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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24
votes
0answers
863 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 ...
87
votes
30answers
9k views

Examples of theorems misapplied to non-mathematical contexts

For something I'm writing -- I'm interested in examples of bad arguments which involve the application of mathematical theorems in non-mathematical contexts. E.G. folks who make theological arguments ...
-2
votes
0answers
79 views

What are your favourite correspondences? [on hold]

For example, I like the Curry-Howard correspondence. But I'm interested in gathering up a bunch of interesting examples from various fields.
13
votes
7answers
4k views

Book on Symplectic Geometry

Can someone please tell me some introductory book on symplectic geometry? I have no prior idea of the subject but I do know about Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics (at the level of Landau-Lifshitz ...
12
votes
9answers
2k views

math circles video lectures for school children?

Hello, I am from India. I find the mathoverflow amazing. I have a question: Are there any good quality video lectures on school math topics? There are a lot of high quality lectures available on ...
61
votes
18answers
6k views

One-step problems in geometry

I'm collecting advanced exercises in geometry. Ideally, each exercise should be solved by one trick and this trick should be useful elsewhere (say it gives an essential idea in some theory). If you ...
56
votes
16answers
8k views

Examples of algorithms requiring deep mathematics to prove correctness

I am looking for examples of algorithms for which the proof of correctness requires deep mathematics ( far beyond what is covered in a normal computer science course). I hope this is not too broad.
56
votes
16answers
7k 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 ...
123
votes
65answers
17k 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 ...
573
votes
218answers
145k 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 ...
82
votes
16answers
8k views

Proposals for polymath projects

Background Polymath projects are a form of open Internet collaboration aimed towards a major mathematical goal, usually to settle a major mathematical problem. This is a concept introduced in 2009 by ...
45
votes
35answers
13k 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 ...
93
votes
28answers
20k views

Are there other nice math books close to the style of Tristan Needham?

I've been very positively impressed by Tristan Needham's book "Visual Complex Analysis", a very original and atypical mathematics book which is more oriented to helping intuition and insight than to ...
1
vote
1answer
135 views

Open problems in deformation theory

I am only a beginner in the field, but I would like to have at least a few examples of open problems in deformation theory to give me an idea of the actual status of the theory, and to help guide my ...
89
votes
26answers
39k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Linear algebra in terms of abstract nonsense?

The categories of vector spaces and finite dimensional vector spaces are pretty much as nice as can be, I think. I was wondering what portions of basic linear algebra (first couple of courses) fall ...
39
votes
25answers
7k views

Where can square roots come from when they are not distances?

In a recent survey "Supergeometry in Mathematics and Physics", Kapranov points out cases in which observable quantities of immediate interest are represented as bilinear combinations of more ...
105
votes
18answers
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 ...
43
votes
19answers
39k 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 ...
112
votes
45answers
21k 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
51answers
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 ...
181
votes
30answers
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
18answers
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
22answers
10k 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
81answers
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
2answers
263 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
12answers
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
7answers
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
23answers
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
14answers
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
5answers
581 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 ...
133
votes
44answers
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 ...
142
votes
29answers
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
136answers
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
47answers
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
72answers
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
8answers
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 ...
26
votes
2answers
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 ...
235
votes
68answers
110k 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
15answers
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 ...
136
votes
28answers
58k 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 ...
13
votes
15answers
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 ...
62
votes
15answers
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
59answers
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 ...
63
votes
39answers
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
22answers
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
2answers
643 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
16answers
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
2answers
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
5answers
518 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.