How many hypersurfaces does it take to cut out a Segre class?,
We prove an identity of Segre classes for zero-schemes of compatible sections of two vector bundles. Applications include bounds on the number of equations needed to cut out a scheme with the same Segre class as a given subscheme of (for example) a projective variety, and a `Segre-Bertini' theorem controlling the behavior of Segre classes of singularity subschemes of hypersurfaces under general hyperplane sections. These results interpolate between an observation of Samuel concerning multiplicities along components of a subscheme and facts concerning the integral closure of corresponding ideals. The Segre-Bertini theorem has applications to characteristic classes of singular varieties. The main results are motivated by the problem of computing Segre classes explicitly and applications of Segre classes to enumerative geometry.