Algebraic varieties, stacks, sheaves, schemes, moduli spaces, complex geometry, quantum cohomology.

**216**

votes

**7**answers

109k views

### Philosophy behind Mochizuki's work on the ABC conjecture

Mochizuki has recently announced a proof of the ABC conjecture. It is far too early to judge its correctness, but it builds on many years of work by him. Can someone briefly explain the philosophy ...

**155**

votes

**14**answers

11k views

### What elementary problems can you solve with schemes?

I'm a graduate student who's been learning about schemes this year from the usual sources (e.g. Hartshorne, Eisenbud-Harris, Ravi Vakil's notes). I'm looking for some examples of elementary self-...

**143**

votes

**31**answers

18k views

### What should be learned in a first serious schemes course?

I've just finished teaching a year-long "foundations of algebraic
geometry" class. It
was my third time teaching it, and my notes are gradually converging.
I've enjoyed it for a number of reasons (...

**132**

votes

**0**answers

7k views

### Grothendieck -sad news [closed]

Sorry for that this is not a real question. But I thought people would like to know.
Alexandre Grothendieck died today: http://www.liberation.fr/sciences/2014/11/13/alexandre-grothendieck-ou-la-mort-...

**129**

votes

**33**answers

77k views

### Best Algebraic Geometry text book? (other than Hartshorne)

I think (almost) everyone agrees that Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry is still the best.
Then what might be the 2nd best?
It can be a book, preprint, online lecture note, webpage, etc.
One suggestion ...

**116**

votes

**7**answers

12k views

### How to memorise (understand) Nakayama's lemma and its corollaries?

Nakayama's lemma is mentioned in the majority of books on algebraic geometry that treat varieties. So I think Ihave read the formulation of this lemma at least 20 times (and read the proof maybe ...

**113**

votes

**1**answer

10k views

### What is a Frobenioid?

Since there will be a long digression in a moment, let me start by reassuring you that my intention really is to ask the question in the title.
Recently, there has been a flurry of new discussion ...

**112**

votes

**2**answers

11k views

### What are the shapes of rational functions?

I would like to understand and compute the shapes of rational functions, that is, holomorphic maps of the Riemann sphere to itself, or equivalently, ratios of two polynomials, up to Moebius ...

**110**

votes

**3**answers

6k views

### Analytic tools in algebraic geometry

This is not a very precise question, but I hope it will get some good answers.
As someone with a background in smooth manifold theory, I have experienced algebraic geometry as a beautiful but foreign ...

**94**

votes

**6**answers

9k views

### what mistakes did the Italian algebraic geometers actually make?

It's "well-known" that the 19th century Italian school of algebraic geometry made great progress but also started to flounder due to lack of rigour, possibly in part due to the fact that foundations (...

**92**

votes

**9**answers

8k views

### Why are flat morphisms “flat?”

Of course "flatness" is a word that evokes a very particular geometric picture, and it seems to me like there should be a reason why this word is used, but nothing I can find gives me a reason!
Is ...

**77**

votes

**8**answers

9k views

### What do heat kernels have to do with the Riemann-Roch theorem and the Gauss-Bonnet theorem?

I know the following facts. (Don't assume I know much more than the following facts.)
The Atiyah-Singer index theorem generalizes both the Riemann-Roch theorem and the Gauss-Bonnet theorem.
The ...

**72**

votes

**7**answers

7k views

### What is the field with one element?

I've heard of this many times, but I don't know anything about it.
What I do know is that it is supposed to solve the problem of the fact that the final object in the category of schemes is one-...

**70**

votes

**2**answers

15k views

### Why is the Hodge Conjecture so important?

The Hodge Conjecture states that every Hodge class of a non singular projective variety over $\mathbf{C}$ is a rational linear combination of cohomology classes of algebraic cycles: Even though I'm ...

**70**

votes

**0**answers

5k views

### Grothendieck-Teichmuller conjecture

(1) In "Esquisse d'un programme", Grothendieck conjectures
Grothendieck-Teichmuller conjecture: the morphism
$$
G_{\mathbb{Q}} \longrightarrow Aut(\widehat{T})
$$
is an isomorphism.
Here $G_{\...

**69**

votes

**13**answers

23k views

### A learning roadmap for algebraic geometry

Unfortunately this question is relatively general, and also has a lot of sub-questions and branches associated with it; however, I suspect that other students wonder about it and thus hope it may be ...

**68**

votes

**5**answers

8k views

### how does one understand GRR? (Grothendieck Riemann Roch)

I tried to answer an earlier question as to uses of GRR, just from my reading, although i do not understand GRR. Today i tried to understand the possible idea behind GRR. After editing my answer ...

**68**

votes

**2**answers

5k views

### Riemann hypothesis via absolute geometry

Several leading mathematicians (e.g. Yuri Manin) have written or said publicly that there is a known outline of a likely natural proof of the Riemann hypothesis using absolute algebraic geometry over ...

**64**

votes

**2**answers

4k views

### Is it known that the ring of periods is not a field?

I have just learned here that we know numbers that are not periods; is it known meanwhile that the ring of periods is not a field? I know that it is conjectured that $1/\pi$ is not a period, but the ...

**62**

votes

**16**answers

6k views

### Facts from algebraic geometry that are useful to non-algebraic geometers

A professor of mine (a geometric topologist, I believe) once criticized the core graduate curriculum at my institution because it teaches all sorts of esoteric algebra, but does not include basic ...

**59**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Is there a complex surface into which every Riemann surface embeds?

This question was previously asked on Math SE.
Every Riemann surface can be embedded in some complex projective space. In fact, every Riemann surface $\Sigma$ admits an embedding $\varphi : \Sigma \...

**59**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### Is there a “classical” proof of this $j$-value congruence?

Let $j: \mathbf{C} - \mathbf{R} \rightarrow \mathbf{C}$ denote the classical $j$-function from the theory of elliptic functions. That is, $j(\tau)$ is the $j$-invariant of the elliptic curve $\mathbf{...

**57**

votes

**4**answers

7k views

### Etale cohomology — Why study it?

I know (at least I think I know) that some of the main motivating problems in the development of etale cohomology were the Weil conjectures. I'd like to know what other problems one can solve using ...

**57**

votes

**8**answers

5k views

### equivalence of Grothendieck-style versus Cech-style sheaf cohomology

Given a topological space $X$, we can define the sheaf cohomology of $X$ in
I. the Grothendieck style (as the right derived functor of the global sections functor $\Gamma(X,-)$)
or
II. the Čech ...

**57**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### Is there an analogue of curvature in algebraic geometry?

I am not an expert, but there seems to be an enormous technical difference between algebraic geometry and differential/metric geometry stemming from the fact that there is apparently no such thing as ...

**57**

votes

**2**answers

5k views

### Has the mathematical content of Grothendieck's “Récoltes et Semailles” been used?

This question is partly motivated by this one.
Motivation
Grothendieck's "Récoltes et Semailles" has been cited on various occasions on this forum. See for instance the answers to this question or ...

**57**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Rigidity of the category of schemes

Call a category $C$ rigid if every equivalence $C \to C$ is isomorphic to the identity. I don't know if this is standard terminology. Many of the usual algebraic categories are rigid, for example sets,...

**55**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### Did Bourbaki write a text on algebraic geometry?

Certainly Bourbaki never wrote an introduction to algebraic geometry: we would have heard about it, right?

**54**

votes

**9**answers

3k views

### Taking “Zooming in on a point of a graph” seriously

In calculus classes it is sometimes said that the tangent line to a curve at a point is the line that we get by "zooming in" on that point with an infinitely powerful microscope. This explanation ...

**53**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Did Gelfand's theory of commutative Banach algebras influence algebraic geometers?

Guillemin and Sternberg wrote the following in 1987 in a short article called "Some remarks on I.M. Gelfand's works" accompanying Gelfand's Collected Papers, Volume I:
The theory of commutative ...

**53**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### $R$ is isomorphic to $R[X,Y]$, but not to $R[X]$

Is there a commutative ring $R$ with $R \cong R[X,Y]$ and $R \not\cong R[X]$?
This is a ring-theoretic analog of my previous question about abelian groups: In fact, in any algebraic category we may ...

**53**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### The topological analog of flatness?

Recall that a map $f:X\to Y$ of schemes is called flat iff for any $x\in X$ the ring $O_{X,x}$ is a flat $O_{Y,f(x)}$-module.
Briefly the question is: what is the topological analog of this?
Many ...

**52**

votes

**28**answers

5k views

### Examples where it's useful to know that a mathematical object belongs to some family of objects

For an expository piece I'm writing, it would be useful to have good examples of the following phenomenon:
(1) ${\cal X}$ is a parameterized family of somethings. (Varieties, schemes, manifolds, ...

**52**

votes

**5**answers

6k views

### Why higher category theory?

This is a soft question.
I am an undergrad and is currently seriously considering the field of math I am going into in grad school. (perhaps a little bit late, but it's better late then never.) I ...

**51**

votes

**2**answers

4k views

### The inverse Galois problem and the Monster

I have a slight interest in both the inverse Galois problem and in the Monster group. I learned some time ago that all of the sporadic simple groups, with the exception of the Mathieu group $M_{23}$, ...

**51**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### Derived Functors Versus Spectral Sequences

Let $A{\buildrel F\over\rightarrow}B{\buildrel G\over\rightarrow}C$ be additive functors between abelian categories.
Hartshorne, in Proposition 5.4 of Residues and Duality, constructs the obvious ...

**51**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### Smooth proper scheme over Z

Does every smooth proper morphism $X \to \operatorname{Spec} \mathbf{Z}$ with $X$ nonempty have a section?
EDIT [Bjorn gave additional information in a comment below, which I am recopying here. -- ...

**50**

votes

**6**answers

4k views

### Simplest examples of nonisomorphic complex algebraic varieties with isomorphic analytifications

If they are not proper, two complex algebraic varieties can be nonisomorphic yet have isomorphic analytifications. I've heard informal examples (often involving moduli spaces), but am not sure of the ...

**50**

votes

**2**answers

4k views

### What is the insight of Quillen's proof that all projective modules over a polynomial ring are free?

One of the more misleadingly difficult theorems in mathematics is that all finitely generated projective modules over a polynomial ring are free. It involves some of the most basic notions in ...

**50**

votes

**5**answers

4k views

### Is there an intuitive reason for Zariski's main theorem?

Zariski's main theorem has many guises, and so I will give you the freedom to pick the one that you find to be most intuitive. For the sake of completeness, I will put here one version:
Zariski's ...

**49**

votes

**11**answers

7k views

### Non-commutative algebraic geometry

Suppose I tried to take Hartshorne chapter II and re-do all of it with non-commutative rings rather than commutative rings. Is this possible? Which parts work in the non-commutative setting and which ...

**49**

votes

**20**answers

10k views

### Algebraic geometry examples

What are some surprising or memorable examples in algebraic geometry, suitable for a course I'll be teaching on chapters 1-2 of Hartshorne (varieties, introductory schemes)?
I'd prefer examples that ...

**49**

votes

**3**answers

8k views

### What's the “Yoga of Motives”?

There are some things about geometry that show why a motivic viewpoint is deep and important. A good indication is that Grothendieck and others had to invent some important and new algebraico-...

**48**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### Euler-Maclaurin formula and Riemann-Roch

Let $Df$ denote the derivative of a function $f(x)$ and $\bigtriangledown f=f(x)-f(x-1)$ be the discrete derivative. Using the Taylor series expansion for $f(x-1)$, we easily get $\bigtriangledown = ...

**48**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Reasons to prefer one large prime over another to approximate characteristic zero

Background:
In running algebraic geometry computations using software such as Macaulay2, it is often easier and faster to work over $\mathbb F_p = \mathbb Z / p\mathbb Z$ for a large prime $p$, rather ...

**48**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### What is the mistake in the proof of the Homotopy hypothesis by Kapranov and Voevodsky?

In 1991, Kapranov and Voevodsky published a proof of a now famously false result, roughly saying that the homotopy category of spaces is equivalent to the homotopy category of strict infinity ...

**47**

votes

**13**answers

10k views

### How has modern algebraic geometry affected other areas of math?

I have a friend who is very biased against algebraic geometry altogether. He says it's because it's about polynomials and he hates polynomials. I try to tell him about modern algebraic geometry, ...

**47**

votes

**11**answers

6k views

### Why torsion is important in (co)homology ?

I've once been told that "torsion in homology and cohomology is regarded by topologists as a very deep and important phenomenon". I presume an analogous statement could be said in the context of ...

**47**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### When is a singular point of a variety smooth?

If $X$ is a nonsingular algebraic (or analytic) variety over $\mathbb C$ or $\mathbb R$ then it is certainly $C^\infty$ over the reals.
The converse is false for a silly reason : in the real or ...

**47**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Why do Todd classes appear in Grothendieck-Riemann-Roch formula?

Suppose for some reason one would be expecting a formula of the kind
$$\mathop{\text{ch}}(f_!\mathcal F)\ =\ f_*(\mathop{\text{ch}}(\mathcal F)\cdot t_f)$$
valid in $H^*(Y)$ where
$f:X\to Y$ is a ...