**51**

votes

**11**answers

5k 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" ...

**4**

votes

**4**answers

4k 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 ...

**7**

votes

**4**answers

1k 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 ...

**13**

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

3k 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

460 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 $F$ ...

**48**

votes

**16**answers

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 ...

**80**

votes

**18**answers

8k 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

735 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 ...

**242**

votes

**21**answers

30k 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 differ, ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

3k 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

380 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 ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

3k 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

2k 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 ...

**20**

votes

**7**answers

5k 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 ...

**110**

votes

**3**answers

6k 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.
Recently,(...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

2k 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 ...

**9**

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

1k 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 (?) ...

**41**

votes

**8**answers

12k views

### Modern algebraic geometry vs. classical algebraic geometry

Can anyone offer advice on roughly how much commutative algebra, homological algebra etc. one needs to know to do research in (or to learn) modern algebraic geometry. Would you need to be familiar ...

**12**

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 ...

**29**

votes

**9**answers

7k 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 ...

**10**

votes

**6**answers

2k 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 ...

**45**

votes

**7**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) ...

**6**

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 ...

**18**

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 ...

**136**

votes

**28**answers

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

**1**answer

1k 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 sketch,...

**13**

votes

**2**answers

571 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 ...

**84**

votes

**11**answers

11k 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

501 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 $g$...

**39**

votes

**13**answers

3k 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 ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### Big picture concerning Ito integral, Stratonovich integral and standard results in probability theory

I am confused and don't get the big picture concerning the connection between
Ito integral
Stratonovich integral
Standard results in probability theory concerning skewed distributions.
Example: ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Natural setting for characteristic classes?

In my mind, algebraic topology is comprised of two components:
Chain complex information, which is intrinsic information concerning how your object may be built up out of simple "lego blocks".
...

**34**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Are there any “homotopical spaces”?

This is a somewhat vague question; I don't know how "soft" it is, and even if it makes sense.
[Edit: in the light of the comments, we can state my question in a formally precise way, that is: "Is ...

**3**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Is it true that the only interesting topologies are metric topologies and weak topologies?

In "Infinite dimensional analysis, A hitchhikers guide" by Aliprantis and Border, they write that these 2 classes of topologies "by and large include everything of interest".
@Pete Clarke: I was ...

**12**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Are rings really more fundamental objects than semi-rings?

The discovery (or invention) of negatives, which happened several centuries ago by the Chinese, Indians and Arabs, has of course be of fundamental importance to mathematics.
From then on, it seems ...

**9**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### Path integrals outside QFT

The main application of Feynman path integrals (and the primary motivation behind them) is in Quantum Field Theory - currently this is something standard for physicists, if even the mathematical ...

**68**

votes

**6**answers

9k views

### How to find ICM talks?

I am very interested in reading some and skimming through the list of invited talks at the International Congress of Mathematicians. Since the proceedings contain talks supposedly by top experts in ...

**13**

votes

**5**answers

5k views

### Is the ABC conjecture known to imply the Riemann hypothesis?

I once heard from a graduate student that the ABC conjecture implies the Riemann hypothesis. I can't find a reference for this, but given the department the student is from I tend to believe he might ...

**31**

votes

**5**answers

7k views

### Mathematics of path integral: state of the art

I was told that one of the most efficient tools (e.g. in terms of computations relevant to physics, but also in terms of guessing heuristically mathematical facts) that physicists use is the so called ...

**28**

votes

**5**answers

6k views

### Doing geometry using Feynman Path Integral?

I have often heard in the folk-lore that Feynman Path Integral can be used to compute geometric invariants of a space.
Coming from a background of studying Quantum Field Theory from the books like ...

**7**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Does the presence of cocycle conditions indicate the existence of an underlying cohomology theory?

Motivation: We have two examples:
(Abelian) Kummer theory (resp. Artin-Schreier theory) has a hidden cohomology theory given by Galois cohomology. The cocycle conditions become clear when you look ...

**25**

votes

**12**answers

8k views

### Why are tensors a generalization of scalars, vectors, and matrices?

Take two vector spaces $V$ and $W$ over a field $F$. One may form the tensor product $V\otimes W$ and it fulfills an universal property. Elements of $V\otimes W$ are called tensors and they are linear ...

**15**

votes

**12**answers

3k 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, ...