**3**

votes

**2**answers

256 views

### Beautiful constructions in algebraic topology that facilitate one's understanding of homotopy theory [on hold]

There is an army of interesting constructions in AT, and Understanding them are usually very helpful for appreciate the theory underneath. So I would like to invite you to share those examples that ...

**50**

votes

**12**answers

13k views

### What are the big problems in probability theory?

Most branches of mathematics have big, sexy famous open problems. Number theory has the Riemann hypothesis and the Langlands program, among many others. Geometry had the Poincaré conjecture for a long ...

**-1**

votes

**0**answers

112 views

### What are the areas of modern math? [on hold]

question:
In undergraduate mathematics there are very clearly defined areas (Calculus, Linear Algebra, Analysis, et cetera), however these are very well developed ares of mathematics that seem to not ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

57 views

### Isoperimetric inequality, isodiametric inequality, hyperplane conjecture… what are the inequalities of this kind known or conjectured?

I duplicate here a question I asked on math.stackexchange.
Question: Which inequalities similar to the famous isoperimetric inequality is known?
conjectured?
I recently learned about some ...

**32**

votes

**22**answers

6k 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 ...

**66**

votes

**15**answers

13k views

### What recent discoveries have amateur mathematicians made?

E.T. Bell called Fermat the Prince of Amateurs. One hundred years ago Ramanujan amazed the mathematical world. In between were many important amateurs and mathematicians off the beaten path, but what ...

**65**

votes

**21**answers

5k 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 ...

**5**

votes

**4**answers

260 views

### NP-hard problems in linear algebra and real analysis [closed]

I am curious about NP-hard problems in linear algebra and real analysis. An example in linear algebra would be the calculation of the permanent.
I would thus like to collect in this thread a list of ...

**31**

votes

**33**answers

4k views

### Structures that turn out to exhibit a symmetry even though their definition doesn't

Sometimes (often?) a structure depending on several parameters turns out to be symmetric w.r.t. interchanging two of the parameters, even though the definition gives a priori no clue of that symmetry. ...

**30**

votes

**20**answers

7k views

### Open source mathematical software.

I want some recomendation on which software I should install on my computer, an open source program for general abstract mathematical purposes (as opposed to applied mathematics).
I would likely use ...

**15**

votes

**29**answers

722 views

### Formalizations of category theory in proof assistants

What are the existing formalizations of category theory in proof assistants?
I'm primarily interested in public-domain code implementing category theory in a proof assistant (Coq, Agda, ...

**55**

votes

**73**answers

11k views

### Elementary+Short+Useful

Imagine your-self in front of a class with very good undergraduates
who plan to do mathematics (professionally) in the future.
You have 30 minutes after that you do not see these students again.
You ...

**364**

votes

**176**answers

96k 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 ...

**8**

votes

**6**answers

522 views

### Properties of rings that have an elegant description in terms of the associated category of modules

Suppose $A$ is a ring. Then $A$ happens to be a division ring iff every left $A$-module is free. (See here for proofs). I think this is very beautiful; what other properties of rings have an elegant ...

**138**

votes

**108**answers

37k 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
...

**58**

votes

**24**answers

5k 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 ...

**5**

votes

**4**answers

618 views

### The most unexpected and/or the least natural category theory theorem?

Theory of categories is all natural and abstract nonsense. Or is it? What would be the most unexpected and/or the least natural theorem of the theory of category? (It does not really have to be THE).
...

**152**

votes

**61**answers

79k 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 ...

**22**

votes

**15**answers

4k views

### What's a magical theorem in logic?

Some theorems are magical: their hypotheses are easy to meet, and when invoked (as lemmas) in the midst of an otherwise routine proof, they deliver the desired conclusion more or less ...

**58**

votes

**9**answers

6k views

### Analogues of P vs. NP in the history of mathematics

Recently I wrote a blog post entitled "The Scientific Case for P≠NP". The argument I tried to articulate there is that there seems to be an "invisible electric fence" separating the problems in P ...

**11**

votes

**9**answers

1k 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 ...

**6**

votes

**2**answers

152 views

### Local-to-global inequalities for measures: Brunn-Minkowski, Ahlswede-Daykin, what else?

This question is motivated by an obvious formal analogy between two well-known inequalities:
Log-concavity and Brunn-Minkowski inequality
Let $\mu(dx) := m(x) dx$ be an absolutely continuous ...

**56**

votes

**52**answers

17k views

### Theorems that are 'obvious' but hard to prove

There are several well-known mathematical statements that are 'obvious' but false (such as the negation of the Banach--Tarski theorem). There are plenty more that are 'obvious' and true. One would ...

**86**

votes

**53**answers

18k views

### What are your favorite instructional counterexamples?

Related: question #879, Most interesting mathematics mistake. But the intent of this question is more pedagogical.
In many branches of mathematics, it seems to me that a good counterexample can be ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

358 views

### Does Pure Mathematics glue Science together? [closed]

A little while ago, I was reading Cathy O'Neil's post Why is math research important (subtext: why does Pure Math deserve funding), where she discusses 3 possible answers. One of these is the usual ...

**111**

votes

**26**answers

12k 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 ...

**134**

votes

**79**answers

21k 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 ...

**70**

votes

**10**answers

7k views

### Work of plenary speakers at ICM 2014

The next International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) will take place in 2014 in Seoul, Korea. The present question is meant to gather brief overviews of the work of the plenary speakers for the ICM ...

**15**

votes

**12**answers

2k views

### What are some fundamental “sources” for the appearance of pi in mathematics?

I thought it might be fun to ask this question as a way of celebrating Pi Day. One way in which people popularize pi is that they say that even though it's defined in terms of properties of a circle, ...

**174**

votes

**71**answers

73k views

### Video lectures of mathematics courses available online for free

It can be difficult to learn mathematics on your own from textbooks, and I often wish universities videotaped their mathematics courses and distributed them for free online. Fortunately, some ...

**22**

votes

**16**answers

18k 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 ...

**8**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### The harmonic (series) beetle: live illustrations of mathematical theorems

In my analysis class I use the following problem to illustrate the divergence
of the harmonic series (consider this as a hint for solving it).
Exercise.
A beetle creeps along a 1-meter infinitely ...

**9**

votes

**6**answers

882 views

### Math research in the app store [closed]

What apps can be found in the Apple app store, Google Play, Blackberry World etc. showcasing specific mathematics research?
(Edit - Since the first version of the question got closed, examples should ...

**10**

votes

**6**answers

2k 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 ...

**48**

votes

**36**answers

10k views

### What are some correct results discovered with incorrect (or no) proofs?

Many famous results were discovered through non-rigorous proofs, with
correct proofs being found only later and with greater difficulty. One that is well
known is Euler's 1737 proof that
...

**102**

votes

**30**answers

30k 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, ...

**18**

votes

**14**answers

4k 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) ...

**130**

votes

**64**answers

22k views

### Proofs that require fundamentally new ways of thinking [closed]

I do not know exactly how to characterize the class of proofs that interests me, so let me give some examples and say why I would be interested in more. Perhaps what the examples have in common is ...

**18**

votes

**0**answers

591 views

### The most important facts, modern surveys, and readable introductions to p-adic cohomology theories (crystalline cohomology and the mysterious functor)

I would like to organize a seminar on crystalline cohomology; I dream of understanding the Beilinson's recent paper on the mysterious functor ...

**26**

votes

**32**answers

5k views

### What out-of-print books would you like to see re-printed?

It's excellent news that the LMS are to re-publish Cassels & Fröhlich. There are many other excellent mathematics books which are just about impossible (or at least very expensive) to get hold ...

**43**

votes

**48**answers

8k 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:
...

**43**

votes

**26**answers

6k 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 ...

**51**

votes

**61**answers

7k 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 ...

**26**

votes

**34**answers

4k views

### What are some mathematical sculptures?

Either intentionally or unintentionally.
Include location and sculptor, if known.

**1**

vote

**1**answer

315 views

### Transfinite induction vs induction in mathematics

What are the nontrivial theorems one can prove about natural numbers which need transfinite induction? By "need transfinite induction" I mean one can show that the statement is not provable in ...

**48**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### Examples where physical heuristics led to incorrect answers?

I have always been impressed by the number of results conjectured by physicist, based on mathematically non-rigorous reasoning, then (much) later proved correct by mathematicians. A recent example is ...

**13**

votes

**29**answers

9k views

### Alternative Undergraduate Analysis Texts

Other than the standard baby Rudin, Spivak, and Stein-Shakarchi, are there other alternative and comprehensive analysis texts at the undergraduate level? For example something that has general results ...

**28**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### What motivates modern algebraic geometry for a combinatorial/constructive algebraist?

This is, basically, me trying to generalize "Why should I care for sheaves and schemes?" into a reasonable question. Whether successfully, time will tell, but let me hope that if not the question, ...

**55**

votes

**31**answers

13k views

### Quick proofs of hard theorems

Mathematics is rife with the fruit of abstraction. Many problems which first are solved via "direct" methods (long and difficult calculations, tricky estimates, and gritty technical theorems) later ...

**78**

votes

**66**answers

13k 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 ...