# Tagged Questions

**66**

votes

**6**answers

6k views

### Mistakes in mathematics, false illusions about conjectures

Since long time ago I have been thinking in two problems that I have not been able to solve. It seems that one of them was recently solved. I have been thinking a lot about the motivation and its ...

**14**

votes

**9**answers

1k views

### What are your favorite concrete examples of limits or colimits that you would compute during lunch?

(The title was initially "What are your favorite concrete examples that you would compute on the table during lunch to convince a working mathematician that the notions of limits and colimits are not ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

474 views

### Occurrences of D. H. Lehmer's 10-th degree polynomial

Salem numbers and Lehmer's minimum height problem are venerated not only in number theory and diophantine analysis, where they are considered naturally interesting for their own sake, but also in ...

**14**

votes

**10**answers

2k views

### An example of a proof that is explanatory but not beautiful? (or vice versa)

This question has a philosophical bent, but hopefully it will evoke straightforward, mathematical answers that would be appropriate for this list (like my earlier question about beautiful proofs ...

**7**

votes

**7**answers

956 views

### Gelfand representation and functional calculus applications beyond Functional Analysis

I think it is fair to say that the fields of Operator Algebras, Operator Theory, and Banach Algebras rely on Gelfand representation and functional calculus in a crucial way.
I am curious about ...

**39**

votes

**35**answers

6k views

### Examples of theorems with proofs that have dramatically improved over time

I am looking for examples of theorems that may have originally had a clunky, or rather technical, or in some way non-illuminating proof, but that eventually came to have a proof that people consider ...

**14**

votes

**12**answers

2k views

### Excellent uses of induction and recursion

Can you make an example of a great proof by induction or construction by recursion?
Given that you already have your own idea of what "great" means, here it can also be taken to mean that the chosen ...

**23**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Arithmetic geometry examples

(This is inspired by Algebraic geometry examples.)
I want to collect here (counter)examples in arithmetic geometry.
Curves violating the Hasse principle: The Selmer curve $3X^3 + 4Y^3 + 5Z^3 = 0$. ...

**42**

votes

**28**answers

5k views

### What are some examples of ingenious, unexpected constructions?

Many famous problems in mathematics can be phrased as the quest for a specific construction. Often such constructions were sought after for centuries or even millennia and later proved impossible by ...

**4**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Easy and Hard problems in Mathematics [closed]

Modified question:
I would like to know some examples of problems in Mathematics, for pedagogical purposes, which do not involve difficult techiques to solve the problem but with a change of context ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### When are technical assumptions critical? [closed]

Apart from their technical statement and proof, a usual presentation of theorems is by leading up to them with a definite motivation or intuition, for example putting the results in the wider context ...

**14**

votes

**1**answer

610 views

### What are “good” examples of string manifolds?

Based on this mathoverlow question, I would like to have a similar list for the case of string manifolds. An $n$-dim. Riemannian manifold $M$ is said to be string, if the classifying map of its bundle ...

**23**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### What are “good” examples of spin manifolds?

I'm trying to get a grasp on what it means for a manifold to be spin. My question is, roughly:
What are some "good" (in the sense of illustrating the concept) examples of manifolds which are spin ...

**3**

votes

**2**answers

916 views

### Is beauty at the high school level even possible? [closed]

This question is a follow up to 74841, and follows from a suggestion by Gian-Carlo Rota that beauty as judged by the educated public differs from that experienced by mathematicians (he gives Euclidean ...

**32**

votes

**22**answers

6k views

### Examples of seemingly elementary problems that are hard to solve?

I'm looking for a list of problems such that
a) any undergraduate student who took multivariable calculus and linear algebra can understand the statements, (Edit: the definition of understanding here ...

**40**

votes

**44**answers

13k views

### An example of a beautiful proof that would be accessible at the high school level?

The background of my question comes from an observation that what we teach in schools does not always reflect what we practice. Beauty is part of what drives mathematicians, but we rarely talk about ...

**6**

votes

**10**answers

819 views

### Examples of “Unusual” Classifications

When one says "classification" in math, usually one of a handful of examples springs to mind:
-Classification of Finite Simple Groups with 18 infinite families and 26 sporadic examples (assuming one ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Examples of naturally occurring Quadratic forms or quadrics.

I am always fascinated when a quadratic form (or a quadric) arises naturally. I have
some elementary examples, but most of all, I want to learn more examples. I hope this question isn't considered too ...

**10**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### Applications of the notion of of Gromov-Hausdorff distance

I am looking for applications of the notion of Gromov-Hausdorff convergence to prove theorems that a priori have nothing to do with it. Examples that I am aware of (thanks to wikipedia and google):
...

**43**

votes

**29**answers

9k views

### What notions are used but not clearly defined in modern mathematics?

"Everyone knows what a curve is, until he has studied enough mathematics to become confused through the countless number of possible exceptions."
Felix Klein
What notions are used but not ...

**5**

votes

**9**answers

1k views

### Examples of two different descriptions of a set that are not obviously equivalent?

I am teaching a course in enumerative combinatorics this semester and one of my students asked for deeper clarification regarding the difference between a "combinatorial" and a "bijective" proof. ...

**16**

votes

**11**answers

4k views

### Examples of using physical intuition to solve math problems

For the purposes of this question let a "physical intuition" be an intuition
that is derived from your everyday experience of physical reality. Your
intuitions about how the spin of a ball affects ...

**5**

votes

**3**answers

5k views

### Advanced Math Jokes [closed]

I am looking for jokes which involve some serious mathematics. Sometimes, a totally absurd argument is surprisingly convincing and this makes you laugh. I am looking for jokes which make you laugh and ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Examples where the analogy between number theory and geometry fails

The analogy between $O_K$ ($K$ a number field) and affine curves over a field has been very fruitful. It also knows many variations: the field over which the curve is defined may have positive or zero ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

1k views

### Classification Problems [closed]

I was thinking about the famous question in philosophy of mathematics: "When are two proofs the same?" and I was wondering if we could somehow "classify" proofs by establishing some sort of functorial ...

**18**

votes

**19**answers

3k views

**29**

votes

**17**answers

5k views

### Wonderful applications of the Vandermonde determinant

This semester I am assisting my mentor teaching a first-year undergraduate course on linear algebra in Peking University, China. And now we have come to the famous Vandermonde determinant, which has ...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

929 views

### Concavity of $\det^{1/n}$ over $HPD_n$.

One of my beloved theorems in matrix analysis is the fact that the map $H\mapsto (\det H)^{1/n}$, defined over the convex cone $HPD_n$ of Hermitian positive definite matrices, is concave. This is ...

**115**

votes

**67**answers

35k views

### Awfully sophisticated proof for simple facts [closed]

It is sometimes the case that one can produce proofs of simple facts that are of disproportionate sophistication which, however, do not involve any circularity. For example, (I think) I gave an ...

**92**

votes

**59**answers

15k views

### Jokes in the sense of Littlewood: examples? [closed]

First, let me make it clear that I do not mean jokes of the
"abelian grape" variety. I take my cue from the following
passage in A Mathematician's Miscellany by J.E. Littlewood
(Methuen 1953, p. 79):
...

**12**

votes

**17**answers

3k views

### What is your favorite isomorphism? [closed]

The other day I was trying to figure out how to explain why isomorphisms are important. I pulled Boyer's A History of Mathematics off the bookshelf and was surprised to find that isomorphism isn't ...

**5**

votes

**9**answers

999 views

### What category without initial object do you care about?

Recently I have been listening to some constructions that have been designed to accommodate categories without an initial object. The speaker has given some idea of a category or two that he cares ...

**11**

votes

**12**answers

2k views

### On proving that a certain set is not empty by proving that it is actually large

It happens occasionally that one can prove that a given set is not empty by proving that it is actually large. The word "large" here may refer to different properties.
For example, one can prove that ...

**5**

votes

**13**answers

1k views

### Applications of compactness

Similar to this question: Applications of connectedness I want to collect applications of compactedness.
E.g.: compact + discrete => finite, which can be used to prove the finiteness of the ...

**8**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### The harmonic (series) beetle: live illustrations of mathematical theorems

In my analysis class I use the following problem to illustrate the divergence
of the harmonic series (consider this as a hint for solving it).
Exercise.
A beetle creeps along a 1-meter infinitely ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

497 views

### Gaining intuition for how submodules behave

I'm studying elementary commutative algebra this semester, largely following Atiyah-MacDonald. I often find myself in a situation where I'm interested in whether some property of an R-module M is ...

**15**

votes

**12**answers

2k views

### What are some fundamental “sources” for the appearance of pi in mathematics?

I thought it might be fun to ask this question as a way of celebrating Pi Day. One way in which people popularize pi is that they say that even though it's defined in terms of properties of a circle, ...

**87**

votes

**53**answers

19k views

### What are your favorite instructional counterexamples?

Related: question #879, Most interesting mathematics mistake. But the intent of this question is more pedagogical.
In many branches of mathematics, it seems to me that a good counterexample can be ...

**18**

votes

**8**answers

1k views

### Cryptomorphisms

I am curious to collect examples of equivalent axiomatizations of mathematical structures. The two examples that I have in mind are
Topological Spaces. These can be defined in terms of open sets, ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

239 views

### Forgetting extra structure inducing Symmetries

This is a major edit of the original post after receiving helpful comments.
It is often the case when one adds additional structure to make a problem more tractable. When one attempts to forget this ...

**2**

votes

**4**answers

445 views

### Ternary relations that are not binary functions

By far the most prominent elementary relations that are not functions are binary and the most prominent elementary ternary relations are in fact binary functions.
"Elementary" shall mean "part of the ...

**32**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### What is Yoneda's Lemma a generalization of?

What is Yoneda's Lemma a generalization of?
I am looking for examples that were known before category theory entered the stage resp. can be known by students before they start with category theory.
...

**53**

votes

**33**answers

8k views

### Experimental Mathematics

I would like to ask about examples where experimentation by computers have led to major mathematical advances.
Motivation
I am aware about a few such cases and I think it will be useful to gather ...

**72**

votes

**41**answers

15k views

### What are the most attractive Turing undecidable problems in mathematics?

What are the most attractive Turing undecidable problems in mathematics?
There are thousands of examples, so please post here only the most attractive, best examples. Some examples already appear on ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

2k views

### What are examples of theorems get extensions based on simple observation?

Here are some examples illustrate what I meant:
Bonnet-Myers:Bonnet in 1855 proved n=2 case, Myers in 1941 extended to any dimension using the same idea.
Bishop-Gromov Volume comparison: Bishop knew ...

**7**

votes

**3**answers

915 views

### What are some interesting sequences of functions for thinking about types of convergence?

I'm thinking about the basic types of convergence for sequences of functions: convergence in measure, almost uniform convergence, convergence in Lp and point wise almost everywhere convergence. I'm ...

**38**

votes

**28**answers

18k views

### Applications of the Chinese remainder theorem

As the title suggests I am interested in CRT applications. Wikipedia article on CRT lists some of the well known applications (e.g. used in the RSA algorithm, used to construct an elegant Gödel ...

**162**

votes

**62**answers

83k views

### Proofs without words

Can you give examples of proofs without words? In particular, can you give examples of proofs without words for non-trivial results?
(One could ask if this is of interest to mathematicians, and I ...

**13**

votes

**27**answers

2k views

### Justifying a theory by a seemingly unrelated example

Here is a topic in the vein of Describe a topic in one sentence and Fundamental examples : imagine that you are trying to explain and justify a mathematical theory T to a skeptical mathematician ...

**45**

votes

**27**answers

4k views

### books well-motivated with explicit examples

It is ultimately a matter of personal taste, but I prefer to see a long explicit example, before jumping into the usual definition-theorem path (hopefully I am not the only one here). My problem is ...