**30**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### What motivates modern algebraic geometry for a combinatorial/constructive algebraist?

This is, basically, me trying to generalize "Why should I care for sheaves and schemes?" into a reasonable question. Whether successfully, time will tell, but let me hope that if not the question, ...

**25**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### In which situations can one see that topological spaces are ill-behaved from the homotopical viewpoint?

In the eighties, Grothendieck devoted a great amount of time to work on the foundations of homotopical algebra.
He wrote in "Esquisse d'un programme": "[D]epuis près d'un an, la plus grande partie ...

**8**

votes

**4**answers

888 views

### Applications of Hilbert's metric

Among the fascinating constructions in mathematics is the Hilbert metric on a bounded convex subset of ${\mathbb R}^n$.
Where, within mathematics, is it used ? I know at least a proof of the ...

**8**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Undecidable problems in geometry

Are there any (many) algorithmically undecidable problems in computational (combinatorial/discrete) geometry?
Update: the Wang tiles answer the question with "any". (I have somewhat overlooked to ...

**3**

votes

**2**answers

995 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 ...

**37**

votes

**26**answers

7k 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 ...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Things to keep in mind while looking for a Postdoc overseas

Hello,
I would like to receive some suggestions about what you think to be the best important things that should be kept in mind while looking for a postdoc position. I'm not considering (in this ...

**46**

votes

**46**answers

16k 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 ...

**18**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### Things that should be positive integers…really?

Kronecker. Nuff said. Even the numbers themselves historically started
as positive integers and were subsequently generalized to hell and back.
Here are some other well known concepts that "should" ...

**24**

votes

**15**answers

4k views

### What's a magical theorem in logic?

Some theorems are magical: their hypotheses are easy to meet, and when invoked (as lemmas) in the midst of an otherwise routine proof, they deliver the desired conclusion more or less ...

**38**

votes

**24**answers

7k views

### The concept of Duality

I have been thinking for sometime about asking this question, but because I did not want to have two "big-list" questions open at the same time, I did not ask this one. Now its time has come.
...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Positive definite function zoo

I've asked the following question on math.stackexchange but there has been no response so I'll ask it again here:
A positive definite function $\varphi: G \rightarrow \mathbb{C}$ on a group $G$ is a ...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### What are some other uses for Ehrenfeucht-Fraïssé games?

Let $\mathfrak{A} = \langle A, \dots \rangle$ and $\mathfrak{B} = \langle B, \dots \rangle$ be structures for a signature $\mathscr{L}$. For each ordinal $\gamma$ we define a game of perfect ...

**4**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Which conjectures only need the Grand Riemann Hypothesis to become genuine theorems?

Hello,
I've been interested in number theory for several years, and as time goes by, I read more and more articles in which theorems begin with "Assume the Riemann Hypothesis holds." But up to now, I ...

**8**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### Mathematical Advice for Interested Highschool Students

This may not be a research level math question, but I believe it is still relevant to Math Overflow.
What general resources exist for students in highschool who are very interested in ...

**27**

votes

**22**answers

7k views

### Titles composed entirely of math symbols

I apologize for burdening MO with such a vapid, nonresearch question, but
I have been curious ever since
Suvrit's popular October 2010
Most memorable titles MO question
if there were any ...

**52**

votes

**15**answers

6k views

### Contest problems with connections to deeper mathematics

I already posted this on math.stackexchange, but I'm also posting it here because I think that it might get more and better answers here! Hope this is okay.
We all know that problems from, for ...

**54**

votes

**12**answers

4k views

### Counterexamples in PDE

Let us compile a list of counterexamples in PDE, similar in spirit to the books Counterexamples in topology and Counterexamples in analysis. Eventually I plan to type up the examples with their ...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

748 views

### What makes a theorem 'good'? [closed]

I have been pondering the issue of what makes a theorem noteworthy. There are many famous examples of 'outstanding' theorems, such as Roth's theorem in Diophantine approximation, Szemeredi's Theorem, ...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### What are examples of theorems which were once “valid”, then became “invalid” as standard definitions shifted?

That is, results established by correct proofs within some framework, yet the manner in which their author or the general mathematical community at the time would describe these results would, in ...

**9**

votes

**5**answers

774 views

### Asymptotic Methods in Combinatorics

What are good texts to acquaint oneself with standard asymptotic techniques, particularly as they relate to probabilistic combinatorics?

**12**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### What results would follow from or imply “randomness” of the primes?

This question on random versions of deterministic problems reminded me that many conditional results in number theory hold if the primes are in some sense random, and it is common knowledge that the ...

**19**

votes

**11**answers

1k views

### Random versions of deterministic problems

What are the examples of situations where "randomizing" a problem (or some part of it) and analyzing it using probabilistic techniques yields some insight into its deterministic version?
An example ...

**17**

votes

**17**answers

3k views

### Which book would you like to see “texified”? [closed]

Let's see if we could use MO to put some pressure on certain publishers...
Although it is wonderful that it has been put
online, I think it would make an even greater read if "Hodge Cycles, Motives ...

**10**

votes

**44**answers

3k views

### Mathematical ideas named after places [closed]

This question is quite unimportant, so feel free to close if you think it is inappropriate.
I've been thinking about how mathematicians come up with names for the ideas/objects they study, and how ...

**23**

votes

**18**answers

8k views

### Interesting and Accessible Topics in Graph Theory

This summer, I will be teaching an introductory course in graph theory to talented high school seniors. The intent of the course is not to establish proficiency in graph theory, per se. Rather, I hope ...

**7**

votes

**6**answers

966 views

### Seemingly emergent structures in mathematics

I rather suspect that this must have come up here on MO already, but my handful of searches didn't turn up the thread, so...
I'm curious about examples of mathematical structure that seems to arise ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

555 views

### Tricks of the Trade [closed]

Can you name a mathematical theorem that is simple to state and relatively simple to prove, was essential to your research or to a work you found interesting and significant, has the potential to be ...

**57**

votes

**26**answers

4k views

### What would you want on a Lie theory cheat poster?

For some long time now I've thought about making a poster-sized "cheat sheet" with all the data about Lie groups and their representations that I occasionally need to reference. It's a moving target, ...

**31**

votes

**12**answers

4k views

### Recent Applications of Mathematics

What are the recent and new applications of Mathematics in other Sciences ?
Let me try to be more precise about the question:
By "recent" I mean the last 15 years.
By "new" I want to exclude the ...

**21**

votes

**10**answers

2k views

### What math institutes offer research in pairs/research in teams?

Some math institutes offer programs in which a small number of researchers are enabled to meet at the institute for a week or more. A list seemed as if it could be useful.

**24**

votes

**53**answers

10k views

### German mathematical terms like “Nullstellensatz”

There are quite a few german mathematical theorems or notions which usually are not translated into other languages. For example,
Nullstellensatz, Hauptvermutung, Freiheitssatz, Eigenvector (the ...

**4**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### What's the difference between 2 and 3? [closed]

Here are two classical results which depend on whether a parameter is 2 or 3:
It is possible to bisect an arbitrary angle with ruler and compass, but impossible to trisect it.
While there are ...

**58**

votes

**73**answers

11k views

### Elementary+Short+Useful

Imagine your-self in front of a class with very good undergraduates
who plan to do mathematics (professionally) in the future.
You have 30 minutes after that you do not see these students again.
You ...

**75**

votes

**17**answers

7k views

### Occurrences of (co)homology in other disciplines and/or nature

I am curious if the setup for (co)homology theory appears outside the realm of pure mathematics. The idea of a family of groups linked by a series of arrows such that the composition of consecutive ...

**6**

votes

**10**answers

886 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

4k 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 ...

**8**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Which topics/problems could you show to a bright first year mathematics student?

I am teaching a one semester course (January to June) to first year students pursuing various different degrees. Because there are students studying actuarial science, physics, other sciences, other ...

**10**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### Leibnizian calculus textbook

Where can I find a calculus textbook that emphasizes differentials?
Is there such a book that I could realistically require my calculus students to use?
I want a textbook that supports me when I tell ...

**8**

votes

**9**answers

1k views

### “Surprising” categorical equivalences

This is inspired by this question about the equivalence between the category of finite sets and non-negative integers. Now this question was (rightly, I guess) closed, but the fact was surprising to ...

**11**

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):
...

**60**

votes

**32**answers

10k 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 ...

**55**

votes

**10**answers

6k views

### Applications of mathematics

All of us have probably been exposed to questions such as: "What are the applications of group theory...".
This is not the subject of this MO question.
Here is a little newspaper article that I found ...

**34**

votes

**9**answers

4k views

### List of Classifying Spaces and Covers

I am looking for a list of classifying spaces $BG$ of groups $G$ (discrete and/or topological) along with associated covers $EG$; there does not seem to be such cataloging on the web. Or if not a ...

**4**

votes

**3**answers

792 views

### Examples of results which were surprising but later shown to be natural. [closed]

After Ramanujan formulated his conjectures on the Tau-function, and after the importance of the function was realized, it took the development of the theory of Modular forms for the complete ...

**27**

votes

**7**answers

9k views

### Collecting proofs that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic.

I teach elementary number theory and discrete mathematics to students who come with no abstract algebra. I have found proving the key theorem that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic ...

**221**

votes

**72**answers

87k views

### Video lectures of mathematics courses available online for free

It can be difficult to learn mathematics on your own from textbooks, and I often wish universities videotaped their mathematics courses and distributed them for free online. Fortunately, some ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Locales and Topology.

As someone more used to point-set topology, who is unfamiliar with the inner workings of lattice theory, I am looking to learn about the localic interpretation of topology, of which I only have a ...

**26**

votes

**14**answers

6k views

### Open problems in Euclidean geometry?

Which are some (research level) open problems in Euclidean geometry ?
(Edit: I ask just out of curiosity, to understand how -and if- nowadays this is not a "dead" field yet)
I should clarify a ...

**15**

votes

**12**answers

2k views

### Constructions unique up to non-unique isomorphism

1) Fields have algebraic closures unique up to a non-unique isomorphism.
2) Nice spaces (without base point) have universal covering spaces unique up to a non-unique isomorphism.
3) Modules have ...