**18**

votes

**6**answers

1k views

### Residual finiteness: why do we care?

Residually finite groups have been studied for a long time. However, I am struggling to work out why we care, or perhaps, why they continue to be of interest. Let me explain.
Magnus, in his 1968 ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

135 views

### Statistical distance between discrete and continuous distributions

Are there any statistical distance functions that are capable of comparing a continuous and a discrete distribution? From reading this list
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_distance
the only ...

**-3**

votes

**1**answer

198 views

### How many of Ramanujan's discoveries have had a practical application? [closed]

I was reading about the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan who, before dying at the age of 32, independently compiled nearly 3900 results (this is from Wikipedia). So based on this he seems to ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

908 views

### Why Riemann Hypothesis so important [closed]

I am often hearing people emphasized how important the RH is,one of them said that it should lead to an efficient way of determining whether a given large number is prime,and the other said,RH would ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

122 views

### Interpretation of Shannon Entropy Application

Consider a collection of increasing positive integers $\{a_i\}_{i=1}^m$ and the distribution $p_i=\frac{a_i}{\sum_{i=1}^ma_i}$. Let entropy of $\mathcal{A}=\{a_i\}_{i=1}^m$ be given
by ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

643 views

### What's so special about $1$-categories?

I have been pretty thoroughly convinced for some time now that, when thinking about mathematics, one really should be thinking 'categorically', that is, one should always be thinking of the morphisms ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

273 views

### Can one make a category concrete by “enlarging the universe”?

This is more or less a followup of this question. There, it was established that (it is well known that) the homotopy category of topological spaces is not concrete, in other words, there is no ...

**7**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### The resolution of which conjecture/problem would advance Mathematics the most? [closed]

This is an impossibly broad question, and makes the unwarranted assumption that Mathematics is a uniform field. It might make more sense to ask the same question restricted to, say, Mathematical ...

**-3**

votes

**1**answer

125 views

### Decidable theorem or result that is not weaker than Tarski's theorem

I am wondering what other decidable theorem or results that is not weaker or stronger than Tarski's theorem.
Could any one give reference or a simple introduction about such result known in their ...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Underlying idea for (automorphic) L-function?

Edit: So with a few more months of math under my belt, I recognize some of the issues with this question. I still hope for an answer, so let me say a few things.
Within the Langlands philosophy, ...

**19**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### Examples of intuition from fields other than Physics to solve math problems

This is a chaser for the examples of using physical intuition to solve math problems question.
Physical intuition seems to be used relatively frequently for solving math problems as well as stating ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

379 views

### Categories with binary relations as objects

For the category of functions, pairs of functions making commutative diagrams are the canonical morphisms $\alpha:f\rightarrow g$. For binary relations there is an alternative, to consider the ...

**25**

votes

**9**answers

1k views

### Continuous relations?

What might it mean for a relation $R\subset X\times Y$ to be continuous? In topology, category theory or in analysis? Is it possible, canonical, useful?
I have a vague idea of the possibility of ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

416 views

### Computer Science applications of Roth's Theorem [closed]

I have been reading about Additive Combinatorics and in particular Roth's theorem which states any positive upper density set has infinitely many 3-step arithmetic progressions.
Let $A \subset ...

**13**

votes

**0**answers

183 views

### What do tangles teach us about braids?

A braid is a smooth level-preserving embedding $f\colon\, \{1,2,\ldots,n\}\times[0,1]\hookrightarrow \mathbb{R}^2 \times [0,1]$ such that $f(k,0)=(k,0)$ and $f(k,1) \in \{1,2,\ldots,n\} \times ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

378 views

### Why are Witten-Reshetikhin-Turaev invariants expected to be integral?

A Witten-Reshetikhin-Turaev (WRT) Invariant $\tau_{M,L}^G(\xi)\in\mathbb{C}$ is an invariant of closed oriented 3-manifold $M$ containing a framed link $L$, where $G$ is a simple Lie group, and $\xi$ ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

391 views

### Differences in philosophy between Lie Groups and Differential Galois Theory

As far as I have heard,Sophus Lie's aim was to construct an analogue of galois theory for differential galois theory. I am familiar with lie group but not with differential galois theory. What is the ...

**55**

votes

**9**answers

4k views

### How does one find out what's happening in contemporary mathematics research?

How does one find out what's happening in contemporary mathematics research?
EDIT: I should have mentioned that I am looking for open access online sources. It so happens that I have been outside ...

**23**

votes

**9**answers

6k views

### Why are polynomials so useful in mathematics?

This is perhaps unanswerable,
or perhaps I am too algebraically ignorant to phrase it cogently, but:
Is there some identifiable reason that polynomials over
$\mathbb{C}$,
$\mathbb{R}$, ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Advice on choosing an area of specialization

I'm not sure if this is an appropriate question for MO, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. I'm a second year graduate student, currently gearing up to construct a committee and syllabus for my ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

73 views

### Classifying two-faces of four-polytopes

Motivation: This question is related to my study of hyperbolic Coxeter polytopes. In general, if one put some restrictions on the type of their dihedral angles (say, all dihedral angles are equal to ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

246 views

### Under which constraints are there only finite numbers of irreducible eta product identities?

For the Dedekind eta function, defined as usual by $\eta(q) = q^{\frac1{24}} \prod\limits_{n=1}^{\infty} (1-q^{n})$, let for brevity $e_k:=\eta(q^k)$.
An eta product identity (or eta identity for ...

**12**

votes

**0**answers

465 views

### How come Cartan did not notice the close relationship between symmetric spaces and isoparametric hypersurfaces?

Elie Cartan made fundamental contributions to the theory of Lie groups and their geometrical applications. Among those, we can list the introduction of the remarkable family of Riemannian symmetric ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

204 views

### Surreal numbers, ultrapowers of $\Bbb R$, ordinal-valued functions and the slow-growing hierarchy

Philip Ehrlich's paper “The Absolute Arithmetic Continuum and the Unification of All Numbers Great and Small”, The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 18 (1) 2012, pp. 1-45. claims as a theorem that, in NBG, ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

137 views

### Toric ideal of slice of a polytope?

Given a collection $A:=\{a_1, \ldots ,a_n \}$ of different integer points in $\mathbb{N}^d$, which span an affine hyperplane when viewed in $\mathbb{R}^d$, one can define a toric ideal $I_A$ from a ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

495 views

### Differential Galois number theory

Following http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/635659/can-the-error-term-involved-in-the-pnt-be-expressed-in-a-galois-theoretic-framew?noredirect=1#comment1341143_635659, I vainly tried to find ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

445 views

### Getting the story of Dynkin and Satake diagrams straight

I've been trying to teach myself the theory of Lie groups. The sources I've been reading reference Lie algebras in the context of Dynkin and Satake diagrams, but not Lie groups (which I am more ...

**-2**

votes

**2**answers

668 views

### Accidental, unplanned breakthroughs in Mathematics [closed]

In math/physics, or generally in science, there are many moments where the success and the triumph come from the accidental, unplanned attempts. Moreover, there are some cases that originally having ...

**45**

votes

**18**answers

7k 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 are ...

**0**

votes

**2**answers

201 views

### Intuition about covariant derivative/connections on real and complex manifolds

I was hoping to gain more intuition about the similarities and differences between the covariant derivative (of any connection, not necessarily the Levi Civita one if it exists) on real and complex ...

**33**

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. ...

**10**

votes

**1**answer

210 views

### Why do convex polytope options constrict with dimension, rather than expand?

There are an infinite number of regular polygons in the plane,
five regular polyhedra,
six regular polytopes in $\mathbb{R}^4$,
and then three regular polytopes in every dimension $d > 4$.
There ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

789 views

### What is the status of (universal) algebra in type theory?

With the recent interest in homotopy type theory as a foundation for mathematics, it seems natural to develop algebra within the framework of type theory. So far, I can't find much literature ...

**24**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### What is a cumulant really?

A cumulant is defined via the cumulant generating function
$$ g(t)\stackrel{\tiny def}{=} \sum_{n=1}^\infty \kappa_n \frac{t^n}{n},$$
where
$$
g(t)\stackrel{\tiny def}{=} \log E(e^{tX}).
$$
Cumulants ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

272 views

### Categories of sheaves and Kan Extensions

This is quite a broad question regarding constructions of categories of sheaves in geometry.
Let $\textbf{Sch}$ denote the category of schemes. Let $\textbf{SchAff}$ denote the full subcategory of ...

**23**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Contemporary mathematical themes

The presence of fruitful mathematical themes suggests the unity of mathematics. What I mean by a mathematical theme here is a basic idea or guiding principle that motivates or directs the central ...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

404 views

### Motives over the complex numbers versus mixed Hodge structures

Let $\mathsf{MM}(\mathbf C)$ be the hypothetical category of mixed motives over the complex numbers, and consider the realization functor $\Phi : \mathsf{MM}( \mathbf C) \to \mathsf{MHS}$ to integral ...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Are overlaps among {algebraic geometry, arithmetic geometry, algebraic number theory} growing?

From a naive outsider's viewpoint, just watching the MO postings
in those three fields scroll by, and hearing of breakthroughs in the news,
it appears there might be increasing overlap among the ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

981 views

### At which level is it currently possible to write formal proofs?

I am wondering whether I should try to have some fun using proof systems. I have never used such a system, but I have some experiences in logic and programming. My question is: At which level of ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

335 views

### Generalization of join of simplicial complexes

The join of two abstract simplicial complexes $K$ and $L$, denoted $K\star L$ is defined as a simplicial complex on the base set $V(K)\dot{\cup} V(L)$ whose simplices are disjoint union of simplices ...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Recent fundamental new directions in PDEs

My main interests are in modern geometry/topology, algebra and mathematical physics. I observe that there is a raising communication, language and social barrier between this community and the ...

**9**

votes

**4**answers

884 views

### What is about J. v. Neumann's “Continuous geometry”?

I am curious about von Neumann's "Continuous geometry", but found no recent text or survey on it. Does anyone know the book and would be so nice to share their impression, and if/how the concept of ...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

917 views

### Status of Beilinson conjectures?

(I hesitate to post that question here, but I received on answer on FB:)
Does anyone know how the current status of work on them is? And how the possible generalizations etc. which one thinks ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

471 views

### Is there a deep reason for the fecundity of involutions?

You might have come across the book of involutions in your travels. A colleague of mine asked whether there is a natural global reason (versus ad-hoc trickery) for considering involutions in ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

527 views

### 3D generalizations of permutations, RSK correspondence, contingency tables, etc.

I want to gather facts and questions related to 3D generalizations
of permutations, RSK correspondence, contingency tables,
etc. One reason I am interested in this is because it is potentially
related ...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Research level applications of “row rank = column rank”?

No less an authority than Gilbert Strang frames "row rank equals column rank" (and a couple of other facts) as "The Fundamental Theorem of Linear Algebra."
I'd simply like to assemble (for teaching ...

**7**

votes

**3**answers

568 views

### spectacular applications of functional analysis in resolutions of apparently unrelated problems

What are some of the spectacular applications of functional analysis to apparently unrelated problems.One that
comes to my mind is Per Enflo's resolution of Hilbert's 5th problem.There are also ...

**14**

votes

**1**answer

471 views

### Skeleton category of the category of skeleton categories?

A category is a skeleton if, roughly speaking, no two distinct objects within the category are isomorphic. To every category is associated a skeleton, and two categories are categorically "equivalent" ...

**51**

votes

**11**answers

3k views

### Why is Set, and not Rel, so ubiquitous in mathematics?

The concept of relation in the history of mathematics, either consciously or not, has always been important: think of order relations or equivalence relations.
Why was there the necessity of singling ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Algebraic number theory: building and simplifying

This is a somewhat subjective question, about the past, present and especially future of algebraic number theory. I'm not at all in this area, but I'd be interested in an answer.
As we all know, ...