The definitions tag has no wiki summary.

**56**

votes

**23**answers

21k 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 ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

271 views

### How to define a generating subset for algebra in a category?

As is well known, the definition of an monoid can be generalised to the notion of a monoid $A$ in a monoidal category $C$ (see the n-lab entry here). What I would like to know is if the notion of ...

**4**

votes

**5**answers

278 views

### procedure-based (as opposed to definition-based) concepts

Euler's work on divergent series was guided by computational procedures, rather than any definition of the "value" of such a series. E.g., he was happy to have half a dozen procedures that indicated ...

**2**

votes

**3**answers

352 views

### Defining the integral of a function using the product measure

Imagine that we're trying to define the expression
$$\int_U f(x)dx$$
in a rigorous way.
Assume that $f:X \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^{\geq 0}$ where $(X,\mu)$ is a measure space, and suppose that $U$ is a ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

126 views

### Alternate definition for the torsion tensor

I would be pleased to have some information about an alternate definition for the torsion tensor.
Let us consider a smooth manifold $\mathcal{M}$ together with an arbitrary connection $\nabla$. The ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

86 views

### On one class of Euclidean lattices

Let $\Lambda\subset \mathbb Z^3$ be 3D lattice with a basis
$$a_1=\left(\begin{smallmatrix} a_{11} \\ a_{21}\\
a_{31}
\end{smallmatrix}\right),a_2=\left(\begin{smallmatrix} a_{12} \\ a_{22}\\
a_{32}
...

**8**

votes

**3**answers

721 views

### What are Penrose Tilings, and how do they relate to Quasicrystals?

The question is in the title, but let me elaborate a little.
Background
Penrose Tilings are really pretty and satisfy some remarkable properties. For instance, I believe the following is true: even ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

180 views

### On the definition of ‘smooth vectors’ in Rieffel's “Deformation Quantization for Actions of $ \mathbb{R}^{d} $”.

On the first page of Chapter 1 of Rieffel's Deformation Quantization for Actions of $ \mathbb{R}^{d} $, Rieffel defines a family of seminorms on the space $ A^{\infty} $ of smooth vectors of a Fréchet ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

233 views

### PAC field : Algebraically closed field :: ? : Henselian local ring

I'm wondering if the following exists in the world as a definition. I'll use the word "pseudo-Henselian." I'll restrict to DVRs for simplicity.
I'd want to call a DVR $(R,\mathfrak{m})$ ...

**10**

votes

**7**answers

424 views

### Does the notion of graphs with vertex multiplicity exist?

I need to use graphs where each vertex gets a natural number, $b(v)$, its multiplicity. These numbers indicate how many 'replications' of the vertex we have.
It is actually a way to write in a ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Geometric picture of invariant differential of an elliptic curve

What is the geometric meaning of $\omega=dx/(2y+a_1x+a_3)$ for an elliptic curve?
This question is an adjunct to MO Q1 on formal laws and L-series, which motivated Q2. Q1 (Silverman) and Darmon (pg. ...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### What is Serre's condition (S_n) for sheaves?

The Serre's condition $(S_n)$, especially $(S_2)$, has been mentioned in a few MO answers: see here and here for example. I am pretty sure I have seen it in other questions as well, but could not ...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

662 views

### What makes a distance?

In the answers to my previous question, I learned that there are different concepts of distance, that is of distance-like functions with the usual metric being only the most popular and important one.
...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

284 views

### BRST cohomology definition

Is there written anywhere a full definition of BRST cohomology? All I have found so far is BRST cohomology in _______.
As far as I can see, BRST cohomology is the ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

238 views

### Canonical differential on Tate curve

I am starting studying the theory of (algebraic) modular forms, and I have some trouble in understanding completely the construction of the Tate curve. My problem is the following: as far as I know ...

**50**

votes

**16**answers

7k views

### Can a mathematical definition be wrong?

This question originates from a bit of history. In the first paper on quantum Turing machines, the authors left a key uniformity condition out of their definition. Three mathematicians subsequently ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

490 views

### Is this a vertex algebroid?… What is vertex algebroid?

A couple of day ago, I was lamenting to a friend about the fact that I have no idea what vertex algebroids are.
During our discussion, I came up with a guess of what a vertex algebroid might be.
I'm ...

**3**

votes

**5**answers

343 views

### Strings and “co-subsequences”

Let $S$ be a string over some alphabet $\Sigma$. It is well known that a substring of $S$ is commonly defined as a sequence of contiguous elements from $S$, while a subsequence of $S$ is a sequence ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

643 views

### Why do mathematicians prefer one definition over the other when they both define the same concept?

Here is a basic, though very important, example:
Hilbert takes as primary the notion of “congruence” (or “equal”) between segments. His first axiom of congruence “requires the possibility of ...

**1**

vote

**2**answers

145 views

### Understanding the left-separated spaces

A space $X$ is called left-separated if it can be well-ordered in such a way that every initial segment is closed in $X$.
Could someone post some left-separated space to help me understand such ...

**5**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### On similar concepts in mathematics whose similarity is a non-trivial fact.

Recently, while undertaking a study of commutative algebra, I learned three concepts: (i) a local ring, (ii) a regular local ring and (iii) a regular ring.
At the end, I found myself asking this ...

**3**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Set theory definition of addition, negative numbers, and subtraction? [closed]

Using the definition of natural numbers $0 = \emptyset$ and $S(n) = n \cup \lbrace n \rbrace$ where S is the successor function, what is the definition of addition on natural numbers?
Concerning the ...

**24**

votes

**11**answers

5k views

### What does the adjective “natural” actually mean?

Terms like "in the natural way" or "the natural X" are used frequently in mathematical writing. While it is certainly clear most of the time what is meant, on occasion, I have been confounded. The ...

**8**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Grothendieck Topologies versus Pretopologies

The wikipedia article(s) as well as the nlab article(s) about Grothendieck topologies and Grothendieck pretopologies are careful to differentiate the two very emphatically and to point out that ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

232 views

### What is the analog of “monotonic” for scalar functions on surfaces?

"monotonic" is well defined for functions $f(x)$, where e.g. $x\in[0,1]$ and $f(x)\in\mathbb{R}$. The quality I particularly care about is that if $f(x)$ is monotonic then it will not have any local ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

597 views

### A scheme simple over Spec(A)?

What does it mean to say that a scheme $X$ is simple over $Spec(A)$ ?
I stumbled on this terminology in a paper of S. Lubkin entitled "On a conjecture of Andre Weil".

**0**

votes

**1**answer

262 views

### Simple Equivariant homology [no borel-Moore]

Hey. I'm working with Bredon's equivariant cohomology. At some point I need to compute the $4$th equivariant cohomology group of $S^1 \x D^3$ relatively to its boundary for the antipodal action of ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

328 views

### equivalence of definitions of Carmichael numbers

I would like to prove the equivalence of the two most common definitions of a composite integer $n > 1$ being a Carmichael number:
$a^n \equiv a \mod n $ for all $a$ $\iff a^{n-1} \equiv 1 \mod n$ ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

783 views

### Surreal exponentiation — are the varying definitions equivalent? If not, is there agreement on which ones are better?

The surreal numbers are sometimes introduced as a place where crazy expressions like $(\omega^2+5\omega-13)^{1/3-2/\omega}+\pi$ (to use the nLab's example) make sense. The problem is, there seem to ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

910 views

### What is “augmented algebra”?

Really sorry for this question, but googling for some time did not help me. I was trying to understand the meaning of the following phrase:
Let B be an augmented algebra over a semi-simple algebra T.
...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

592 views

### On figurate numbers

Do you know a text where I can find a definition of polygonal number that is both geometrically and operationally sound?
I've basically seen two ways in which this topic is approached in the ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

587 views

### Non-split groups

I am looking for a reference with definitions on what it means for an algebraic group to be split, quasi-split, and non-split. I would like to see some examples of the different "types".
Thanks,
Tom

**9**

votes

**2**answers

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 ...

**4**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Locally constant functions with compact support = smooth ?

Hello,
I have a trivial question, but I hope that you don't mind helping. I often get confused with basic definitions.
Let F be a p-adic field. Then (from what I understand) $C_c^{\infty}(F)$ is the ...

**1**

vote

**4**answers

519 views

### What is the quantity 2(handles)+crosscaps called?

It is well-known that up to homeomorphism, the complete set of orientable surfaces is $\lbrace S_g : g=0,1,\dots \rbrace$, where $S_g$ is the sphere with $g$ handles. The complete set of ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

616 views

### Unitary groups over number fields

When defining unitary groups over number fields, one usually takes $F$ to be a totally real number field, $E$ a CM quadratic extension of $F$, and $V$ a hermitian space attached to $E/F$. Then $U(V)$ ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

260 views

### Why is Pic^0(C) of a curve C a variety?

Let $C$ be an abstract non-singular curve.
I'm having a hard time finding a reference for why $\text{Pic}^0(C)$ is a variety.
Any pointers towards a reference would be appreciated.

**4**

votes

**3**answers

778 views

### Lattices: why require bilinear form to be integral?

This is a quite localized question, but I hope it won't be closed as unfit to MO. Well, a lattice $\Lambda$ in $\mathbb{R}^n$ is a discrete subgroup generated by a basis. Such a lattice gets a ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### When is a classification problem “wild”?

I hope someone can point me to a quick definition of the following terminology.
I keep coming across wild and tame in the context of classification problems, often adorned with quotes, leading me to ...

**2**

votes

**3**answers

582 views

### Transitive closure of multigraphs

The transitive closure of a directed graph, is another directed graph which encodes the reachability of nodes from other nodes. If $G$ is a graph, the edge $(v_1,v_2)$ is in it's transitive closure ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

444 views

### Euclidean Function at 0

In a few places where I have looked the Euclidean Function of a Euclidean Domain is only being defined for non-zero elements. I am teaching an undergraduate course and I am trying to make things ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

744 views

### Is there an intrinsic definition of fractal (i.e. not embedded in euclidean space)?

Long ago, manifolds were embedded subsets of euclidean space defined by polynomials. Later, using the gluing of open sets, people realized they could define manifolds intrinsically. And in certain ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

210 views

### Do you know of any asymmetric, nonparametric measure of dependence?

A measure of dependence is a way to assign a number (usually normalized between 0 and 1) to a couple of random variable, such that $\delta(X,Y)=0$ if and only of $X$ and $Y$ are independent, and ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

786 views

### Is there a mathematical object called “ivy”?

As the title says, is there a mathematical object referred to as "ivy" or "ivy type" or similar?
I have a type of graph where this name fits perfectly, but I don't want it to clash with something ...

**7**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Definition of forgetful functor

I was wondering if it is possible to make a formal definition of what it means for a functor to be forgetful. That is, using only the terminology of categories. I have seen so many examples of ...

**23**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Category Theoretic Interpretation of Matroids?

Hello everyone! First time poster, long time lurker here. I have a really basic question that has been bugging me for sometime. Specifically, I'm not exactly sure what the 'correct' category ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

271 views

### Q-construction and Gabriel-Zisman Localization

It might be a stupid question.
When I took a look at the definition of Q-construction. It makes for an exact category $P$, one defines a new category $QP$ whose objects are the same as $P$ but ...

**9**

votes

**0**answers

603 views

### What are the relationship between various definitions for quasi coherent sheaves?

It seems that there are many definitions of quasi coherent sheaves(modules). There is a nice page on nLab quasi coherent sheaves
My questions are:
Are there any other definitions of quasi coherent ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

867 views

### What is a proper stack?

I have seen the use of the word "proper Deligne-Mumford stack". Now, it is clear to me what it means for a morphism f of stacks to be proper: as usual it should be representable, and every morphism ...

**3**

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**2**answers

299 views

### Definition modifications without choice

What definitions or equivalencies between definitions for standard set theory objects (such as large cardinals) do not hold or do not carry through in the expected manner to the world without choice? ...