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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2
votes
1answer
111 views

Maximality statements that cannot be proved using $\mathsf{ZL}$ [on hold]

What are examples for maximality statements that cannot be proved using Zorn's Lemma?
38
votes
3answers
1k views

When has the Borel-Cantelli heuristic been wrong?

The Borel-Cantelli lemma is very frequently used to give a heuristic for whether or not certain statements in number theory are true. For example, it gives some evidence that there are finitely many ...
129
votes
132answers
28k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Proofs of the Chevalley-Warning Theorem

A well known proof of the Chevally-Warning Theorem is the one listed on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevalley%E2%80%93Warning_theorem Are there any other proofs of this, or ...
26
votes
14answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
17answers
5k views

Applications of finite continued fractions

I know some applications of finite continued fractions. Probably you know more. Can you add anything? (For for Applications of periodic continued fractions I have made a special topic.) 1) (Trivial) ...
119
votes
69answers
21k views

Your favorite surprising connections in Mathematics

There are certain things in mathematics that have caused me a pleasant surprise -- when some part of mathematics is brought to bear in a fundamental way on another, where the connection between the ...
62
votes
34answers
5k views

books well-motivated with explicit examples

It is ultimately a matter of personal taste, but I prefer to see a long explicit example, before jumping into the usual definition-theorem path (hopefully I am not the only one here). My problem is ...
34
votes
34answers
9k views

Ingenuity in mathematics

[This is just the kind of vague community-wiki question that I would almost certainly turn my nose up at if it were asked by someone else, so I apologise in advance, but these sorts of questions do ...
105
votes
69answers
21k views

Which math paper maximizes the ratio (importance)/(length)?

My vote would be Milnor's 7-page paper "On manifolds homeomorphic to the 7-sphere", in Vol. 64 of Annals of Math. For those who have not read it, he explicitly constructs smooth 7-manifolds which are ...
25
votes
21answers
6k views

What are some mathematical concepts that were (pretty much) created from scratch and do not owe a debt to previous work?

Almost any mathematical concept has antecedents; it builds on, or is related to, previously known concepts. But are there concepts that owe little or nothing to previous work? The only example I know ...
29
votes
35answers
5k views

Fixed point theorems

It is surprising that fixed point theorems (FPTs) appear in so many different contexts throughout Mathematics: Applying Kakutani's FPT earned Nash a Nobel prize; I am aware of some uses in logic; and ...
46
votes
19answers
7k views

Rediscovery of lost mathematics

Archimedes (ca. 287-212BC) described what are now known as the 13 Archimedean solids in a lost work, later mentioned by Pappus. But it awaited Kepler (1619) for the 13 semiregular polyhedra to be ...
2
votes
4answers
266 views

Higher Moments, what are they good for? [closed]

Absolutely nothing? And now seriously - When I studied the basics of probability theory, and even in more advanced topics (random walks, stochastic processes, etc.), I always felt that the mean and ...
14
votes
10answers
1k views

Combinatorial Databases

At one point, I remember being excited by seeing the website Encyclopedia of Combinatorial Structures as an extension of Sloane's Online Integer Sequence Database site. Unfortunately, the site (ECS) ...
81
votes
39answers
27k views

Most interesting mathematics mistake?

Some mistakes in mathematics made by extremely smart and famous people can eventually lead to interesting developments and theorems, e.g. Poincare's 3d sphere charaterization or the search to prove ...
3
votes
3answers
327 views

When few simple conditions yield a unique intricate structure

If people were asked to do a brainstorming related to the title, everyone would probably come up with dozens of examples. Those could include things as different as the Mandelbrot set, Julia sets ...
55
votes
22answers
14k views

What's the “best” proof of quadratic reciprocity?

For my purposes, you may want to interpret "best" as "clearest and easiest to understand for undergrads in a first number theory course," but don't feel too constrained.
25
votes
13answers
1k views

Big list of repositories of mathematical preprints and postprints

I'm looking for a extensive list of online repositories of mathematical preprints and postprints. I'm interested in every type of repository, including small informal and semi-formal collections, like ...
7
votes
5answers
554 views

Open problems in continued fractions theory

I propose to collect here open problems from the theory of continued fractions. Any types of continued fractions are welcome.
113
votes
76answers
37k views

Best online mathematics videos?

I know of two good mathematics videos available online, namely: Sphere inside out (part I and part II) Moebius transformation revealed Do you know of any other good math videos? Share.
87
votes
69answers
14k 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 ...
15
votes
12answers
3k views

Mathematics and cancer research?

What are applications of mathematics in cancer research? My answer. Unfortunately I heard quite small about math, but I heard something about applications of physics. And let me put this story here, ...
4
votes
1answer
284 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 ...
65
votes
24answers
7k 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 ...
170
votes
91answers
28k views

Not especially famous, long-open problems which anyone can understand

Question: I'm asking for a big list of not especially famous, long open problems that anyone can understand. Community wiki, so one problem per answer, please. Motivation: I plan to use this list ...
54
votes
10answers
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
20answers
6k views

Fun applications of representations of finite groups

Are there some fun applications of the theory of representations of finite groups? I would like to have some examples that could be explained to a student who knows what is a finite group but does not ...
40
votes
20answers
10k views

Interesting Calculus Questions/Exercises

I am in the process of redesigning the calculus course that I have taught five or six times. What I would like to know is if anyone has some really good examples or exercises that I could either do ...
121
votes
30answers
39k views

Real-world applications of mathematics, by arxiv subject area?

What are the most important applications outside of mathematics of each of the major fields of mathematics? For concreteness, let's divide up mathematics according to arxiv mathematics categories, ...
14
votes
2answers
743 views

What are the applications of operator algebras to other areas?

Question: What are the applications of operator algebras to other areas? More precisely, I would like to know the results in mathematical areas outside of operator algebras which were proved by ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Famous examples of PhD advisors younger than their student [closed]

What are the most famous examples of PhD advisors in mathematics, younger than their student? (if possible put the date of birth and/or the difference in age).
78
votes
11answers
8k views

Why are modular forms interesting?

Well, I'm aware that this question may seem very naive to the several experts on this topic that populate this site: feel free to add the "soft question" tag if you want... So, knowing nothing about ...
91
votes
107answers
31k views

Most memorable titles [closed]

Apparently, for a large number of readers, the choice whether they select to read a paper or not is often strongly influenced by the title. I was wondering if the MO-users would be willing to share ...
37
votes
32answers
6k 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
13answers
5k 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 ...
10
votes
19answers
19k views

Text for an introductory Real Analysis course.

Any suggestions on a good text to use for teaching an introductory Real Analysis course? Specifically what have you found to be useful about the approach taken in specific texts?
17
votes
19answers
4k views

Math books for advanced high school students

I'm working in a program for teaching a group of students selected in a Olympiad competition. The program is aimed to acquaint the students with the diverse aspects of higher mathematics in a way ...
85
votes
41answers
16k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Two questions about combinatorics journals

Hello, I have two questions regarding combinatorics journals. I hope that this is the right place for such questions. Which combinatorics/DM journals would you consider as the "top tier"? I tried ...
454
votes
188answers
116k 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
172 views

Degree of a rational function [closed]

I would like to have a simple proof for the following result: Let $f=\frac{p}{q}:\mathbb{C}\longrightarrow\mathbb{C}$ be a quotient of polynomials (of course, at some points it may be undefined). ...
59
votes
34answers
9k views

Experimental Mathematics

I would like to ask about examples where experimentation by computers have led to major mathematical advances. A new look Now as the question is five years old and there are certainly more examples ...
39
votes
18answers
5k 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 ...
48
votes
51answers
9k views

Books you would like to see translated into English.

I have recently been told of a proposal to produce an English translation of Landau's Handbuch der Lehre von der Verteilung der Primzahlen, and this prompts me to ask a more general question: ...
62
votes
61answers
24k views

Favorite popular math book [closed]

Christmas is almost here, so imagine you want to buy a good popular math book for your aunt (or whoever you want). Which book would you buy or recommend? It would be nice if you could answer in the ...
18
votes
10answers
3k views

Research Experience for Undergraduates: Summer Programs

Some time ago, I found this list of REU programs held in 2009. The main aspects that characterize such programs are: (a) a great deal of lectures on specific topics; and, admittedly more ...
4
votes
2answers
209 views

Proving results about complete Boolean algebras in ZFC using Boolean valued models

I want to know what non-trivial ZFC theorems (not consistency results) about complete Boolean algebras (or more generally of partially ordered sets) one can prove using forcing. I am mainly ...
62
votes
14answers
17k views

Top specialized journals

In geometry/topology, there are (at least) three specialized journals that end up publishing a large fraction of the best papers in the subject -- Geometry and Topology, JDG, and GAFA. What journals ...
32
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 ...