**7**

votes

**0**answers

273 views

### Canonical Time Evolution for Type $II_{1}$-Factors?

This question was spurred by the answer of Steve Huntsman to the MO question here. The Tomita-Takesaki modular automorphism group gives rise to a canonical time evolution on a type $III$ factor ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

471 views

### Counting Lattice Points in Real Polytopes

Suppose one did have an exact formula for the number of $\mathbb{Z}^n$-lattice points intersecting an arbitrary dilate of a (not necessarily rational) finite, closed and convex $n$-polytope. As a ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

589 views

### Analogue to Serre spectral sequence for cofiber sequences and homotopy

(This is a follow-up question to this one).
As it is nicely outlined in an answer to this question, homotopy groups behave well with respect to (Serre)-fibrations and (co)homology groups behave well ...

**43**

votes

**29**answers

9k 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 ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Why does homotopy behave well with respect to fibrations and homology with respect to cofibrations?

(I apologize that this is a vague question).
I seems to me somehow that homotopy groups behave well with respect to (Serre)-fibrations. For example you get a long exact sequence of homotopy groups ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

787 views

### what can be said about the choice of a prior in Bayesian statistics?

When reading about the Bayesian approach to statistics, priors are an important component of the whole methodology.
Yet, it seems like priors are chosen without any specific theoretical motivation. ...

**25**

votes

**10**answers

2k views

### Are infinite dimensional constructions needed to prove finite dimensional results?

Infinite dimensional constructions, such as spaces of diffeomorphisms, spectra, spaces of paths, and spaces of connections, appear all over topology. I rather like them, because they sometimes help me ...

**41**

votes

**14**answers

5k views

### Does any research mathematics involve solving functional equations?

This is a somewhat frivolous question, so I won't mind if it gets closed. One of the categories of Olympiad-style problems (e.g. at the IMO) is solving various functional equations, such as those ...

**58**

votes

**52**answers

19k 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 ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Narratives in Modular Curves

I've tried several times to read up on modular curves, and I've despaired every time. It seems that there are several competing narratives, that all get enfused and conspire to befuddle me. There are ...

**49**

votes

**13**answers

5k views

### What makes four dimensions special?

Do you know properties which distinguish four-dimensional spaces among the others?
What makes four-dimensional topological manifolds special?
What makes four-dimensional differentiable manifolds ...

**14**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### How should one think about sheafification and the difference between a sheaf and a presheaf

The first time I got in touch with the abstract notion of a sheaf on a topological space $X$, I thought of it as something which assigns to an open set $U$ of $X$ something like the ring of continuous ...

**70**

votes

**16**answers

16k 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 ...

**12**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### How and how much do the notations and diagrams influence our understanding of mathematical concepts?

How and how much do the notations and diagrams influence
our understanding of mathematical
concepts?
This question was stimulated by the MathOverflow questions Thinking and Explaining and ...

**51**

votes

**11**answers

4k views

### Why certain diophantine equations are interesting (and others are not) ?

It is quite clear why certain differential equations, among the jungle of possible diff equations that is possible to conceive, are studied: some come from physical problems, or from "spontaneous" ...

**3**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Why do we want to have orthogonal bases in decompositions?

In the decompositions I encountered so far, we all had orthogonal set of bases. For example in Singular Value Decomposition, we had orthogonal singular right and left vectors, in [discrete] cosine ...

**5**

votes

**4**answers

881 views

### Hecke-algebras in your field of mathematics

(How) do Hecke-algebras arise naturally in your field of mathematics and why are they important?
How would you define them and how do you think about them?
e.g. generators and relations, functions ...

**12**

votes

**16**answers

1k views

### Generalized notions of solutions in various areas of mathematics

In many areas of mathematics (PDE, Algebra, combinatorics, geometry) when we have difficulty in coming with a solution to a problem we consider various notions of "generalized solutions". (There are ...

**11**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Brownian motion, martingales, Markov Chains - Rosetta Stone

What are the most
fundamental/useful/interesting ways in
which the concepts of Brownian motion,
martingales and markov chains are
related?
I'm a graduate student doing a crash course in ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

404 views

### Quantized Calculus, the Hilbert Transform and the Upper Half-Plane

Given a *-algebra $\mathcal{A}$ over $\mathbb{C}$, a Fredholm module is a *-representation $\pi$ of $\mathcal{A}$ as operators on a Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$ along with a self-adjoint operator $F$ ...

**30**

votes

**9**answers

4k 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 ...

**72**

votes

**18**answers

6k views

### How do you decide whether a question in abstract algebra is worth studying?

Dear MO-community, I am not sure how mature my view on this is and I might say some things that are controversial. I welcome contradicting views. In any case, I find it important to clarify this in my ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

684 views

### Number of ways to construct mathematical objects

This question stems from this other one mentioning 7 ways of constructing smooth manifolds. I quote:
At the 2010 Clay Research Conference, Gromov explained that we know of only 7 different methods ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Online math history lectures

This question is somewhat similar to this: Best online mathematics videos?
I'm using the word "history" loosely here. What I'm looking for are those lectures that put various mathematical ...

**198**

votes

**22**answers

23k views

### Thinking and Explaining

How big a gap is there between how you think about mathematics and what you say to others? Do you say what you're thinking? Please give either personal examples of how your thoughts and words ...

**12**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Integrals from a non-analytic point of view

I've mentioned before that I'm using this forum to expand my knowledge on things I know very little about. I've learnt integrals like everyone else: there is the Riemann integral, then the Lebesgue ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

367 views

### Morava's “Motives and cell bundles”?

Hello, do you know more about, or some exposition of Morava's talk?

**7**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Applications of Math: Theory vs. Practice

I have a problem: I learned about a lot of the applications of mathematics from academics. Neither they nor I have had much contact with the "real world" to go and see for ourselves how mathematics ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Linear/Non-linear sigma model

This is slightly an open-ended invitation to discuss references and reasons for excitement about the linear and non-linear sigma model.
I gauge from some other interactions that it has considerable ...

**5**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Graphical representation of mathematical structures (in the spirit of unified modeling language)

In software engineering the unified modeling language ("UML") is a well established technique for providing overview of complex systems and an efficient means of communicating about them. There are ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### P not eq. NP news?: [closed]

"Vinay Deolalikar. P is not equal to NP. 6th August, 2010 (66 pages 10pt, 102 pages 12pt). Manuscript sent on 6th August to several leading researchers in various areas. Confirmations began arriving ...

**16**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### What is Realistic Mathematics?

This post is partially about opinions and partially about more precise mathematical questions. Most of this post is not as formal as a precise mathematical question. However, I hope that most readers ...

**104**

votes

**3**answers

5k views

### Analytic tools in algebraic geometry

This is not a very precise question, but I hope it will get some good answers.
As someone with a background in smooth manifold theory, I have experienced algebraic geometry as a beautiful but foreign ...

**6**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### The unprecedented success of the “intersection” operator

You might think that the title is an overstatement of a well-known fact but it is the best title I can come up with for the wonders the intersection operator does in some fields of math.
...

**22**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Is there a common genesis for ADE classifications?

Recall that a certain type of object admits an ADE classification if there is a notion of equivalence relative to which equivalence classes of objects of the given type can be placed in one-to-one ...

**8**

votes

**6**answers

1k views

### Is the dual notion of a presheaf useful?

It seems that there is a common theme in mathematics where, if we want to find out about a category C, then we look at $\hat{C}$ (the category of contravariant functors from $C$ to $Set$). There are ...

**0**

votes

**3**answers

996 views

### Intuitions/connections/examples for “eigen-*”

There are many concepts in mathematics that begin with the German word "eigen": eigenvector, eigenvalue, eigenspace, eigenstate, eigenfunction, eigensystem etc. (to name just the most important (?) ...

**11**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### Idea of presheaf cohomology vs. sheaf cohomology

Let $X$ be a topological space and $U$ an open cover of $X$.
In this thread Angelo explained beautifully how presheaf cohomology (Cech cohomology) relates to sheaf cohomology:
The zeroth Cech ...

**15**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Intuition and/or visualisation of Ito integral/Ito's lemma

Riemann-sums can e.g. be very intuitively visualized by rectangles that approximate the area under the curve.
See e.g. Wikipedia:Riemann sum
The Ito integral has due to the unbounded total variation ...

**9**

votes

**6**answers

1k views

### Defining variable, symbol, indeterminate and parameter

Are there precise definitions for what a variable, a symbol, a name, an indeterminate, a meta-variable, and a parameter are?
In informal mathematics, they are used in a variety of ways, and often in ...

**35**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### What's wrong with the surreals?

Of all the constructions of the reals, the construction of the surreals seems the most elegant to me.
It seems to immediately capture the total ordering and precision of Dedekind cuts at a ...

**22**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### Intuitive and/or philosophical explanation for set theory paradoxes

Every student of set theory knows that the early axiomatization of the theory
had to deal with spectacular paradoxes such as Russel's, Burali-Forti's etc.
This is why the (self-contradictory) ...

**5**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Geometric interpretation of the fundamental groupoid

Motivation
The common functors from topological spaces to other categories have geometric interpretations. For example, the fundamental group is how loops behave in the space, and higher homotopy ...

**17**

votes

**8**answers

4k views

### To what extent is it true that “number theory = mathematics”? [closed]

In a thought-provoking answer to this MO question, Kevin Buzzard
and several commentators have described a multitude of ways in which
number theory is related to other parts of mathematics. It seems ...

**70**

votes

**25**answers

28k 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 ...

**10**

votes

**1**answer

907 views

### A Sketch of “Esquisse d'un Programme”

I'm refering, of course, to Grothendieck's ambitious program available fully here: http://www.math.jussieu.fr/~leila/grothendieckcircle/EsquisseFr.pdf
The text is, as described in its title, a ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

460 views

### What do you use categorical glueing/sconing/Freyd covers for?

In the theory of programming languages and structural proof theory, one of the handiest techniques we have available is a method called "logical relations", in which you can prove properties of ...

**65**

votes

**10**answers

7k views

### Why are modular forms interesting?

Well, I'm aware that this question may seem very naive to the several experts on this topic that populate this site: feel free to add the "soft question" tag if you want... So, knowing nothing about ...

**8**

votes

**0**answers

409 views

### What is the origin of the formula for the Lie derivative along a Killing vector?

Background
Let $(M,g)$ be an $n$-dimensioal riemannian manifold. A vector field $X$ on $M$ is said to be a Killing vector if the flow it generates is an isometry; that is, it preserves the metric ...

**33**

votes

**13**answers

2k views

### Equality vs. isomorphism vs. specific isomorphism

This question prompted a reformulation:
What is a really good example of a situation where keeping track of isomorphisms leads to tangible benefit?
I believe this to be a serious question because ...