Pfister's local–global principle and systems of quadratic forms

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Let (Formula presented.) be a unimodular quadratic form over a field (Formula presented.). Pfister's famous local–global principle asserts that (Formula presented.) represents a torsion class in the Witt group of (Formula presented.) if and only if it has signature 0, and that in this case, the order of Witt class of (Formula presented.) is a power of 2. We give two analogues of this result to systems of quadratic forms, the second of which applying only to nonsingular pairs. We also prove a counterpart of Pfister's theorem for finite-dimensional (Formula presented.) -algebras with involution, generalizing a result of Lewis and Unger.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1121
Number of pages17
JournalBulletin of the London Mathematical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. The publishing rights in this article are licensed to the London Mathematical Society under an exclusive licence.


  • 11E04
  • 11E81 (primary)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (all)


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