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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473
votes
196answers
122k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

Noncommutative analogs of classical Banach geometric properties

The scale of Schatten-von Neumann classes is noncommutatitve analog of classical $\ell_p$-spaces. A lot of researchers devoted their lives to study Banach geometric structure of these spaces. ...
3
votes
1answer
291 views

Survey papers on the role played by PDE in mathematics

There are already several questions on Mathoverflow about the application of PDE to several other topics (e.g., algebraic and differential geometry and topology, number theory, harmonic analysis, ...
63
votes
65answers
9k views

Old books still used

It's a commonplace to state that while other sciences (like biology) may always need the newest books, we mathematicians also use to use older books. While this is a qualitative remark, I would like ...
32
votes
2answers
3k views

Open problems/questions in representation theory and around?

What are open problems in representation theory? What are the sources (books/papers/sites) discussing this? Any kinds of problems/questions are welcome - big/small, vague/concrete. Some estimation ...
35
votes
22answers
3k views

What are examples of good toy models in mathematics?

This post is community wiki. A comment on another question reminded me of this old post of Terence Tao's about toy models. I really like the idea of using toy models of a difficult object to ...
29
votes
15answers
1k views

Discovering and selecting conferences

Last summer, there were several excellent summer schools in my field that I learned of only after the application date. The events I did attend were chosen without too much care. I'm planning for the ...
98
votes
44answers
31k 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: ...
165
votes
30answers
16k 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, ...
36
votes
22answers
9k views

Open source mathematical software

I want some recommendation on which software I should install on my computer. I'm looking for an open source program for general abstract mathematical purposes (as opposed to applied mathematics). I ...
33
votes
30answers
11k views

Most intricate and most beautiful structures in mathematics

In the December 2010 issue of Scientific American, an article "A Geometric Theory of Everything" by A. G. Lisi and J. O. Weatherall states "... what is arguably the most intricate structure known to ...
27
votes
22answers
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 ...
10
votes
8answers
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 ...
27
votes
35answers
4k views

What are some mathematical sculptures?

Either intentionally or unintentionally. Include location and sculptor, if known.
42
votes
34answers
6k views

Are there any books that take a 'theorems as problems' approach?

Are there any books that present theorems as problems? To be more specific, a book on elementary group theory might have written: "Theorem: Each group has exactly one identity" and then show a proof ...
63
votes
61answers
25k 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 ...
68
votes
22answers
7k views

Fields of mathematics that were dormant for a long time until someone revitalized them

I thought that the closed question here could be modified to a very interesting question (at least as far as big-list type questions go). Can people name examples of fields of mathematics that were ...
8
votes
7answers
571 views

Finite-space dynamical systems

This question is quite open-ended, but I will formulate several sub-questions that I'll try to make precise. It is about finite-state dynamical system: start with a finite set $X$, with say $n$ ...
54
votes
54answers
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: ...
201
votes
66answers
97k 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 ...
111
votes
23answers
26k 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 ...
182
votes
96answers
30k 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 ...
59
votes
32answers
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 ...
51
votes
8answers
6k views

Least collaborative mathematician

The recent question about the most prolific collaboration interested me. How about this question in the opposite direction, then: can anyone beat, amongst contemporary mathematicians, the example of ...
10
votes
14answers
6k 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 ...
32
votes
17answers
5k views

Great mathematical figures and/or diagrams?

Most math papers have few figures, if any, although sometimes a well-chosen figure can be a tremendous help in understanding mathematical concepts. Does anyone have any examples of notable uses of ...
50
votes
16answers
5k views

Solving algebraic problems with topology

Often, topologists reduce a problem which is - in some sense - of geometric nature, into an algebraic question that is then (partiallly) solved to give back some understanding of the original problem. ...
0
votes
1answer
169 views

Collection of graduate research projects in Real Analysis [closed]

While there are many open problems in Real Analysis like Khabibullin's conjecture or Lehmer's conjecture, those are big enough to take an expert's life for several years, let alone some graduate ...
59
votes
15answers
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 ...
45
votes
19answers
6k views

Mathematicians whose works were criticized by contemporaries but became widely accepted later

Gauss famously discarded Abel's proof that an algebraic equation of degree five or more cannot have a general solution (Abel himself had rejected divergent series as the work of the devil). Cantor's ...
164
votes
109answers
44k views

What are some examples of colorful language in serious mathematics papers? [closed]

The popular MO question "Famous mathematical quotes" has turned up many examples of witty, insightful, and humorous writing by mathematicians. Yet, with a few exceptions such as Weyl's "angel of ...
147
votes
36answers
40k views

Widely accepted mathematical results that were later shown wrong?

I wonder if there are any examples in the history of mathematics of a mathematical proof that was initially reviewed and widely accepted as valid, only to be disproved a significant amount of time ...
46
votes
46answers
15k 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 ...
17
votes
11answers
5k views

Open Questions in Riemannian Geometry

What are some major open problems in Riemannian Geometry? I tried googling it, but couldn't find any resources.
9
votes
9answers
2k views

Not especially famous, long-open problems which higher mathematics beginners can understand

This is a pair to Not especially famous, long-open problems which anyone can understand So this time I'm asking for open questions so easy to state for students of subjects such as undergraduate ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

Mathematical research papers in general science journals

I am interested in collecting a list of research papers with a mainly mathematical focus that appeared in high-reputation general science journals without a dedicated mathematics section. This would ...
190
votes
9answers
16k views

John Nash's Mathematical Legacy

It would seem that John Nash and his wife Alicia died tragically in a car accident on May 23, 2015 (reference). My condolences to his family and friends. Maybe this is an appropriate time to ask a ...
5
votes
0answers
108 views

Nice applications of Liouville's theorem

I need a big list of nice-looking and simple applications of Liouville's theorem on geodesic flow in Riemannian geometry. Please help. Examples: A Riemannian manifold with finite volume does not ...
31
votes
19answers
6k views

Interesting applications (in pure mathematics) of first-year calculus

What interesting applications are there for theorems or other results studied in first-year calculus courses? A good example for such an application would be using a calculus theorem to prove a ...
5
votes
1answer
348 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 ...
124
votes
36answers
22k views

Demonstrating that rigour is important

Any pure mathematician will from time to time discuss, or think about, the question of why we care about proofs, or to put the question in a more precise form, why we seem to be so much happier with ...
116
votes
64answers
15k views

Suggestions for good notation

I occasionally come across a new piece of notation so good that it makes life easier by giving a better way to look at something. Some examples: Iverson introduced the notation [X] to mean 1 if X is ...
66
votes
17answers
9k views

Are there examples of non-orientable manifolds in nature?

Whilst browsing through Marcel Berger's book "A Panoramic View of Riemannian Geometry" and thinking about the Klein bottle, I came across the sentence: "The unorientable surfaces are never discussed ...
62
votes
5answers
23k views

Consequences of the Riemann hypothesis

I assume a number of results have been proven conditionally on the Riemann hypothesis, of course in number theory and maybe in other fields. What are the most relevant you know? It would also be nice ...
109
votes
33answers
61k views

Best Algebraic Geometry text book? (other than Hartshorne)

I think (almost) everyone agrees that Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry is still the best. Then what might be the 2nd best? It can be a book, preprint, online lecture note, webpage, etc. One suggestion ...
112
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
170 views

Examples of TVS with no non-trivial open convex subsets

I give here the classical example of the space $E = L^p([0,1])$ which has no open convex subsets apart from $\emptyset$ and $E$. Consequently, there is no non-trivial continuous linear form on $E$. ...
70
votes
25answers
25k views

What are the most misleading alternate definitions in taught mathematics?

I suppose this question can be interpreted in two ways. It is often the case that two or more equivalent (but not necessarily semantically equivalent) definitions of the same idea/object are used in ...
46
votes
14answers
3k views

Important open problems that have already been reduced to a finite but infeasible amount of computation

Most open problems, when formalized, naturally involve quantification over infinite sets, thereby obviating the possibility, even in principle, of "just putting it on a computer." Some questions ...
-2
votes
2answers
74 views

Collecting sufficient conditions for Sorli's conjecture on odd perfect numbers

Sorli's conjecture predicts that, for an odd perfect number $N$ given in the Eulerian form $N = {q^k}{n^2}$ (where $q$ is prime with $\gcd(q, n) = 1$ and $q \equiv k \equiv 1 \pmod 4$), the condition ...