Every nonsingular projective real algebraic curve C has a unique, up to isomorphism over ℝ, nonsingular projective complexification V. If V\C is disconnected, then C is said to be dividing (we identify C with the set of real points of V). Classical results supply numerous examples of dividing real curves. This class of curves was first studied by Felix Klein . A characterization of dividing real curves is given in .
In higher dimensions the situation is more complicated. First of all, every nonsingular projective real algebraic variety X of dimension d always has several nonisomorphic nonsingular projective complexifications, provided that d[ges ]2. Furthermore, if d[ges ]2 and W is a nonsingular projective complexification of X, then W\X is connected (we identify X with the set of real points of W). What does it then mean for X to be dividing? An answer can be given in terms of homology theory. Let K be a principal ideal domain. Assume that X, regarded as a topological manifold, is orientable over K. We say that X is dividing over K if there exists a fundamental homology class of X over K whose image in Hd(W, K) under the homomorphism induced by the inclusion map X[rarrhk ]W is zero. In the present paper we prove that this definition does not depend on the choice of W, and give a characterization of real varieties dividing over ℚ. For more information on real varieties dividing over ℤ/2 the reader may consult  (please note that terminology in  is different than here). We also discuss the relationship between real varieties dividing over ℚ (or ℤ) and dividing over ℤ/2. It follows from well-known facts that a real curve is dividing over K if and only if it is dividing.