**103**

votes

**18**answers

10k views

### How does one justify funding for mathematics research?

G. H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology provides an answer as to why one would do mathematics, but I'm unable to find an answer as to why mathematics deserves public funding. Mathematics can be ...

**42**

votes

**19**answers

38k views

### Linear Algebra Texts?

Can anyone suggest a relatively gentle linear algebra text that integrates vector spaces and matrix algebra right from the start? I've found in the past that students react in very negative ways to ...

**110**

votes

**45**answers

20k views

### Examples of eventual counterexamples

Define an "eventual counterexample" to be
$P(a) = T $ for $a < n$
$P(n) = F$
$n$ is sufficiently large for $P(n) = T\ \ \forall n \in \mathbb{N}$ to be a 'reasonable' conjecture to make.
where '...

**75**

votes

**51**answers

12k views

### Important formulas in Combinatorics

Motivation:
The poster for the conference celebrating Noga Alon's 60th birthday, fifteen formulas describing some of Alon's work are presented. (See this post, for the poster, and cash prizes offered ...

**180**

votes

**30**answers

19k views

### Which journals publish expository work?

I wonder if anyone else has noticed that the market for expository papers in mathematics is very narrow (more so than it used to be, perhaps).
Are there any journals which publish expository work, ...

**19**

votes

**18**answers

8k views

### What are some applications of other fields to mathematics?

It is commonplace to consider applications of mathematics to other fields, especially the exact sciences. But what I would like to know about is the converse topic, namely:
What are some ...

**59**

votes

**22**answers

9k 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 ...

**121**

votes

**81**answers

96k views

### Do good math jokes exist? [closed]

Have a good joke? Share.
I know this is subjective, but the principle "should be of interest to mathematicians" trumps. (I hope.)

**4**

votes

**2**answers

244 views

### Critical points in $ZF$ without Choice

Recall the definition of critical point for set theory:
A critical point of an elementary embedding of one transitive class into another transitive class is the smallest ordinal not mapped to ...

**15**

votes

**12**answers

5k views

### The best text to study both incompleteness theorems

Hi!
What text on both incompleteness theorems you would recommend for beginner?
Specifically, I'm looking for the text with the following properties:
1) The proofs should be finitistic, in Godel's ...

**10**

votes

**7**answers

1k views

### Where on the internet I can find database of graphs?

I am studying graph algorithms.
I need database of graphs on which I can test my algorithms.
Where can I find reliable database of graphs of all kinds?
Thanks!

**79**

votes

**23**answers

13k views

### Has philosophy ever clarified mathematics?

I've recently been reading some standard textbooks on the philosophy of mathematics, and I've become quite frustrated that (surely due to my own limitations) I don't seem to be gleaning any ...

**45**

votes

**14**answers

7k views

### What are some of the big open problems in 3-manifold theory?

From what I understand, the geometrization theorem and its proof helped to settle a lot of outstanding questions about the geometry and topology of 3-manifolds, but there still seems to be quite a lot ...

**5**

votes

**5**answers

552 views

### Important results with one or more than one proof [closed]

Can you give examples of deep, important results that have only one known proof, and not just because the first proof is fairly recent, or because not many people really cared to think about it? How ...

**132**

votes

**44**answers

77k views

### Magic trick based on deep mathematics

I am interested in magic tricks whose explanation requires deep mathematics. The trick should be one that would actually appeal to a layman. An example is the following: the magician asks Alice to ...

**141**

votes

**29**answers

33k views

### Examples of unexpected mathematical images

I try to generate a lot of examples in my research to get a better feel for what I am doing. Sometimes, I generate a plot, or a figure, that really surprises me, and makes my research take an ...

**144**

votes

**136**answers

31k views

### Fundamental Examples

It is not unusual that a single example or a very few shape an entire mathematical discipline. Can you give examples for such examples? (One example, or few, per post, please)
I'd love to learn about ...

**51**

votes

**47**answers

18k 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 ...

**106**

votes

**72**answers

16k views

### Most helpful math resources on the web

What are really helpful math resources out there on the web?
Please don't only post a link but a short description of what it does and why it is helpful.
Please only one resource per answer and let ...

**82**

votes

**8**answers

9k 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 ...

**24**

votes

**2**answers

1k 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 ...

**232**

votes

**68**answers

109k 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 ...

**35**

votes

**15**answers

3k views

### Free open-access peer-reviewed math journal

Is there any free (as in free beer, i.e., no publication fees or other fees whatsoever), open-access (free and open access to everyone) and peer-reviewed mathematics journal?
I am interested in a ...

**134**

votes

**28**answers

57k views

### Intuitive crutches for higher dimensional thinking

I once heard a joke (not a great one I'll admit...) about higher dimensional thinking that went as follows-
An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are discussing how to visualise four ...

**12**

votes

**15**answers

8k views

### undergraduate logic textbook

I am going to teach the standard undergraduate Logic course for math and engineering majors. What are good (bad) text-books and why. I have not taught that course for a while and wonder if there are ...

**23**

votes

**1**answer

761 views

### Big list - Equivalent descriptions of Hodge conjecture?

I would like to know equivalent descriptions of the Hodge conjecture (with references).
Dan Freed's Version:
Consider a topological cycle (boundary less chains that are free to deform) on a ...

**62**

votes

**15**answers

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 ...

**64**

votes

**59**answers

15k views

### Pseudonyms of famous mathematicians

Many mathematicians know that Lewis Carroll was quite a good mathematician, who wrote about logic (paradoxes) and determinants. He found an expansion formula, which bears his real name (Charles ...

**61**

votes

**39**answers

12k views

### nontrivial theorems with trivial proofs

A while back I saw posted on someone's office door a statement attributed to some famous person, saying that it is an instance of the callousness of youth to think that a theorem is trivial because ...

**171**

votes

**22**answers

25k views

### Geometric Interpretation of Trace

This afternoon I was speaking with some graduate students in the department and we came to the following quandry;
Is there a geometric interpretation of the trace of a matrix?
This question ...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

639 views

### Undecidable puzzles

There are plenty of popular NP-hard puzzles,
for example, generalized Sudoku ($n^2 \times n^2$-board), Flow (I cannot give a source for this), Minesweeper, etc.
Recently, I read a bit about aperiodic ...

**48**

votes

**16**answers

7k views

### Collection of equivalent forms of Riemann Hypothesis

This forum brings together a broad enough base of mathematicians to collect a "big list" of equivalent forms of the Riemann Hypothesis...just for fun. Also, perhaps, this collection could include ...

**13**

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 ...

**12**

votes

**5**answers

513 views

### Applications of space filling curves

I am seeking articles where a space filling curve has been used as a theoretical application, such as in the study of general orthogonal polynomials.

**154**

votes

**67**answers

53k 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 ...

**34**

votes

**14**answers

3k views

### Where have you used computer programming in your career as an (applied/pure) mathematician?

For background: I'm working on a book to help mathematicians learn how to program. However, I need to see some examples from people in the field that have done different kinds of things than I have.
...

**27**

votes

**16**answers

4k views

### Interesting mathematical topics arising from Biology

I've heard that there's a relatively new field of science called Mathematical Biology.
It will certainly apply well known and less known mathematical techniques to the understanding of some ...

**21**

votes

**13**answers

2k views

### Are there any good nonconstructive “existential metatheorems”?

Are there any good examples of theorems in reasonably expressive theories (like Peano arithmetic) for which it is substantially easier to prove (in a metatheory) that a proof exists than it is ...

**568**

votes

**217**answers

144k views

### Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics

The first thing to say is that this is not the same as the question about interesting mathematical mistakes. I am interested about the type of false beliefs that many intelligent people have while ...

**42**

votes

**15**answers

6k views

### Abstract Thought vs Calculation

Jeremy Avigad and Erich Reck in their remarkable historical paper "Clarifying the nature of the infinite: the development of metamathematics and proof theory" claim that one of the factors of becoming ...

**62**

votes

**25**answers

5k views

### What could be some potentially useful mathematical databases?

This is a soft question but it's not meant as a big-list question. I have recently been asked whether I want to provide feedback at the pre-beta stage on a forthcoming website that will provide a ...

**19**

votes

**12**answers

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 ...

**154**

votes

**11**answers

46k views

### Have any long-suspected irrational numbers turned out to be rational?

The history of proving numbers irrational is full of interesting stories, from the ancient proofs for $\sqrt{2}$, to Lambert's irrationality proof for $\pi$, to Roger Apéry's surprise demonstration ...

**49**

votes

**9**answers

6k views

### When have we lost a body of mathematics because errors were found?

The history of mathematics over the last 200 years has many occasions when the fundamental assumptions of an area have been shown to be flawed, or even wrong. Yet I cannot think of any examples where, ...

**60**

votes

**27**answers

8k views

### Sexy vacuity …

I included this footnote in a paper in which I mentioned that the number of partitions of the empty set is 1 (every member of any partition is a non-empty set, and of course every member of the empty ...

**85**

votes

**19**answers

9k 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 ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### A list of machineries for computing cohomology

This is not a question, but I just hope to hear more from everyone here on it.
A list of ready-to-use machineries to compute the de Rham / Cech cohomology of a manifold / variety. As far as I know, I ...

**42**

votes

**15**answers

6k views

### Shortest/Most elegant proof for $L(1,\chi)\neq 0$

Let $\chi$ be a Dirichlet character and $L(1,\chi)$ the associated L-function evaluated at $s=1$. What would be the 'shortest' proof of the non-vanishing of $L(1,\chi)$?
Background: The non-vanishing ...

**119**

votes

**46**answers

40k views

### Ways to prove the fundamental theorem of algebra

This seems to be a favorite question everywhere, including Princeton quals. How many ways are there?
Please give a new way in each answer, and if possible give reference. I start by giving two:
...

**28**

votes

**15**answers

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 (...