Since Faltings proved Mordell’s conjecture in [16] in 1983, we have known that the sets of rational points on curves of genus at least $2$ are finite. Determining these sets in individual cases is still an unsolved problem. Chabauty’s method (1941) [10] is to intersect, for a prime number p, in the p-adic Lie group of p-adic points of the Jacobian, the closure of the Mordell–Weil group with the p-adic points of the curve. Under the condition that the Mordell–Weil rank is less than the genus, Chabauty’s method, in combination with other methods such as the Mordell–Weil sieve, has been applied successfully to determine all rational points in many cases.
Minhyong Kim’s nonabelian Chabauty programme aims to remove the condition on the rank. The simplest case, called quadratic Chabauty, was developed by Balakrishnan, Besser, Dogra, Müller, Tuitman and Vonk, and applied in a tour de force to the so-called cursed curve (rank and genus both $3$).
This article aims to make the quadratic Chabauty method small and geometric again, by describing it in terms of only ‘simple algebraic geometry’ (line bundles over the Jacobian and models over the integers).