**61**

votes

**61**answers

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

**22**answers

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 ...

**32**

votes

**29**answers

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 ...

**31**

votes

**2**answers

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 ...

**8**

votes

**7**answers

556 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 $n$ ...

**95**

votes

**43**answers

30k 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:
...

**54**

votes

**54**answers

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:
...

**-3**

votes

**0**answers

223 views

### Mathematical theories of changes - except from calculus? [closed]

Unfortunately motion is regarded as displacement in geometry:
By a motion or displacement in the general sense is not meant a change
of position of a single point or any bounded figure, but a
...

**199**

votes

**66**answers

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 ...

**110**

votes

**23**answers

25k 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 ...

**181**

votes

**96**answers

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

**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 ...

**51**

votes

**8**answers

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

**14**answers

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

**17**answers

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

**16**answers

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

**1**answer

150 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

**15**answers

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 ...

**44**

votes

**19**answers

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 ...

**163**

votes

**109**answers

43k 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
...

**146**

votes

**36**answers

39k 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

**46**answers

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

**11**answers

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

**9**answers

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

**5**answers

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

**9**answers

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

**0**answers

102 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

**19**answers

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

**1**answer

347 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

**36**answers

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

**64**answers

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

**17**answers

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 ...

**60**

votes

**5**answers

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 ...

**108**

votes

**33**answers

60k 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 ...

**111**

votes

**69**answers

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

**2**answers

168 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 $E$.
...

**60**

votes

**63**answers

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 ...

**69**

votes

**25**answers

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

**14**answers

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

**2**answers

70 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 ...

**66**

votes

**25**answers

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 ...

**124**

votes

**71**answers

22k 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 ...

**129**

votes

**27**answers

16k views

### What are some reasonable-sounding statements that are independent of ZFC?

Every now and then, somebody will tell me about a question. When I start thinking about it, they say, "actually, it's undecidable in ZFC."
For example, suppose A is an abelian group such that every ...

**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 ...

**471**

votes

**193**answers

121k 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 ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

272 views

### Physics that needs “new” math [closed]

Just curious: I can't think of a single example that a physicist did not had his mouth open in amazement when he learnt that all (OK, lets say the foundations) the math he needs for his brand-new ...

**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 ...

**10**

votes

**6**answers

710 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.

**30**

votes

**11**answers

6k views

### “Must read” papers in numerical analysis

In 1993, Prof. L.N. Trefethen published a NA-net posting with a list of thirteen paper he used for teaching the seminar Classic Papers in Numerical Analysis.
In Trefethen's words, ... this course ...

**100**

votes

**59**answers

17k views

### Jokes in the sense of Littlewood: examples? [closed]

First, let me make it clear that I do not mean jokes of the
"abelian grape" variety. I take my cue from the following
passage in A Mathematician's Miscellany by J.E. Littlewood
(Methuen 1953, p. 79):
...