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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11
votes
8answers
837 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
2answers
512 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
2answers
382 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
165 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
892 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
7answers
876 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
2answers
201 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
858 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). ...
79
votes
9answers
9k 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
0answers
542 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 "...
2
votes
1answer
420 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 ...
19
votes
9answers
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
16answers
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
0answers
167 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 ...
62
votes
15answers
7k 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
9answers
2k views

Recreational mathematics: where to search?

I am not sure I can strictly define recreational mathematics. But we all feel what it is about: puzzles, problems you can ask your mathematical friends, problems that will bother them for a couple of ...
30
votes
35answers
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, Isabelle/HOL,...
59
votes
22answers
10k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
310 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 ...
35
votes
33answers
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
2answers
468 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 ...
36
votes
14answers
5k 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
4answers
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
1answer
254 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 applications,...
14
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
81
votes
10answers
12k 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 ...
26
votes
5answers
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, ...
6
votes
1answer
2k 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 textbook?...
12
votes
2answers
585 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 ...
43
votes
18answers
7k 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
5answers
761 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 we'...
12
votes
1answer
505 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 ...
34
votes
4answers
3k 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
1answer
199 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 ...
30
votes
14answers
4k views

Research-level mathematical bookstores

I'm interested in compiling a list of bookstores around the world that stock a good selection of high-level mathematical books. The aim is so that a mathematician travelling, or on holiday, can easily ...
19
votes
13answers
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
9answers
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 ...
47
votes
1answer
4k 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
6answers
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 ...
24
votes
3answers
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
21answers
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
5answers
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 $8.5\...
28
votes
15answers
2k views

Objects which can't be defined without making choices but which end up independent of the choice

It happens a lot of times that when one defines a new object (ring, module, space, group, algebra, morphism, whatever) out of given data one first chooses some additional structure. And sometimes (...
45
votes
19answers
7k 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 ...
67
votes
25answers
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 ...
19
votes
12answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
0answers
463 views

What are some examples of weak ω-categories?

As is usual, let's say an (n, k)-category is something with objects, morphisms, 2-morphisms, ..., n-morphisms, such that all j-morphisms for j > k are invertible, everything meant in the weak sense. ...
2
votes
2answers
286 views

Stronger theorem not resulting from proof analysis

Suppose that we proved $\varphi$ from a theory $T$. Often we ask whether or not we could have proved $\varphi$ with a weaker theory, to find out we usually analyze the proof and try to figure out ...
29
votes
13answers
2k views

Great mathematics books by pre-modern authors

Last summer, I read Euclid's Elements, and it was an eye-opening experience; I had assumed that three thousand years' difference would make the notation incomprehensible and the reasoning alien, but ...
8
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...