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Book Summary
This volume is concerned with algebraic invariants, such as the Stiefel-Whitney classes of quadratic forms (with values in Galois cohomology mod 2) and the trace form of etale algebras (with values in the Witt ring). The invariants are analogues for Galois cohomology of the characteristic classes of topology. Historically, one of the first examples of cohomological invariants of the type considered here was the Hasse-Witt invariant of quadratic forms. The first part classifies such invariants in several cases. A principal tool is the notion of versal torsor, which is an analogue of the universal bundle in topology. The second part gives Rost's determination of the invariants of $G$-torsors with values in $H^3(\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}(2))$, when $G$ is a semisimple, simply connected, linear group. This part gives detailed proofs of the existence and basic properties of the Rost invariant. This is the first time that most of this material appears in print.