Equations for modular curves
The primary topic of this thesis is the construction of explicit projective equations for the modular curves $X_0(N)$. The techniques may also be used to obtain equations for $X_0^+(p)$ and, more generally, $X_0(N) / W_n$. The thesis contains a number of tables of results. In particular, equations are given for all curves $X_0(N)$ having genus $2 le g le 5$. Equations are also given for all $X_0^+(p)$ having genus 2 or 3, and for the genus 4 and 5 curves $X_0^+(p)$ when $p le 251$. The most successful tool used to obtain these equations is the canonical embedding, combined with the fact that the differentials on a modular curve correspond to the weight 2 cusp forms. A second method, designed specifically for hyperelliptic curves, is given. A method for obtaining equations using weight 1 theta series is also described. Heights of modular curves are studied and a discussion is given of the size of coefficients occurring in equations for $X_0(N)$. Finally, the explicit equations are used to study the rational points on $X_0^+(p)$. Exceptional rational points on $X_0^+(p)$ are exhibited for $p = 73,103,137$ and 191.