follows immediately from Lemma 2.4.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 2.13. Every point P E S \ I lies on a secant of strength t 1 or more.

PROOF: If not, then


t2 + 5 < F(P) < (t + 2)(t 2) = t2 4.


Q.E.D.
By Lemma 2.6, every point P E S \ I lies on a secant of strength 4 or less.

CLAIM 2.14. Every point P E S \ I lies on a secant of strength t or t + 1.

PROOF: Assume not and let P be of type a with at+2 = t 1. Since al < 4, one
has

t2 + 5 < F(P) < (t+ 1)(t- 1) + 4 = t2 +3.

Q.E.D.
By Lemma 2.6, every point P E S \ I lies on a secant of strength 2 or 3.

CLAIM 2.15. Let g be a secant of strength t+1. Every P E S\(lUg) lies on exactly
one 2-line in L(g*).

PROOF: Let P E S \ (U g). Set A = I g and let Qi,...,Qt be the t points in

(g n S) \ {A}. The t distinct secants PQi intersect I at t distinct points of S \ {A}.








-7-

There is thus one point B # A on I and in S such that B P PQi for 1 < i < t. The

secant h = PB intersects g at a point not in S. By Lemma 2.2, h must be a 2-line.

Q.E.D.

If there is a secant g of strength t + 1, then Claim 2.15 implies that the total

number of secants b = r(A) + t(t + 1) + (n t), where A denotes the point l n g.

CLAIM 2.16. No point A E S n I lies on n secants of strength 2.

PROOF: If A lies on n secants of strength 2, then the set S \ {A} is a blocking set

with cardinality n + t + 1, a contradiction of the Bierbrauer bound in [1, Theorem].

Q.E.D.

For the remainder of Chapter 2, assume that n > 37. The arguments used in

dealing with non-square 11 < n < 35 are of an ad hoc nature and will be handled

in Chapter 3. Note that n > 37 implies that t > 7.

CLAIM 2.17. For every P E S \ 1 of type a, one has


al + a2 + a3 + a4 > 14.


PROOF: If not, then


t2 + 5 < F(P) < (t 2)(t + 1) + 13 = t2 t + 11,


a contradiction for t > 7.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 2.18. Every point P E S \ I lies on a 2-line.

PROOF: Assume that some P of type a does not lie on a 2-line. Then by Claim

2.14 and Lemma 2.6 al = 3 and all secants of strength t+1 pass through P. Choose








-8-

Q E S \ I so that PQ = 11. Claim 2.14 and al = 3 imply that Q lies on a t-line.
It follows from Lemma 2.2 and Claim 2.17 that P lies on exactly three 3-lines. A

fan count on P now shows that there are (t + 1)-lines through P and, hence, Claim

2.15 implies that Q lies on a 2-line. A fan count on Q shows that Q is of type

(2,3,t,..., t). Let R E S \ I be such that PR = 12. The secant g = QR must be of
strength t. But, a4 > 4 implies that g intersects at least t + 1 secants through P at

points of S, a contradiction.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 2.19. None of the points P E S \ l lies on a 3-line.

PROOF: Assume that some P does lie on a 3-line. Let P be of type a. Claim 2.17
implies that P lies on at most three secants of strength 3 or less. There are three

cases to consider.

Case 1. P lies on two 2-lines and one 3-line.

Let Q E S \ I be such that st(PQ)=3. A fan count on P shows that a4 > t
and a5 = t + 1. Since t + 2 > 9, there are at least five (t + 1)-lines through P.
Thus, PQ is the only 3-line of S. Since P lies on two 2-lines, Q lies on at most two

(t + 1)-lines. Since a4 > t, Q lies only on secants of strength 2, 3, t or t + 1. A fan

count on Q and Claim 2.18 imply that Q lies on a 2-line, a 3-line and t secants of

strength t or t + 1. Let QB be the 2-line, and remember that PQ is the only 3-line

of S. Then every i-line g through B with i > 3 must meet the t + 2 secants through

Q at points of S. This contradiction of Claim 2.11 implies that B must lie on n
secants of strength 2, a contradiction to Claim 2.16.








-9-
Case 2. P lies on one 2-line and two 3-lines.

Let Q E S \ I of type P and B E S n I be such that PQ and PB are a 3-line

and a 2-line, respectively. A fan count of P shows that a4 > t 1 and a6 = t + 1.

Since t + 2 5 = t 3 > 3 for t > 7, all 3-lines pass through P. Let g # PQ be a
secant through Q with st(g) > 2. Since a6 = t + 1, secant g has strength at least

t 2. Since 04 + (t 2) > t + 4 for t > 7, Lemma 2.2 implies that g has strength at

least t. Thus, Q lies on one 2-line, one 3-line and t secants of strength at least t. It

also follows that st(QB)=2. Let h # I be a secant through B with st(h) > 2. Since

/3 > t, #2 > 2 and the fact that all 3-lines pass through P, secant h intersects the
t + 2 secants through Q at points of S, a contradiction. Hence, B lies on n secants

of strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.

Case 3. P lies on a 2-line, a 3-line and a3 > 4.

Let Q E S\ 1 and B E Sn be such that PQ=12 and PB=11, respectively. Set

/a = a3. As Case 1 and Case 2 do not occur, Q also lies on exactly one 2-line and
exactly one 3-line.

Subclaim 2.20. If / < t 1, then Q lies on / secants of strength t + 4 / or

larger.

Proof. Assume not. Then,
t2+ 5 F(Q) <(/ )(t + 1) + (t + )(t+3 ) + 5.
Equivalently,

f(/0) := 2 3(t + 3) + 3t + 2 > 0;
but,

f(/) < 0 for 4 < / < t 1,
a contradiction.


q.e.d.








10-
If / < t 1, then Subclaim 2.20 would contradict Lemma 2.7. Thus, /3 t, or

P lies on t secants of strengths t or t + 1. The same conclusion applies to Q, and

Lemma 2.7 then yields / t + 1. It is then immediate that B must lie on n secants

of strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 2.21. None of the points P E S \ 1 lies on a 4-line.

PROOF: Assume some P of type a does lie on a 4-line. Since ai=2, a fan count on

P shows that P lies on at most three 4-lines. We consider four cases.

Case 1. P lies on two 4-lines and a4 > 5.

Subclaim 2.22. For 1 < k < t 5,

rt+l-k ... + rt+l > k + 3.

Proof. Assume not. Then,

2 +5 < F(P) (k + 2)(t + 1)+(t k 3)(t k) + 4 + 4 + 2.

Equivalently,

f(k) := k2 + k(4 t + 7 > 0;
but, f(k) < 0 for 1 < k < t 5, a contradiction.

q.e.d.

Let B E S n I be such that PB=11, and let g l I be an i-line through B with

i > 2. By Claim 2.19, i > 4, so g intersects secants of strength t or t +1 at points of

S. As g also contains B, Subclaim 2.22 implies that i > (1 + 3) + 1 = 5. Using this

argument repeatedly, one gets that i > (t 5 + 3) + 1 = t 1. As a4 > 5, Lemma

2.2 implies that i > t. Thus, g intersects the t + 2 secants through P at points of S,

a contradiction to Claim 2.11. Hence, there must be n secants of strength 2 through

B, a contradiction to Claim 2.16.








11 -
Case 2. P lies on two 2-lines and a 4-line.

Let Q E S\l be such that PQ = 13. A fan count on P shows that F(P) < t2+7,
c4 > t 1 and a5 > t. Since P lies on two 2-lines, Q lies on at most two (t+ 1)-lines.
A fan count on Q reveals that Q lies on a 2-line, a 4-line and t secants of strength

t 3 or more. Using the bounds on a4 and a5, one sees that Q lies on t secants of
strength t or t + 1. Let B E S n I be such that QB is a 2-line. Remembering that

there are no 3-lines, it is immediate that B must lie on n secants of strength 2, a

contradiction to Claim 2.16.

Case 3. P lies on three 4-lines.

Let Q E S \ l and B E S n I be such that PQ = 12 and PB = 11, respectively.
A fan count on P shows that t = 7 and a5 = 8. This implies that any secant g # I

through B has strength 2 or 6, and that QB is also a 2-line. Since a3 = 4 and

a5 = 8, point Q lies on at most three 8-lines and only on secants of strength 2, 4,
6 or 8. Thus, Q is of type (2,4,6,6,6,6,8,8,8). Lemma 2.2 then implies that B is

incident with n 2-lines, a contradiction to Claim 2.16.

Case 4. a3 > 5.

Let Q E S \ I be such that PQ = 12. A fan count on Q shows that if a3 < t 2,
then Q lies on a3 secants of strength t +4 a3 or larger. Lemma 2.7 then yields the
contradiction a3 > t 1. Because Cases 1, 2 and 3 do not occur, Q lies on exactly

one 2-line and exactly one 4-line. Since a3 > t 1, the remaining t secants through
Q are of strength t + 1. If B E S n l is such that QB is the 2-line through Q, it is

straightforward to show that B must lie on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction
to Claim 2.16.


Q.E.D.








12-
CLAIM 2.23. Every P E S \ 1 lies on at least two 2-lines.

PROOF: Suppose P is of type a and lies on exactly one 2-line. Let B E S I I be
such that PB = 11. First assume either that t > 8, or that t = 7 and F(P) > t2 +6.

Arguing as in Claim 2.21, Case 1, it can be proved that for 2 < k < t 5, one has

rt+l-k + ... + rt+1 k + 3,

and, hence, that B lies on n secants of strength 2. This contradiction yields t = 7

and F(P) = t2 + 5. Consider any i-line g 5 I through B with i > 2. Claims 2.19 and
2.21 imply that i > 5. If a5 > 6, then P lies on five secants of strength 6 or more.
This fact and Lemma 2.2 imply that i > 6. But, as a2 > 5, Lemma 2.2 implies that

i = t + 2. This contradiction implies that a5 = 5, and, hence, that P is of type

(2,5,5,5,5,8,8,8,8). This implies that there are no 6-lines or 7-lines. Thus, any point

Q E S \ I is either of type (2,5,5,5,5,8,8,8,8), (2,2,5,5,8,8,8,8,8) or (2,2,2,8,8,8,8,8,8).
Assume that Q is of one of the latter two types, and let R E S \ 1 be any point
other than Q. Since Q lies on two 2-lines, R lies on at most three 8-lines. This
contradiction yields that all points P are of type (2,5,5,5,5,8,8,8,8). Counting flags

(T,g), where T E S \ I and g is an 8-line, produces the contradiction 7b8 = 148.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 2.24. None of the points P E S \ I lies on three 2-lines.

PROOF: Suppose P lies on three 2-lines. A fan count on P shows that P lies on a

(t + 1)-line. Let Q E S \ l be such that PQ is a (t + 1)-line. Since P lies on three
2-lines, Q lies on exactly one (t + 1)-line and at most three t-lines. Claim 2.23 yields

t2 +5 < F(P) < (t + 1) +3t +(t- 1) + 4 =5t +4,

or, t < 4, a contradiction.


Q.E.D.








13-
Proof of Theorem 2.9 for n > 37. By Claims 2.23 and 2.24, every point P E S\l
lies on exactly two 2-lines. Thus, no point P E S \ I lies on more than three (t + 1)-

lines. If P is of type a, then a fan count on P reveals that P lies on a t-line and

a4 > t 1. Let Q E S \ I be of type / such that PQ is a t-line. Since Q lies on two
2-lines, P lies on at most two (t + 1)-lines. Since 34 > t 1 and #3 > 5, P lies on t
secants of strength t or t+l. A fan count on P now shows that t2+5 < F(P) < t2+6.

If F(P) = t2 + 5, then all points P are of type (2,2, t, ..., t, t + 1). If F(P) = t2 + 6,

then all points P are of type (2,2, t, ..., t, (t + 1), (t + 1)). In either case, a flag count
of (T, g), where T E S \ I and g is a (t + 1)-line, reveals a contradiction.















CHAPTER 3


A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART II


As previously stated, the objective of Chapter 3 is to prove Theorem 2.9 for

11 < n < 35, n non-square. Note that this implies 4< t < 6, and; if P E S \ I, then

F(P)> t2 + 5 for t = 5 or 6 and F(P)> t2 + 6 for t = 4. Again, the terminology and

notation used in Chapter 2 will also be employed here. Let us also add that P, Q, R,

T and U will always represent points in S \ 1, and A and B will always represent

points in S n 1.


CLAIM 3.1. Let P be of type a with at+2 = t. Then a1=2.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P is of type a with at+2 = t and

al # 2. By Lemma 2.6 and Claim 2.14, al = 3. Let Q be such that PQ = 11. By
Claim 2.14, there is a secant g through Q such that st(g)=t or t + 1. Since



(t-1)t + 3 x 3 = t2 9

for t=5 or 6, and since

t2 t + 9 < t2 + 6

for t=4, one has a3 > 4. Hence, Lemma 2.2 implies that st(g)=t+2, a contradiction.

Q.E.D.

Claim 3.1, Claim 2.14 and Lemma 2.6 imply that every P lies on a 2-line.

14-








15-
CLAIM 3.2. Let P be of type a with at+2 = t. Set g = lt+2. Then every Q not on

g lies on exactly two secants from L(g*).

PROOF: This should be clear; see Claim 2.15.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 3.3. Let P be of type a with at+2 = t. Then at+3-i > t + 4 i for

4
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that at+3-i < t +4 i for some i. Then


F(P) < (i 1)t + (t + 2- i)(t + 3 i) + 2 = i2- i(t + 5) + t2 + 4t + 8.


If 4 < i < t + 1, then the inequality yields the contradiction F(P) < t2 + 5.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 3.4. Let P be of type a with at+2 = t. Then a2 0 3.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there is a P of type a with at+2 = t

and a2 = 3. A computation of F(P) reveals that P is of type (2,3,t,...,t) and, hence,
F(P)= t2 + 5. Thus, t=5 or 6. Choose Q of type # such that PQ=12. By Claim
3.3, Q lies only on secants of strength 2, 3 or t+ 1. By Claim 3.1, /1 = 2. By Claim

3.2, 33 < 3. Since


(t 2)(t +1)+3+ 8= t2-+9 < t2+5


for t > 5, Q lies on t 1 secants of strength t + 1. Thus,


F(Q) > (t- 1)(t+ 1)+ 7=t2 +6,


a contradiction.


Q.E.D.








16-
CLAIM 3.5. Every P lies on a (t + 1)-line.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P is of type a with at+2 = t. By

Claim 3.1, al = 2. A computation of F(P) shows that a2 2 3. Claim 3.4 then
implies a2 > 4. Choose distinct points Q and R on 12 not equal to P. By Claim 3.3,

Q lies only on secants g 5 l2 of strength 2, 3 or t + 1. Let A be such that PA = l1.

Claim 3.3 and the fact a2 > 4 imply that A lies only on secants g : I of strength 2

or 3.

Let t = 4. Then P is of type (2,4,4,4,4,4) and F(P)=22. Point Q lies on exactly
one 4-line. Thus, as is easily seen, all points T 0 P are of type (2,3,3,4,5,5). If QA is

a 3-line, then the two 5-lines through R can not intersect QA at points of S. Thus,

A lies on eleven 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 2.16. Thus, t 5 4.

Since


2(t+1) + 1 x 2 + a2 + (t -2)3 = 5t 2 +
for t = 5 or 6, Q and R each lie on at least three (t + 1)-lines. If A lies on a secant

g of strength 3, then g passes through Q and R, a contradiction. Thus, A lies on n

secants of strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 3.6. Let P be of type a. Then a2 $ 6.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P is of type a with a2 = 6. Since


(t+1)6 + 2 = 6t + 8 > t2+2t + 2

for t = 4 or 5, t = 6 and F(P)2 45. Let Q and R be distinct points on 12 not equal

to P. Since a2 = 6, Q and R lie only on secants g # 12 of strength 2, 3 or 7. Since


4x7+1x6+1x2+2x3=42<45,








-17-
Q and R each lie on at least five 7-lines. Let A be such that PA=l1. As a2 = 6, A
lies only on secants g A I of strength 2 or 3. If A lies on a 3-line h, then either all

the 7-lines through Q or all the 7-lines through R can not intersect with h at points

of S, a contradiction. Thus, A lies on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction of

Claim 2.16.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 3.7. Let P be of type a. Then a2 Z 5.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P is of type a with a2 = 5. Since


F(P) > (t + 1)+ t x 5 + 2= 6t + 3 > t2 +2t+2


for t = 4, one has t = 5 or 6. Let Q and A be such that PQ = 12 and PA = II.

Suppose t = 5. Then Q lies only on secants g # 12 of strength 2, 3 or 6. Since


2x6+1x5+1x2+3 x 3 28 < 30,


Q lies on at least three 6-lines. Point A lies only on secants g 6 I with st(g)=2 or 3.

If A lies on a 3-line h, then the 6-lines through Q can not all intersect h at points of

S, a contradiction, unless QA = h. As a2 > 3, there is a point R E 12 such that the
6-lines through R do not all intersect h at points of S. Thus, A lies on n secants of

strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16. So, t = 6.

Point Q lies only on secants g # 12 with st(g)=2, 3, 4 or 7. Since


3x7+1x5+1x2+3x4=40 <41,


Q lies on at least four 7-lines. Point A lies only on secants g Il with st(g)=2, 3 or 4.

An argument similar to the one for t = 5 will show that A lies on n secants of strength

2, a contradiction. Q.E.D.








18-
CLAIM 3.8. Let n 0 17 and P be of type a. Then a2 5 4.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that n 0 17 and P is of type a with

a2 = 4. Let Q and R be distinct points on 12 not equal to P. Let A be such that

PA = 11.

Suppose t = 4. Then F(P)2 23, Q and R lie on exactly one 4-line and A lies

only on secants g 1 of strength 2 or 3. Since


2x5+1x4+1x2+2x3=22 < 23,


Q and R lie on at least three 5-lines. Let h be a 3-line through A. Secant h must

intersect each 5-line through Q or R at a point of S. Hence, h passes through Q

and R, a contradiction. Thus, A lies on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction of

Claim 2.16. So, t = 5 or 6.

Suppose a4 > 5. Then neither Q nor R lie on a secant g # 12 with st(g)= t 1

or t and A does not lie on a secant of strength t 1, t or t + 1. Since


(t 3)(t +1)+ x4+1 x 2+3(t-2)= t2+t-3

for t = 5 or 6, points Q and R both lie on at least t 2 secants of strength t + 1. Any

secant h through A such that 3 < st(h) < t 2 intersects each of the (t + 1)-lines

through Q or R at points of S. Thus, h passes through Q and R, a contradiction.

Hence, A lies on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction. So, a4 = 4.

Suppose t = 5. Remember that n 5 17. Since a4 = 4, F(P)=31 or 32 and

point Q lies on at most three 6-lines and no 5-lines. As


2x6+1x4+1x2+3x4=30<31,








19-
Q lies on exactly three 6-lines and, hence, does not lie on a 3-line. Thus, Q and P

are both of type (2, 4,4,46,6,6) and F(P)=32. Let T be such that st(PT)=6. T

lies on at most four 6-lines and no 5-lines. A computation of F(T) reveals that T lies

on at least three 6-lines. If T lies on four 6-lines, then T is of type (2,3, 3,6,6,6,6)

and some point in S \ 1 lies on at most two 6-lines, a contradiction. Thus, all points

in S \ I are of type (2,4,4,4,6,6,6). Counting flags (U, g), U E S \ I and g a 6-line,

yields the contradiction

19 x 3 = 5b6.

So, t = 6.

Since a4 = 4, P lies on at least three 7-lines, a5 > 6 and F(P)=41 or 42. Thus,

Q and R do not lie on secants of strength 3 or 6 and lie on exactly one 4-line. A

computation of F(Q) shows that Q and R are both of type (2,4,5,5,5,7,7,7). But, it

is not possible that both Q and R lie on distinct 5-lines and six secants of strength

5 or more. So, t 5 6.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 3.9. Let t = 5 or 6 and P be of type a with 02 = 3. Then a3 # 4.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that t = 5 or 6 and P is of type a with

a2 = 3 and a3 = 4. Let Q be of type / such that PQ = 12. Since a3 = 4, Q does
not lie on a t-line and lies on at most three (t + 1)-lines.

Suppose t=5. Since


2x6+1x3+1x2+3x4= 29 < 30,


Q lies on exactly three 6-lines. Since


3x6+1x3+2x2+1x4=29 <30,








20.-
/2 = 3. Thus, Q is either of type (2,3,3,4,6,6,6) or (2,3,4,4,6,6,6). Let R be of

type 7 such that st(QR)=4. Since 35 = 6, R does not lie on a 3-line. If 72 = 2, then
Q lies on at most two 6-lines. Hence, Claims 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8 imply that 72 = 4 and

n = 17. So, Q is of type (2,3,3,4,6,6,6). Since #4 = 4, P lies on at most three
secants of strength 5 or 6 and, hence, is of type (2,3,4,4,5,6,6). Since 72 = 4, all
5-lines pass through R and, hence, R is of type (2,4,4,4,5, 5,6). Let T be a point
on QR distinct from Q and R. T is of the same type as R. But, this is not possible

since R and T both lie on 5-lines and six secants of strength 4 or more. So, t = 6.

A computation of F(Q) reveals that Q is of type (2,3,5,5,5,7,7,7). Thus, P
does not lie on a secant of strength 5 or 6 and, hence, is of type (2, 3, 4, 4, 7, 7, 7, 7).
Let A be such that PA = 11. Since P lies on four 7-lines and N4 > 4, QA must
also be a 2-line. PA and QA being of strength 2 imply that A lies on n secants of

strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.

Q.E.D.
Part 1. Assume 11 < n < 15. Let P be of type a. By Claims 3.7 and 3.8,
c2 < 3 and, hence, F(P)< 25. So, n # 15. By the Bruck-Ryser Theorem [12,
Corollary 2.4], one need not consider n = 14.

Assume n = 13. Every point P is either of type (2, 2, 5, 5, 5, 5) or (2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5).
If P is of type (2,3,4,5,5, 5) with PQ the 3-line, then Q can not lie on a 4-line, a

contradiction. If P is of type (2,2, 5,5,5,5) with PQ a 5-line, then Q is on at most

three 5-lines, a contradiction.

Assume n = 12. Every point P is either of type (2,2,4,5, 5,5), (2,3,3,5,5,5)
or (2,3,4,4,5,5). Denote by vl,v2 and v3 the number of points of each type,

respectively. If P is of type (2,2,4,5,5,5) with PQ the 4-line, then Q is on no

3-lines and at most two 5-lines. None of the point types satisfy these conditions.

Thus, vi = 0. If P is of type (2,3,3,5,5,5) with PQ a 3-line, then Q is of type








21 -

(2,3,4,4,5,5) since it is on at most one 3-line. If P is of type (2,3,4,4,5,5) with

PQ the 3-line, then Q is of type (2,3,3,5,5,5) since it is on no 4-lines. So, v2 > 1

if and only if v3 > 1. Now count:

12 = v2 + v3

4b5 = 3v2 + 2v3

3b4 = 2v3.



The only solutions have either v2 = 0 or v3 = 0, a contradiction.

Assume n = 11. Every P is either of type (2,2,3,5,5,5), (2,2,4,4,5,5),

(2,3,3,4,5,5) or (2,3,4,4,4,5). Denote by vl, v2, v3 and v4 the number of points

of each type, respectively. If P is of type (2,2,3,5,5,5) with PQ the 3-line, then Q

is on exactly one 3-line and at most two 5-lines. Thus, Q is of type (2,3,4,4,4,5).

If P is of type (2,3,4,4,4,5) with Q the 3-line, then Q is on no 4-lines. Thus, Q

is of type (2,2,3,5,5,5). So, vl = v4. Counting flags (R,g), g a 5-line, yields the

contradiction:

4b5 = 3vi + 2v2 + 2v3 + v4 = 2(v1 + v2 + v3 + v4) = 22.


This completes Part 1.


Part 2. Assume 17 < n < 24. Let P be of type a. By Claims 3.6, 3.7 and

3.8, F(P)< 35. Thus, n < 22. By Bruck-Ryser [12, Corollary 2.4], one need not

consider n = 21 or 22.

Assume n = 20. Every P is of type (2,2,5,6,6,6,6) or (2,3,5,5,6,6,6). If P

is of the latter type with PA a 2-line, then Lemma 2.2 and Claim 2.11 imply that A

lies on twenty 2-lines, a contradiction to Claim 2.16. If P is of type (2,2,5,6,6,6,6)

with PQ the 5-line, then Q lies on at most two 6-lines, a contradiction.








22 -
Assume n = 19. Every P must be one of four types: (2,2, 4,6,6,6,6), (2,3,3,6,

6,6,6), (2,2,5,5,6,6,6) or (2,3,5,5,5,6,6). If P is of type (2,2,4,6,6,6,6) with PQ
the 4-line, then Q is on exactly one 4-line and at most two 6-lines. None of the four

point types satisfy these conditions. If P is of type (2,2,5,5,6,6,6) with PQ a

5-line, then Q lies on no 3-lines and at most two 6-lines. None of the remaining

three point types satisfy these conditions.

Thus, P is either of type (2,3,3,6,6,6,6) or (2,3,5,5,5,6,6). Let v1 and v2 de-

note the number of points of each type, respectively. If P is of type (2, 3,3,6,6,6,6)

with T # P, then T lies on at most one 3-line. Hence, v1 < 1. Counting flags (R, g),

g a 6-line, one gets
5b6 = 4vl + 2v2 = 2vl + 38.

Thus, vl = 1. Now counting flags (R, g), g a 5-line, yields the contradiction 4b5 = 54.

Assume n = 18. Every point P is one of five point types: (2, 2,3,6,6,6,6),

(2,2,4,5,6,6,6), (2,3,3,5,6,6,6), (2,2,5,5,5,6,6) or (2,3,5,5,5,5,6).
If P is of type (2,2,4,5,6, 6,6) with PQ the 4-line, then Q is on exactly one

4-line and at most two 6-lines. None of the point types satisfy these conditions.

If P is of type (2,3,3,5,6,6,6) with PQ a 3-line, then Q is on exactly one

3-line, at most four lines of strength 5 or 6 and at most two 6-lines. None of the

four remaining point types satisfy these conditions.

Let P be of type (2,2, 3,6,6,6, 6) with PQ the 3-line and PR a 6-line. Q lies

on exactly one 3-line and at most two 6-lines; Q must be of type (2,3,5, 5, 5,5,6).

R is on no 3-lines. Thus, b3 = 1. Reconsider Q of type (2,3,5,5,5,5,6) with QA
the 2-line. Since there is only one 3-line and A does not lie on it, A lies on eighteen
2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.








23 -
If P is of type (2,3,5,5,5,5,6) with PQ the 3-line, then point Q lies on at
most four lines of strength 4 or greater. Neither of the two remaining point types

satisfy these conditions.
Hence, all eighteen points P are of type (2, 2, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6). Counting flags (P, g),

g a 6-line, reveals the contradiction 5b6 = 36.
Assume n = 17. Every P is of one of nine types: (2, 2, 2, 6, 6, 6, 6), (2, 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6),

(2,2,4,4,6,6,6), (2,3,3,4,6,6,6), (2,2,4,5,5,6,6), (2,3,3,5,5,6,6), (2,4,4,4,4,6,6),
(2, 2,5, 5, 5, 5, 6) or (2,4,4,4, 5, 5, 6).
If P is of type (2,2,3,5,6,6,6) with PQ the 3-line, then Q lies on exactly one

3-line and at most two 6-lines. No point type satisfies these conditions.
If P is of type (2,2,2,6,6,6,6) with Q 5 P, then Q lies on exactly one 6-line
and at most four secants of strength 5 or 6; Q must be of type (2, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6). Let
R be such that st(QR)=4. R can not lie on a 5-line and, hence, is neither of type

(2,2,2,6,6,6,6) nor (2,4,4,4,5,5,6), a contradiction.
If P is of type (2,3,3,4,6,6,6) with PQ a 3-line, then Q lies on exactly one
3-line. None of the remaining seven point types satisfy this condition.

If P is of type (2,4,4,4,4,6,6) with Q # P, then Q does not lie on a 5-line;
Q is either of type (2,2,4,4,6,6,6) or (2,4,4,4,4,6,6). Denote by vj and v2 the

number of points of each type, respectively. Now count:

17 = vl + v2

5b6 = 3vl + 2v2 = vj + 34

3b4 = 2v1 + 4v2 = 34 + 2v2.


As is easily verified, either vi = 1 and v2 = 16, or vl = 16 and v2 = 1. In either

case, v1 > 1. If Q is of type (2, 2, 4, 4, 6, 6, 6) with QR a 4-line, then R lies on at

most two 6-lines. Thus, v2 > 4. Or, vl = 1 and v2 = 16. Thus, b6 = 7. Now, let








24 -

Q be a point of type (2,2,4,4,6,6,6) with QB a 4-line. Without loss of generality,

assume PQ is a 6-line and PB a 4-line. Let R and T be the points on PB not

equal to P. Clearly, B is on no 6-lines. Hence, each of the seven 6-lines intersect

PB at P, R or T. Thus, either P, R or T lies on three 6-lines. Thus, vi > 2, a

contradiction. Thus, there are no points of type (2,4,4,4,4,6,6).

Let P be of type (2, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6) with PQ a 5-line. Q lies on exactly one 5-line.

None of the remaining five point types satisfy this condition.

If P is of type (2,2,4,4,6,6,6) with PQ a 4-line, then Q is on no 3-lines, at

most three lines of strength 5 or 6 and at most two 6-lines. None of the remaining

four point types satisfy these conditions.

If P is of type (2,2,5,5,5,5,6) with Q 5 P, then Q does not lie on a 4-line.

Hence, Q is either of type (2,2,5,5,5,5,6) or (2,3,3,5,5,6,6). Denote by vi and v2

the number of points of each type, respectively. Now count:

17 = vi + v2

5b6 = 17 + v2

4b5 = 2vl + 34

b4 = 0

2b3 = 2v2

b2 =v + 17.


As is easily verified, vi = 9 and v2 = 8. Thus, b6 = 5, b5 = 13, b4 = 0, b3 = 8

and b2 = 26. So, the total number of secants b = 53. Let A E S n I be such that

A lies on a 6-line. By Claim 2.15, r(A) = 11. As is easily checked, A is either on

one 7-line, one 6-line, one 5-line and eight 2-lines, or on one 7-line, one 6-line, three

3-lines and six 2-lines. Since A is on exactly one 6-line and b6 = 5, there are at least

thirty 2-lines, a contradiction.








25 -
So, P is either of type (2,2,4,5,5,6,6) or (2,3,3,5,5,6,6). Denote by v1 and v2 the

number of points of each type, respectively. Counting flags (T,g), g a 6-line, yields

the final contradiction 5b6=2v1+2v2=34.

Part 3. Assume 26 < n < 35. Let P be of type a. By Claims 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8,
F(P)< 47. Thus, n < 32. By Bruck-Ryser[12, Corollary 2.4], there is no need to

consider n = 30.

Assume n = 32. Then P is of type (2,3, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7). Let PA be the 2-line.
Then by Lemma 2.2 and Claim 2.11, A must lie on thirty-two 2-lines, a contradiction
of Claim 2.16.

Assume n = 31. P is either of type (2,2, 7, 7, 7,7, 7, 7) or (2,3,6, 7, 7, 7,7,7).
Let P be of type (2, 3,6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7) with PA the 2-line. Then A lies on thirty-one

2-lines, a contradiction. Thus, all points P must be of type (2,2, 7, 7,7,7, 7, 7). But,

if PQ is a 7-line, then Q lies on at most three 7-lines.

Assume n = 29. Then P is one of four types: (2,3,5,6,7,7,7,7), (2,3,6,6,6,7,7,7),

(2,2,5,7,7,7,7,7) or (2,2,6,6,7,7,7,7). If P is either of the first two types with PA the
2-line, then A lies on twenty-nine 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 2.16. Thus, P is
either of type (2,2,5, 7, 7, 7, 7,7) or (2,2,6,6,7, 7, 7, 7). But, if PQ is a 7-line, then

Q lies on at most three 7-lines

Assume n = 28. Then P is one of seven type: (2,3,5,5,7,7,7,7), (2,3,5,6,6,7,7,7),

(2,3,3,7,7,7,7,7), (2,3,6,6,6,6,7,7), (2,2,4,7,7,7,7,7), (2,2,5,6,7,7,7,7) or

(2,2,6,6,6,7,7,7). If P is either of the first two types with PA the 2-line, then A lies
on twenty-eight 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.
If P is of type (2,2,4, 7, 7, 7, 7,7) with PQ the 4-line, then Q lies on at most

two 7-lines. None of the remaining five point types satisfy these conditions.








-26 -
If P is either of type (2, 2, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7) or (2, 2, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 6-line,

then Q lies on at most two 7-lines and no 3-lines. None of the remaining four point

types satisfy these conditions.

Thus, P is either of type (2, 3, 3, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7) or (2, 3, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7). If P is of the
former type with PQ a 7-line, then Q can not lie on a 3-line. Thus, all P must be

of type (2, 3,6,6,6,6, 7, 7). Counting flags (T, g), g a 7-line, yields the contradiction,

6b7 = 56.

Assume n = 27. Then P is one of nine types: (2,3,5,5,6,7,7,7), (2,2,3,7,7,7,7,7),

(2,2,4,6,7,7,7,7), (2,3,3,6,7,7,7,7), (2,2,5,5,7,7,7,7), (2,2,5,6,6,7,7,7), (2,2,6,6,6,6,7,7),

(2,3,5,6,6,6,7,7) or (2,3,6,6,6,6,6,7). If P is the first type with PA the 2-line, then

A is on twenty-seven 2-lines, a contradiction.

If P is either of type (2, 2, 5, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7) or (2, 2, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 7-line,

then Q is on at most three 7-lines, no 5-lines and at most five lines of strength 6 or
7. None of the remaining eight point types satisfy these conditions.

If P is of type (2,2, 3, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 7-line, then Q is on no 3-lines, at
most three 7-lines and at most five lines of strength 6 or 7. None of the remaining
six point types satisfy these conditions.

If P is of type (2,2,4,6, 7, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 7-line, then Q is on no 3-lines and

at most four lines of strength 6 or 7. None of the remaining five point types satisfy

these conditions.

If P is either of types (2,3,5,6, 6, 6, 7, 7) or (2,3,6,6,6,6, 7, 7) with PQ the 3-
line, then Q does not lie on a 6-line. None of the remaining four point types satisfy

these conditions.

Thus, P is either of type (2,2,6,6, 6,6, 7, 7) or (2, 3,3,6, 7, 7,7, 7). If P is of the
later type with PQ a 3-line, then Q is on exactly one 3-line. Hence, all points P








27 -
are of type (2,2,6,6,6,6,7,7). Counting flags (T,g), g a 6-line, yields the final

contradiction, 5b6 = 108.

Assume n = 26. P is one of twelve types: (2,2,2,7,7,7,7,7), (2,2,3,6,7,7,7,7),

(2,2,4,5,7,7,7,7), (2,3,3,5,7,7,7,7), (2,2,4,6,6,7,7,7), (2,3,3,6,6,7,7,7), (2,2,5,5,6,7,7,7),

(2,3,5,5,5,7,7,7), (2,2,5,6,6,6,7,7), (2,3,5,5,6,6,7,7), (2,2,6,6,6,6,6,7) or (2,3,5,6,6,6,6,7).

If P is of type (2,2,2, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 7-line, then Q lies on exactly one

7-line, no 3-lines and at most three 6-lines. None of the point types satisfy these
conditions.

If P is of type (2,2,3,6, 7, 7, 7, 7), (2, 3,3,5, 7, 7, 7, 7) or (2,3,3,6,6, 7, 7, 7) with

PQ a 3-line, then Q lies on exactly one 3-line, at most two 7-lines and no 5-lines.

None of the remaining eleven point types satisfy these conditions.

If P is either of type (2, 2, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7) or (2, 2, 4, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 4-line,
then Q lies on exactly one 4-line and at most two 7-lines. None of remaining eight

point types satisfy these conditions.

If P is either of type (2, 2, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7) or (2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7) with PQ a 6-line,

then Q lies on at most two 7-lines and at most five lines with strength 5 or more.

None of the remaining six point types satisfy these conditions.

If P is of type (2,2,5, 5,6, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 5-line, then Q lies on exactly one
5-line and no 3-lines. None of the remaining four point types satisfy these conditions.

If P is either of type (2, 3, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7) or (2, 3, 5, 5, 5, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 5-line,

then Q lies on exactly one 5-line. None of the remaining three point types satisfy

these conditions.

Hence, all twenty-six points P are of type (2,2,6,6,6,6,6, 7). Counting flags

(T, g), g a 7-line, yields the final contradiction, 6b7 = 26.


This completes the proof of Theorem 2.9.















CHAPTER 4


A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART III


In Chapters 4 and 5, we extend by one the lower bound on the cardinality of
blocking sets of R6dei type of finite projective planes of certain non-square orders.

In Chapters 2 and 3, Claim 2.11 afforded us a certain luxury. We knew that there
exists a unique i-line of maximal strength. We begin by proving a result similar to
Claim 2.11. The purpose of Chapter 4 is to prove the following theorem.

THEOREM 4.1. Let 1 be a finite projective plane of non-square order n = t2 e,
t > 9 and 1 < e < 2t 2. Let S be a blocking set of II of Ridei type with

I S J= n + t + 3. Then there exists an unique line 1 of II such that I n S = t + 3.

The proof of Theorem 4.1 will be by way of contradiction. So, assume the
existence of at least two secants of strength t + 3.

Remember that the notation and terminology used in Chapters 2 and 3 will
also be used in Chapters 4 and 5.

CLAIM 4.2. Let g be an i-line with 2 < i < t + 2. If there exists a triangle of
(t + 3) lines, or if all (t + 3) lines are incident with a common point on g, then
2 < i <6 and j L(g*) |= (t + 2)(t+ 3- i).

PROOF: Let I be an (t + 3)-line and P = g n 1. Through each of the t + 2 points Q E

(Sn l)\ {P} there are exactly t +3-i secants h E L(g*). Every secant h E L(g*) in-
tersects 1 at a point Q E (Snl)\{P}. Thus, I L(g*) I = (t+2)(t+3-i). Using Lemma

2.8 it is easy to complete the proof. Q.E.D.


- 28 -








- 29 -


PROOF OF THEOREM 4.1:

Case 1. Assume there exists a triangle of (t + 3)-lines with point P one of
the vertices. By Lemmas 2.2 and 2.4, P lies on exactly t + 3 secants and F(P) <
t2+2t+4. Since t2+2t+4 < (t+3)(t+3), P lies on an i-lineg for some 2 < i < t+2.

Claim 4.2 implies that i < 6. Let X be a point on g but not in S. Since t 3 > 6,
there are no j-lines through X with j > t 3. Lemma 2.5 implies that point X lies
on at least three secants. Thus, (t + 2)(t + 3 i) =1 L(g*) 1> 2(n + 1 i). But, as
is easily checked, this is false if t > 9 and i < 6. Therefore, there does not exist a
triangle of (t + 3)-lines.

Case 2. All (t + 3)-lines pass through a common point P. Let 6 equal the
number of (t + 3)-lines and let I represent one of them.

Suppose the existence of an (t + $/)-line h for some / with I 3 I< 2. Since
t > 9, Claim 4.2 implies that the secant h does not pass through P. Let T represent
the subset of points of S that are not on h or any of the (t + 3)-lines; I T 1=
n 6(t+ 1) + 2 p. Set Q = h n 1. Choose any one of the n +1 -t f points X on
h yet not in S. By Lemma 2.5, X is either of type (4 /, t + P) or lies on at least
three secants. There are at most




n b(t + 1) + 2 ,
:3-


points X E h\S of type (4-/, t+/) such that the (4-/p)-line through X also passes
through P. Thus, there are at least (n+1 -t-3-)--' secants of L(h*) that intersect I
at points in S\{P, Q}. There are exactly (t+1)(3-0) secants in L(h*) that intersect
I at points in S \ {P, Q}. Thus, it must be that (t + 1)(3 8) > (n t + 1) 7.








30 -
Then the following inequalities must be valid:


(t + 1)(3 /)2 > (n t + 1)(3 /) n + (t + 1) 2 +

() (t + 1)(3- /)2 > n(2-/3)- (t +/- 1)(3 )+6(t +1) 2 +

(t + 1)(3 3)2 > (t2 2t + 2)(2 ) (t + 1)(3 /) + 2t + /

0 > (t2 (7 #)t 1)(2 /).


Thus, if 3 < 2, then 7 / > t2 1. This contradiction proves that there do not
exist secants h with t 2 < st(h) < t + 1.
If p = 2, then inequality (*) yields (2 6)(t + 1) > 0. Hence, 6 = 2 and
I T = n 2t 2. Every point in (1 n S) \ {P, Q} lies on exactly one line of L(h*).
Thus, I L(h*) I is the sum of t + 1 and the number e of lines of L(h*) through P.
Every point X in h \ S is of type (2, t + 2), so


n t 1 = h* =1 L(h*) I= t + 1 + .


Hence, e = n 2t 2 =1 7T Thus, if there exists a (t + 2)-line, then P lies on two
(t + 3)-lines, n t 2 secants of strength 2 and no other secants.
Still under the supposition that there is a (t + 2)-line h, let g represent an i-line
not through P with 2 < i < t 3. Let V be the subset of points of S that are not on
g or the two (t + 3)-lines; I V |= n t i. If X E g \ S, then X is either on a 2-line
or a tangent through P. There are exactly n t i points X E g \ S each lying on a
2-line through P and, since (t 3) + 2 2 < t + 2, Lemma 2.5 implies that each such
X lies on at least three secants, one of which does not pass through P and is not g.
The t + 1 points X E g \ S each lying on a tangent through P each lies on at least
one secant not through P and not g. Thus, there are at least n + 1 i secants in








31 -

L(g*) not passing through P. There are exactly (t+1)(t+3-i) secants in L(g*) not
passing through P. It is straightforward to verify that n + 1 i > (t + 1)(t + 3 i)

for i > 7. Hence, 2 < i < 6. If 3 < i < 6, then Lemma 2.5 implies that each of
the t + 1 points X E g \ S lying on a tangent through P lies on at least two secants

not through P which are not g. Again, it is straightforward to convince oneself that

(n t -i)+ 2(t + 1) > (t + 1)(t+ 3- i) for i > 5. So, 2 < i < 4. One last application
of Lemma 2.5 shows that each of the t + 1 points X E g \ S lying on a tangent

through P lies on at least three secants not through P which are not g, and each

of the n t i points X E g \ S lying on a 2-line through P lies on at least three
secants not through P which are not g. But, 3(n + 1 i) > (t + 1)(t + 3 i) for

i > 3. Therefore, if there exists a (t + 2)-line, then all secants not through P are
either 2-lines or (t + 2)-lines. Let P0 E I n S \ {P}. Then P0 lies on either t 2 or
t 3 lines of strength t + 2. This implies the existence of a secant f not through P

with 3 < st(f) < t + 1, a contradiction.
Therefore, there are no (t + 2)-lines.
To complete the proof of the theorem, let g be an i-line through P with 2 <
i < 6. As there are no secants h such that t 2 < st(h) < t + 2, Lemma 2.5 implies

that each of the n 1 + i points X E S \ I lies on at least three secants. Thus, we

must have that (t + 2)(t + 3 i) =1 L(g*) 1> 2(n + 1 i). As is easily verified,
this is not true for t > 9. Thus, P lies only on secants of strength t + 3. Thus,
6(t + 2) + 1 = n + t + 3. As is easily verified, 6 = t 2 or t 1. Since every secant
intersects with every (t + 3)-line at a point in S, there exist 6-lines. But, as shown,

there do not exist (t + /)-lines with /3 1< 2.


Q.E.D.















CHAPTER 5


A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART IV


The purpose of Chapter 5 is to prove the following theorem.

THEOREM 5.1. Let II be a projective plane of non-square order n = t2 e, t > 12

and 1 < e < t. Let S be a blocking set of I of Redei type. Then, I S I> n + t + 4.

By Theorem 2.9, I S 1 n + t + 3. Hence, we will assume I S I= n + t + 3 and
derive a contradiction. By Theorem 4.1, there exists an unique (t + 3)-line which

will be denoted as 1. Note that by Lemma 2.4, if P E S \ 1, then t2 + t + 5 <

F(P)< t2 + 2t + 4.

CLAIM 5.2. Let A be a point in S and on 1. Then A cannot lie on n secants of
strength 2.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that A does lie on n secants of strength

2. Then the set S \ {A} is a blocking set of R6dei type of cardinality n + t + 2, a
contradiction to Theorem 2.9.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 5.3. Each point P E S \ 1 lies on a secant of strength t 1 or more.

PROOF: Assume not. Then,


t2 +t +5 < F(P) (t+ 3)(t- 2) = t2 + t- 6.


Q.E.D.








33 -

Lemma 2.6 and Claim 5.3 imply that each point P E S \ I lies on a secant of

strength 5 or less.

CLAIM 5.4. Each point P E S \ 1 lies on a secant of strength t or more.

PROOF: Assume not and let P be of type a with at+3 = t 1. Since al < 5,


t2 +t +5 < F(P) < (t + 2)(t- 1) + 5 = t2 +t 3.


Q.E.D.

Lemma 2.6 now implies that every P E S \ I lies on a secant of strength 4 or
less.

CLAIM 5.5. Let P E S \ 1 be a point of type a. If at+3 = t, then al = 2.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P E S\ I is of type a with at+3 = t

and al 2 3. Let Q E S \ 1 be such that PQ = l1. By Claim 5.4, there exists a

secant g through Q of strength at least t. Since


t2 + 3 x 4

a3 > 5. Since a3 > 5 and al > 3, secant g intersects with each of the t + 3 secants
through P at a point in S, a contradiction.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 5.6. Let P E S \ I be a point of type a. Then at+4-i > t + 5 i for

at+3 t + 5 < i < 2t at+3.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that at+4-i < t+5-i for some i. Define

the constant 7 by at+3 = t + 7. By Claim 5.4, y=0, 1 or 2. Thus,

F(P) < (i 1)(t + 7) + (t + 3 i)(t + 4 i) + al =

= i2 i(t + 7 ) + t2 + 6t + 12 y + al.








-34 -
If + 5 < i < t -, this inequality yields the contradiction F(P) < t2 + t + 5.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 5.7. Each point P E S \ l lies on a secant of strength t + 1 or t + 2.

PROOF: Assume not and let P be of type a with at+3 = t. By Claim 5.5, ai=2.
Since

(t+ 1)t + 2 2 = t2 +t +4
one can choose point Q E S \ I of type / such that PQ = 12. Claim 5.6 implies that
Q does not lie on a secant g 0 12 with 5 < st(g) < t. Since


t2+2 x 3+2 =t2+8 < t2+t + 5,


ac3 > 4 and, hence, Q does not lie on a secant g 5 12 of strength t + 1. That is, Q
lies only on secants g # 12 with st(g) = 2, 3, 4 or t + 2. Since


(t- 3)(t + 2) + 5 x 4 + a2 = t2 t + 14 + a2

Q lies on at least t 2 secants of strength t + 2. This implies that a3 > t 1.
Suppose a3 = t. If Q lies on fewer than t 1 secants of strength t + 2, then Q
lies necessarily on at least rt[L] > 5 secants h 12 of strength at most 4. Hence,
Q lies on at least (t 2) + 5 + 1 = t + 4 secants, a contradiction. Therefore, Q lies
on exactly t 1 secants of strength t + 2. Computing one gets,


F(P) = (t + 1)t + a2 + 2 = 2 + t + a + 2


and


F(Q) = (t- 1)(t +2)+ 4 + /3 + /2 +/ = t2 + t- 2 + 34 + /3 + 32+ 81.








35 -
Or, a2 + 4 = /4 + /3 + ?2 + i1. Since a2 equals /j for some 1 < j < 4, we have a
contradiction. So, a3 5 t.

Suppose a3 = t-1. It is straightforward to show that a2 > 4. Choose R E S\l
such that PR=lt+3 and st(QR) = t + 2. As a3 = t 1, point R can lie on at most
t 2 secants of strength t + 2. Since a2 > 4 and a3 = t 1, point R lies only on
secants g # h1+3 with st(g) = 2, 3, 4, 5 or t + 2. Since Q lies on t 2 > 6 secants of
strength t + 2, all secants h with st(h) = 3, 4 or 5 must pass through Q. Thus, R
lies only on secants g 0 1t+3 with st(g) = 2 or t + 2. Thus,


t2 +t + 5 < F(R) < (t-2)(t +2)+t +4 x 2 t2+t +4,


a contradiction.

Q.E.D.
Lemma 2.6 now implies that every point P E S \ I lies on a secant of strength
2 or 3.

CLAIM 5.8. Let P E S \ 1 be of type a. Then c4 > 3.

PROOF: Assume not and let P E S \ l be of type a with 4 = 2. Let Q E S \ l be
of type # such that PQ = 16. It is easily shown that a5 = t + 1 or t + 2 and that P
lies on at least t 2 secants of strength t + 2. Thus, Q lies only on secants g $ 16
with st(g)=2, t 1 or t. If Q lies on fewer than t + 1 secants g 0 16 with st(g) > 2,
then

t2 + t + 5 < F(Q) < 4t + (t 4)(t 1) + a +2 x 2=

= t2 + 10.

Thus, Q lies on one (t + 2)-line, one 2-line and t + 1 secants of strength t or t 1.
Choose an R E S \ I different from Q such that PR = 16. Clearly, R must also lie








36 -

on t + 1 secants of strength t or t 1. But, #2 > t 1 and Lemma 2.2 imply that
R can not lie on a secant of strength t or t 1, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.

CLAIM 5.9. Let P E S \ I be of type a. Then a3 > 3.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there is a point P E S \ I of type
a such that a3 = 2. By Claim 5.8, there is a point Q E S \ I of type 3 such
that PQ = 14. Claim 5.6 implies that Q does not lie on a secant g 9 14 with
7 < st(g) < t 2. Since


(t -2)(t+ 2)+2 x5 +3 x 2 =t2 +12

a5 > 6 and, hence, Q does not lie on a secant g 14 of strength t 1. Since


5(t + 2)+ (t 6)(t 1) + 4 + 3 x 2 = t2 2t + 22 +a4 < t2 t + 5,


at-2 2 t and, hence, Q does not lie on a secant g / 14 of strength 5 or 6. Thus,
Q does not lie on any secants g # 14 with 5 < st(g) < t 1. Since a3 = 2, any
(t + 2)-line must pass through P. Thus,


t2 + t + 5 < F(Q) < 3(t + 1) + (a5 4)t + 4 + (t + 3 a5)4 =


= a5(t 4) + 3t + 15 + a4,

so a5 > t + 1.

Suppose a5 = t + 2. Then Q lies only on secants g 5 14 with st(g) = 2, t or
t+1. Also, note that a5 = t +2 implies the non-existence of 3-lines or 4-lines, except








37-
for possibly 14. If Q were to lie on fewer than t + 1 secants g $ 14 with st(g) > t,
then Q would necessarily lie on at least t 1 secants of strength 2 and, hence, as is
easily shown, F(Q) < + t + 5. Thus, Q lies on t + 1 secants g 0 14 of strength t or
t + 1, secant 14 and one 2-line. Let A E S n I be such that st(QA) = 2. As A is not
on 14, there are no 3-lines or 4-lines through A. As 82 > 3 and 83 > t, there are no
secants g through A with 5 < st(g) < t + 2. Thus, A lies on n secants of strength
2, a contradiction of Claim 5.2. So, 05 $ t + 2. Thus, a5 = t + 1.
Then Q lies only on secants g # 14 for which st(g) = 2, 3, t or t + 1, and there
are no 4-lines with the possible exception of 14. The equality a5 = t + 1 implies
that there are at least two secants h : 14 through Q of strength 2 or 3. If Q lies on
fewer that t secants g # 14 with st(g) > t, then Q must lie on at least [Ft1 > 6
secants h 0 14 of strength 2 or 3 and, hence, as is easily shown, F(Q) < t2 + t + 5.
Thus, Q lies on t secants g 5 14 with st(g) = t or t + 1, secant 14 and two secants of
strengths 2 or 3. Thus,


t2 + t + 5 < F(Q) < 3(t + 1) + (t 3)t + 6 + 4= t2 + 9 + r4,


so a4 > t 4 > 5.
Let R E S\l be of type 7 such that R 14. Since a5 = t+1 and c4 > t-4 > 5,
point R lies only on secants g # PR such that st(g) = 2, 3, t or t + 1. If R lies
on fewer than t secants g # PR with st(g) > t, then R necessarily lies on at least

[rf > 5 secants h $ PR of strength 2 or 3 and, thus, F(R) < t2 + t + 5. By the
contradiction, a4 = t + 1. Thus, Q lies on t + 1 secants of strength t or t + 1. As Q
lies on at most four (t + l)-lines, one has that /3 = t. Choose U E S \ 1 such that
st(QU) = t. Since /3 = t, U lies only on secants g $ QU for which st(g) = 2, 3, 4,








38-

t + 1 or t + 2. Since a3 = 2, U lies on at most one (t + 2)-line and at most four

secants of strength t + 1 or t + 2. Thus,


F(U) < (t + 2) + 3(t + 1) + t + (t 3)4 + 3 = 9t 4 < t2 + t + 5.


So, a5 t + 1.

This contradiction completes the proof of Claim 5.9.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 5.10. Let P E S \ l be of type a. Then al + a2 > 6.

PROOF: By way of contradiction, assume the existence of a point P of type a with

al + a2 < 5.
By Claim 5.9, there exists a point Q E S \ I of type / such that PQ = 13.
Claim 5.6 implies that Q does not lie on a secant g 13 with 7 < st(g) < t 2.
Since

(t- 2)(t + 2) + 3 x 5 + a + 2 t2 + 16 < t2 + t + 5,

a5 > 6 and, hence, all secants g 9 13 through Q of strength t 1 or more intersect

with 15 at points of S. Thus, Q does not lie on a secant g 3 l3 of strength t 1. As


4(t + 2) + (t 3)(t 1) + 5 = t2 + 16 < t2 + t + 5


and

5(t + 2) + (t 4)(t- 2) + 5= t2 t + 23
at_1 > t and at-2 > t 1, respectively. Hence, Q also does not lie on secants g $ 13

of strengths 5 or 6. Thus, Q does not lie on a secant g 0 13 with 5 < st(g) < t 1.








39 -
Note that al +a2 5 implies that Q lies on at most two (t+2)-lines. (If st(13) = t+2,
then F(P) > t2 + 2t + 4.) Thus,


t2 + t + 5 < F(Q) < 2(t + 2) + (a5 3)(t + 1) + (t + 3 a5)4 + 3 =


= ag(t 3) + 3t + 13 + a3.

So, a5 > t. Note that if a5 = t, then a3 > t 8 > 4, and since Q lies on a secant
of strength less than 4, one has


t2 +t + 5 < F(Q) < 2(t + 2) + (t 3)(t +1)+2 x 4+a3 + 3=


= t2 + 12 + a3.

So, if a5 = t, then a3 > t 7 > 5.
Suppose a5 = t + 2. Except for possibly 12,13 and 14, there are no 3-lines or
4-lines. Thus, Q lies only on secants g # 13 with st(g) = 2, t, t + 1 or t + 2. If Q
lies on fewer than t + 1 secants g # 13 with st(g) > t, then Q necessarily lies on at
least t 1 secants of strength 2 and, hence, F(Q) < t2 + t + 5. So, Q lies on t + 1
secants g 4 13 with st(g) > t. If a4 > 5, then these t + 1 secants g # 13 would each
intersect 14 at a point of S, implying that a4 = t + 2. But, a4 = t + 2 implies that
F(P) > t2 + 2t + 4, a contradiction. So, if a5 = t + 2, then a4 < 4.
Let R E S \ I be such that PR = 15. Point R lies only on secants of strengths
2, t 1, t, t + 1 or t + 2. If R does not lie on an (t 1)-line, then since a4 < 4 one
has that


F(R) < 3(t + 2) + (t + 1)+t +(t- 2)2= 7t + 3







40 -
Let g be a (t 1)-line. There are n t 2 points X E g \ S such that X 0 lj,

j = 1,..., t + 3. Since there are no 5-lines and all 3-lines and 4-lines pass through
P, Lemma 2.5 implies that each of the points X is of type (2,2, 2,2, t 1). Since
4(n t 2) > 2n, there is some point U E S \ I which lies on at least three 2-lines.
This contradiction of Claim 5.8 implies that a5 : t + 2.
Suppose a5 = t. Remember that a3 > 5. Let R E S \ 1 be of type y with
PR = 14. Together, a5 = t and a3 > 5 imply that R does not lie on a secant

g # 14 with 5 < st(g) < t. If R were to lie on fewer than t 1 secants g # 14 with
st(g) > t + 1, then


F(R) < 2(t + 2) + (t 4)(t + 1) +4 +3 x 4+3 =


= t2 t + 15 + a4 <2 +t+5.

Thus, R lies on exactly t 1 secants g : 14 with st(g) 2 t + 1. Thus, a3 = t. Note
that R must lie on three secants h that are of strength 4 or less. Let U E S \ 1 be
such that PU = 14, yet U Z R. Then U as R lies on exactly t 1 secants g = 14
with st(g) > t + 1. Thus,


(73 1) + (72 1) + (71 1) > t 1,


a contradiction since y3 < 4. Thus, a5 7 t and, so a5 = t + 1.
Except for possibly 13 and 14, there are no 4-lines. Thus, Q lies only on secants

g # 13 with strengths 2, 3, t, t +1 or t + 2. This fact and the equality a5 = t +1 imply
that Q lies on at least two secants h 5 13 with strengths 2 or 3. If Q lies on fewer
than t secants g $ 13 with st(g) > t, then Q necessarily lies on at least FtL] 6
secants with strength 3 or less and, hence, as is easily shown, F(Q) < t2 + t + 5. So,








-41-
Q lies on exactly t secants g 5 13 with st(g) > t. If a4 < 4, then Q lies on at most

three secants of strength t + 1 or more and, hence,


F(Q) < 2(t + 2) + (t + 1) + (t 3)t + 10 = t2 + 15

Thus, a4 > 5. By Lemma 2.2, the t secants g 13 through Q of strength t or more
intersect with 14 in points of S. Thus, a4 = t + 1 and Q lies only on secants g 0 13
of strengths 2, 3, t + 1 or t + 2.
Assume, by way of contradiction, the existence of a secant g 0 13 of strength
t. Choose a point R E S \ of type 7 such that R (12 U 13 U g). As a4 = t + 1, R
lies only on secants of strengths 2, 3, t, t + 1 or t + 2. As with Q, point R lies on t

secants h 0 PR of strength t or more. Since st(PR) t + 1, y3 > t. This inequality
yields the contradiction that g meets t + 1 of the secants through R in points of S.
Hence, there are no t-lines, except for possibly 13.
Thus, any point R E S \ I such that R 12 U 13 lies on t +1 secants of strengths
t + 1 or t + 2. This yields the contradiction


t2 + 2t +4 > F(R) > (t+ 1)(t + 1) + 2 x 2= t2 + 2t +5.


Thus, a5 5 t + 1.
Therefore, al + a2 > 6.

Q.E.D.

CLAIM 5.11. There are no 3-lines and no (t + 1)-lines.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there does exist a secant of strength
3. By Claim 5.10, there is a point P E S \ I of type a with c1 = 3. Let Q E S \ I

be such that PQ = 11. Point Q lies on a secant g of strength t + 1 or t + 2. Since








-42 -
ac = 3, all secants of strength t + 2 pass through P. It is clear that a3 = 3, for else

st(g) > t + 3 by Lemma 2.2. If at+3 = t + 2, then the n t 1 points X E t+3 \ S
are each of type (2, t + 2). Thus, one of the n t 1 points in S \ (It+3 U 1) lies
either on two 2-lines or a 2-line and a 3-line, both not possible by Claim 5.10. Thus,

at+3 = t + 1 and there are no secants of strength t + 2. Claim 5.6 now implies that
Q does not lie on secants g l1 such that 6

(t- 2)(t + 2) + 2 x 4 + 9 =t2 + 13

4(t+2) + (t-1)(t+2)+9= t2 t + 21 < t2 + 5

and

3(t + 2) + (t- 3)t 9 = t2 +15
a5 5, at_- > t and at 2 t + 1. Hence, Q also does not lie on a secant g : 11
of strength t, 5 or 4. Thus, Q lies only on secants of strength 3 or t + 1. Thus,
Q must lie on t secants of strength t + 1 and three secants of strength 3. Thus,

a4 = t + 1. Let R E S \ I be of type 7 with PR = 14. Point R lies only on secants
of strength 2, 3, t or t + 1. Also, R lies on at least two secants of strengths 3 or less
since at+3 = t + 1. If R lies on fewer than t secants g # 14 with st(g) > t, then R
must lie on at least [rt-1] 6 secants of strength 2 or 3, which is easily shown to
imply F(R) < t2 + t + 5. Thus, R lies on t + 1 secants of strength t or more. Thus,
either y1 + 72 < 5 or 71 = 72 = 3 and y3 > 3, both of which have been eliminated
as possibilities. Thus, there are no 3-lines.
Since there are no 3-lines, there are no (t + 1)-lines. For otherwise, if g is a
(t+ 1)-line, then the n -t points X E g\S are each of type (2, 2, t+1) and, thus, one
of the n -t points P E S\ (U g) lies on at least two 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim
5.10. Q.E.D.








43 -
CLAIM 5.12. Let P E S \ I be of type a. Then, a2 > 7.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there is a point P E S \ I of type a
with a2 = 4, 5 or 6. By Claims 5.7 and 5.11, al = 2. Let A E S n 1 be such that
PA = 11. Let Q E S \ I be of type / such that PQ = 12. Claim 5.6 implies that Q
does not lie on a secant g # 12 with 7 < st(g) < t 2. Since


5(t + 2) + (t 4)(t 2) + 8 = t2 t + 26 < t2 + t + 5,


at-2 > t 1 and, hence, Q does not lie on a 6-line g l12. Thus, Q lies only on
secants g : 12 of strength 2,4,5, t 1, t or t + 2. (Remember, there are no 3-lines
or (t + 1)-lines.) Computations of F(P) show that arg 7 and a5 > 5. Thus,


t2 + t + 5 < F(Q) < (a6 1)(t + 2) + (t + 2 r6)5 + 2 + 2 =


= a6(t 3) + 4t + 10 + a2.

So ag > t 1.
Suppose ac = t 1. Then Q lies on at most t 2 secants of strength t + 2. If
Q lies on fewer than t 2 secants of strength t + 2, then


F(Q) <(t-3)(t +2) + +3 x5+a2+2=t2-t + 11 + +a 2,


where x = t if r2 = 4, x = t 1 if a2 = 5 and x = 5 if a2 = 6. In any case,
F(Q) < t2 + t + 5. Thus, Q lies on exactly t 2 secants of strength t + 2. A
computation of F(Q) shows that Q lies on at least three 5-lines. Let g = 12 be a
5-line through Q. As a2 > 4, there exists R E (S \ 1) U 12 distinct from P and Q.
The t 2 > 10 secants of strength t + 2 through R must intersect with g at points








44-

of S, clearly a contradiction since st(g)=5. Since there are no (t + 1)-lines, a6 = t

or t + 2.

Suppose a6 = t + 2. Then A does not lie on a secant g with 3 < st(g) < t 2.

Since a2 > 2, A does not lie on an (t + 2)-line. There are no (t + 1)-lines. Assume

the existence of a secant g through A of strength t 1 or t. Since a6 = t + 2, all

4-lines and 5-lines, if any, pass through P. There are no 3-lines. Thus, each of the

points X E g \ S is either of type (2, 2, 2, 2, t 1) or (2, 2, 2, t), respectively. Thus,

P lies on at least four 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 5.8. Thus, point A lies on n
secants of strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 5.2. Thus, a6 Z t + 2, so a6 = t.

Point A lies only on secants g 5 l1 of strength 2, 4, t 1 or t. Assume the

existence of a t-line g through A. Since 05 > 5, a2 = a3 = a4 = 4. Since


4(t + 2) + (t 5)t + 3 x 4 + 2 = 2 -t + 22

there are at least five (t + 2)-lines through P. Thus, all 4-lines pass through P

and each point X g \ S is of type (2,2,2,t). Hence, P lies on four 2-lines, a

contradiction of Claim 5.8.

Assume the existence of a (t 1)-line g through A. Then a5 = 5 and as is

easily shown, there are at least five (t + 2)-lines through P. Thus, all 4-lines pass

through P. Since ag = t, all 5-lines also pass through P. Hence, each of the points

X E g \ S is of type (2, 2, 2, 2, t 1). Hence, P lies on five 2-lines, a contradiction
of Claim 5.8.








45 -

Assume the existence of a 4-line g through A. Then there are at most three

(t + 2)-lines through P. A computation of F(P) shows that a4 > 6. Let R E S \ I

be such that PR = 13. Since a4 > 6,


t2 + t + 5 < F(R) < (a2 1)(t + 2) + (t + 2 a2)4 + 03 + 2=



= a2(t 2) + 3t + 8 + a3,

a contradiction since a2 < 6. Thus, A lies on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction

of Claim 5.2.

Therefore, a2 > 7.

Q.E.D.

Therefore, there are no secants of strength 3, 4, 5 or 6.

PROOF OF THEOREM 5.1:

Let P E S \ I be of type a. Then aI = 2 and a2 > 7. Let A E S n I be such

that PA = 11. Claim 5.6 and a2 7 imply that A lies on n secants of strength 2, a

contradiction of Claim 5.2.


Q.E.D.















CHAPTER 6


SMALL BLOCKING SETS OF HERMITIAN DESIGNS, PART I


Motivation for the next two chapters began with a paper by D. Jungnickel
[15]. In his work Jungnickel introduces the idea of a self blocking block design.
Given any block design 2 that admits blocking sets, form the collection C(2) of all
committees of E. (A blocking set of minimum cardinality is called a committee.) If
C(Z) is itself a block design, where the points of C(E) are the points of E and the

blocks of C(E) are the committees of 27, then E is said to be self blocking when the
committees of the block design C(E) are the blocks of E. That is, E is self-blocking
if C(C(E)) = E.

Let q be a prime power, K = GF(q) the finite field of q elements and V a
3-dimensional vector space over K. One can form a finite projective plane H in the
following manner: Let the 1-dimensional subspaces of V be the points of H and the

2-dimensional subspaces of V be the lines of H. As is well known, H is of order

q, is denoted by PG(2, q) and is called the Desarguesian projective plane of order
q. The points of H = PG(2, q) can be represented by homogeneous triples (x, y, z);
that is, (x, y, z) can be thought of as a 1 x 3 matrix where (x, y, z) = (kx, ky, kz) for

all non-zero k E K and x, y and z are not simultaneously zero. The lines of 7 can

be represented by the transpose (a, b, c)t of a homogeneous triple. Then the point
P = (x, y, z) lies on line 1 = (a, b, c)t if and only if ax + by + cz = 0; that is, the

"dot product" is zero. [12, Chapter II]


- 46 -








47 -
In Jungnickel's paper [15] it is shown that for q a prime power, the projective

planes H = PG(2, q2) are self-blocking; the committees of HI are its Baer subplanes.

Inside of H are substructures called Hermitian unitals which are block designs and,

though not committees, are blocking sets. The collection of all Hermitian unitals

forms a block design, call it E. The original motivating question for Chapters 6 and

7 was for which values of q, if any, are the committees of Z the lines of the plane.

In order to address that question we will need the following definitions.

A collineation a of the plane H = PG(2, q), q a prime power, is a map of the

set of points of H onto itself such that point P lies on line 1 if and only if point a(P)

lies on line a(l); that is a preserves incidence. (Here, a(l) denotes the set of points

a(Q), Q a point on 1. It is easily verified that a(l) is a line of I.) Denote by AutH
the group of all collineations of H. The projective subgroup PGL(3, q) of AutH is

the set of all collineations that can be represented by non-singular 3 x 3 matrices

A with entries from the Galois field GF(q). That is, if P = (x, y, z) is a point of

7, then the collineation a represented by A is defined by a(P) = (x, y, z)A. (It
is easy to convince oneself that for non-zero k E K, kA and A represent the same

collineation.) [12, Chapter II]

For positive integer n, a unital is a 2-(n3 + 1, n + 1,1) block design. For odd

prime power q, set H = PG(2, q2). The plane H possesses sub-structures which are

2-(q3 + 1, q + 1, 1) block designs; that is, there are unitals inside H. Let U represent
a unital of H. Each line of H is either tangent to U, intersecting with U in exactly
one point, or is a secant intersecting with U in exactly q+ 1 points [13, Chapter 6.3].
Thus, every unital of H is a blocking set of H. Denote by U(q) the (non-empty)

set of all unitals of H = PG(2, q2), q an odd prime power. The plane 7 admits the

doubly transitive automorphism group G = PGL(3, q2), and G preserves unitals,

that is, elements of G map unitals to unitals. Thus, U(q) is itself a block design








48 -
where its points are the points of H and its blocks are the unitals of H. Call U(q)
the unitals design of H. [12, Theorem 2.49]

A correlation a of a (finite) projective plane f is a map of the set of points of
7 onto the set of lines of f, and vice versa, such that point P lies on line 1 if and
only if point a(l) lies on line a(P). A polarity a is a correlation of order 2; that is,
a2 is the identity collineation. [12, Chapter 11.6]

Let H = PG(2,q2), q an odd prime power. A unitary polarity a of 17 is
a polarity that can be represented by a 3 x 3 non-singular Hermitian matrix H
with entries from F = GF(q2) in the following manner. (The matrix H = (hi),
hij E F, is Hermitian if and only if hij = hq. That is, H = (Hq)t.) The point
P = (x, y, z) is sent by a to the line H(xq, yq, zq)t and the line I = (a, b, c)t is sent
to the point (aq, b, cq)H-l. Point P = (x, y, z) of H is said to be an absolute point
of a if and only if P lies on line a(P); that is, if and only if (x, y, z)H(xq, yq, zq)t =
0. Similarly, line I = (a, b, c)t is said to be an absolute line of a if and only if
(aq bcq)H-l(a, b, c)t = 0. The absolute points and non-absolute lines of a unitary
polarity form a unital U, a 2-(q3 + 1, q + 1, 1) block design. (The absolute lines of
a unitary polarity a are called tangents, because they intersect with U in exactly
one point.) Call such a unital a Hermitian unital and denote by H(q) the set of
all Hermitian unitals of H. Since the projective group G = PGL(3, q3) preserves
(Hermitian) unitals and its unitary subgroup, the subgroup of G that fixes some
Hermitian unital U, has order (q3 + 1)q3(q2 1), it is routine to verify that H(q)
is a block design with parameters v = q4 + q2 + 1, k = q3 + 1 and A = q4(q2 1).
Call H(q) the Hermitian design of H. [12, Chapter II.8]


For the remainder of this chapter, let q denote an odd prime power. Then H
will denote PG(2, q2) and C will denote a committee of H(q). Also, let F be the








49 -

Galois field GF(q2) and K the Galois field GF(q). For real number r, denote the
smallest integer greater than or equal to r by fr].

In Chapter 7 it is shown that for q = 3 the committees of the Hermitian design

H(q) are the lines of H; that is, C(H(3))=7H. Initially it was hoped to extend
this result and show that C(H(q))=nH for all values of q. No progress was made in
this direction. After contacted by my advisor D. Drake, A. Blokhuis demonstrated

that this extension was unattainable. [4] (An outline of Blokhuis' argument will be
given later in this chapter.) So, are there any values of q other than 3 for which

C(H(q))=H? For which values of q is it true that C(H(q)) is not equal to H? In

attempting to answer these questions, a lower and upper bound are found on the

cardinality of a committee C of H(q).

The following definitions and Lemmas 6.1 through 6.5 will be needed to es-

tablish a lower bound on the cardinality of C and to show in Chapter 7 that

C(H(3)) =PG(2,9).

Let V be a vector space over K=GF(q) of dimension 2d. A spread of V is a

set of qd + 1 d-dimensional subspaces V1,..., Vqd+l of V such that V n Vj = {0} for

i # j. [12, Exercise 7.7] The field F=GF(q2) is a 2-dimensional vector space over
K. Since there are exactly q + 1 1-dimensional subspaces of F over K, there is a
unique spread El of F over K.

Let L[a, b] denote the set {x E F I (ax) + ax + b= 0,b E K and 0 : a E F}.

LEMMA 6.1. The collection Z1 := { L[a,0]j a E F,a # 0 } is a spread of F over
K.

PROOF: Since (x + y)q = xq + yq for all x,y E F, and since L[a,0] $ F, L[a,0]

is a 1-dimensional subspace of F over K. The polynomial Xq + X has q 1 non-

zero roots in F. If r is one such root, then given any non-zero c E F, one has








50 -

c E L[rc-1,O]. Clearly, 0 E L[a,0] for all non-zero a E F. Thus, all vectors c E F
lie in some L[a, 0]. As 1-dimensional subspaces are either equal or intersect only at
0, Z1 is a spread of F.
Q.E.D.

The Desarguesian affine plane of order q can be represented as the collection of
costs of the (unique) spread Z1 of F over K. Henceforth, E will denote the affine
plane of order q formed from the costs of 1E.

LEMMA 6.2. Every set L[a, b] is a coset of the subspace L[a, 0] and, hence, a line of
the afine plane Z, and; every coset of L[a, 0] is of the form L[a, b]. Further, lines
L[a,b] and L[c,d] are parallel if and only if ac-1 EK; in particular, L[a,0]=L[c,0]
if and only if ac-1 EK.

PROOF: For any non-zero a E F, the mapping fa from F into K defined by fa(x) =

(ax)q + ax is linear and onto. Thus, there exists c E F such that (ac)q + ac = -b.
(Remember, b E K.) For x E L[a, 0], one has (a(x + c))q + a(x + c) + b= (ax)q +
ax + (ac)q + ac + b = 0+0 = 0. Thus, c + L[a,0] C L[a,b]. If x E L[a,b],
then (a(x c))q + a(x c) = (ax)q + ax (ac)q ac = -b (-b) = 0. Thus,

(x c) E L[a, 0], or L[a, b] C c + L[a, 0]. Hence, L[a, b] = c + L[a, 0], or L[a, b] is a
coset of L[a, 0]. If d + L[a, 0] is a coset of L[a, 0], then it is straightforward to check
that d + L[a, 0] = L[a, b], where -b = (ad)q + ad.
For all non-zero a, the line L[a, 0] contains the point 0. The line L[a, b] is
parallel to the line L[a, 0] for all b. Thus, L[a, b] is parallel to L[c, d] if and only if
L[a, 0] = L[c, 0]. Assume ac-1 E K. Then, (ac-1)q = ac-1. Thus, (cx)q + cx = 0 if
and only if ac-l((cx)q + cx) = 0 if and only if (ax)q + ax = 0. So, L[a, 0] = L[c, 0].








51 -

Assume L[a,0] = L[c,0]. If 0 $ x E L[c,0], then L[c,0] = { ax a E K}. It is

straightforward to verify that ac-1x E L[c, 0], so ac-1 E K.

Q.E.D.

For c and e elements of F, denote by H[c, e] the Hermitian unital represented

by the following matrix.

0 0 c

A= 0 1 e

cq eq eq+1

Since A is non-singular, c is non-zero.

LEMMA 6.3. The point (r,s, 1) of the plane HI is in H[c,e] if and only if c is on the

line L := L[r,f(e,s)], where f(e,s) := (e + sq)q+1; line L contains the point 0 if

and only if e = -sq.

PROOF: The point (r, s, 1) is in H[c, e] if and only if 0 = (cr)q+cr+eq+l + (es)q +

es + sq+l= (cr)q + cr + (e + sq)q+1 if and only if c EL[r, (e + sq)q+l].

Clearly, L contains the point 0 if and only if f(e, s) = 0, if and only if e = -sq.

Q.E.D.


Henceforth, let f(e, s) := (e + sq)q+l

LEMMA 6.4. The lines (0,0,1)t and (1,0,0)t of I are tangent to H[c,e] at the
points (1,0,0) and (0, -e, 1), respectively.

PROOF: If the matrix A represents H[c, e], then the proof is simply a matter of
matrix multiplication once A-1 has been determined. Note that x+l1 + eqxq + ex +
eq+1 equals (x + e)q+1


Q.E.D.








52 -

LEMMA 6.5. [14, Theorem 1', p.257] Let V be a vector space of dimension n over

a finite field K with q elements. Then any covering of the non-zero elements of V

with hyperplanes not containing zero must consist of at least n(q 1) hyperplanes.

We are now in a position to establish a lower bound on the cardinality of a

committee C of H(q).

PROPOSITION 6.6. ICI > 2q + 2 for q > 3.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that ICI 5 2q+ 1. Choose distinct lines g
and h from H that maximize ICn(g U h)l. Thus, ICn (g U h) > 4. Since 2q+ 1 < q2,

there are distinct points P E g and T E h not in C so that the line I = PT has empty

intersection with C. Coordinatize H so that P = (1,0, 0), Q = g n h = (0, 1, 0) and

T = (0,0,1). Denote the i points in C\(gUh) by Rj = (r, sj, 1), 1 < j < i < 2q-3.

Note that for all j, the elements rj and sj are non-zero. Lemma 6.4 implies that

for every c in F, the lines g and h are tangent to the unital H[c, 0] at the points P

and T, respectively. Since sj 0 for all j, Lemma 6.3 implies that none of the j

lines L[rj, f(0, sj)] contains the element 0 of F. Thus, by Lemma 6.5, the i < 2q-3

lines L[rj, f(O, sj)] do not cover the non-zero elements of F. Hence, there exists a

non-zero element c in F such that the unital H[c, 0] has empty intersection with C.

This contradicts the fact that C is a blocking set of H(g).

Q.E.D.

There will now be presented three arguments for upper bounds on the cardinal-

ity of C. The bounds will be successively lower. The last argument is independent of

the first two. The first argument is an outline of the Blokhuis' argument mentioned
earlier.








53 -

LEMMA 6.7. Consider four points in standard position and the six lines joining

them. (That is, there are four distinct points, no three collinear.) Then these six

lines cannot all be tangents of the same Hermitian unital U.

PROOF: Label the four points as (1,0,0), (0, 1,0), (0,0, 1) and (1, 1, 1). This com-

pletely determines the representations of the six lines. If U is represented by the

Hermitian matrix A and 1 = (a, 6, c)t is any one of these six lines, then I is tangent

to U if and only if (a, bq, cq)A-l(a, b, c)t = 0. Simple matrix computations will

show that the six lines can not all be tangents.

Q.E.D.

As is well known, a Baer subplane r of I intersects with each line I of I either

in q + 1 points or in exactly one point.[12, Theorem 3.7] If F intersects with I in

q + 1 points, then F n 1 is called a Baer subline of 1.[16, Definition 1]

LEMMA 6.8. [15, Lemma 2] The lines of H that intersect with a Hermitian unital

in q + 1 points do so in a Baer subline.

Let I be an incidence structure and P a point of I. The internal structure Ip

of I is defined as the set of points of I minus P and the blocks of I that contain P,

where the incidence relation of Ip is that of I.

A 3-(q2 + 1, q +1, 1) design is called an inversive plane of order q. Denote this

design by A(q). The blocks of such designs are called circles. An inversive plane

can be characterized as those (finite) incidence structures I such that the internal

structure Ip is an affine plane for every point P in I.[10, Chapter 6.1]

LEMMA 6.9. [7, Lemma 3.1] The Baer sublines of a line I of H form an inversive

plane.








54 -
Blokhuis then made the following count.

Let A(q) be the inversive plane formed from the Baer sublines of line 1 of II.
Let n be any positive integer and T any collection of n circles of A(q). In two ways
count the ordered pair (T, d), where d represents a circle of A(q) that has disjoint
intersection with every circle of T. It is straightforward to show, see [10, Chapter
6.1], that A(q) contains exactly q3+ q circles and each circle is disjoint from exactly
q(q-1(q-2) circles. If a represents the average number of circles having disjoint

intersection with every circle in T, then one gets the following.


= (q3 + q) (3 3q2 + 2q ( 1)n


Clearly, a < (q3 + q)2-n. That is, if n > log2(q3 + q), then a < 1. Hence,
there exists a hitting set of A(q) with at most ( := (q + 1)([log2(q3 + q)]) points.
Lemma 6.7 now implies that there exists a blocking set of H(q) that contains at
most 6/ points. Thus, 63 is an upper bound on the cardinality of C. Since 6/ is
approximately 18q log2 q, and since it is clear that 18q log2(q) < q2 + 1 for large
enough q, for at least these large enough values of q, C(H(q)) / II.


This completes the outline of Blokhuis' argument. The second argument con-
sists of two minor improvements to Blokhuis' argument.

LEMMA 6.10. Given that 6 is a primitive root of F = GF(q2), the four concurrent
lines (1,0, 0)t, (0,1, 0)t, (1, 1, 0)t and (6, 1, 0)t can not all be tangent to the same
Hermitian unital U.

PRooF: Let U be represented by the Hermitian matrix A. The inverse A-1 of A is
also Hermitian. Set A-1 = (aij). Assume by way of contradiction that the four lines
are tangent to U. Simple computations show that all = 0, a22 = 0, a12 = -a21








55 -

and a21(b 6q) = 0. If a21 = 0, then A-1 is singular. If 6 8q = 0, then 6 is not

primitive. In either case there is a contradiction.

Q.E.D.

For any line I of H, let A(q) be the inversive plane formed from the Baer sublines

of 1. Call any set of q + 1 distinct points of A(q) a pseudo- circle. Let n be positive

integer and T be a collection of n pseudo-circles. In two ways count (T, d), where

d represents a circle having disjoint intersection with each of the pseudo-circles of

T. If a represents the average number of circles having disjoint intersection with

every pseudo-circle of T, then the following is true.



a = (q3 +q) x +1
( (2+1))n

Define R as follows.


R q+1
(q+1

Then there exists a hitting set of A(q) containing at most e := (q + 1)n + [aL

points. (Here, [aj denotes the greatest integer less than or equal to a.) Lemma 6.10

now implies that there exists a blocking set of H(q) containing at most 4e points.

Thus, 4e is an upper bound on the cardinality of C. It is easily seen that 4c < 63,

so that this is a smaller upper bound.

If one chooses integer n = [- logR(q3 + q)], then one has a < 1. It is now

straightforward to verify that 4((q + 1)( [- logR(q3 + q)]) < q2 + 1 for q > 47. Thus,

C(H(q)) can not equal H for q > 47. In fact, by carefully choosing n, it can be
shown that C(H(q)) can not equal H for q > 25.

This completes the second argument.








56 -
The third and sharpest argument begins with another personal communication
from A. Blokhuis. In his communication Blokhuis credits T. Szonyi for pointing out
the survey paper by Z. Furedi from which the following lemma by L. Lovasz was
taken. [11]

LEMMA 6.11. [11, Corollary 6.29] Let G be a hypergraph and denote its maximum
degree by r. If 7 represents the covering number of G and r* represents the fractional
covering number of G, then r < (1 + + ... + )r* < (1 + log(r))7*.

A hypergraph G is just an incidence structure where the points are called
vertices and the blocks are called edges. The hypergraph to which this lemma will
be applied is the design H(q). The number r equals the maximum degree of a vertex
(point) in G; that is, if r(p) denotes the number of edges (blocks) passing through
vertex (point) p, then r := max r(p), the maximum taken over all vertices p of G.
All points of H(q) have the same degree. The covering number 7 is the minimum
cardinality of a hitting set of G. To define r*, the fractional covering number of
G, start by letting t represent any real valued function defined on the set of vertices
(points) of G such that t(p) > 0 for all points p in G and the sum Et(p), taken over
all points in edge (block) E, is greater than or equal to 1 for all edges (blocks) E in
G. If Itl := Et(p), the sum taken over all points p in G, then the fractional covering
number 7* := minltJ, taken over all t.

PROPOSITION 6.12. |Cl < r((q4 + q2 + 1)(q3 + 1)-1)(1 + log(q7 q3))] for q > 5.

PROOF: Set 7 = (q4 + q2 + 1)(3 + 1)-1). Recall that the block design H(q) has
parameters v = q4 + 2 + 1, k = q3 + 1 and A = q4(q2 1). It is straightforward to
verify that each point has degree r = q7 q3. Define the constant function t on the
v points of H(q) by t(p) = where p is a point of H(q). Then 7* < Itl = = 7.








57 -
By Lemma 6.11, there is a hitting set S of H(q) with at most b := [7(1 + logr)]
points. Since 6 < q3 + 1 for q 2 5, S is actually a blocking set of H(q) for q > 5.

Q.E.D.

It is easily verified that 6 < q2 + 1 for q 2 25. It is just as easy to verify that
for q = 23, [(1 + +... + )7] < 232 + 1. Hence, by Lemma 6.11, there are blocking

sets of the block design H(q) with fewer than q2 + 1 points for q 2 23. Thus, for
q 2 23, C(H(q)) # II.















CHAPTER 7


SMALL BLOCKING SETS OF HERMITIAN DESIGNS, PART II


In Chapter 6 it was shown that C(H(q)) 0 PG(2, q2) for q an odd prime power

greater than or equal to 23. In this chapter we prove the following.

THEOREM 7.1. C(H(3))= PG(2,9).

The notation and terminology employed in Chapter 6 will also be used here.

Define F:=GF(9) as the polynomial ring GF(3)[X] modulo the ideal generated

by the irreducible polynomial X2 + 1. The polynomial X + 1 is a primitive root of

F. Set = X + 1.

Let C be a committee of the block design H(3). Since every line 1 of H =

PG(2, 9) intersects with every unital U of 7, and as 1 does not contain a unital U,

it is clear that C contains at most 10 points. If C contained fewer than 10 points,

then clearly there would exist a blocking set B of H(3) with exactly 10 points such

that the 10 points are not linear. So, we will assume that B is a blocking set of

H(3) with exactly 10 points, the 10 points not collinear. It will be shown that such

a blocking set B can not exist. Hence, it will follow that the committees of H(3)

are the lines of H.


LEMMA 7.2. For any line g of H, g n AB < 8.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that Ig n BI = 9. Let P be the point on

g not in B, Q any point on g in B and T the point in B not on g. Coordinatize

58-








59-
H such that P = (1,0,0), Q = (0,1,0) and T = (0,0,1). Then for any 0 e EF,

Lemma 6.5 implies that the unital U[c, e] is disjoint from B, a contradiction.

Q.E.D.

LEMMA 7.3. Given distinct lines g and h of H, |(g U h) n BJ < 5.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there are two distinct lines g and
h such that n := |(g U h) n B\ > 6, where n is maximum in the sense that n >

I(gl U hl) n 81 for any pair of distinct lines gl and hl. Without loss of generality
assume Ig n Bi > Ih n BI and set Q = g n h.

If n = 10, then by Lemma 7.2 one can choose points P on g and T on h not

equal to Q and not in B. Coordinatize H so that P = (1,0,0), Q = (0,1,0) and
T = (0, 0, 1). By Lemma 6.4, any unital U[c, 0] has disjoint intersection with B, a
contradiction. Hence, n < 9.

For 1 < i < 10 n, denote by Ri the points in B \ (g U h).

Assume that n > 7. Let P be any point on g not in B. There are 9 lines other
than g passing through P. Since 9 > Ih n BI + (10 n), one can choose a point T on
h so that the line 1 := PT is disjoint from B. Coordinatize H so that P = (1, 0, 0),

Q = (0,1,0), T = (0,0,1) and Ri = (ri, si, 1), 1 < i < 10 n. Since none of the
points Ri lie on the line 1 = (0, 1, 0)t, not only is ri non-zero but so is si for all i.
Thus, none of the lines Li := L[ri, f(O, si)] of the affine plane E contain the point
0. Since n > 7 implies that 10 n < 3 < 4, Lemma 6.5 implies that there exists a
non-zero c E F not covered by the lines Li. Thus, none of the points Ri lie in the
Hermitian unital H[c, 0]. Thus, by Lemma 6.4, H[c, 0] has disjoint intersection with
B, a contradiction. Hence, n = 6.

Since n = 6 implies that igl Bj < 4, and since we are assuming IhnBI < IgnBj,
one can choose points P on g and T on h not in B and not equal to Q such that








60 -

P, T, and R4 are collinear; denote this line by I. Since n is maximum there is at

least one Ri not on 1; without loss of generality assume i = 1. Coordinatize H so

that P = (1,0,0), Q = (0,1,0), T = (0,0,1) and Ri = (ri,si, 1), i = 1,...,4. Note

that sl 5 0 and s4 = 0. For any given e in F, represent the line L[ri, f(e, si)] by

Li, i = 1, ...,4, and define Je = L1 U ... U L4.

By Lemma 6.3, for each of the 5 values of e not equal to 2sM, 2s3, 2s or 0, the

point 0 of E is not contained in any of the lines Li. Thus, for these 5 values of e,

no set of three of these lines Li constitute a parallel class of the affine plane E.

Assume that three or more of the lines Li are in the same parallel class A. Let

e be any of the 5 values not equal to 2s 2s 2s or 0. Then the parallel lines

constitute at most two lines of A since no line Li contains the point 0. Thus, for

each of these 5 values of e, the set Je contains at most 7 points of E. Thus, for each

of these 5 values of e, there is a non-zero value c(e) in F so that the unital U[c(e), e]

does not contain any of the four points Ri. As IhnBJ < 5, Lemma 6.4 implies

that there is a unital U[c, e] which has disjoint intersection with B, a contradiction.

Hence, no three of the lines Li are parallel.

Assume that the four lines Li are pairwise non-parallel. Again, let e be any of

the 5 values not equal to 2s", 2s 2s or 0. If for any of these 5 values of e three

of the four lines Li form a triangle, then the set Je contains at most 7 points of E.

If for any of these 5 values of e the 4 lines are concurrent, then since none of the

lines Li contains the point 0 two of the lines must be equal and, hence, Je again

contains at most 7 points of E. In either case, for each of these 5 values of e there is a

non-zero c(e) in F so that U[c(e), e] contains none of the points Ri. Since IhnBI < 5,

Lemma 6.3 implies the existence of a unital which has disjoint intersection with B,

a contradiction.








61 -
Thus, two of the lines Li are parallel but no third line is in the same parallel

class as these two. Let e = 0. Since the point 0 of E is on L4 and no three of the

lines Li are parallel, the set J0 contains at most 7 non-zero points of E. Thus, there
is a non-zero c(0) in F such that U[c(0), 0] does not contain any of the points Ri.

By Lemma 6.4, U[c(0), 0] has disjoint with B, a contradiction.

Q.E.D.

LEMMA 7.4. Given any line g of I, Ig n BI < 2.

PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that IgnBI > 3. By Lemma 7.3, IgnBI =
3. Label the points in B\g as Ri, i = 1,...,7. Also by Lemma 7.3, there are (7) = 21
distinct lines RiRj, i 0 j. Thus, since 21 > 2 x 10, there is a point QEg such that

Q lies on 3 of these lines RiRj. Without loss of generality assume that R2R3, R4R5

and R6R7 are these lines. Again by Lemma 7.3, there is an integer 2 < i < 5 so
that R1Ri intersects g and R6R7 at points P and T, respectively, not in B. Without
loss of generality assume i = 2. Coordinatize H so that P=(1,0,0), Q=(0,1,0),

T=(0, 0, 1), R5=(,1, 1) and Ri=(ri, si, 1) for i = 1,...,4. Then g=(0, 0, 1)t and I :=

R6R7 = (1,0,0)t. Note that sl = 0, s2 = 0, r2 = r3, s3 f 0, r4 = 1 and s4 # 0.
Set r = r2. For any given e in F, define Li := L[r, f(e, s)] for i = 1,...,4, L5 :=

L[1, f(e, 1)] and Je=L1U...UL5. By Lemma 6.2, L4 and L5 are parallel, and L2 and
L3 are parallel.

Assume that r EK. Then by Lemma 6.2, the lines L2, L3, L4 and L5 are in
the same parallel class A. By Lemma 6.3, for the 5 values of e not equal to 0, 2s3

2s4 or 2, the lines L2, L3, L4 and L5 do not contain the point 0 of E and, hence,

constitute at most 2 lines of A. For these 5 values of e, the line L1 also does not
contain the point 0 by Lemma 6.3. Thus, for each of these 5 values of e, the set

Je contains at most 7 points of E. Hence, for each of these 5 values of e, there is a








62 -
non-zero c(e) in F so that the unital U[c(e), e] does not contain the points R1,...,R5.

Since II n BI < 5, Lemma 6.4 implies the existence of a unital U[c(e), e] which has

disjoint intersection with B, a contradiction. Thus, r 1K.

Assume rliK. As is easily checked, the points a2 and a6 of the affine plane

E are on the line L[1,0]. (Recall that a is a primitive root of F as defined at the

beginning of this chapter.) Let e = 0. Since r and ri are not in K, Lemma 6.2

implies that neither L1 nor L2 contains the point a2 or a6. Since s4 # 0, neither
does L4 nor L5. Since r K, L3 can not contain both a2 and a6. Thus, the set Jo

does not contain the 8 non-zero points of E. Hence, there is a non-zero c(0) in F
so that the unital U[c(0),0] has disjoint intersection with B, a contradiction. So,

rl EK, and since rl # 0 or 1, must equal 2. This implies that L1, L4 and L5 are in
the same parallel class A. If s4 = 1, then L1, L4 and L5 constitute exactly 2 lines

of A and the point 0 is on L1. Since L3 is not in A and the point 0 is on L2, the set

Jo contains at most 7 non-zero elements of F. As above, this implies the existence

of a unital U[c(0),0] which has disjoint intersection with B. Hence, sA = 2.

To summarize: rl EK, r K, s4 = 2, the 3 lines L1, L4 and L5 are in the same

parallel class A and the 2 lines L2 and L3 are in a parallel class P distinct from A.

We now want to show that there exists 3 values of e such that for each value

the set Je does not contain the 8 non-zero points of E. This would imply that for

these 3 values of e there exists three distinct non-zero values c(e) in F such that the
unitals U[c(e),e] do not contain the points R1,...,R5. As l\{Q} contains at most 2

points of B, Lemma 6.4 would then imply the existence of a unital U[c(e), e] which
has disjoint intersection with B, a contradiction.

First, we want to prove the existence of 7 values of e such that the lines L1, L4

and L5 constitute at most 2 lines of A. For each of the 6 values of e not equal to

2s4, 2 or 0, none of these 3 lines contain the point 0 of the affine plane E. Hence,








63 -
for these 6 values of e, the 3 lines constitute at most 2 lines of A. If e = 2, then
2e4 = (e + s3)4 and L1=L4 unless (2 + s3)4 = 2. If (2 + s3)4 = 2, then for e = 2s,

since s = 2, one has that 2e4 = 1. So, (e + 1)4 = (2s + 1)4 = (s + 2)4 = 1 and,

hence, Li=L5. Thus, there are 7 values of e so that L1, L4 and L5 constitute at
most 2 lines of A. Let H denote the set of these 7 distinct values of e.

Second, we want to prove the existence of 5 values of e so that the lines L2 and
L3 are either equal or one of them contains the point 0 of E. Clearly, L2 contains

the point 0 if e = 0 and L3 contains the point 0 if e = 2sA. Since e4 = (e + s3)4
for values of e equal to As, as3 or a3s3, the lines L2 and L3 are equal for these 3
distinct values of e. Let G denote the set of these 5 distinct values of e.

The set HnG contains at least 3 values. For each of these values of e, the set

Je contains at most 7 non-zero points of E. Thus, we have proved Lemma 7.4.

Q.E.D.

Therefore, the 10 points of B constitute an oval of H=PG(2,9). The proof of
the following lemma will therefore complete the proof of Theorem 7.1.

LEMMA 7.5. For q an odd prime power, an oval e of I =PG(2,q2) is not a blocking

set of H(q).

PROOF: As is well known, an oval in T can be represented as a conic with coefficients
from F=GF(q2). [17, Theorem 1] It is also well known that all conics in Q are
projectively equivalent. [12, Theorem 2.36]

Let w be a primitive root of K=GF(q) and define F as the polynomial ring
K[T] modulo the ideal generated by T2 w. Let a = aT2 + b be a primitive root of

F, a and b in K.








64-

Case 1. Assume q is congruent to 3 modulo 4.

Since all conics are projectively equivalent, represent 0 by the equation X2 +

Y2 -Z2 = 0; that is, a point P=(x, y, z) from IF is also in 0 if and only if x2 + y2

az2 = 0. Let U be the Hermitian unital represented by the equation Xq+1 + yq+l +
bZq+1l 0; that is, point P=(x, y, z) is in U if and only if xq+l + yq+1 + bzq+l = 0.

Assume that point P=(x, y, z) is in OnU. If z = 0, then x2 = -1 and x29q =

-1. But, since q is congruent to 3 modulo 4, x2 = -1 implies xq+l = (x2) = 1.
2_-1
So, z = 1. If y = 0, then x2 = a and x+1 = -b imply a 2 = 1, contrary to a

being primitive. So, y # 0. Similarly, x : 0.

Set x = cT+d and y = eT+ f, where c, d, e and f are in K. Then 2 y2 = a

implies d2f+(c2+e2)w = b, and xq+l +y+l = -6 implies d2+f2 (c2+e2)w =

-b. Adding one gets d2 + f2 = 0. As q is congruent to 3 modulo 4, d = 0 = f.

Thus, x2 + y2 = a is an element of K, a contradiction.

Case 2. Assume q is congruent to 1 modulo 4.

Represent O by X2 Y2 aZ2 = 0 and U by Xq+l + yq+l bZq+l = 0.

Suppose that the point P = (x, y, z) belongs to the set OnU. If z = 0, then x2 = 1

and xq+l = -1, clearly impossible. So, z = 0. If y = 0, then x2 = a and xq+l = b
g2-1
imply a 2 = 1, contrary to a being primitive. Thus, y # 0. Similarly, x 5 0. As

above, set x = cT+d and y = eT+f. Then x2-y2 = a implies d2-f2+(c2-e2)w =

b, and Xq+1 + yq+1 = b implies d2 + f2 (c2 + e2)w = b. Subtracting one gets that
w = (1)2 is a square in K, a contradiction, unless c = 0 = f. If c = 0 = f, then

2 y2 = a is an element of K, another contradiction.

Q.E.D.


To summarize, in Chapters 6 and 7 it has been shown that C(H(3)) =PG(2,9)

and C(H(q)) OPG(2,q2) for q > 23.
















CHAPTER 8


FINAL REMARKS

As this dissertation does not lend itself to a conclusion or comprehensive sum-

mary, let the author end it by commenting upon possible future research related to

the work done here.

Because Theorem 4.1 is true for t > 9 and 1 < e < 2t 2, it would be desirable

to have a theorem similar to Theorem 5.1 but with these weaker restrictions on t

and e. The author believes that such a theorem does exist and is at present trying

to show it.

A. Blokhuis and A. E. Brouwer have shown that if q is odd, greater than 7 and

not 27, then any blocking set of PG(2,q) has cardinality at least q + (2q)z + 1. [5]

Is there such a result for all projective planes? As a first step, one might consider

blocking sets of R6dei type.

In Chapter 6 the large difference between the lower and upper bounds given

on the cardinality of a committee of H(q) is unpleasant, but it appears that closing

this gap is difficult. The author and others have worked on it with no success. The

author has also tried to find something significant to say concerning the size of a

committee in H(5), but also with no success.


65-

















REFERENCES

1. J. Bierbrauer, On minimal blocking sets, Arch. Math. 35 (1980), 394-400.

2. J. Bierbrauer, Blocking sets of maximal type in finite projective planes, Rend.
Sem. Mat. Univ. Padova 65 (1981), 85-101.

3. J. Bierbrauer, On blocking sets of order 16 in projective planes of order 10.,
Preprint (1982).

4. A.Blokhuis, Personal Communication (1990).

5. A. Blokhuis and A. E. Brouwer, Blocking Sets in Desarguesian Projective Planes,
Bull. London Math. Soc. 18 (1986), 132-134.

6. A. Blokhuis and T. Szonyi, Personal Communication (1991).

7. R. H. Bruck, "A Survey of Combinatorial Theory," North-Holland Publishing,
Amsterdam, 1973.

8. A. Bruen, Baer subplanes and blocking sets, Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 76 (1970),
342-344.

9. A. Bruen, Blocking sets in finite projective planes, Siam J. Appl. Math 21 (Nov.,
1971), 380-392.

10. P. Dembowski, "Finite Geometries," Springer-Verlag, New York, 1968.

11. Z. Furedi, Matchings and covers in hypergraphs, Graphs and Combinatorics
(1988), 115-206.

12. D. R. Hughes and F. C. Piper, "Projective Planes," Springer-Verlag, New York,
Heidelberg and Berlin, 1973.

13. D. R. Hughes and F.C. Piper, "Design Theory," Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge, England, 1985.


- 66 -









67 -

14. R. E. Jamison, Covering finite fields with costs of subspaces, J. Comb. Theory,
Series A 22 (1977), 253-266.

15. D. Jungnickel, Some self-blocking block designs, Preprint (1987).

16. R. Metz, On a class of unitals, Geometriae Dedicata 8 (1979), 125-126.

17. B. Segre, Ovals in a finite projective plane, Canad. J. Math. 7 (1955), 414-416.
















BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH


Cyrus Kitto was born December 28, 1947, in Los Angeles, California. He re-

ceived an undergraduate degree in liberal arts from Rollins College in 1970. He

received a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Florida in 1987.


- 68 -










I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.



David A. Drake, Chairman
Professor of Mathematics

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.


n Casagr e
professor Linguistics


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.



Beverly L.Brechner
Professor of Mathematics

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.


Jean A. Larson
Professor of Mathematics










I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of/hil6phy,



/Jorge Martinez
Professor of Mathematics

This thesis was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School
and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.

December, 1991


Dean, Graduate School

































UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

3 1262 08285 433 1




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0%6%PURI)/25,'$


SOME PROBLEMS IN BLOCKING SETS
By
CYRUS L. KITTO
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO TIIE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1991

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I thank my advisor Dr. David Drake for his patience and excellent guidance.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ii
ABSTRACT iv
CHAPTERS
1. INTRODUCTION 1
2. A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART I . . 2
3. A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART II . . 14
4. A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART III . 28
5. A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART IV . 32
6. SMALL BLOCKING SETS OF HERMITIAN DESIGNS, PART I . . 46
7. SMALL BLOCKING SETS OF HERMITIAN DESIGNS, PART II . 58
8. FINAL REMARKS 65
REFERENCES 66
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 68
- m -

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to
the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree
of Doctor of Philosophy
SOME PROBLEMS IN BLOCKING SETS
By
Cyrus L. Kitto
December 1991
Chairman: Dr. David A. Drake
Major Department: Mathematics
In this dissertation some new results are obtained on the cardinality of blocking
sets in block designs. Firstly, lower bounds are established on the cardinality of
blocking sets of Rédei type in finite projective planes. Secondly, a block design
E is formed using the Hermitian unitals of PG(2, blocks, and then a lower and upper bound are established on the cardinality of
a committee of E; also, a characterization of the Desarguesian projective plane
PG(2,9) is established.
- IV -

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
An incidence structure is an ordered pair (A, B), where A is a set and B a
collection of subsets of A. The elements of A are called points and those of B
are called blocks. A t — (v, k, A) design is an incidence structure (A, B) where the
cardinality of A is v, each block of B contains exactly k points and each subset of
t points of A is contained in exactly A blocks of B. For t = 2 one calls such an
incidence structure a block design. A projective plane of order n, n > 2, is a block
design with u = n2 -f n + 1, k = n + 1 and A = 1. If n represents a projective plane
of order n, then it is straightforward to show that each pair of distinct blocks of n
intersect in a unique point, and that there are four distinct points of n no three of
which are contained in the same block. A block of a projective plane is called a line.
A hitting set, H of an incidence structure I = (A, B) is a subset of A so that
each block of B has non-empty intersection with H. If H is a hitting set of / so
that no block is a subset of H, then H is called a blocking set of I.
The purpose of this dissertation is to prove some original theorems concerning
the cardinality of blocking sets of block designs.
- 1 -

CHAPTER 2
A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART I
We begin Chapter 2 by introducing the notation and terminology that will be
used throughout Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5. Most of the lemmas proven in Chapter 2
will also find use in the succeeding three chapters.
Let n represent a finite projective plane of order n, and let S represent a
blocking set of n. For each line / of n, call the number | S D / | the strength of l
and denote it by st(l). If st(/)=i > 2, then call l a secant or an i — line. If st(/)=l,
then call l a tangent.
LEMMA 2.1. There exists an integer S > 1 such that | S |= n + 8.
PROOF: Let / be a line of n. One can choose a point X on l yet not in S. The n
lines other than / through X are each incident with at least one point of S. Thus,
| S |> n+st(/).
Q.E.D.
LEMMA 2.2. Let S be such that | S |= n 4- ¿. Let g and h represent distinct lines
of n. If st(g)+st(h)> 8 + 2, then the point g D h is in S.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that for distinct lines g and h one has
st(<7)+st(h)> 5 + 2 and (gC\h)£ S. The n — 1 lines other than g and h through point
g ft h are each incident with at least one point of S. Thus, | S |> n — l+st(<7)+st(/i)
> n + 8 + 1, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
- 2 -

- 3 -
Lemma 2.3. Let S be such that \ S |= n + 6. Then for any line l one has st(l)< 6.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that st(/)> 6 for some secant l. Choose
point X (E / \ one point of S. Thus, | S |> n+st(/) > n + ¿, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
One says that a blocking set S is of Rédei type if | S |= n + S implies the
existence of a secant l of strength 6. Such a secant 1 will sometimes be called a
secant of maximum strength. By Lemma 2.2, if S is of Rédei type, then every
secant intersects every secant of maximum strength in a point of S.
Let S be of Rédei type with | S |= n + 6. Let U represent a point of II.
One says that U is of type a = (aq,..., ctm) if U lies on exactly m secants ,/m
with a,-=st(/,-) and a\ < ... < am. For point U of type a, define the constant
F{U)=ct\ + ... + am; arguments using the computation of F({/) will often be called
a fan count on U. For point U and integer i > 2, let r¿(t/), or just r¡ if the point U
is clear, equal the number of ¿-lines through U, and define r(U) = r for integer i > 2, let equal the total number of ¿-lines and b the total number of
secants.
Lemma 2.4. Let S be a blocking set of Rédei type with | <5 |= n + é. Let P £ S be a
point not incident with every secant of maximum strength. Then F(P) = n + 26— 1.
Proof: Let / be a ¿-line not incident with point P £ S. Then F(P) =| S \ +(¿—1)
since every secant through P meets / at a point of S.
Q.E.D.
Lemma 2.5. Let S be a blocking set of Rédei type with \ S |= n + 8. Let X £ S be
a point of type a = (qj, ..., orm). Then F(X) = 6 — 1 + m.

-4 -
PROOF: This should be clear since | S |= F(X) + (n + 1 — m).
Q.E.D.
Lemma 2.6. Let S be a blocking set of Rédei type with \ S |= n + 6. Assume that
there is a unique secant l of maximum strength. Let j > 3 be some fixed integer. If
every P € S \l lies on a secant g with st(g)> j, then every point P € S \ l lies on
a secant h with st(h)< 8 + 1 — j.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that every point in S\l lies on a secant g
with st(g)> j and point P £ S\l is of type a with a\ > 8 + 2—j. Since 8 + 2—j > 3,
one can choose a point Q € S \ l such that PQ = l\. By assumption, Q lies on
a secant g with st(<7)> j. Since oi > 8 + 2 — j, Lemma 2.2 implies that secant g
intersects the 8 secants through P at points of S. Thus, st(g)> 8, a contradiction
since Q /, the unique ¿-line.
Q.E.D.
LEMMA 2.7. Let S be a blocking set with \ S |= n + 8. Let P,Q and R be three
distinct points of S such that PQ ^ PR and st(PR)=j. Then through Q there are
at most j — 1 secants g ^ PQ of strength 8 + 2 — j or more.
PROOF: By Lemma 2.2, a secant g / PQ through Q of strength 8 + 2 — j or more
intersects line PR at a point of S. There are only j — 1 points of PR where g can
intersect.
Q.E.D.
For secant g, define g* to be the set of points in g \ S, and define L(g*) to be
the set of secants h g such that the point g D h is not in S.

- 5 -
LEMMA 2.8. Let S be a blocking set with \ S \= n + 6. Let g be a secant of strength
less than 6. Then
n + 1- st(g) =| g* |<| L(g*) \ .
PROOF: This should be clear since Lemma 2.5 and the fact st(<7) < S imply that
each X £ g\S lies on at least two secants.
Q.E.D.
We are now ready to introduce the main objective of Chapters 2 and 3.
It was proven by A. Bruen that for any blocking set S, \ S |> n + n1/2 + 1. [8,
Theorem, and; 9, Theorem 3.8] Under the additional assumption that n is a non¬
square greater than 5, J. Bierbrauer proved that | *S |> n -f- n1/2 + 2. [1, Theorem]
(If n is square, then Baer subplanes offer counterexamples.) If n = 10 and <5 is of
Rédei type, then J. Bierbrauer showed that | S |> 10 + 101/2 + 3. [3, Theorem]
The main objective of Chapters 2 and 3 is to extend this last result and prove the
following theorem.
THEOREM 2.9. Let n be a finite projective plane of non-square order n = t2 — e,
t > 4, 1 < e < 2t — 2 and n 10. Let S be a blocking set of Rédei type. Then
| S n T t T 3.
An immediate consequence of Theorem 2.9 and an observation by Bierbrauer
[1, Corollary] is the following.
COROLLARY 2.10. A net of non-square order n > 11 with more than n — (n1/2 + 2)
parallel classes can be completed in at most one way to a projective plane of order
n.
In view of J. Bierbrauer’s work in [1, Theorem], Theorem 2.9 can be proven by
showing that | <5 (t2 — e) -f t + 2. Henceforth, assume | <5 |= (t2 — e) + t + 2.

-6-
CLAIM 2.11. ([2, Theorem]) There is exactly one (t + 2)-line.
Henceforth, let / denote the unique secant of strength t + 2.
CLAIM 2.12. For every point P € S \ l,
t2 + 5 < F{P) < t2 + 2t + 2.
Proof: This follows immediatedly from Lemma 2.4.
Q.E.D.
Claim 2.13. Every point P (E S \ l lies on a secant of strength t — 1 or more.
PROOF: If not, then
t2 + 5 < F(P) <{t + 2)(t - 2) = t2 - 4.
Q.E.D.
By Lemma 2.6, every point P € S \l lies on a secant of strength 4 or less.
CLAIM 2.14. Every point P € S \ l lies on a secant of strength t or t + 1.
Proof: Assume not and let P be of type a with at+2 = t — 1. Since a\ < 4, one
has
t2 + 5 < F(P) <(t + l)(t - 1) + 4 = t2 + 3.
Q.E.D.
By Lemma 2.6, every point P € S\l lies on a secant of strength 2 or 3.
CLAIM 2.15. Let g be a secant of strength ¿ + 1. Every P € ¿>\(/U<7) lies on exactly
one 2-line in L(g*).
PROOF: Let P 6 «5 \ (/ U g). Set A = / fl g and let Qi,...,Qt be the t points in
(gDS)\ {A}. The t distinct secants PQi intersect l at t distinct points of S \ {A}.

-7-
There is thus one point B ^ A on / and in S such that B £ PQj for 1 < i < t. The
secant h = PB intersects g at a point not in S. By Lemma 2.2, h must be a 2-line.
Q.E.D.
If there is a secant g of strength t + 1, then Claim 2.15 implies that the total
number of secants b = r(A) + t(t + 1) + (n — t), where A denotes the point / ft g.
CLAIM 2.16. No point A € S n / lies on n secants of strength 2.
PROOF: If A lies on n secants of strength 2, then the set S \ {A} is a blocking set
with cardinality n +1 + 1, a contradiction of the Bierbrauer bound in [1, Theorem].
Q.E.D.
For the remainder of Chapter 2, assume that n > 37. The arguments used in
dealing with non-square 11 < n < 35 are of an ad hoc nature and will be handled
in Chapter 3. Note that n > 37 implies that t > 7.
CLAIM 2.17. For every P € al T c*2 T £*3 + aA — 14.
PROOF: If not, then
t2 + 5 < F(P) <{t- 2)(t + 1) + 13 = t2 - t + 11,
a contradiction for t > 7.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 2.18. Every point P (E S \l lies on a 2-line.
PROOF: Assume that some P of type a does not lie on a 2-line. Then by Claim
2.14 and Lemma 2.6 oq = 3 and all secants of strength t +1 pass through P. Choose

-8-
Q € S \ l so that PQ = l\. Claim 2.14 and = 3 imply that Q lies on a i-line.
It follows from Lemma 2.2 and Claim 2.17 that P lies on exactly three 3-lines. A
fan count on P now shows that there are (t + l)-lines through P and, hence, Claim
2.15 implies that Q lies on a 2-line. A fan count on Q shows that Q is of type
(2,3, i, ...,t). Let ReS\l be such that PR = l<¿. The secant g = QR must be of
strength t. But, 0*4 > 4 implies that g intersects at least t + 1 secants through P at
points of S, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 2.19. None of the points P G S\l lies on a 3-line.
PROOF: Assume that some P does lie on a 3-line. Let P be of type a. Claim 2.17
implies that P lies on at most three secants of strength 3 or less. There are three
cases to consider.
Case 1. P lies on two 2-lines and one 3-line.
Let Q 6 S \ l be such that st(PQ)=3. A fan count on P shows that 0:4 > t
and 0:5 = t + 1. Since t + 2 > 9, there are at least five (t + l)-lines through P.
Thus, PQ is the only 3-line of S. Since P lies on two 2-lines, Q lies on at most two
(t -f l)-lines. Since ot\>t,Q lies only on secants of strength 2, 3, t or t + 1. A fan
count on Q and Claim 2.18 imply that Q lies on a 2-line, a 3-line and t secants of
strength t or t + 1. Let QB be the 2-line, and remember that PQ is the only 3-line
of S. Then every ¿-line g through B with i > 3 must meet the t + 2 secants through
Q at points of S. This contradiction of Claim 2.11 implies that B must lie on n
secants of strength 2, a contradiction to Claim 2.16.

-9
Case 2. P lies on one 2-line and two 3-lines.
Let Q 6 S \ / of type /? and B 6 <5 fl l be such that PQ and PB are a 3-line
and a 2-line, respectively. A fan count of P shows that 0:4 > t — 1 and ag = t + 1.
Since t + 2 — 5 = t — 3>3 for t > 7, all 3-lines pass through P. Let g ^ PQ be a
secant through Q with st( 2. Since ag = t + 1, secant g has strength at least
t — 2. Since a.\ + (t — 2) > t + 4 for t > 7, Lemma 2.2 implies that g has strength at
least t. Thus, Q lies on one 2-line, one 3-line and t secants of strength at least t. It
also follows that st(QB)=2. Let h ^ l be a secant through B with st(h) > 2. Since
/53 > ^2 > 2 and the fact that all 3-lines pass through P, secant h intersects the
t + 2 secants through Q at points of 5, a contradiction. Hence, B lies on n secants
of strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.
Case 3. P lies on a 2-line, a 3-line and <*3 > 4.
Let Q € S\l and B G S D / be such that PQ=l% and PB=l\, respectively. Set
¡3 = Q3. As Case 1 and Case 2 do not occur, Q also lies on exactly one 2-line and
exactly one 3-line.
Subclaim 2.20. If fl < t — 1, then Q lies on /? secants of strength t + 4 — /? or
larger.
Proof. Assume not. Then,
t‘2 T 5 < P{Q) ^ (/? — l)(i + 1) + (i — /? T 1)(^ T 3 — /3) + 5.
Equivalently,
/(/?) := P2 - P(t + 3) + 3Í + 2 > 0;
but,
f(/3) < 0 for 4 < f3 < t — 1,
a contradiction.
q.e.d.

- 10 -
If ft < t — 1, then Subclaim 2.20 would contradict Lemma 2.7. Thus, ft > t, or
P lies on t secants of strengths t or t + 1. The same conclusion applies to Q, and
Lemma 2.7 then yields ft = t + 1. It is then immediate that B must lie on n secants
of strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.
Q.E.D.
Claim 2.21. None of the points P € <5 \ / lies on a f-line.
PROOF: Assume some P of type a does lie on a 4-line. Since <*1=2, a fan count on
P shows that P lies on at most three 4-lines. We consider four cases.
Case 1. P lies on two 4-lines and <*4 > 5.
Subclaim 2.22. For 1 < k < t — 5,
rt+1-k + ••• + rt+1 > k + 3.
Proof. Assume not. Then,
t2 T 5 < F(P) < {k T 2)(< 1) + (t — k — 3)(t — A:) + 4 + 4 + 2.
Equivalently,
f(k) := k2 + k(4-t)-t + 7> 0;
but, f(k) < 0 for 1 < k < t — 5, a contradiction.
q.e.d.
Let B £ S fl / be such that PB=l\, and let g ^ l be an ¿-line through B with
i > 2. By Claim 2.19, i > 4, so g intersects secants of strength t or t + 1 at points of
S. As g also contains 5, Subclaim 2.22 implies that i > (1 + 3) + 1 =5. Using this
argument repeatedly, one gets that i > (t — 5 + 3) + 1 = t — 1. As «4 > 5, Lemma
2.2 implies that i > t. Thus, g intersects the t + 2 secants through P at points of «S,
a contradiction to Claim 2.11. Hence, there must be n secants of strength 2 through
B, a contradiction to Claim 2.16.

-11 -
Case 2. P lies on two 2-lines and a 4-line.
Let Q £ S\l be such that PQ = 13. A fan count on P shows that F(P) < f2+7,
04 > t — 1 and 05 > i. Since P lies on two 2-lines, Q lies on at most two (¿ + l)-lines.
A fan count on Q reveals that Q lies on a 2-line, a 4-line and t secants of strength
t — 3 or more. Using the bounds on 04 and 0:5, one sees that Q lies on t secants of
strength t or t + 1. Let B 6 S fl / be such that QB is a 2-line. Remembering that
there are no 3-lines, it is immediate that B must lie on n secants of strength 2, a
contradiction to Claim 2.16.
Case 3. P lies on three 4-lines.
Let Q £ S \l and B £ <5 fl / be such that PQ = I2 and PB = lrespectively.
A fan count on P shows that t = 7 and a5 = 8. This implies that any secant g ^ l
through B has strength 2 or 6, and that QB is also a 2-line. Since £*3 = 4 and
05 = 8, point Q lies on at most three 8-lines and only on secants of strength 2, 4,
6 or 8. Thus, Q is of type (2,4,6,6,6,6,8,8,8). Lemma 2.2 then implies that B is
incident with n 2-lines, a contradiction to Claim 2.16.
Case 4. Q3 > 5.
Let Q £ S \ l be such that PQ = 1%. A fan count on Q shows that if 03 < t — 2,
then Q lies on 03 secants of strength ¿ + 4 — 0:3 or larger. Lemma 2.7 then yields the
contradiction 03 > t — 1. Because Cases 1, 2 and 3 do not occur, Q lies on exactly
one 2-line and exactly one 4-line. Since 03 > t — 1, the remaining t secants through
Q are of strength f + 1. IfP£«Sfl/is such that QB is the 2-line through Q, it is
straightforward to show that B must lie on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction
to Claim 2.16.
Q.E.D.

- 12 -
CLAIM 2.23. Every P £ S \l lies on at least two 2-lines.
PROOF: Suppose P is of type a and lies on exactly one 2-line. Let B € <5 fl l be
such that PB = l\. First assume either that t > 8, or that t = 7 and F(P) > i^ + 6.
Arguing as in Claim 2.21, Case 1, it can be proved that for 2 < k < t — 5, one has
rt+l—k + ••• + r<+l > ^ + 3,
and, hence, that B lies on n secants of strength 2. This contradiction yields t = 7
and F(P) = t2 + 5. Consider any ¿-line g ^ l through B with i > 2. Claims 2.19 and
2.21 imply that i > 5. If 0:5 > 6, then P lies on five secants of strength 6 or more.
This fact and Lemma 2.2 imply that i > 6. But, as «2 ^ 3, Lemma 2.2 implies that
i = t + 2. This contradiction implies that 05 = 5, and, hence, that P is of type
(2,5,5,5,5,8,8,8,8). This implies that there are no 6-lines or 7-lines. Thus, any point
QeS\l is either of type (2,5,5,5,5,8,8,8,8), (2,2,5,5,8,8,8,8,8) or (2,2,2,8,8,8,8,8,8).
Assume that Q is of one of the latter two types, and let R 6 S \ l be any point
other than Q. Since Q lies on two 2-lines, R lies on at most three 8-lines. This
contradiction yields that all points P are of type (2,5,5,5,5,8,8,8,8). Counting flags
(T,g), where T 6 S \ l and g is an 8-line, produces the contradiction 76g = 148.
Q.E.D.
Claim 2.24. None of the points P E S\l lies on three 2-lines.
PROOF: Suppose P lies on three 2-lines. A fan count on P shows that P lies on a
(t + l)-line. Let Q (z S\l be such that PQ is a (t + l)-line. Since P lies on three
2-lines, Q lies on exactly one (t + l)-line and at most three ¿-lines. Claim 2.23 yields
t2 + 5 < F(P) < (t + 1) + 3i + (t - 1) + 4 = 5t + 4,
or, t < 4, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.

- 13 -
Proof of Theorem 2.9 for n > 37. By Claims 2.23 and 2.24, every point P 6 S\l
lies on exactly two 2-lines. Thus, no point P £ S\l lies on more than three (t + 1)-
lines. If P is of type a, then a fan count on P reveals that P lies on a f-line and
«4 > t — 1. Let Q e S \ l be of type /? such that PQ is a ¿-line. Since Q lies on two
2-lines, P lies on at most two (i -f l)-lines. Since /?4 > t — 1 and ^3 > 5, P lies on t
secants of strength t or t +1. A fan count on P now shows that ¿2+5 < F(P) < i2+6.
If F(P) = i2 + 5, then all points P are of type (2,2, t,..., t, t + 1). If F(P) = t2 + 6,
then all points P are of type (2, 2, t,..., f, (t -f 1), (t + 1)). In either case, a flag count
of (T,g), where T E. S \ l and g is a (t + l)-line, reveals a contradiction.

CHAPTER 3
A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART II
As previously stated, the objective of Chapter 3 is to prove Theorem 2.9 for
11 < n < 35, n non-square. Note that this implies 4< t < 6, and; if P € S \ /, then
F(P)> t2 + 5 for t = 5 or 6 and F(P)> t2 + 6 for t = 4. Again, the terminology and
notation used in Chapter 2 will also be employed here. Let us also add that P, <5, P,
T and U will always represent points in S \ /, and A and B will always represent
points in Sf)l.
CLAIM 3.1. Let P be of type a with a¿_|_2 = t. Then ol\=2.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P is of type a with a¿+2 = ¿ an ai 2. By Lemma 2.6 and Claim 2.14, oq = 3. Let Q be such that PQ = l\. By
Claim 2.14, there is a secant g through Q such that st(g)=t or t + 1. Since
(t - 1)< + 3 x 3 = t2 - t + 9 < t2 + 5
for t=5 or 6, and since
t2 — t + 9 < t1 + 6
for t=4, one has «3 > 4. Hence, Lemma 2.2 implies that st(^)=i+2, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
Claim 3.1, Claim 2.14 and Lemma 2.6 imply that every P lies on a 2-line.
- 14 -

- 15 -
CLAIM 3.2. Let P be of type a with ctt+2 = C 9 = h+2- Then every Q not on
g lies on exactly two secants from L(g*).
PROOF: This should be clear; see Claim 2.15.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 3.3. Let P be of type a with a¿+2 = T Then a¿+3_¿ > t + 4 — i for
4 < i < t + 1.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that o¿+3_¿ < t + 4 — i for some i. Then
F(P') ^ (z — l)t + (i + 2 — z)(i "h 3 — t) -h 2 = t'2 — i(t T 5) T t2 -j- 4t + 8.
If 4 < z < t + 1, then the inequality yields the contradiction F(P) < f2 + 5.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 3.4. Let P be of type a with a¿+2 = C Then «2 7^ 3.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there is a P of type a with c*t+2 = ¿
and «2 = 3. A computation of F(P) reveals that P is of type (2,3,t,...,t) and, hence,
F(P)= i2 + 5. Thus, t=5 or 6. Choose Q of type ¡3 such that PQ=l2- By Claim
3.3, Q lies only on secants of strength 2, 3 or t -f 1. By Claim 3.1, (3\ =2. By Claim
3.2, /?3 < 3. Since
(t - 2 )(t + l) + 3 + 8 = t2-f + 9 for t >5, Q lies on t — 1 secants of strength t + 1. Thus,
F(Q) > (f — l)(i + 1) + 7 = i2 + 6,
a contradiction.
Q.E.D.

- 16 -
CLAIM 3.5. Every P lies on a (t + 1 )-line.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P is of type a with a¿_|_2 = L By
Claim 3.1, aq = 2. A computation of F(P) shows that a% > 3. Claim 3.4 then
implies c*2 > 4. Choose distinct points Q and R on I2 not equal to P. By Claim 3.3,
Q lies only on secants g ¡2 of strength 2, 3 or t + 1. Let A be such that PA = l\.
Claim 3.3 and the fact <*2 > 4 imply that A lies only on secants g / / of strength 2
or 3.
Let t — 4. Then P is of type (2,4,4,4,4,4) and F(P)=22. Point Q lies on exactly
one 4-line. Thus, as is easily seen, all points T ^ P are of type (2,3,3,4,5,5). If QA is
a 3-line, then the two 5-lines through R can not intersect QA at points of <5. Thus,
A lies on eleven 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 2.16. Thus, t ^ 4.
Since
2(t -(-1) -f* 1 x 2 T Q2 + (t — 2)3 — 51 — 2 T 0:2 T 5
for t = 5 or 6, Q and R each lie on at least three (t -f l)-lines. If A lies on a secant
g of strength 3, then g passes through Q and R, a contradiction. Thus, A lies on n
secants of strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 3.6. Let P be of type a. Then <*2 7^ 6.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P is of type a with 02 = 6. Since
(t -f- 1)6 + 2 — 6i + 8 > i2 2i + 2
for t = 4 or 5, t = 6 and F(P)> 45. Let Q and R be distinct points on I2 not equal
to P. Since c*2 = 6, Q and R lie only on secants g 7^ I2 of strength 2, 3 or 7. Since
4x7 + lx6 + lx2 + 2x3=42<45,

-17-
Q and R each lie on at least five 7-lines. Let A be such that PA=l\. As ay — 6, A
lies only on secants g ^ 1 of strength 2 or 3. If A lies on a 3-line h, then either all
the 7-lines through Q or all the 7-lines through R can not intersect with h at points
of S, a contradiction. Thus, A lies on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction of
Claim 2.16.
Q.E.D.
Claim 3.7. Let P be of type a. Then a<¿ ^ 5.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P is of type a with «2 = 5. Since
F(P) ^ (í -f 1) -|- í x5 + 2 = 6f + 3> t^ T 2t + 2
for t = 4, one has t = 5 or 6. Let Q and A be such that PQ = I2 and PA = l\.
Suppose t = 5. Then Q lies only on secants g ^ ¡2 of strength 2, 3 or 6. Since
2x6 + lx5 + lx2 + 3x3 = 28<30,
Q lies on at least three 6-lines. Point A lies only on secants g / / with st(g)=2 or 3.
If A lies on a 3-line h, then the 6-lines through Q can not all intersect h at points of
S, a contradiction, unless QA = h. As «2 > 3, there is a point R 6 h such that the
6-lines through R do not all intersect h at points of S. Thus, A lies on n secants of
strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16. So, t — 6.
Point Q lies only on secants g ^ I2 with st(g)=2, 3, 4 or 7. Since
3x7 + 1x5 + 1x24-3x4 = 40 <41,
Q lies on at least four 7-lines. Point A lies only on secants g / / with st(^f)=2, 3 or 4.
An argument similar to the one for t = 5 will show that A lies on n secants of strength
2, a contradiction. Q.E.D.

- 18 -
CLAIM 3.8. Let n ^ 17 and P be of type a. Then a<¿ 4.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that n ^ 17 and P is of type a with
«2 — 4. Let Q and R be distinct points on l<¿ not equal to P. Let A be such that
PA = lh
Suppose t = 4. Then F(P)> 23, Q and R lie on exactly one 4-line and A lies
only on secants g ^ l of strength 2 or 3. Since
2x5 + 1 x4 + l x2 + 2x3 = 22<23,
Q and R lie on at least three 5-lines. Let h be a 3-line through A. Secant h must
intersect each 5-line through Q or R at a point of S. Hence, h passes through Q
and R, a contradiction. Thus, A lies on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction of
Claim 2.16. So, t = 5 or 6.
Suppose Q4 > 5. Then neither Q nor R lie on a secant g ¡2 with st(^)= t — 1
or t , and A does not lie on a secant of strength t — 1,i or i + 1. Since
(< - 3)(< + 1) + 1 x4 + l x 2 + 3(f - 2) = i2 + < - 3 < i2 + 5
for t = 5 or 6, points Q and R both lie on at least t — 2 secants of strength t-\-1. Any
secant h through A such that 3 < st(h) < t — 2 intersects each of the (t + l)-lines
through Q or R at points of S. Thus, h passes through Q and R, a contradiction.
Hence, A lies on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction. So, «4 = 4.
Suppose t = 5. Remember that n ^ 17. Since 04 = 4, F(P)=31 or 32 and
point Q lies on at most three 6-lines and no 5-lines. As
2x6 + 1 x4 + l x2 + 3x4 = 30<31,

-19-
Q lies on exactly three 6-lines and, hence, does not lie on a 3-line. Thus, Q and P
are both of type (2,4,4,4,6,6,6) and F(P)=32. Let T be such that st(PP)=6. T
lies on at most four 6-lines and no 5-lines. A computation of F(P) reveals that T lies
on at least three 6-lines. If T lies on four 6-lines, then T is of type (2,3,3,6,6,6,6)
and some point in S\l lies on at most two 6-lines, a contradiction. Thus, all points
in S \ l are of type (2,4,4,4,6,6,6). Counting flags ([/, g), U € <5 \ / and g a 6-line,
yields the contradiction
19 x 3 = 566.
So, t = 6.
Since «4 = 4, P lies on at least three 7-lines, a§ > 6 and F(P)=41 or 42. Thus,
Q and R do not lie on secants of strength 3 or 6 and lie on exactly one 4-line. A
computation of F($) shows that Q and R are both of type (2,4,5,5,5,7,7,7). But, it
is not possible that both Q and R lie on distinct 5-lines and six secants of strength
5 or more. So, t ^ 6.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 3.9. Let t = 5 or 6 and P be of type a with «2 = 3. Then «3 ^ 4.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that t = 5 or 6 and P is of type a with
«2 = 3 and a3 = 4. Let Q be of type 0 such that PQ = 1%. Since 03 = 4, Q does
not lie on a ¿-line and lies on at most three (t + l)-lines.
Suppose t=5. Since
2x6 + 1 x3 + l x 2 +- 3 x 4 = 29 < 30,
Q lies on exactly three 6-lines. Since
3 x6 + 1x3 + 2x24-1x4 = 29 <30,

-20 -
/?2 = 3. Thus, Q is either of type (2,3,3,4,6,6,6) or (2,3,4,4,6,6,6). Let R be of
type 7 such that st(Qi?)=4. Since /?5 = 6, R does not lie on a 3-line. If 72 = 2, then
Q lies on at most two 6-lines. Hence, Claims 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8 imply that 72 = 4 and
n = 17. So, Q is of type (2,3,3,4,6,6,6). Since /?4 = 4, P lies on at most three
secants of strength 5 or 6 and, hence, is of type (2,3,4,4,5,6,6). Since 72 = 4, all
5-lines pass through R and, hence, R is of type (2,4,4,4,5,5,6). Let T be a point
on QR distinct from Q and R. T is of the same type as R. But, this is not possible
since R and T both lie on 5-lines and six secants of strength 4 or more. So, t = 6.
A computation of F(Q) reveals that Q is of type (2,3,5,5,5,7, 7,7). Thus, P
does not lie on a secant of strength 5 or 6 and, hence, is of type (2,3,4,4, 7, 7, 7, 7).
Let A be such that PA = l\. Since P lies on four 7-lines and 0:4 > 4, QA must
also be a 2-line. PA and QA being of strength 2 imply that A lies on n secants of
strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.
Q.E.D.
Part 1. Assume 11 < n < 15. Let P be of type a. By Claims 3.7 and 3.8,
c*2 < 3 and, hence, F(P)< 25. So, n ^ 15. By the Bruck-Ryser Theorem [12,
Corollary 2.4], one need not consider n = 14.
Assume n = 13. Every point P is either of type (2,2,5,5,5,5) or (2,3,4,5,5,5).
If P is of type (2,3,4,5,5,5) with PQ the 3-line, then Q can not lie on a 4-line, a
contradiction. If P is of type (2,2,5,5,5,5) with PQ a 5-line, then Q is on at most
three 5-lines, a contradiction.
Assume n = 12. Every point P is either of type (2,2,4,5,5,5), (2,3,3,5,5,5)
or (2,3,4,4,5,5). Denote by 17,^2 and VZ the number of points of each type,
respectively. If P is of type (2,2,4,5,5,5) with PQ the 4-line, then Q is on no
3-lines and at most two 5-lines. None of the point types satisfy these conditions.
Thus, ui = 0. If P is of type (2,3,3,5,5,5) with PQ a 3-line, then Q is of type

-21 -
(2.3.4.4.5.5) since it is on at most one 3-line. If P is of type (2,3,4,4,5,5) with
PQ the 3-line, then Q is of type (2,3, 3,5,5,5) since it is on no 4-lines. So, v 1
if and only if t>3 > 1. Now count:
12 = t>2 + t>3
465 = 3t>2 + 2i>3
364 = 2t>3.
The only solutions have either V2 = 0 or U3 = 0, a contradiction.
Assume n = 11. Every P is either of type (2,2,3,5,5,5), (2,2,4,4,5,5),
(2.3.3.4.5.5) or (2,3,4,4,4,5). Denote by v\, V2, u3 and ^4 the number of points
of each type, respectively. If P is of type (2,2,3,5,5,5) with PQ the 3-line, then Q
is on exactly one 3-line and at most two 5-lines. Thus, Q is of type (2,3,4,4,4,5).
If P is of type (2,3,4,4,4,5) with Q the 3-line, then Q is on no 4-lines. Thus, Q
is of type (2,2,3,5,5,5). So, v\ = V4. Counting flags (i?,#), 9 a 5-line, yields the
contradiction:
465 = 3ui + 2v2 + 2^3 + V4 = 2(v\ + V2 + U3 + U4) = 22.
This completes Part 1.
Part 2. Assume 17 < n < 24. Let P be of type a. By Claims 3.6, 3.7 and
3.8, F(P)< 35. Thus, n < 22. By Bruck-Ryser [12, Corollary 2.4], one need not
consider n — 21 or 22.
Assume n = 20. Every P is of type (2,2,5,6,6,6,6) or (2,3,5,5,6,6,6). If P
is of the latter type with PA a 2-line, then Lemma 2.2 and Claim 2.11 imply that A
lies on twenty 2-lines, a contradiction to Claim 2.16. If P is of type (2,2,5,6,6,6,6)
with PQ the 5-line, then Q lies on at most two 6-lines, a contradiction.

- 22 -
Assume n = 19. Every P must be one of four types: (2,2,4,6,6,6,6), (2,3,3,6,
6,6,6), (2,2,5,5,6,6,6) or (2,3,5,5,5,6,6). If P is of type (2,2,4,6,6,6,6) with PQ
the 4-line, then Q is on exactly one 4-line and at most two 6-lines. None of the four
point types satisfy these conditions. If P is of type (2,2,5,5,6,6,6) with PQ a
5-line, then Q lies on no 3-lines and at most two 6-lines. None of the remaining
three point types satisfy these conditions.
Thus, P is either of type (2,3,3,6,6,6,6) or (2,3,5,5,5,6,6). Let uj and V2 de¬
note the number of points of each type, respectively. If P is of type (2,3,3,6,6,6,6)
with T P, then T lies on at most one 3-line. Hence, v\ < 1. Counting flags (R,g),
g a 6-line, one gets
= 4i>i + 2v2 = 2v\ + 38.
Thus, t>i = 1. Now counting flags (R,g), g a 5-line, yields the contradiction 465 = 54.
Assume n = 18. Every point P is one of five point types: (2,2,3,6,6,6,6),
(2,2,4,5,6,6,6), (2,3,3,5,6,6,6), (2,2,5,5,5,6,6) or (2,3,5,5,5,5,6).
If P is of type (2,2,4,5,6,6,6) with PQ the 4-line, then Q is on exactly one
4-line and at most two 6-lines. None of the point types satisfy these conditions.
If P is of type (2,3,3,5,6,6,6) with PQ a 3-line, then Q is on exactly one
3-line, at most four lines of strength 5 or 6 and at most two 6-lines. None of the
four remaining point types satisfy these conditions.
Let P be of type (2,2,3,6,6,6,6) with PQ the 3-line and PR a 6-line. Q lies
on exactly one 3-line and at most two 6-lines; Q must be of type (2,3,5,5,5,5,6).
R is on no 3-lines. Thus, ¿3 = 1. Reconsider Q of type (2,3,5,5,5,5,6) with QA
the 2-line. Since there is only one 3-line and A does not lie on it, A lies on eighteen
2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.

- 23 -
If P is of type (2,3,5,5,5,5,6) with PQ the 3-line, then point Q lies on at
most four lines of strength 4 or greater. Neither of the two remaining point types
satisfy these conditions.
Hence, all eighteen points P are of type (2,2,5,5,5,6,6). Counting flags (P, g),
g a 6-line, reveals the contradiction 566 = 36.
Assume n = 17. Every P is of one of nine types: (2,2,2,6,6,6,6), (2,2,3,5,6,6,6),
(2.2.4.4.6.6.6), (2,3,3,4,6,6,6), (2,2,4,5,5,6,6), (2,3,3,5,5,6,6), (2,4,4,4,4,6,6),
(2.2.5.5.5.5.6) or (2,4,4,4,5,5,6).
If P is of type (2,2,3,5,6,6,6) with PQ the 3-line, then Q lies on exactly one
3-line and at most two 6-lines. No point type satisfies these conditions.
If P is of type (2,2,2,6,6,6,6) with Q ^ P, then Q lies on exactly one 6-line
and at most four secants of strength 5 or 6; Q must be of type (2,4,4,4,5,5,6). Let
R be such that st(QR)=4. R can not lie on a 5-line and, hence, is neither of type
(2.2.2.6.6.6.6) nor (2,4,4,4,5,5,6), a contradiction.
If P is of type (2,3,3,4,6,6,6) with PQ a 3-line, then Q lies on exactly one
3-line. None of the remaining seven point types satisfy this condition.
If P is of type (2,4,4,4,4,6,6) with Q ^ P, then Q does not lie on a 5-line;
Q is either of type (2,2,4,4,6,6,6) or (2,4,4,4,4,6,6). Denote by ui and v*i the
number of points of each type, respectively. Now count:
17 = v\ + V2
566 = 3ui + 2^2 = i>i + 34
364 = 2v\ + 4i>2 = 34 + 2^2-
As is easily verified, either uj = 1 and v-2 = 16, or ui = 16 and = 1. In either
case, vi > 1. If Q is of type (2,2,4,4,6,6,6) with QR a 4-line, then R lies on at
most two 6-lines. Thus, V2 > 4. Or, v\ = 1 and V2 = 16. Thus, bQ = 7. Now, let

-24-
Q be a point of type (2,2,4,4,6,6,6) with QB a 4-line. Without loss of generality,
assume PQ is a 6-line and PB a 4-line. Let R and T be the points on PB not
equal to P. Clearly, B is on no 6-lines. Hence, each of the seven 6-lines intersect
PB at P, R or T. Thus, either P, R or T lies on three 6-lines. Thus, tq > 2, a
contradiction. Thus, there are no points of type (2,4,4,4,4,6,6).
Let P be of type (2,4,4,4,5,5,6) with PQ a 5-line. Q lies on exactly one 5-line.
None of the remaining five point types satisfy this condition.
If P is of type (2,2,4,4,6,6,6) with PQ a 4-line, then Q is on no 3-lines, at
most three lines of strength 5 or 6 and at most two 6-lines. None of the remaining
four point types satisfy these conditions.
If P is of type (2,2,5,5,5,5,6) with Q ^ P, then Q does not lie on a 4-line.
Hence, Q is either of type (2,2,5,5,5,5,6) or (2,3,3,5,5,6,6). Denote by tq and
the number of points of each type, respectively. Now count:
17 = tq + V2
5 = 17 + i>2
465 = 2tq + 34
64 = 0
263 = 2v2
¡>2 = tq + 17.
As is easily verified, tq = 9 and V2 = 8. Thus, b§ = 5, 65 = 13, 64 = 0, 63 = 8
and 62 — 26. So, the total number of secants b — 53. Let A € S D / be such that
A lies on a 6-line. By Claim 2.15, r(A) = 11. As is easily checked, A is either on
one 7-line, one 6-line, one 5-line and eight 2-lines, or on one 7-line, one 6-line, three
3-lines and six 2-lines. Since A is on exactly one 6-line and = 5, there are at least
thirty 2-lines, a contradiction.

- 25 -
So, P is either of type (2,2,4,5,5,6,6) or (2,3,3,5,5,6,6). Denote by v\ and the
number of points of each type, respectively. Counting flags (T,g), g a 6-line, yields
the final contradiction 5&6=2ui-f2u2=34.
Part 3. Assume 26 < n < 35. Let P be of type a. By Claims 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8,
F(P)< 47. Thus, n < 32. By Bruck-Ryser[12, Corollary 2.4], there is no need to
consider n = 30.
Assume n = 32. Then P is of type (2,3,7, 7, 7,7, 7,7). Let PA be the 2-line.
Then by Lemma 2.2 and Claim 2.11, A must lie on thirty-two 2-lines, a contradiction
of Claim 2.16.
Assume n = 31. P is either of type (2,2, 7,7, 7,7, 7, 7) or (2,3,6, 7, 7,7,7, 7).
Let P be of type (2,3,6, 7,7, 7, 7,7) with PA the 2-line. Then A lies on thirty-one
2-lines, a contradiction. Thus, all points P must be of type (2,2, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7,7). But,
if PQ is a 7-line, then Q lies on at most three 7-lines.
Assume n — 29. Then P is one of four types: (2,3,5,6,7,7,7,7), (2,3,6,6,6,7,7,7),
(2.2.5.7.7.7.7.7) or (2,2,6,6,7,7,7,7). If P is either of the first two types with PA the
2-line, then A lies on twenty-nine 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 2.16. Thus, P is
either of type (2,2,5,7,7, 7, 7,7) or (2,2,6,6,7, 7,7, 7). But, if PQ is a 7-line, then
Q lies on at most three 7-lines
Assume n = 28. Then P is one of seven type: (2,3,5,5,7,7,7,7), (2,3,5,6,6,7,7,7),
(2.3.3.7.7.7.7.7), (2,3,6,6,6,6,7,7), (2,2,4,7,7,7,7,7), (2,2,5,6,7,7,7,7) or
(2.2.6.6.6.7.7.7). If P is either of the first two types with PA the 2-line, then A lies
on twenty-eight 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 2.16.
If P is of type (2,2,4, 7, 7, 7, 7,7) with PQ the 4-line, then Q lies on at most
two 7-lines. None of the remaining five point types satisfy these conditions.

-26-
If P is either of type (2,2,5,6, 7,7, 7, 7) or (2,2,6,6,6,7, 7, 7) with PQ a 6-line,
then Q lies on at most two 7-lines and no 3-lines. None of the remaining four point
types satisfy these conditions.
Thus, P is either of type (2,3,3,7, 7,7, 7, 7) or (2,3,6,6,6,6,7,7). If P is of the
former type with PQ a 7-line, then Q can not lie on a 3-line. Thus, all P must be
of type (2,3,6,6,6,6, 7,7). Counting flags (T, g), g a 7-line, yields the contradiction,
667 = 56.
Assume n = 27. Then P is one of nine types: (2,3,5,5,6,7,7,7), (2,2,3,7,7,7,7,7),
(2.2.4.6.7.7.7.7), (2,3,3,6,7,7,7,7), (2,2,5,5,7,7,7,7), (2,2,5,6,6,7,7,7), (2,2,6,6,6,6,7,7),
(2.3.5.6.6.6.7.7) or (2,3,6,6,6,6,6,7). If P is the first type with PA the 2-line, then
A is on twenty-seven 2-lines, a contradiction.
If P is either of type (2,2, 5,5, 7,7, 7, 7) or (2,2,5,6,6,7, 7,7) with PQ a 7-line,
then Q is on at most three 7-lines, no 5-lines and at most five lines of strength 6 or
7. None of the remaining eight point types satisfy these conditions.
If P is of type (2,2,3, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 7-line, then Q is on no 3-lines, at
most three 7-lines and at most five lines of strength 6 or 7. None of the remaining
six point types satisfy these conditions.
If P is of type (2,2,4,6, 7, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 7-line, then Q is on no 3-lines and
at most four lines of strength 6 or 7. None of the remaining five point types satisfy
these conditions.
If P is either of types (2,3,5,6,6,6, 7,7) or (2,3,6,6,6,6, 7, 7) with PQ the 3-
line, then Q does not lie on a 6-line. None of the remaining four point types satisfy
these conditions.
Thus, P is either of type (2,2,6,6,6,6, 7, 7) or (2,3,3,6, 7, 7, 7, 7). If P is of the
later type with PQ a 3-line, then Q is on exactly one 3-line. Hence, all points P

-27-
are of type (2,2,6,6,6,6, 7, 7). Counting flags (T, <7), g a 6-line, yields the final
contradiction, bbft = 108.
Assume n = 26. P is one of twelve types: (2,2,2,7,7,7,7,7), (2,2,3,6,7,7,7,7),
(2.2.4.5.7.7.7.7), (2,3,3,5,7,7,7,7), (2,2,4,6,6,7,7,7), (2,3,3,6,6,7,7,7), (2,2,5,5,6,7,7,7),
(2.3.5.5.5.7.7.7), (2,2,5,6,6,6,7,7), (2,3,5,5,6,6,7,7), (2,2,6,6,6,6,6,7) or (2,3,5,6,6,6,6,7).
If P is of type (2,2,2, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7) with PQ a 7-line, then Q lies on exactly one
7-line, no 3-lines and at most three 6-lines. None of the point types satisfy these
conditions.
If P is of type (2,2,3,6, 7,7,7, 7), (2,3,3,5, 7, 7, 7,7) or (2,3,3,6,6, 7, 7,7) with
PQ a 3-line, then Q lies on exactly one 3-line, at most two 7-lines and no 5-lines.
None of the remaining eleven point types satisfy these conditions.
If P is either of type (2,2,4,5,7, 7, 7,7) or (2,2,4,6,6, 7,7, 7) with PQ a 4-line,
then Q lies on exactly one 4-line and at most two 7-lines. None of remaining eight
point types satisfy these conditions.
If P is either of type (2,2,5,6,6,6, 7, 7) or (2,3,5,6,6,6,6,7) with PQ a 6-line,
then Q lies on at most two 7-lines and at most five lines with strength 5 or more.
None of the remaining six point types satisfy these conditions.
If P is of type (2,2,5,5,6, 7,7, 7) with PQ a 5-line, then Q lies on exactly one
5-line and no 3-lines. None of the remaining four point types satisfy these conditions.
If P is either of type (2,3,5,5,6,6,7,7) or (2,3,5,5,5,7,7,7) with PQ a 5-line,
then Q lies on exactly one 5-line. None of the remaining three point types satisfy
these conditions.
Hence, all twenty-six points P are of type (2,2,6,6,6,6,6, 7). Counting flags
(T,g), g a 7-line, yields the final contradiction, 667 = 26.
This completes the proof of Theorem 2.9.

CHAPTER 4
A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF RED El TYPE, PART III
In Chapters 4 and 5, we extend by one the lower bound on the cardinality of
blocking sets of Rédei type of finite projective planes of certain non-square orders.
In Chapters 2 and 3, Claim 2.11 afforded us a certain luxury. We knew that there
exists a unique ¿-line of maximal strength. We begin by proving a result similar to
Claim 2.11. The purpose of Chapter 4 is to prove the following theorem.
THEOREM 4.1. Let n be a finite projective plane of non-square order n = t2 — e,
t > 9 and 1 < e < 2t — 2. Let S be a blocking set of n of Rédei type with
| S |= n + t + 3. Then there exists an unique line l of n such that | / fi S |= t -f 3.
The proof of Theorem 4.1 will be by way of contradiction. So, assume the
existence of at least two secants of strength t + 3.
Remember that the notation and terminology used in Chapters 2 and 3 will
also be used in Chapters 4 and 5.
CLAIM 4.2. Let g be an i-line with 2 < i < t + 2. If there exists a triangle of
(t + 3) — lines, or if all (t T 3) — lines are incident with a common point on g, then
2 < i < 6 and | L(g*) |= (t + 2){t + 3 — ¿).
PROOF: Let l be an (t -1-3)-line and P = gill. Through each of the t + 2 points Q £
( tersects / at a point Q £ (SC)l)\{P}. Thus, | L(g*) \ = (t+2)(f+3—¿). Using Lemma
2.8 it is easy to complete the proof. Q.E.D.
- 28 -

- 29 -
Proof of Theorem 4.1:
Case 1. Assume there exists a triangle of {t + 3)-lines with point P one of
the vertices. By Lemmas 2.2 and 2.4, P lies on exactly t + 3 secants and F(P) <
2f-f4. Since fi+2t + 4 < (f + 3)(f+ 3), P lies on an ¿-line g for some 2 < i < ¿ + 2.
Claim 4.2 implies that i < 6. Let A" be a point on g but not in S. Since t — 3 > 6,
there are no j-lines through X with j > t — 3. Lemma 2.5 implies that point X lies
on at least three secants. Thus, (t + 2)(t + 3 — ¿) =| L(g*) |> 2(n + 1 — ¿). But, as
is easily checked, this is false if t > 9 and i < 6. Therefore, there does not exist a
triangle of (t -f 3)-lines.
Case 2. All (t -f 3)-lines pass through a common point P. Let 8 equal the
number of (t + 3)-lines and let 1 represent one of them.
Suppose the existence of an (t + /?)-line h for some ¡3 with | ¡3 |< 2. Since
t > 9, Claim 4.2 implies that the secant h does not pass through P. Let T represent
the subset of points of S that are not on h or any of the (t + 3)-lines; | T |=
n — 8{t 4-1) + 2 — (3. Set Q = hC\l. Choose any one of the n + 1 —t — ¡3 points X on
h yet not in S. By Lemma 2.5, X is either of type (4 — /3,t + /3) or lies on at least
three secants. There are at most
n — 8{t + 1) + 2 — (3
7 := L 1^3 J
points X 6 h\S of type (4 — (3,t + ¡3) such that the (4 — /?)-line through X also passes
through P. Thus, there are at least (n + 1 — t — ¡3) — 7 secants of L(h*) that intersect /
at points in S\{P, Q}. There are exactly (t + l)(3 — ¡3) secants in L(h*) that intersect
/ at points in S\{P, Q}. Thus, it must be that (t + 1)(3 — f3) > (n — t — (3 -f 1) — 7.

- 30 -
Then the following inequalities must be valid:
(t + 1)(3 — ft)^ > (n — t — ft 1)(3 — /3) — n + 8(t + 1) — 2 + ¡3
(*) (t + 1)(3 - 13)2 > n(2 — ft) — (t + ft — 1)(3 - f3) + 6(t + 1) - 2 + (3
(t + 1)(3 - ft)2 > (t2 -21 + 2)(2 — ft) — (t + ft — 1)(3 -ft)+ 2 t + ft
0 > (¿2 — (7 — ft)t — 1)(2 — ft).
Thus, if ft < 2, then 7 — ft > t2 — 1. This contradiction proves that there do not
exist secants h with t — 2 < sf(fo) < t + 1.
If ft = 2, then inequality (*) yields (2 — ¿)(í + 1) > 0. Hence, 8 = 2 and
| T |= n — 2t — 2. Every point in (/ D Thus, | L(h*) | is the sum of t + 1 and the number e of lines of L(h*) through P.
Every point X in h \ S is of type (2, t + 2), so
n — t — 1 = h* =| L(h*) |= t + 1 + e.
Hence, e = n — 2t — 2 =\ T \. Thus, if there exists a (t + 2)-line, then P lies on two
(i + 3)-lines, n — t — 2 secants of strength 2 and no other secants.
Still under the supposition that there is a (i+ 2)-line h, let g represent an ¿-line
not through P with 2 < i < t — 3. Let V be the subset of points of S that are not on
g or the two (t + 3)-lines; | V |= n — t — i. If X G g \ S, then X is either on a 2-line
or a tangent through P. There are exactly n — t — i points X € g\S each lying on a
2-line through P and, since (t — 3) + 2 — 2 < t + 2, Lemma 2.5 implies that each such
X lies on at least three secants, one of which does not pass through P and is not g.
The t + 1 points X g\S each lying on a tangent through P each lies on at least
one secant not through P and not g. Thus, there are at least n + 1 — i secants in

- 31 -
L(g*) not passing through P. There are exactly + + 3 — secants in L(g*) not
passing through P. It is straightforward to verify that n + 1 — i > (t + l)(i + 3 — i)
for i > 7. Hence, 2 < i < 6. If 3 < i < 6, then Lemma 2.5 implies that each of
the t + 1 points X € g\S lying on a tangent through P lies on at least two secants
not through P which are not g. Again, it is straightforward to convince oneself that
(n — t — i) + 2(f + 1) > (t + l)(i + 3 — i) for i > 5. So, 2 < i < 4. One last application
of Lemma 2.5 shows that each of the t + 1 points X € g \ S lying on a tangent
through P lies on at least three secants not through P which are not g, and each
of the n — t — i points X € g \S lying on a 2-line through P lies on at least three
secants not through P which are not g. But, 3(ra + 1 — ¿) > (t + 1 )(t + 3 — i) for
i > 3. Therefore, if there exists a (t + 2)-line, then all secants not through P are
either 2-lines or (t -f 2)-lines. Let Pq (E / D S \ {i3}. Then Pq lies on either t — 2 or
t — 3 lines of strength t + 2. This implies the existence of a secant / not through P
with 3 < st(f) < t + 1, a contradiction.
Therefore, there are no (t + 2)-lines.
To complete the proof of the theorem, let g be an ¿-line through P with 2 <
i < 6. As there are no secants h such that t — 2 < st(h) < t + 2, Lemma 2.5 implies
that each of the n — 1 -f i points X (E S \ l lies on at least three secants. Thus, we
must have that (t + 2)(t -f 3 — ¿) =| L(g*) |> 2(n + 1 — *). As is easily verified,
this is not true for t > 9. Thus, P lies only on secants of strength t + 3. Thus,
S(t + 2) + 1 = n + t + 3. As is easily verified, 8 = t — 2 or t — 1. Since every secant
intersects with every (t + 3)-line at a point in there do not exist (t + /3)-lines with | ¡3 |< 2.
Q.E.D.

CHAPTER 5
A BOUND FOR BLOCKING SETS OF REDEI TYPE, PART IV
The purpose of Chapter 5 is to prove the following theorem.
THEOREM 5.1. Let n be a projective plane of non-square order n = t2 — e, t > 12
and 1 < e < t. Let S be a blocking set ofU of Rédei type. Then, \ S |> n 4- t + 4.
By Theorem 2.9, | S |> n + t + 3. Hence, we will assume | S \= n + t + 3 and
derive a contradiction. By Theorem 4.1, there exists an unique (t -f 3)-line which
will be denoted as l. Note that by Lemma 2.4, if P € S \ l, then £2 + t + 5 <
F(P) CLAIM 5.2. Let A be a point in S and on l. Then A cannot lie on n secants of
strength 2.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that A does lie on n secants of strength
2. Then the set S \ {A} is a blocking set of Rédei type of cardinality n + t + 2, a
contradiction to Theorem 2.9.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 5.3. Each point P <2 S \ l lies on a secant of strength t — 1 or more.
PROOF: Assume not. Then,
t2 + t + 5 < F(P) <{t + 3)(t -2) = t2+ t-6.
Q.E.D.
- 32 -

-33-
Lemma 2.6 and Claim 5.3 imply that each point P € S \ l lies on a secant of
strength 5 or less.
CLAIM 5.4. Each point P € S \l lies on a secant of strength t or more.
PROOF: Assume not and let P be of type a with = t — 1. Since cq < 5,
t^ 41 -f- 5 5i F(P) — (f 4 2)(t — 1) + 5 = t^ 4 t -f- 3.
Q.E.D.
Lemma 2.6 now implies that every P £ S \l lies on a secant of strength 4 or
less.
Claim 5.5. Let P e S\l be a point of type a. If cq+3 = t> then = 2.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that P € S \ l is of type a with a<+3 = t
and cq > 3. Let Q € S \ l be such that PQ = l\. By Claim 5.4, there exists a
secant g through Q of strength at least t. Since
-f- 3 x 4 •< -f-1 5,
«3 > 5. Since 03 > 5 and a\ > 3, secant g intersects with each of the t + 3 secants
through P at a point in S, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 5.6. Let P G S \ l be a point of type a. Then > t + 5 — i for
ut+3 - t + 5 < i < 2t - a<+3.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that at+4-i < t + 5 — i for some i. Define
the constant 7 by at+3 = t + 7. By Claim 5.4, 7=0, 1 or 2. Thus,
F(P) < (i - 1 )(t + 7) + (i + 3 - i)(t + 4 - i) + ai =
= i2 - i{t + 7 - 7) + t2 + 6i + 12 - 7 + ai.

- 34 -
If 7 + 5 < i < 7 — 7, this inequality yields the contradiction F(P) < 72 + 7 + 5.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 5.7. Each point P € S \l lies on a secant of strength t -f 1 or t + 2.
PROOF: Assume not and let P be of type a with 0^+3 = t. By Claim 5.5, a\—2.
Since
(7 -|- 1)7 + 2x2 = 72 + 7 + 4<72 + 7 + 5,
one can choose point Q (E S \ l of type (3 such that PQ = l-¿. Claim 5.6 implies that
Q does not lie on a secant <7^/2 with 5 < st(g) < t. Since
72 + 2x3 + 2 = 72 + 8<72 + 7 + 5,
a3 > 4 and, hence, Q does not lie on a secant g ^ 12 of strength t + 1. That is, Q
lies only on secants g / l‘¿ with st(g) = 2, 3, 4 or t + 2. Since
(t — 3)(7 + 2) 4* 5 x 4 -(- c*2 = 72 — t -(- 14 + o¡2 72 + t + 5,
Q lies on at least t — 2 secants of strength t + 2. This implies that «3 > t — 1.
Suppose £¥3 = t. If Q lies on fewer than 7 — 1 secants of strength 7 + 2, then Q
lies necessarily on at least > 5 secants h / 1% of strength at most 4. Hence,
Q lies on at least (7 — 2) + 5 + 1 =7 + 4 secants, a contradiction. Therefore, Q lies
on exactly 7 — 1 secants of strength 7 + 2. Computing one gets,
E(P) = (7 + 1)7 + o¡2 + 2 = 72 + 7 + £*2 + 2
and
F{Q) — {t ~ 1)(^ + 2) + /?4 + /?3 + /?2 + 01 — 72 + 7 — 2 + ^4 + ^3 + fa + f3\.

- 35 -
Or, c*2 + 4 = 04 + /?3 + /?2 + 0i- Since «2 equals (3j for some 1 < j < 4, we have a
contradiction. So, a% t.
Suppose Q3 = t — 1. It is straightforward to show that ay > 4. Choose R £ S\l
such that PR=lf+3 and st(QR) = t + 2. As <23 = t — 1, point R can lie on at most
t — 2 secants of strength t + 2. Since 0:2 > 4 and <23 = t — 1, point R lies only on
secants g 7^ 3 with st(g) = 2, 3, 4, 5 or t + 2. Since Q lies on t — 2 > 6 secants of
strength t + 2, all secants /i with st(h) = 3, 4 or 5 must pass through Q. Thus, R
lies only on secants g 7^ lt+3 with st(g) = 2 or t + 2. Thus,
T t T 5 ^ ^ (f — 2)(f + 2) + t + 4x2 = ¿2+¿ + 4,
a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
Lemma 2.6 now implies that every point P £ S \l lies on a secant of strength
2 or 3.
Claim 5.8. Let P £ S \ l be of type a. Then «4 > 3.
PROOF: Assume not and let P £ S \ l be of type a with 04 = 2. Let Q £ S \ l be
of type (} such that PQ = Iq. It is easily shown that i*5 = i + l orf + 2 and that P
lies on at least t — 2 secants of strength t + 2. Thus, Q lies only on secants g ^ Iq
with st(<7)=2, t — 1 or t. If Q lies on fewer than t + 1 secants g 7^ Iq with st( 2,
then
t2 + t + 5 < F(Q) <4 t + (t- 4)(i -1) +a6 + 2x2 =
= t2 + 10.
Thus, Q lies on one (t + 2)-line, one 2-line and t + 1 secants of strength t or t — 1.
Choose an R £ S\l different from Q such that PR = Iq. Clearly, R must also lie

-36-
on t + 1 secants of strength t or t — 1. But, (3% > t — 1 and Lemma 2.2 imply that
R can not lie on a secant of strength t or t — 1, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
Claim 5.9. Let P e S\l be of type a. Then <23 > 3.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there is a point P G S \ l of type
a such that 03 = 2. By Claim 5.8, there is a point Q € S \ l of type ¡3 such
that PQ = I4. Claim 5.6 implies that Q does not lie on a secant <7^/4 with
7 < st(g) < t — 2. Since
(t — 2)(f + 2) + 2x5 + 3x2 — f2 -(- 12 < t^ -(-1 -f- 5,
«5 > 6 and, hence, Q does not lie on a secant g ^ 14 of strength t — 1. Since
5(t -f- 2) -(- (t — 6)(t — 1) -f- 0:4 + 3 x 2 = i2 — 2t -)- 22 -f- Q4 < t2 -)-1 -(- 5,
q<_2 > t and, hence, Q does not lie on a secant ^7^/4 of strength 5 or 6. Thus,
Q does not lie on any secants g / with 5 < st{g) < t — 1. Since 03 = 2, any
(t + 2)-line must pass through P. Thus,
t2 + t + 5 < E(Q) < 3(i + 1) + (0:5 — 4)i + 0:4 + (t + 3 — 05)4 =
= 0:5 (t — 4) + 3f + 15 + 0:4,
so 05 > t + 1.
Suppose (*5 = t + 2. Then Q lies only on secants g ^ I4 with st(g) — 2, t or
t +1. Also, note that <25 — t-\- 2 implies the non-existence of 3-lines or 4-lines, except

-37-
for possibly 14. If Q were to lie on fewer than t + 1 secants g I4 with st(g) > t,
then Q would necessarily lie on at least t — 1 secants of strength 2 and, hence, as is
easily shown, F(Q) < i2 +1 + 5. Thus, Q lies on t + 1 secants g ^ I4 of strength t or
t + 1, secant I4 and one 2-line. Let A € S fl l be such that st(QA) = 2. As A is not
on I4, there are no 3-lines or 4-lines through A. As /% > 3 and ^3 > i, there are no
secants g through A with 5 < st(g) < t + 2. Thus, A lies on n secants of strength
2, a contradiction of Claim 5.2. So, 05 ^ t + 2. Thus, <25 = t + 1.
Then Q lies only on secants g ^ I4 for which st(g) = 2, 3, t or t + 1, and there
are no 4-lines with the possible exception of 14. The equality 05 = t + 1 implies
that there are at least two secants h ^ I4 through Q of strength 2 or 3. If Q lies on
fewer that t secants g ^ I4 with st(g) > t, then Q must lie on at least > 6
secants h 7^ I4 of strength 2 or 3 and, hence, as is easily shown, F(Q) < i2 + t + 5.
Thus, Q lies on t secants g ^ I4 with st(g) = t or t + 1, secant I4 and two secants of
strengths 2 or 3. Thus,
-h t 4- 5 < F(Q) < 3(t T 1) + (i — 3)t T 6 + 04 = + 9 + oq,
so 04 > t — 4 > 5.
Let R € S\/be of type 7 such that i? ^ ¿4. Since 05 = t +1 and 04 > t — 4 > 5,
point R lies only on secants g 7^ PR such that st(g) = 2, 3, t or t + 1. If R lies
on fewer than t secants g ^ PR with st(g) > t, then R necessarily lies on at least
> 5 secants h ^ PR of strength 2 or 3 and, thus, F(R) < í2 -f i + 5. By the
contradiction, 0.4 = t + 1. Thus, Q lies on t + 1 secants of strength t or t -f 1. As Q
lies on at most four (t + l)-lines, one has that ^3 = t. Choose U G S \ l such that
st(QU) = t. Since (3% = t, U lies only on secants g ^ QU for which st(g) — 2, 3, 4,

-38-
t + 1 or t + 2. Since 0:3 = 2, U lies on at most one (t + 2)-line and at most four
secants of strength t + 1 or t + 2. Thus,
F{U) < (t + 2) + 3(< -1-1) + t + (t — 3)4 + 3 = 9f - 4 < t2 + t + 5.
So, c*5 ^ / + 1.
This contradiction completes the proof of Claim 5.9.
Q.E.D.
Claim 5.10. Let P £ S \l be of type a. Then c*i + 02 > 6.
PROOF: By way of contradiction, assume the existence of a point P of type a with
«1 + «2 < 5.
By Claim 5.9, there exists a point Q 6 <5 \ / of type /3 such that PQ = 1%.
Claim 5.6 implies that Q does not lie on a secant 5^/3 with 7 < st(g) < t — 2.
Since
(t - 2)(t + 2) + 3 x 5 + <*1 + a2 < t2 + 16 < t2 + t + 5,
«5 > 6 and, hence, all secants g ^ 13 through Q of strength t — 1 or more intersect
with 15 at points of S. Thus, Q does not lie on a secant g ^ 1% oí strength t — 1. As
4(Í + 2) + {t - 3)(í — 1) + 5 = t2 + 16 < t2 + Í + 5
and
5(< + 2) + (t - 4)(t - 2) + 5 = t2 - t + 23 < t2 + t + 5,
ott-\ ^ í and «<-2 > t — 1, respectively. Hence, Q also does not lie on secants g ^ I3
of strengths 5 or 6. Thus, Q does not lie on a secant <7 / /3 with 5 < st(g) < t — 1.

-39-
Note that a\ +«2 < 5 implies that Q lies on at most two (t+2)-lines. (If st{l%) = t+2,
then F(P) > t* -f 2t + 4.) Thus,
+ t + 5 < F(Q) Sí 2(i + 2) + (05 — 3)(t + 1) + (i + 3 — 0:5)4 + 03 =
= 05(t — 3) + 3t + 13 + 03.
So, 05 > t. Note that if 05 = t, then 03 > t — 8 > 4, and since Q lies on a secant
of strength less than 4, one has
+ t + 5 < F{Q) < 2(i + 2) + (t — 3)(f + 1) + 2 x 4 + 03 + 3 =
= t2 + 12 + 03.
So, if 05 = f, then 03 > t — 7 > 5.
Suppose 05 = t + 2. Except for possibly ¿2, ¿3 and I4, there are no 3-lines or
4-lines. Thus, Q lies only on secants <7 7^ ¿3 with st(g) = 2, t, t + 1 or t + 2. If Q
lies on fewer than t + 1 secants g ^ 13 with st(g) > t, then Q necessarily lies on at
least t — 1 secants of strength 2 and, hence, F(Q) < + t T 5. So, Q lies on t + 1
secants g ^ I3 with st(g) > t. If 04 > 5, then these t + 1 secants ^7^/3 would each
intersect I4 at a point of S, implying that 04 = t + 2. But, «4 = t -f 2 implies that
F(P) > i2 + 2t + 4, a contradiction. So, if 05 = t + 2, then 04 < 4.
Let R (E S \ l be such that PR = l§. Point R lies only on secants of strengths
2, t — 1, t, t + 1 or t + 2. If R does not lie on an (t — l)-line, then since a.\ < 4 one
has that
F(R) < 3(t + 2) -f- (t -f-1) -f-1 -T {t — 2)2 — It T 3 < -)-1 -f- 5.

-40 -
Let g be a (t — l)-line. There are n — t — 2 points X 6 g \ S such that X ^ lj,
j = 1 + 3. Since there are no 5-lines and all 3-lines and 4-lines pass through
P, Lemma 2.5 implies that each of the points X is of type (2,2,2,2,t — 1). Since
4(n — t — 2) > 2n, there is some point U € S \ l which lies on at least three 2-lines.
This contradiction of Claim 5.8 implies that 05 1 + 2.
Suppose c*5 = t. Remember that Q3 > 5. Let R £ S \ l be of type 7 with
PR = 4. Together, 05 = t and 03 > 5 imply that R does not lie on a secant
g ^ 4 with 5 < st(g) < t. If R were to lie on fewer than t — 1 secants g 7^ 4 with
•$4#) ^ t + 1, then
F(R) 2(t -(- 2) + (t — 4)(i —1) —o4 -f 3 x 4 + 3 =
= — i -(-15 -(- 04 < T t T 5.
Thus, R lies on exactly t — 1 secants g ^ l\ with st(g) > t + 1. Thus, 03 = t. Note
that R must lie on three secants h that are of strength 4 or less. Let U (E S \ l be
such that PU = 4 5 Yet U ^ R. Then U as R lies on exactly t — 1 secants g ^ 4
with st(g) > t + 1. Thus,
(73 - 1) + (72 ~ 1) + (71 “ 1) > t ~ 1,
a contradiction since 73 < 4. Thus, 05 ^ t and, so 0:5 = t + 1.
Except for possibly 4 and 4i there are no 4-lines. Thus, Q lies only on secants
g 4 with strengths 2, 3, t,t + l or t + 2. This fact and the equality <25 — t +1 imply
that Q lies on at least two secants h / 4 with strengths 2 or 3. If Q lies on fewer
than t secants g 7^ 4 with st(g) > t, then Q necessarily lies on at least > 6
secants with strength 3 or less and, hence, as is easily shown, F(Q) < t2 +1 + 5. So,

-41 -
Q lies on exactly t secants <7^/3 with st(g) > t. If 0:4 < 4, then Q lies on at most
three secants of strength t + 1 or more and, hence,
F{Q) ^ 2(t T 2) -(- (t -(- 1) -f- (t — 3)¿ + 10 = t2 + 15 < t2 T1 -|- 5.
Thus, 0:4 > 5. By Lemma 2.2, the t secants <7^/3 through Q of strength t or more
intersect with I4 in points of S. Thus, 04 = t + 1 and Q lies only on secants #7^/3
of strengths 2, 3, t + 1 or t + 2.
Assume, by way of contradiction, the existence of a secant g ^ oí strength
t. Choose a point R 6 S \ l of type 7 such that R £ (¡2 U /3 U g). As Q4 = t + 1, R
lies only on secants of strengths 2,3,í, / + 1 or t + 2. As with Q, point R lies on t
secants h ^ PR of strength t or more. Since st(PR)> t + 1, 73 > t. This inequality
yields the contradiction that g meets t + 1 of the secants through R in points of S.
Hence, there are no ¿-lines, except for possibly ¿3.
Thus, any point R € S\l such that R £ ¿2U/3 lies on t + 1 secants of strengths
t -f 1 or t -(- 2. This yields the contradiction
t2 + 2t + 4 > F(R) >{t + l)(í + 1) + 2x2 = ¿2 + 2¿ + 5.
Thus, «5 7^ t + 1.
Therefore, cx\ + 02 > 6.
Q.E.D.
CLAIM 5.11. There are no 3-lines and no (t + 1 )-lines.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there does exist a secant of strength
3. By Claim 5.10, there is a point P € S \ l of type a with a\ = 3. Let Q e S\l
be such that PQ = l\. Point Q lies on a secant g of strength t -f 1 or t + 2. Since

-42-
a\ = 3, all secants of strength t + 2 pass through P. It is clear that <23 = 3, for else
st(g) > t + 3 by Lemma 2.2. If 3 = t + 2, then the n — t — 1 points X € /¿_|_3 \ are each of type (2,t + 2). Thus, one of the n — t — 1 points in S \ (k+3 U /) lies
either on two 2-lines or a 2-line and a 3-line, both not possible by Claim 5.10. Thus,
at+3 = t + 1 and there are no secants of strength t + 2. Claim 5.6 now implies that
Q does not lie on secants g ^ l\ such that 6 (t — 2)(t + 2) + 2x4-f9 = i2-f- 13 < f2 T t T 5,
4(t T 2) T (t — 1)(¿ + 2) + 9 = i2 — í T 21 < t2 -f-1 4- 5
and
3(f + 2) + (t — 3)i + 9 = t2 + 15 < t1 + t + 5,
a5 > 5, at-1 > t and at > t + 1. Hence, Q also does not lie on a secant g ^ l\
of strength t, 5 or 4. Thus, Q lies only on secants of strength 3 or t + 1. Thus,
Q must lie on t secants of strength t + 1 and three secants of strength 3. Thus,
«4 = t + 1. Let R G S \ l be of type 7 with PR = I4. Point R lies only on secants
of strength 2, 3, t or t + 1. Also, R lies on at least two secants of strengths 3 or less
since at4.3 = t + 1. If R lies on fewer than t secants g I4 with st(g) > t, then R
must lie on at least [^5^] > 6 secants of strength 2 or 3, which is easily shown to
imply F(R) < i2 + t + 5. Thus, R lies on t + 1 secants of strength t or more. Thus,
either 71 + 72 < 5 or 71 = 72 = 3 and 73 > 3, both of which have been eliminated
as possibilities. Thus, there are no 3-lines.
Since there are no 3-lines, there are no (t + l)-lines. For otherwise, if g is a
(i + l)-line, then the n — t points X € g\S are each of type (2,2, t-fl) and, thus, one
of the n — t points P € S\(hJg) lies on at least two 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim
5.10.
Q.E.D.

-43-
Claim 5.12. Let P £ S \ l be of type a. Then, c*2 > 7.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there is a point P € S \ l of type a
with «2 = 4, 5 or 6. By Claims 5.7 and 5.11, ol\ = 2. Let A € S fl / be such that
PA = l\. Let Q 6 S \ l be of type /? such that PQ = ¡2- Claim 5.6 implies that Q
does not lie on a secant g ^ ¡2 with 7 < st(g) < t — 2. Since
5(t + 2) + (£ - 4)(t - 2) + 8 = £2 - t + 26 < £2 + t + 5,
a¿_2 > t — 1 and, hence, <5 does not lie on a 6-line g ^ /2. Thus, Q bes only on
secants g ^ oi strength 2,4,5,£ — 1,£ or t + 2. (Remember, there are no 3-lines
or (t + l)-lines.) Computations of F(P) show that <*6 > 7 and ot5 > 5. Thus,
£^ + t + 5 < -F(Q) < («6 — 1)(£ + 2) + (£ + 2 — 06)5 + 02 T 2 =
= a§(t — 3) + it + 10 + 02-
So O0 > t — 1.
Suppose «6 = t ~ 1- Then Q lies on at most t — 2 secants of strength t + 2. If
$ lies on fewer than t — 2 secants of strength t + 2, then
F(Q) ^ (£ — 3)(£ + 2) + £ -f 3 x5 + 02 + 2 = £2 — i 11 -(- x -(- 02?
where x = t if 02 = 4, x = t — 1 if «2 = 5 and x = 5 if 02 = 6. In any case,
F{Q) < £2 + £ + 5. Thus, Q lies on exactly £ — 2 secants of strength t + 2. A
computation of F(Q) shows that Q lies on at least three 5-lines. Let g / ¡2 be a
5-line through Q. As c*2 > 4, there exists R £ (S \ l) U I2 distinct from P and Q.
The £ — 2 > 10 secants of strength £ + 2 through R must intersect with g at points

-44 -
of S, clearly a contradiction since st(g)=5. Since there are no (t + l)-lines, og = t
or t + 2.
Suppose ag = t + 2. Then A does not lie on a secant g with 3 < st(g) < t — 2.
Since «2 > 2, A does not lie on an (¿ + 2)-line. There are no (t + l)-lines. Assume
the existence of a secant g through A of strength t — 1 or t. Since «6 = t + 2, all
4-lines and 5-lines, if any, pass through P. There are no 3-lines. Thus, each of the
points X £ g \ S is either of type (2,2,2,2, t — 1) or (2,2,2,f), respectively. Thus,
P lies on at least four 2-lines, a contradiction of Claim 5.8. Thus, point A lies on n
secants of strength 2, a contradiction of Claim 5.2. Thus, ag ^ t + 2, so ag = t.
Point A lies only on secants g ^ l\ of strength 2, 4, t — 1 or t. Assume the
existence of a ¿-line g through A. Since 05 > 5, 02 = <23 = 04 = 4. Since
4(< + 2) + {t — 5)i + 3 x 4 + 2 = t2 — t + 22 < t2 + t + 5,
there are at least five (t + 2)-lines through P. Thus, all 4-lines pass through P
and each point X € g \ S is of type (2,2,2, t). Hence, P lies on four 2-lines, a
contradiction of Claim 5.8.
Assume the existence of a (t — l)-line g through A. Then 05 = 5 and , as is
easily shown, there are at least five (t + 2)-lines through P. Thus, all 4-lines pass
through P. Since ag = t, all 5-lines also pass through P. Hence, each of the points
X € g \ S is of type (2,2,2,2, t — 1). Hence, P lies on five 2-lines, a contradiction
of Claim 5.8.

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Assume the existence of a 4-line g through A. Then there are at most three
(t -f 2)-lines through P. A computation of F(P) shows that 04 > 6. Let R (E S \l
be such that PR = /3. Since 04 > 6,
t2 + t + 5 < F(R) < (a2 - 1 )(t + 2) + (t + 2 - a2)4 + a3 + 2 =
— — 2) -f 3t + 8 + ot3,
a contradiction since a2 < 6. Thus, A lies on n secants of strength 2, a contradiction
of Claim 5.2.
Therefore, a2 > 7.
Q.E.D.
Therefore, there are no secants of strength 3, 4, 5 or 6.
Proof of Theorem 5.1:
Let P 6 S \ l be of type a. Then ai = 2 and a2 > 7. Let A € 5 fl / be such
that PA = l\. Claim 5.6 and a2 > 7 imply that A lies on n secants of strength 2, a
contradiction of Claim 5.2.
Q.E.D.

CHAPTER 6
SMALL BLOCKING SETS OF HERMITIAN DESIGNS, PART I
Motivation for the next two chapters began with a paper by D. Jungnickel
[15]. In his work Jungnickel introduces the idea of a self blocking block design.
Given any block design E that admits blocking sets, form the collection C(E) of all
committees of E. (A blocking set of minimum cardinality is called a committee.) If
C(E) is itself a block design, where the points of C(E) are the points of E and the
blocks of C(E) are the committees of E, then E is said to be self blocking when the
committees of the block design C(E) are the blocks of E. That is, E is self-blocking
if C(C(27)) = E.
Let q be a prime power, K — GF(q) the finite field of q elements and V a
3-dimensional vector space over K. One can form a finite projective plane 77 in the
following manner: Let the 1-dimensional subspaces of V be the points of 77 and the
2-dimensional subspaces of V be the lines of 77. As is well known, 77 is of order
q, is denoted by PG(2,q) and is called the Desarguesian projective plane of order
q. The points of 77 = PG(2,q) can be represented by homogeneous triples (x,?/,2r);
that is, (x, y, z) can be thought of as a 1 x 3 matrix where (x, y, z) = (kx, ky, kz) for
all non-zero k € K and x, y and 2 are not simultaneously zero. The lines of 77 can
be represented by the transpose (a, b, c)* of a homogeneous triple. Then the point
P = (x,y,z) lies on line / = (a, 6, c)1 if and only if ax + by + cz = 0; that is, the
“dot product” is zero. [12, Chapter II]
-46 -

-47-
In Jungnickel’s paper [15] it is shown that for q a prime power, the projective
planes 77 = PG(2,q2) are self-blocking; the committees of 77 are its Baer subplanes.
Inside of 77 are substructures called Hermitian unitals which are block designs and,
though not committees, are blocking sets. The collection of all Hermitian unitals
forms a block design, call it S. The original motivating question for Chapters 6 and
7 was for which values of q, if any, are the committees of E the lines of the plane.
In order to address that question we will need the following definitions.
A collineation a of the plane 77 = PG(2,q), q a prime power, is a map of the
set of points of 77 onto itself such that point P lies on line / if and only if point a(P)
lies on line that is , a preserves incidence. (Here, a(/) denotes the set of points
a((5), Q a point on /. It is easily verified that a(l) is a line of 77.) Denote by Autll
the group of all collineations of 77. The projective subgroup PGL(3, q) of Autll is
the set of all collineations that can be represented by non-singular 3x3 matrices
A with entries from the Galois field GF(q). That is, if P = (x,y,z) is a point of
77, then the collineation a represented by A is defined by a(P) = (x,y,z)A. (It
is easy to convince oneself that for non-zero k € K, kA and A represent the same
collineation.) [12, Chapter II]
For positive integer n, a unital is a 2-(n^ + l,n + 1,1) block design. For odd
prime power q, set 77 = PG(2,q^). The plane 77 possesses sub-structures which are
2-(q^ + 1, q + 1,1) block designs; that is, there are unitals inside 77. Let U represent
a unital of 77. Each line of 77 is either tangent to U, intersecting with U in exactly
one point, or is a secant intersecting with U in exactly q-\-1 points [13, Chapter 6.3].
Thus, every unital of 77 is a blocking set of 77. Denote by U(q) the (non-empty)
set of all unitals of 77 = PG(2,q^), q an odd prime power. The plane 77 admits the
doubly transitive automorphism group G = PGL(3,q2), and G preserves unitals,
that is, elements of G map unitals to unitals. Thus, U{q) is itself a block design

- 48 -
where its points are the points of 77 and its blocks are the imitáis of 77. Call U(q)
the unitals design of 77. [12, Theorem 2.49]
A correlation a of a (finite) projective plane 77 is a map of the set of points of
77 onto the set of lines of 77, and vice versa, such that point P lies on line / if and
only if point a(l) lies on line a(P). A polarity a is a correlation of order 2; that is,
a^ is the identity collineation. [12, Chapter II.6]
Let 77 = PG(2,q^), q an odd prime power. A unitary polarity a of 77 is
a polarity that can be represented by a 3 x 3 non-singular Hermitian matrix 77
with entries from F = GF(q^) in the following manner. (The matrix 77 =
hij € F, is Hermitian if and only if h¡j = h^-. That is, 77 = (779)*.) The point
P = (x,y,z) is sent by a to the line H(xq ,yq,zq)1 and the line / = (a, 6, c)* is sent
to the point (a9, bq, c9)77-1. Point P = (x, y, z) of 77 is said to be an absolute point
of a if and only if P lies on line a(P); that is, if and only if (x,y, z)H(xq,yq, zqY =
0. Similarly, line l = (a, 6, c)* is said to be an absolute line of a if and only if
(aq, bq, cq)H~^(a, b, c)* = 0. The absolute points and non-absolute lines of a unitary
polarity form a unital U, a 2-(q^ + \,q + 1,1) block design. (The absolute lines of
a unitary polarity a are called tangents, because they intersect with U in exactly
one point.) Call such a unital a Hermitian unital and denote by H{q) the set of
all Hermitian unitals of 77. Since the projective group G = PGL(3,q**) preserves
(Hermitian) unitals and its unitary subgroup, the subgroup of G that fixes some
Hermitian unital U, has order (q^ + 1 )q^{q^ — 1), it is routine to verify that H{q)
is a block design with parameters v = q^ + q^ + 1, k = q^ + 1 and A = q^(q^ — 1).
Call H(q) the Hermitian design of 77. [12, Chapter II.8]
For the remainder of this chapter, let q denote an odd prime power. Then 77
will denote PG(2,q2) and C will denote a committee of H(q). Also, let F be the

-49-
Galois field GF(^) and K the Galois field GF(^). For real number r, denote the
smallest integer greater than or equal to r by |V].
In Chapter 7 it is shown that for q = 3 the committees of the Hermitian design
H(q) are the lines of 77; that is, C(77(3))=77. Initially it was hoped to extend
this result and show that C(H(q))=II for all values of q. No progress was made in
this direction. After contacted by my advisor D. Drake, A. Blokhuis demonstrated
that this extension was unattainable. [4] (An outline of Blokhuis’ argument will be
given later in this chapter.) So, are there any values of q other than 3 for which
C(H(q))=rn For which values of q is it true that C(H(q)) is not equal to 77? In
attempting to answer these questions, a lower and upper bound are found on the
cardinality of a committee C of H(q).
The following definitions and Lemmas 6.1 through 6.5 will be needed to es¬
tablish a lower bound on the cardinality of C and to show in Chapter 7 that
C(77(3)) =PG(2,9).
Let V be a vector space over K—GF(q) of dimension 2d. A spread of V is a
set of qd + 1 d-dimensional subspaces V\,..., Vqd+i of V such that V¡C\Vj = {0} for
i / j. [12, Exercise 7.7] The field F=GF(q“*) is a 2-dimensional vector space over
K. Since there are exactly q + 1 1-dimensional subspaces of F over K, there is a
unique spread Ej of F over K.
Let Z[a, 6] denote the set {z £ F | (ax)q + ax + b = 0, b 6 K and 0^« £ F}.
LEMMA 6.1. The collection S\ := { L[a,0] | a G F, a ^ 0 } is a spread of F over
K.
PROOF: Since (x + y)q = xq + yq for all x,y £ F, and since Z[a,0] ^ F, Z[a,0]
is a 1-dimensional subspace of F over K. The polynomial Xq + X has q — 1 non¬
zero roots in F. If r is one such root, then given any non-zero c 6 F, one has

- 50 -
c G L[rc~ , 0]. Clearly, 0 G T[a,0] for all non-zero a G F. Thus, all vectors c G F
lie in some T[a,0]. As 1-dimensional subspaces are either equal or intersect only at
0, Ui is a spread of F.
Q.E.D.
The Desarguesian affine plane of order q can be represented as the collection of
cosets of the (unique) spread E\ of F over K. Henceforth, S will denote the affine
plane of order q formed from the cosets of Iq.
LEMMA 6.2. Every set L[a,b\ is a coset of the subspace T[a,0] and, hence, a line of
the affine plane E, and; every coset of L[a, 0] is of the form L[a,b\. Further, lines
L[a,b] and L[c,d] are parallel if and only if ac~^ G/t; in particular, L[a,0]=L[c,0]
if and only if ac~^ G/C
PROOF: For any non-zero a G F, the mapping fa from F into K defined by fa(x) =
(ax)q -f ax is linear and onto. Thus, there exists c G F such that (ac)q + ac = —b.
(Remember, b G K.) For x G L[a,0], one has (a(x + c))q + a(x + c) + b= (ax)q +
ax + (ac)q -\- ac + 6 = 0 + 0 = 0. Thus, c + X[a,0] C L[a,b\. If x G L[a,b],
then (a(x — c))q + a(x — c) = (ax)q + ax — (ac)q — ac — —b — (—6) = 0. Thus,
(x — c) G L[a, 0], or L[a, b] C c -f L[a, 0]. Hence, L[a, b] = c + L[a, 0], or L[a, b] is a
coset of L[a, 0]. If d + L[a, 0] is a coset of L[a, 0], then it is straightforward to check
that d + L[a, 0] = L[a, 6], where —b — (ad)q + ad.
For all non-zero a, the line L[a,0] contains the point 0. The line L[a,b] is
parallel to the line L[a, 0] for all b. Thus, L[a,b] is parallel to L[c,d\ if and only if
L[a, 0] = L[c, 0]. Assume ac-1 G K. Then, (ac~^)q = ac-1. Thus, (cx)q + cx — 0 if
and only if ac~^((cx)q + cx) = 0 if and only if (ax)q + ax = 0. So, T[a,0] = L[c, 0].

-51 -
Assume L[a, 0] = L[c, 0]. If 0 ^ x £ Z/[c, 0], then L[c, 0] = { ax \ a € A'}. It is
straightforward to verify that ac~^x € A[c, 0], so ac~* (E K.
Q.E.D.
For c and e elements of F, denote by //[c, e] the Hermitian unital represented
by the following matrix.
(°
0
C \
A =
0
1
e
eq
eq+l )
Since A is non-singular, c is non-zero.
LEMMA 6.3. The point (r,s, 1) of the plane IT is in H[c,e] if and only if c is on the
line L := L[r, f(e,s)J, where f(e,s) := (e + s9)9+1; line L contains the point 0 if
and only if e — —sq.
PROOF: The point (r, s, 1) is in H[c,e] if and only if 0 = (cr)9+cr-fe9+* + (es)q +
es + s9+1= (cr)q + cr + (e + sq)q+l if and only if c £L[r, (e + s9)9+^].
Clearly, L contains the point 0 if and only if /(e, s) = 0, if and only if e = — sq.
Q.E.D.
Henceforth, let f(e,s) := (e +
Lemma 6.4. The lines (0,0,1)* and (1,0,0)* of II are tangent to H[c,e] at the
points (1,0,0) and (0, — eq,l), respectively.
PROOF: If the matrix A represents H[c, e], then the proof is simply a matter of
matrix multiplication once A-1 has been determined. Note that + eqxq + ex +
eq~equals (x +
Q.E.D.

-52-
LEMMA 6.5. [If, Theorem 1’, p.257] Let V be a vector space of dimension n over
a finite field K with q elements. Then any covering of the non-zero elements of V
with hyperplanes not containing zero must consist of at least n(q — 1) hyperplanes.
We are now in a position to establish a lower bound on the cardinality of a
committee C of H(q).
Proposition 6.6. \C\ >2q + 2 for q> 3.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that \C\ <2q-\-\. Choose distinct lines g
and h from IT that maximize \C fl (g U h) \. Thus, \C D (g U h) \ > 4. Since 2q +1 < g2,
there are distinct points P 6 g and T £ h not in C so that the line l = PT has empty
intersection with C. Coordinatize IT so that P = (1,0,0), Q — g D h = (0,1,0) and
T = (0,0,1). Denote the i points mC\(gUh) by Rj = (rj,sj, 1), 1 < j < i < 2q — 3.
Note that for all j, the elements rj and sj are non-zero. Lemma 6.4 implies that
for every c in F, the lines g and h are tangent to the unital H[c, 0] at the points P
and T, respectively. Since sj ^ 0 for all j, Lemma 6.3 implies that none of the j
lines L[rj, /(0, Sj)] contains the element 0 of F. Thus, by Lemma 6.5, the i <2q — 3
lines L[rj,f(0,Sj)] do not cover the non-zero elements of F. Hence, there exists a
non-zero element c in F such that the unital H[c, 0] has empty intersection with C.
This contradicts the fact that C is a blocking set of H(g).
Q.E.D.
There will now be presented three arguments for upper bounds on the cardinal¬
ity of C. The bounds will be successively lower. The last argument is independent of
the first two. The first argument is an outline of the Blokhuis’ argument mentioned
earlier.

- 53 -
LEMMA 6.7. Consider four points in standard position and the six lines joining
them. (That is, there are four distinct points, no three collinear.) Then these six
lines cannot all be tangents of the same Hermitian unital U.
PROOF: Label the four points as (1,0,0), (0,1,0), (0,0,1) and (1,1,1). This com¬
pletely determines the representations of the six lines. If U is represented by the
Hermitian matrix A and / = (a, 6, c)* is any one of these six lines, then l is tangent
to U if and only if (aq,bq,cq)A~l(a,b,cY = 0. Simple matrix computations will
show that the six lines can not all be tangents.
Q.E.D.
As is well known, a Baer subplane T of 77 intersects with each line / of 77 either
in q -f 1 points or in exactly one point.[12, Theorem 3.7] If T intersects with / in
q + 1 points, then T D / is called a Baer subline of /. [16, Definition 1]
Lemma 6.8. [15, Lemma 2] The lines of II that intersect with a Hermitian unital
in q + 1 points do so in a Baer subline.
Let / be an incidence structure and P a point of I. The internal structure Ip
of I is defined as the set of points of I minus P and the blocks of I that contain P,
where the incidence relation of Ip is that of I.
A 3-( design by A(g). The blocks of such designs are called circles. An inversive plane
can be characterized as those (finite) incidence structures I such that the internal
structure Ip is an affine plane for every point P in /.[ 10, Chapter 6.1]
LEMMA 6.9. [7, Lemma 3.1] The Baer sublines of a line l of n form an inversive
plane.

-54 -
Blokhuis then made the following count.
Let A(g) be the inversive plane formed from the Baer sublines of line / of II.
Let n be any positive integer and T any collection of n circles of A(q). In two ways
count the ordered pair (T,d), where d represents a circle of A(q) that has disjoint
intersection with every circle of T. It is straightforward to show, see [10, Chapter
6.1], that A(q) contains exactly q3 + q circles and each circle is disjoint from exactly
g(g 1^( intersection with every circle in T, then one gets the following.
, 3 , \ /V-3g2 + 29
a = (q +q)
(?3 + q)n
Clearly, a < ( log2(?3 + q), then a < 1. Hence,
there exists a hitting set of A(q) with at most ¡3 := (q + l)([log2( Lemma 6.7 now implies that there exists a blocking set of H(q) that contains at
most 6/3 points. Thus, 6/3 is an upper bound on the cardinality of C. Since 6/3 is
approximately 18glog2 9, and since it is clear that 18<¡flog2(<7) < g2 + 1 for large
enough q, for at least these large enough values of q, C(H(q)) / n.
This completes the outline of Blokhuis’ argument. The second argument con¬
sists of two minor improvements to Blokhuis’ argument.
LEMMA 6.10. Given that 6 is a primitive root of F = GF(q^), the four concurrent
lines (1,0,0)*, (0,1,0)*, (1,1,0)* and (¿,1,0)* can not all be tangent to the same
Hermitian unital U.
PROOF: Let U be represented by the Hermitian matrix A. The inverse A~1 of A is
also Hermitian. Set A~ * = (a¿j). Assume by way of contradiction that the four lines
are tangent to U. Simple computations show that an = 0, 022 = 0, a 12 = —^21

-55-
and a2i(¿ — 6q) = 0. If a21 = 0, then A 1 is singular. If 8 — 8q = 0, then 8 is not
primitive. In either case there is a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
For any line / of 77, let A(q) be the inversive plane formed from the Baer sublines
of l. Call any set of q+ 1 distinct points of A(q) a pseudo — circle. Let n be positive
integer and T be a collection of n pseudo—circles. In two ways count (T,d), where
d represents a circle having disjoint intersection with each of the pseudo—circles of
T. If a represents the average number of circles having disjoint intersection with
every pseudo-circle of T, then the following is true.
Define R as follows.
a = (?3 + q) X
R =
(q7~q)
\q+l)
W+l7
Then there exists a hitting set of A(^) containing at most e := (q + l)n + [aj
points. (Here, [«J denotes the greatest integer less than or equal to a.) Lemma 6.10
now implies that there exists a blocking set of H(q) containing at most 4c points.
Thus, 4e is an upper bound on the cardinality of C. It is easily seen that 4e < 6/3,
so that this is a smaller upper bound.
If one chooses integer n = [— log#(<73 + straightforward to verify that 4((? + 1)( [— log^( 47. Thus,
C(H(q)) can not equal FI for q > 47. In fact, by carefully choosing n, it can be
shown that C{H(q)) can not equal 77 for q > 25.
This completes the second argument.

-56-
The third and sharpest argument begins with another personal communication
from A. Blokhuis. In his communication Blokhuis credits T. Szonyi for pointing out
the survey paper by Z. Furedi from which the following lemma by L. Lovasz was
taken. [11]
LEMMA 6.11. [11, Corollary 6.29] Let G be a hypergraph and denote its maximum
degree byr. If r represents the covering number of G and t* represents the fractional
covering number of G, then r < (1 + ^ + ... + y)r* < (1 + log(r))r*.
A hyper graph G is just an incidence structure where the points are called
vertices and the blocks are called edges. The hypergraph to which this lemma will
be applied is the design H(q). The number r equals the maximum degree of a vertex
(point) in G; that is, if r(p) denotes the number of edges (blocks) passing through
vertex (point) p, then r := max r(p), the maximum taken over all vertices p of G.
All points of H(q) have the same degree. The covering number r is the minimum
cardinality of a hitting set of G. To define r*, the fractional covering number of
G, start by letting t represent any real valued function defined on the set of vertices
(points) of G such that t(p) > 0 for all points p in G and the sum Et(p), taken over
all points in edge (block) E, is greater than or equal to 1 for all edges (blocks) E in
G. If |f| := Ei(p), the sum taken over all points p in G, then the fractional covering
number t* := taken over all t.
Proposition 6.12. |C| < [((g4 + q1 + 1 )(q3 + 1)_1)(1 + log(q7 - g3))] for q > 5.
PROOF: Set 7 = (<74 + q* + 1)(9^ + l)-1)- Recall that the block design H(q) has
parameters v = q^ + q^ + 1, k = verify that each point has degree r = q7 — v points of H(q) by t(p) = where p is a point of H(q). Then t* < |t| = | = 7.

-57-
By Lemma 6.11, there is a hitting set S of H(q) with at most 8 := [7(1 + logr)]
points. Since 8 < 5, S is actually a blocking set of H(q) for q > 5.
Q.E.D.
It is easily verified that 8 < q* + 1 for q > 25. It is just as easy to verify that
for q = 23, f(l + ^ + ••• + r)^l < ^32 + 1. Hence, by Lemma 6.11, there are blocking
sets of the block design H(q) with fewer than q^ + 1 points for q > 23. Thus, for
q > 23, C{H(q)) ± II.

CHAPTER 7
SMALL BLOCKING SETS OF HERMITIAN DESIGNS, PART II
In Chapter 6 it was shown that C(H(q)) ^ PG(2, q2) for q an odd prime power
greater than or equal to 23. In this chapter we prove the following.
Theorem 7.1. C(H(3)) = PG{2,9).
The notation and terminology employed in Chapter 6 will also be used here.
Define F:=GF(9) as the polynomial ring C7F(3)[A’] modulo the ideal generated
by the irreducible polynomial X2 + 1. The polynomial X -f 1 is a primitive root of
F. Set Let C be a committee of the block design 77(3). Since every line / of 77 =
PG(2,9) intersects with every unital U of 77, and as l does not contain a unital U,
it is clear that C contains at most 10 points. If C contained fewer than 10 points,
then clearly there would exist a blocking set B of 77(3) with exactly 10 points such
that the 10 points are not linear. So, we will assume that B is a blocking set of
77(3) with exactly 10 points, the 10 points not collinear. It will be shown that such
a blocking set B can not exist. Hence, it will follow that the committees of 77(3)
are the lines of 77.
LEMMA 7.2. For any line g of 77, \gC\B\ < 8.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that \g D B\ = 9. Let P be the point on
g not in B, Q any point on g in B and T the point in B not on g. Coordinatize
-58-

- 59 -
77 such that P = (1,0,0), Q = (0,1,0) and T = (0,0,1). Then for any 0 ^ e GF,
Lemma 6.5 implies that the unital U[c, e] is disjoint from B, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
LEMMA 7.3. Given distinct lines g and h of II, |(g U h) fl B\ < 5.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that there are two distinct lines g and
h such that n := \(g \J h) 0 B\ > 6, where n is maximum in the sense that n >
|(0i U h\) fl B| for any pair of distinct lines g\ and h\. Without loss of generality
assume \g H B\ > |h fl B\ and set Q = g fl h.
If n = 10, then by Lemma 7.2 one can choose points P on g and T on h not
equal to Q and not in B. Coordinatize 77 so that P = (1,0,0), Q = (0,1,0) and
T = (0,0,1). By Lemma 6.4, any unital U[c, 0] has disjoint intersection with B, a
contradiction. Hence, n < 9.
For 1 < i < 10 — n, denote by R{ the points in B \ (g U h).
Assume that n > 7. Let P be any point on g not in B. There are 9 lines other
than g passing through P. Since 9 > \h C\B\ + (10 — n), one can choose a point T on
h so that the line / := PT is disjoint from B. Coordinatize 77 so that P = (1,0,0),
Q = (0,1,0), T = (0,0,1) and 7?¿ = (r¿, 1), 1 < i < 10 — n. Since none of the
points R{ lie on the line / = (0,1,0)*, not only is r¿ non-zero but so is for all i.
Thus, none of the lines L¡ := L[r¡, /(0, s¿)] of the affine plane E contain the point
0. Since n > 7 implies that 10 — n < 3 < 4, Lemma 6.5 implies that there exists a
non-zero c 6 F not covered by the lines L{. Thus, none of the points R¡ lie in the
Hermitian unital 77[c, 0]. Thus, by Lemma 6.4, 77[c, 0] has disjoint intersection with
B, a contradiction. Hence, n = 6.
Since n — 6 implies that \gC\B\ < 4, and since we are assuming |hflH| < \gf\B\,
one can choose points P on g and T on h not in B and not equal to Q such that

- 60 -
P, T, and R4 are collinear; denote this line by /. Since n is maximum there is at
least one i?¿ not on /; without loss of generality assume i = 1. Coordinatize i7 so
that P = (1,0,0), Q = (0,1,0), T = (0,0,1) and R.¡ = (r¿,1), i — 1,...,4. Note
that si 7!= 0 and 54 = 0. For any given e in F, represent the line L[r,-, /(e, s¿)] by
¿ = 1, ...,4, and define Je = L\ U ... U X4.
By Lemma 6.3, for each of the 5 values of e not equal to 2sf, 2^^, 2s:j or 0, the
point 0 of E is not contained in any of the lines L¡. Thus, for these 5 values of e,
no set of three of these lines Lj constitute a parallel class of the affine plane E.
Assume that three or more of the lines are in the same parallel class A. Let
e be any of the 5 values not equal to 2s j*, 25^, 2sjj or 0. Then the parallel lines
constitute at most two lines of A since no line contains the point 0. Thus, for
each of these 5 values of e, the set Je contains at most 7 points of E. Thus, for each
of these 5 values of e, there is a non-zero value c(e) in F so that the unital U[c(e), e]
does not contain any of the four points R¿. As |hflB| < 5, Lemma 6.4 implies
that there is a unital U[c, e] which has disjoint intersection with B, a contradiction.
Hence, no three of the lines L¿ are parallel.
Assume that the four lines L¿ are pairwise non-parallel. Again, let e be any of
the 5 values not equal to 2s j, 2sjj, 2sg or 0. If for any of these 5 values of e three
of the four lines L¿ form a triangle, then the set Je contains at most 7 points of E.
If for any of these 5 values of e the 4 lines are concurrent, then since none of the
lines L¿ contains the point 0 two of the lines must be equal and, hence, Je again
contains at most 7 points of E. In either case, for each of these 5 values of e there is a
non-zero c(e) in F so that U[c(e), e] contains none of the points R,-. Since |hflB| < 5,
Lemma 6.3 implies the existence of a unital which has disjoint intersection with B,
a contradiction.

-61 -
Thus, two of the lines L¿ are parallel but no third line is in the same parallel
class as these two. Let e = 0. Since the point 0 of E is on L4 and no three of the
lines L¿ are parallel, the set Jo contains at most 7 non-zero points of E. Thus, there
is a non-zero c(0) in F such that U[c(0),0] does not contain any of the points R¿.
By Lemma 6.4, U[c(0),0] has disjoint with H, a contradiction.
Q.E.D.
LEMMA 7.4. Given any line g of II, \g fl B\ < 2.
PROOF: Assume, by way of contradiction, that |<7n¿?| > 3. By Lemma 7.3, | 3. Label the points in B\g as R¿, i = 1,...,7. Also by Lemma 7.3, there are (2) = 21
distinct lines R¿Rj, i j. Thus, since 21 > 2 x 10, there is a point QGg such that
Q lies on 3 of these lines R¿Ry. Without loss of generality assume that R2R3, R4R5
and R@R7 are these lines. Again by Lemma 7.3, there is an integer 2 < i < 5 so
that RiR¿ intersects g and RgR7 at points P and T, respectively, not in B. Without
loss of generality assume i = 2. Coordinatize II so that P=(1,0,0), Q=(0,1,0),
T=(0,0,1), R5=(l, 1,1) and R,=(r,-, s¿, 1) for i = 1,...,4. Then g=(0,0,1)* and l :=
R6R7 = (1,0,0)*. Note that si = 0, S2 = 0, r2 = r%, 53 ^ 0, r4 = 1 and S4 ^ 0.
Set r = T2- For any given e in F, define L¿ := L[r¿,/(e, s¿)] for i = 1,...,4, L5 :=
L[l,/(e, 1)] and Je=LiU...UL5. By Lemma 6.2, L4 and L5 are parallel, and L2 and
L3 are parallel.
Assume that r GK. Then by Lemma 6.2, the lines L2, L3, L4 and L5 are in
the same parallel class A. By Lemma 6.3, for the 5 values of e not equal to 0, 2sjj,
2s^ or 2, the lines L2, L3, L4 and L5 do not contain the point 0 of E and, hence,
constitute at most 2 lines of A. For these 5 values of e, the line Li also does not
contain the point 0 by Lemma 6.3. Thus, for each of these 5 values of e, the set
Je contains at most 7 points of E. Hence, for each of these 5 values of e, there is a

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non-zero c(e) in F so that the unital U[c(e), e] does not contain the points Ri,...,R5-
Since |/ fl B\ < 5, Lemma 6.4 implies the existence of a unital U[c(e),e] which has
disjoint intersection with £?, a contradiction. Thus, r ^K.
Assume rq^K. As is easily checked, the points a2 and cr® of the affine plane
E are on the line L[1,0]. (Recall that cr is a primitive root of F as defined at the
beginning of this chapter.) Let e = 0. Since r and rq are not in K, Lemma 6.2
implies that neither Li nor contains the point cr2 or cr®. Since 54 ^ 0, neither
does L4 nor L5. Since r ^K, L3 can not contain both cr2 and cr®. Thus, the set Jq
does not contain the 8 non-zero points of E. Hence, there is a non-zero c(0) in F
so that the unital U[c(0),0] has disjoint intersection with B, a contradiction. So,
r\ €K, and since r\ ^ 0 or 1, must equal 2. This implies that Lj, L4 and L5 are in
the same parallel class A. If 4 = 1, then Li, L4 and L5 constitute exactly 2 lines
of A and the point 0 is on Lj. Since L3 is not in A and the point 0 is on L2, the set
Jq contains at most 7 non-zero elements of F. As above, this implies the existence
of a unital U[c(0),0] which has disjoint intersection with B. Hence, = 2.
To summarize: ri €K, r ^K, s\ = 2, the 3 lines Lj, L4 and L5 are in the same
parallel class A and the 2 lines L2 and L3 are in a parallel class T distinct from A.
We now want to show that there exists 3 values of e such that for each value
the set Je does not contain the 8 non-zero points of E. This would imply that for
these 3 values of e there exists three distinct non-zero values c(e) in F such that the
unitals U[c(e),e] do not contain the points Ri,...,R.5. As /\{Q} contains at most 2
points of B, Lemma 6.4 would then imply the existence of a unital U[c(e),e] which
has disjoint intersection with B, a contradiction.
First, we want to prove the existence of 7 values of e such that the lines Li, L4
and L5 constitute at most 2 lines of A. For each of the 6 values of e not equal to
24, 2 or 0, none of these 3 lines contain the point 0 of the affine plane E. Hence,

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for these 6 values of e, the 3 lines constitute at most 2 lines of A. If e = 2, then
2e4 = (e + S4)4 and Li=L4 unless (2 + S4)4 = 2. If (2 + S4)4 = 2, then for e = 2.S4,
since 34 = 2, one has that 2e4 = 1. So, (e + l)4 = (2.S4 + l)4 = (34 + 2)4 = 1 and,
hence, Lj=L5. Thus, there are 7 values of e so that Lj, L4 and L5 constitute at
most 2 lines of A. Let H denote the set of these 7 distinct values of e.
Second, we want to prove the existence of 5 values of e so that the lines L2 and
L3 are either equal or one of them contains the point 0 of E. Clearly, L2 contains
the point 0 if e = 0 and L3 contains the point 0 if e = 253. Since e4 = (e + S3)4
for values of e equal to S3, crsjj or cr^s|, the lines L2 and L3 are equal for these 3
distinct values of e. Let G denote the set of these 5 distinct values of e.
The set HflG contains at least 3 values. For each of these values of e, the set
Je contains at most 7 non-zero points of E. Thus, we have proved Lemma 7.4.
Q.E.D.
Therefore, the 10 points of B constitute an oval of 77=PG(2,9). The proof of
the following lemma will therefore complete the proof of Theorem 7.1.
LEMMA 7.5. For q an odd prime power, an oval 0 of'&=PG(2,q^) is not a blocking
set of H(q).
PROOF: As is well known, an oval in 'Í can be represented as a conic with coefficients
from F=GF(<72). [17, Theorem 1] It is also well known that all conics in 4/ are
projectively equivalent. [12, Theorem 2.36]
Let w be a primitive root of K=GF(^) and define F as the polynomial ring
K[T] modulo the ideal generated by T2 — w. Let a — aT2 -f b be a primitive root of
F, a and b in K.

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Case 1. Assume q is congruent to 3 modulo 4.
Since all conics are projectively equivalent, represent 0 by the equation X2 +
Y2-uZ2 = 0; that is, a point P=(x, y, z) from 'L is also in 0 if and only if x2 + y2 —
crz2 = 0. Let U be the Hermitian unital represented by the equation + +
bZq= 0; that is, point P=(x, y, z) is in U if and only if x9+* + yq+^ + bzq= 0.
Assume that point P—(x,y,z) is in 0flU. If z = 0, then x2 = — 1 and xq+^ =
— 1. But, since q is congruent to 3 modulo 4, x2 = —1 implies x9+1 = (x2)5"^- = 1.
2_1
So, z — 1. If y = 0, then x2 — a and -- —b imply a 2 = 1? contrary to a
being primitive. So, y ^ 0. Similarly, i^0.
Set x = cT + d and y = eX1 + /, where c, d, e and / are in K. Then x2 + y2 = cr
implies d2 + f2 + (c2 + e2)w = b, and x9_*"* +y9"*"^ = — b implies d2 + /2 — (c2 + e2)w =
—b. Adding one gets d2 + f2 = 0. As q is congruent to 3 modulo 4, d = 0 = /.
Thus, x2 + y2 = <7 is an element of K, a contradiction.
Case 2. Assume q is congruent to 1 modulo 4.
Represent 0 by X2 — Y2 — aZ2 = 0 and U by _ bZq+^ = 0.
Suppose that the point P — (x,y,z) belongs to the set 0HU. If 2 = 0, then x2 = 1
and x9+l = — 1, clearly impossible. So, z 0. If y = 0, then x2 = a and x9"*--1 = b
,2-i
imply above, set x = cT+d and y = eT+f. Then x2 —y2 = a implies d2 — f2 + (c2 — e2)w =
b, and x^“*"^ + y9+1 = b implies d2 + f2 — (c2 + e2)iv = b. Subtracting one gets that
w = (£)2 is a square in K, a contradiction, unless c = 0 = /. If c = 0 = /, then
x — y = a is an element of K, another contradiction.
Q.E.D.
To summarize, in Chapters 6 and 7 it has been shown that C(H(3)) =PG(2,9)
and C{H{q)) #PG(2,y2) for q > 23.

CHAPTER 8
FINAL REMARKS
As this dissertation does not lend itself to a conclusion or comprehensive sum¬
mary, let the author end it by commenting upon possible future research related to
the work done here.
Because Theorem 4.1 is true for t > 9 and 1 < e < 2t — 2, it would be desirable
to have a theorem similar to Theorem 5.1 but with these weaker restrictions on t
and e. The author believes that such a theorem does exist and is at present trying
to show it.
A. Blokhuis and A. E. Brouwer have shown that if q is odd, greater than 7 and
not 27, then any blocking set of PG(2,^) has cardinality at least q + {2q)i -f 1. [5]
Is there such a result for all projective planes? As a first step, one might consider
blocking sets of Rédei type.
In Chapter 6 the large difference between the lower and upper bounds given
on the cardinality of a committee of H(q) is unpleasant, but it appears that closing
this gap is difficult. The author and others have worked on it with no success. The
author has also tried to find something significant to say concerning the size of a
committee in H(5), but also with no success.
- 65 -

REFERENCES
1. J. Bierbrauer, On minimal blocking sets, Arch. Math. 35 (1980), 394-400.
2. J. Bierbrauer, Blocking sets of maximal type in finite projective planes, Rend.
Sem. Mat. Univ. Padova 65 (1981), 85-101.
3. J. Bierbrauer, On blocking sets of order 16 in projective planes of order 10.,
Preprint (1982).
4. A.Blokhuis, Personal Communication (1990).
5. A. Blokhuis and A. E. Brouwer, Blocking Sets in Desarguesian Projective Planes,
Bull. London Math. Soc. 18 (1986), 132-134.
6. A. Blokhuis and T. Szonyi, Personal Communication (1991).
7. R. H. Bruck, “A Survey of Combinatorial Theory,” North-Holland Publishing,
Amsterdam, 1973.
8. A. Bruen, Baer subplanes and blocking sets, Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 76 (1970),
342-344.
9. A. Bruen, Blocking sets in finite projective planes, Siam J. Appl. Math 21 (Nov.,
1971), 380-392.
10. P. Dembowski, “Finite Geometries,” Springer-Verlag, New York, 1968.
11. Z. Furedi, Matchings and covers in hypergraphs, Graphs and Combinatorics
(1988), 115-206.
12. D. R. Hughes and F. C. Piper, “Projective Planes,” Springer-Verlag, New York,
Heidelberg and Berlin, 1973.
13. D. R. Hughes and F.C. Piper, “Design Theory,” Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge, England, 1985.
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14. R. E. Jamison, Covering finite fields with cosets of subspaces, J. Comb. Theory,
Series A 22 (1977), 253-266.
15. D. Jungnickel, Some self-blocking block designs, Preprint (1987).
16. R. Metz, On a class of unitals, Geometriae Dedicata 8 (1979), 125-126.
17. B. Segre, Ovals in a finite projective plane, Cañad. J. Math. 7 (1955), 414-416.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Cyrus Kitto was born December 28, 1947, in Los Angeles, California. He re¬
ceived an undergraduate degree in liberal arts from Rollins College in 1970. He
received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Florida in 1987.
-68-

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
/íK^cruA ¿X.
David A. Drake, Chairman
Professor of Mathematics
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
n Casagry
rofessor gf Linguistics
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
^
Beverly L.erechner
Professor of Mathematics
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
(A
Jean A. Larson
Professor of Mathematics

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a thesis for the degree of Doctor oL^*hilp^6phyy
^ Jorge Martinez
Professor of Mathematics
This thesis was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School
and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.
December, 1991
Dean, Graduate School

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