**28**

votes

**26**answers

4k views

### Mathematicians who made important contributions outside their own field? [closed]

It is often said that scientists who cross disciplinary borders can make unexpected discoveries thanks to their fresh view of the problems at hand.
I am looking for mathematicians who did just that. ...

**77**

votes

**6**answers

8k 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 ...

**10**

votes

**9**answers

1k views

### Probabilistic method used to prove existence theorems

I am aiming for a "big list" of theorems using probability techniques to prove existence of some objects. And in each case, there is an interesting question -- can we find an explicit example? Was the ...

**22**

votes

**4**answers

847 views

### Which journals allow authors to retain copyright…?

I became motivated to ask this question after seeing the inspiring "© The Author(s) 2013 " in the header of this very interesting article, published in Compositio Mathematica.
Apart from open access ...

**10**

votes

**6**answers

551 views

### Unconventional types of induction

Induction is one of the most common tools is mathematics, and everybody knows the ordinary induction and the strong induction. However, in some proofs induction is applied in an unexpected and elegant ...

**11**

votes

**8**answers

806 views

### Interesting examples of generic behavior of mathematical objects being either unreasonably structured or simply unreasonable

My experience seems to be that quite often "generic" mathematical objects tend to be either extremely well behaved or structured, or at the opposite extreme are as unstructured as possible.
For ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

473 views

### References for particular topics related to Langlands

I have never really concentrated on Langlands, which explains my poor level of understanding of it. But I have read quite a few introductory papers related to Langlands, and to the circle of ideas ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

362 views

### Beautiful constructions in algebraic topology that facilitate one's understanding of homotopy theory [closed]

There is an army of interesting constructions in AT, and Understanding them are usually very helpful for appreciate the theory underneath. So I would like to invite you to share those examples that ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

119 views

### Isoperimetric inequality, isodiametric inequality, hyperplane conjecture… what are the inequalities of this kind known or conjectured?

I duplicate here a question I asked on math.stackexchange.
Question: Which inequalities similar to the famous isoperimetric inequality is known?
conjectured?
I recently learned about some ...

**6**

votes

**4**answers

621 views

### NP-hard problems in linear algebra and real analysis [closed]

I am curious about NP-hard problems in linear algebra and real analysis. An example in linear algebra would be the calculation of the permanent.
I would thus like to collect in this thread a list of ...

**11**

votes

**7**answers

767 views

### Properties of rings that have an elegant description in terms of the associated category of modules

Suppose $A$ is a ring. Then $A$ happens to be a division ring iff every left $A$-module is free. (See here for proofs). I think this is very beautiful; what other properties of rings have an elegant ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

189 views

### Local-to-global inequalities for measures: Brunn-Minkowski, Ahlswede-Daykin, what else?

This question is motivated by an obvious formal analogy between two well-known inequalities:
Log-concavity and Brunn-Minkowski inequality
Let $\mu(dx) := m(x) dx$ be an absolutely continuous ...

**4**

votes

**3**answers

778 views

### The most unexpected and/or the least natural category theory theorem?

Theory of categories is all natural and abstract nonsense. Or is it? What would be the most unexpected and/or the least natural theorem of the theory of category? (It does not really have to be THE).
...

**73**

votes

**9**answers

8k views

### Analogues of P vs. NP in the history of mathematics

Recently I wrote a blog post entitled "The Scientific Case for P≠NP". The argument I tried to articulate there is that there seems to be an "invisible electric fence" separating the problems in P ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

478 views

### Does Pure Mathematics glue Science together? [closed]

A little while ago, I was reading Cathy O'Neil's post Why is math research important (subtext: why does Pure Math deserve funding), where she discusses 3 possible answers. One of these is the usual ...

**22**

votes

**0**answers

783 views

### The most important facts, modern surveys, and readable introductions to p-adic cohomology theories (crystalline cohomology and the mysterious functor)

I would like to organize a seminar on crystalline cohomology; I dream of understanding the Beilinson's recent paper on the mysterious functor ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

375 views

### Transfinite induction vs induction in mathematics

What are the nontrivial theorems one can prove about natural numbers which need transfinite induction? By "need transfinite induction" I mean one can show that the statement is not provable in ...

**15**

votes

**9**answers

2k 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 ...

**33**

votes

**16**answers

3k views

### Counterexamples in universal algebra

Universal algebra - roughly - is the study, construed broadly, of classes of algebraic structures (in a given language) defined by equations. Of course, it is really much more than that, but that's ...

**0**

votes

**0**answers

165 views

### Examples of 'bad' notations and definitions [duplicate]

I am trying to compile a list of notations and definitions that has become ingrained in mathematical folklore, yet are still on some objective scale unsatisfactory. I offer two starting examples.
For ...

**59**

votes

**15**answers

6k views

### Mathematical research published in the form of poems

The article
Friedrich Wille: Galerkins Lösungsnäherungen bei monotonen Abbildungen,
Math. Z. 127 (1972), no. 1, 10-16
is written in the form of a lengthy poem, in a style similar to that
of the ...

**20**

votes

**32**answers

2k views

### Formalizations of category theory in proof assistants

What are the existing formalizations of category theory in proof assistants?
I'm primarily interested in public-domain code implementing category theory in a proof assistant (Coq, Agda, ...

**-2**

votes

**2**answers

743 views

### Accidental, unplanned breakthroughs in Mathematics [closed]

In math/physics, or generally in science, there are many moments where the success and the triumph come from the accidental, unplanned attempts. Moreover, there are some cases that originally having ...

**47**

votes

**18**answers

7k views

### Examples of major theorems with very hard proofs that have NOT dramatically improved over time

This question complement a previous MO question: Examples of theorems with proofs that have dramatically improved over time.
I am looking for a list of major theorems in mathematics whose proofs are ...

**0**

votes

**2**answers

246 views

### Intuition about covariant derivative/connections on real and complex manifolds

I was hoping to gain more intuition about the similarities and differences between the covariant derivative (of any connection, not necessarily the Levi Civita one if it exists) on real and complex ...

**33**

votes

**33**answers

4k views

### Structures that turn out to exhibit a symmetry even though their definition doesn't

Sometimes (often?) a structure depending on several parameters turns out to be symmetric w.r.t. interchanging two of the parameters, even though the definition gives a priori no clue of that symmetry. ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

406 views

### Adelic methods for classical modular forms

Many conjectures about properties of automorphic forms on $\mathrm{GL}(2)$ can be formulated in the basic language of classical modular forms (i.e. Hecke forms that are holomorphic on $\mathbb{H}$ or ...

**29**

votes

**14**answers

4k views

### Fantastic properties of Z/2Z

Recently I gave a lecture to master's students about some nice properties of the group with two elements $\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$. Typically, I wanted to present simple, natural situations where the ...

**6**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Interactions of number theoretic conjectures and other fields of mathematics

There are many interesting open conjectures in number theory. My question is not about partial results or possible ways to prove them. It is about their interactions with the other fields of ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

229 views

### Symmetries of the standard probability space

The standard probability space $(I, \mathcal B, \lambda)$ consists of the interval $I = [0,1]$, its Borel $\sigma$-algebra $\mathcal B := \mathcal B(I)$ and Lebesgue measure $\lambda$. In ...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

847 views

### Writing Mathematics : Linking words

I'm trying to write mathematics in English and I'm clearly missing something : linking words. I'm writing "so, we get", "Observe that" too many times and I'm afraid to use some expressions : "it ...

**79**

votes

**10**answers

11k views

### Work of plenary speakers at ICM 2014

The next International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) will take place in 2014 in Seoul, Korea. The present question is meant to gather brief overviews of the work of the plenary speakers for the ICM ...

**22**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Multiplying by irrational numbers in combinatorial problems

This is getting no attention on stackexchange.
Everybody knows that the number of derangements of a set of size $n$ is the nearest integer to $n!/e$.
It had escaped my attention until last week, ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Hodge Theory (Voisin)

I have a strong understanding of Representation Theory but am interested in learning from
Voisin, Hodge Theory and Complex Algebraic Geometry.
What are the prerequisites to learning from this ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

561 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 ...

**42**

votes

**18**answers

6k views

### What are some deep theorems, and why are they considered deep?

All mathematicians are used to thinking that certain theorems are deep, and we would probably all point to examples such as Dirichlet's theorem on primes in arithmetic progressions, the prime number ...

**18**

votes

**5**answers

708 views

### Online high quality colloquium talks

In my department we're thinking about showing online lectures one day per week at lunch, as sort of a virtual colloquium appropriate to mathematics undergraduates as well as faculty. To start with ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

404 views

### Applications of non-separable Hilbert spaces

In applications, Hilbert spaces of interest are often assumed to be separable. In addition to being extremely convenient mathematically, this assumption can often be justified on computational or ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Famous vacuously true statements

I am interested to know other examples vacuously true statements that are non-trivial. My starting example is Turan's result in regards to the Riemann hypothesis, which states
Suppose that for each ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

192 views

### Properties of the weak-$*$ topology

Let $X$ be a topological affine space over a complete base field $\mathbb S := \mathbb C$, $\mathbb R$ or $\mathbb Q_p$. Let $X^*$ be the dual space of continuous affine functionals equipped with the ...

**16**

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 ...

**37**

votes

**9**answers

2k views

### Homotopy as a general organizing principle

One of the realizations that led to the development of Homotopy Type Theory (HoTT) is that the ideas of homotopy theory have very broad applicability in mathematics. Indeed, Quillen model categories ...

**46**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### What if the Riemann Hypothesis were false?

There are lots of known and interesting consequences of the Riemann Hypothesis being true. Are there any known and interesting consequences of the Riemann Hypothesis being false?

**9**

votes

**6**answers

1k views

### Math research in the app store [closed]

What apps can be found in the Apple app store, Google Play, Blackberry World etc. showcasing specific mathematics research?
(Edit - Since the first version of the question got closed, examples should ...

**23**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Nearly all math classes are lecture+problem set based; this seems particularly true at the graduate level. What are some concrete examples of techniques other than the “standard math class” used at the *Graduate* level?

In the fall, I am teaching one undergraduate and one graduate course, and in planning these courses I have been thinking about alternatives to the "standard math class". I have found it much easier ...

**18**

votes

**21**answers

3k views

### What are some examples of mathematicians who had an unconventional education? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate:
Famous mathematicians with background in arts/humanities/law etc
What are some examples of mathematicians who had an unconventional education and yet, went on to make an ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Mathematics for ebook readers

Project Gutenberg has a mathematics section, and they prepare their more recent publications in a format that works very well on an ebook reader of moderate size: they generate PDFs in a size of ...

**41**

votes

**19**answers

6k views

### Are there proofs that you feel you did not “understand” for a long time?

Perhaps the "proofs" of ABC conjecture or newly released weak version of twin prime conjecture or alike readily come to your mind. These are not the proofs I am looking for. Indeed my question was ...

**66**

votes

**25**answers

8k views

### Modern Mathematical Achievements Accessible to Undergraduates

While there is tremendous progress happening in mathematics, most of it is just accessible to specialists. In many cases, the proofs of great results are both long and use difficult techniques. Even ...

**15**

votes

**11**answers

2k views

### Classic applications of Baire category theorem

I've seen Baire category theorem used to prove existence of objects with certain properties. But it seems there is another class of interesting applications of Baire category theorem that I have yet ...