Questions designed to generate a "big list" of certain results, examples, conjectures, etc. via many individual answers, each contributing one or a few instances. Such a question should typically be in Community Wiki mode (CW); after asking, please, flag for moderators attention requesting the ...

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9
votes
4answers
1k views

Role of applications in modern mathematics [closed]

Older days scientists were universalists and philosophy, physics and mathematics were a part the same question - understanding the world. Nowadays one may get feeling that the role of applications ...
9
votes
4answers
702 views

Connections between topos theory and topology

What are some "applications to" / "connections with" topology that one could hope to reasonably cover in a first course on topos theory (for master students)? I have an idea of what parts of the ...
0
votes
1answer
227 views

Applications of the natural bilinear forms on the direct sum between a vector space and its dual

As it is know, the vector space $V\oplus V^\ast$ admits the natural symmetric and skew symmetric bilinear forms $$\langle X+\xi,Y+\eta\rangle|_\pm:=\frac 1 2 \(\xi(Y) \pm \eta(X)\)$$ I am interested ...
15
votes
3answers
943 views

Research level applications of “row rank = column rank”?

No less an authority than Gilbert Strang frames "row rank equals column rank" (and a couple of other facts) as "The Fundamental Theorem of Linear Algebra." I'd simply like to assemble (for teaching ...
3
votes
0answers
712 views

“Must read ”papers on analytic number theory

Question: What would be some must-read papers for an aspiring analytic number theorist? In other words, what are the papers that any analytic number theorist would have read? (Background: ...
3
votes
1answer
223 views

Repertory of the different sorts of operads

Many different types of operads have emerged in recent years (symmetric, shuffle, cyclic, anticyclic, coloured, etc.). I would like, for any of these, list the following data: Description of the ...
49
votes
5answers
1k views

Math Annotate Platform?

Suppose most mathematical research papers were freely accessible online. Suppose a well-organized platform existed where responsible users could write comments on any paper (linking to its doi, ...
6
votes
3answers
746 views

problems from the scottish book

Which of the problems from the Scottish Book (pdf of English version) by Stefan Banach are still open? I know that one of the problems was solved by Per Enflo for which he got a live goose from ...
10
votes
2answers
843 views

Using schemes to prove things about rings

I apologize for asking a big list question, I've tried to avoid doing so for a while. I'll give my justification in a moment. The question is as follows: What are examples of strict applications ...
34
votes
19answers
5k views

Mathematicians whose works were criticized by contemporaries but became widely accepted later

Gauss famously discarded Abel's proof that an algebraic equation of degree five or more cannot have a general solution (Abel himself had rejected divergent series as the work of the devil). Cantor's ...
5
votes
3answers
724 views

group of diffeomorphisms of a manifold

How much has been the group of diffeomorphisms of a manifold " been studied. I got this information from wiki. " Quite a lot is known about the group of diffeomorphisms of the circle. Its Lie algebra ...
18
votes
8answers
2k views

How many proofs that $\pi_n(S^n)=\mathbb{Z}$ are there?

Offhand I can think of two ways in classical homotopy theory: Show that $\pi_k(S^n)=0$ for $k\lt n$ by deforming a map $S^k\to S^n$ to be non-surjective, then contracting it away from a point not in ...
1
vote
0answers
246 views

applications of gauss-bonnet theorem

In wikipedia,I was pretty amazed to find a proof of fundamental theorem of algebra using gauss bonnet theorem.I think given how central it is to mathematics with its far reaching generalizations like ...
32
votes
31answers
5k views

Trichotomies in mathematics

Added. Thanks to all who participated! Let me humbly apologize to those who were annoyed (quite understandably) by this thread, deeming it nothing more than an exercise in futility. If you thought the ...
6
votes
4answers
842 views

fourier analytic proofs

While searching through Mathoverflow, I found out a fourier analytic proof of the Isoperimetric Inequality.Also, by google search I found a fourier analytic proof of Quadratic Reciprocity theorem.I ...
19
votes
10answers
1k views

Learning through guided discovery

I have been working through Kenneth P. Bogart's "Combinatorics Through Guided Discovery". You can download it from this page: http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/news-resources/electronic/kpbogart/ I've ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What are conjectures that are true for primes but then turned out to be false for some composite number?

Note: This is an update formulation since many people misunderstood the question before. Of course it is easy to make a statement like "Every n is a prime or at most 1000", which is true for every ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Math Zeitgeist 2012 [closed]

Dear MO-fellows, Happy New Year ! Taking google as an example: https://www.google.com/zeitgeist/2012/ Why not to make a list of noted math events in 2012 ? E.g. 15 December 2012 Museum of Math was ...
51
votes
61answers
7k views

Old books still used

It's a commonplace to state that while other sciences (like biology) may always need the newest books, we mathematicians also use to use older books. While this is a qualitative remark, I would like ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Excellent mathematical explanations

In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy there is an entry on mathematical explanation. The basic philosophical question is: What makes a proof explanatory? Two main "models" of mathematical ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Statements which were given as axioms, which later turned out to be false.

I know that early axiomatizations of real arithmetic (in the first half of the nineteenth century) were often inadequate. For example, the earliest axiomatizations did not include a completeness ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

On similar concepts in mathematics whose similarity is a non-trivial fact.

Recently, while undertaking a study of commutative algebra, I learned three concepts: (i) a local ring, (ii) a regular local ring and (iii) a regular ring. At the end, I found myself asking this ...
6
votes
12answers
4k views

Useless math that became useful

I'm writing an article on Lychrel numbers and some people pointed out that this is completely useless. My idea is to amend my article with some theories that seemed useless when they are created but ...
27
votes
9answers
2k views

Covering maps in real life that can be demonstrated to students

Edit: I've really enjoyed everyone's examples (especially the pictures!), but I was mostly looking for a general theorem. For instance, a similar statement to mine is, Can the mapping cylinder of ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

What are some Applications of Teichmüller Theory?

I'm trying to collect some specific examples of applications of Teichmüller Theory. Here are some things I have collected thus far: No-wandering-domain Theorem (Sullivan) Theorems of Thurston ...
4
votes
3answers
810 views

Consequences of Legendre's conjecture

I am looking for a list/reference which explores the consequences of Legendre's conjecture, which states that one can always find a prime number between $n^2$ and $(n+1)^2$.
7
votes
9answers
981 views

Examples where adding complexity made a problem simpler

I can think of a few situations in math where a problem becomes easier or an object becomes simpler when some complexity is added. Examples: $S^n$ is never contractible, but $S^{\infty}$ is. The ...
1
vote
0answers
246 views

Applications of the class number formula, etc.

This is a big list of applications of the class number formula and its generalizations. I'll start: The solution to Gauss's class number problem for imaginary quadratic fields, and more generally ...
19
votes
3answers
650 views

What classification theorems have been improved by re-categorizing?

Many classification theorems (e.g. of the finite subgroups of $SO(3)$, or the finite-dimensional complex simple Lie algebras, or the finite simple groups) have some infinite lists, plus some ...
4
votes
3answers
566 views

Quotations about the power of simple ideas [closed]

I'm looking for quotations about how very simple mathematical ideas can be very powerful. I know of a few, but they're not quite what I'm looking for insofar as they contain criticism of other ...
4
votes
0answers
187 views

Quotations about the class number formula, etc.

I'm looking for interesting and/or expressive quotations from mathematicians about the class number formula. I'm interested both in quotations from historical mathematicians and from modern ...
30
votes
11answers
2k views

Important open problems that have already been reduced to a finite but infeasible amount of computation

Most open problems, when formalized, naturally involve quantification over infinite sets, thereby obviating the possibility, even in principle, of "just putting it on a computer." Some questions ...
30
votes
10answers
3k views

Believing the Conjectures

In Believing the axioms (I and II), Penelope Maddy proposes five "rules of thumb" that she then uses to justify large cardinal axioms in set theory. These extrinsic rules are modeled after the ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

Pathological Examples of Dimension

I am trying to wrap my head around all the different notions of dimension (and their equivalences). To get a sense of this, it would be nice to know the subtle difficulties that arise. I thus think it ...
10
votes
3answers
407 views

Applications of idempotent ultrafilters

Recently Justin Moore has posted a solution to the amenability of Thompson's group F. A key(?) step exploits the existence of idempotent ultrafilters on $\mathbb N$ to construct an idempotent measure ...
6
votes
9answers
1k views

Beautiful theorems with short proof [closed]

I like to ask for beautiful mathematical theorems with short proof. A proof is short in my sense if it is at most one page assuming basic notations and very basic results a second year student will ...
8
votes
12answers
937 views

Continuous notions with compelling discrete analogues

Following up on the previous MO question "Are there any important mathematical concepts without discrete analogue?", I'd like to ask the opposite: what are examples of notions in math that were not ...
15
votes
12answers
1k views

Instances where an existence result precedes the constructive version

The basic motivation here is to encourage and inspire - via examples - the pursuit of alternate proofs of existing results that might be more accessible and intuitive by cataloging success stories. ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Discrete Mathematics textbooks for undergraduates

For the first time, I will be teaching a course on Discrete Mathematics for electrical and computer undergraduates students. I intend to focus on practical applications. I would be grateful if ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Battle of the brains; cultural mathematics

Firstly, I apologize if my question is long. Three years ago, I watched a video with the name Battle of the Brains. It was a wonderful video about challenging some famous peoples to solve some ...
16
votes
19answers
2k views

History Question: AUTObiography of Mathematicians

According to Wikipedia, an autobiography is an account of the life of a person, written by that person sometimes with a collaborator. An autobiography offers the author the ability to recreate ...
28
votes
11answers
5k views

“Must read” papers in numerical analysis

In 1993, Prof. L.N. Trefethen published a NA-net posting with a list of thirteen paper he used for teaching the seminar Classic Papers in Numerical Analysis. In Trefethen's words, ... this course ...
25
votes
65answers
7k views

Fiction books about mathematicians? [closed]

What are some fiction books about mathematicians? It seems to me rather difficult for writers to create good books on this subject. Some years ago I thought there were no such books at all. There ...
10
votes
10answers
956 views

Properties of natural numbers such that there is a “very large largest” number with that property

I'm looking for properties (P) such that you would assume that there are infinitely many natural numbers with property (P) (for example because there are very large numbers with that property) but ...
7
votes
10answers
3k views

Music: mathematical point of view (revised) [closed]

Mathematical analysis of music started when Pythagoras made his observations about consonant intervals and ratios of string lengths. ADDED: In the paper Mathematical Music Theory -- Status Quo 2000, ...
3
votes
11answers
516 views

A list of symmetric statistics

I would like to have a list of pairs (or tuples) of combinatorial statistics that are (known or conjectured) to have symmetric distribution. Ideally, something like this has already been compiled, ...
10
votes
1answer
351 views

List of Whitehead-like Problems

Whitehead problem is a rather well known problem: Suppose that $G$ is an abelian group and $\mathrm{Ext}^1(G,\Bbb Z)=0$, is $G$ free? It wasn't long before it was proved that if $G$ is ...
7
votes
9answers
2k views

Not especially famous, long-open problems which higher mathematics beginners can understand

This is a pair to Not especially famous, long-open problems which anyone can understand So this time I'm asking for open questions so easy to state for students of subjects such as undergraduate ...
34
votes
30answers
4k views

Fundamental problems whose solution seems completely out of reach [closed]

In many areas of mathematics there are fundamental problems that are embarrasingly natural or simple to state, but whose solution seem so out of reach that they are barely mentioned in the literature ...
22
votes
2answers
710 views

Properties of functors and their adjoints

I am interested in collecting in this question a list of properties a functor $F$ may have and what those properties imply for left and right adjoints, $F^L$ and $F^R$, assuming they exist. There are ...