We gather experimental evidence related to the question of deciding whether a smooth plane quartic curve has a rational point. Smooth plane quartics describe curves in genus 3, the first genus in which non-hyperelliptic curves occur. We present an algorithm that determines a set of unramified covers of a given plane quartic curve, with the property that any rational point will lift to one of the covers. In particular, if the algorithm returns the empty set, then the curve has no rational points. We apply our algorithm to a total of 1000 isomorphism classes of randomly-generated plane quartic curves.
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Thesis advisor: Bruin, Nils
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