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123
votes
132answers
28k views

Fundamental Examples

It is not unusual that a single example or a very few shape an entire mathematical discipline. Can you give examples for such examples? (One example, or few, per post, please) I'd love to learn about ...
0
votes
3answers
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 (?) ...
3
votes
3answers
711 views

Does the “continuous locus” of a function have any nice properties?

Suppose f:R→R is a function. Let S={x∈R|f is continuous at x}. Does S have any nice properties? Here are some observations about what S could be: S can be any closed set. For a closed set ...
59
votes
34answers
9k views

Experimental Mathematics

I would like to ask about examples where experimentation by computers have led to major mathematical advances. A new look Now as the question is five years old and there are certainly more examples ...
51
votes
29answers
5k views

books well-motivated with explicit examples

It is ultimately a matter of personal taste, but I prefer to see a long explicit example, before jumping into the usual definition-theorem path (hopefully I am not the only one here). My problem is ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there pairs of highly connected finite CW-complexes with the same homotopy groups?

Fix an integer n. Can you find two finite CW-complexes X and Y which * are both n connected, * are not homotopy equivalent, yet * $\pi_q X \approx \pi_q Y$ for all $q$. In Are there two ...
7
votes
0answers
637 views

“A theory of generalized Donaldson-Thomas invariants” by Joyce & Song

Is anyone else working through this paper: A theory of generalized Donaldson-Thomas invariants, by Dominic Joyce, Yinan Song? I am trying to verifying example 6.2 (m=2 for simplicity) using only the ...
4
votes
3answers
320 views

Need examples of homotopy orbit and fixed points

I am no expert in equivariant homotopy theory. Let's say, I am planing to give a talk on homotopy fixed points and orbits. My audience will be graduate students who are doing algebraic topology or ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

A Hausdorff atom in lattice of group topologies

Do you have an example of an infinite Hausdorff nonabelian topological group $(G,\mathcal T)$ such that for any nontrivial group topology $\mathcal S$ on $G$ with $\mathcal S\subseteq \mathcal T$ we ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

kernel lattice example

Could anyone give an example of the following? Suppose that $A \in \mathbb{Z}^{m\times n}$, where $m \leq n^{1-\epsilon}$ for some $\epsilon > 0$. The entries of $A$ have size $poly(n)$, meaning ...
96
votes
55answers
21k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
124 views

An example of two cofibrant dg categories whose tensor product is not cofibrant

I have been reading the paper by Toën "The homotopy theory of dg categories and derived Morita theory" where in chapter 4 it is stated that the tensor product of two cofibrant dg categories $C$ and ...
8
votes
1answer
434 views

Can one check formal smoothness using only one-variable Artin rings?

Let $f:X\rightarrow Y$ be a morphism of schemes over a field $k$. Can one check that $f$ is formally smooth using only Artin rings of the form $k^{\prime}\left[t\right]/t^{n}$, where $k^{\prime}$ is ...
6
votes
3answers
620 views

If $\Omega_{X/Y}$ is locally free of rank $\mathrm{dim}\left(X\right)-\mathrm{dim}\left(Y\right)$, is $X\rightarrow Y$ smooth?

Suppose I have a morphism $f:X\rightarrow Y$ such that the relative sheaf of differentials $\Omega_{X/Y}$ is locally free. Does it follow that $f$ is smooth? The answer is no, but for a silly reason. ...
95
votes
81answers
73k views

Do good math jokes exist? [closed]

Have a good joke? Share. I know this is subjective, but the principle "should be of interest to mathematicians" trumps. (I hope.)
186
votes
65answers
93k 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
151 views

An example of a simple infinite 2-group

I've asked this question before on Mathematics, and they suggested me to ask here (Link). Is there an example of a simple infinite $2$-group? Informations If a $2$-group is Artinian I know that ...
111
votes
75answers
36k views

Best online mathematics videos?

I know of two good mathematics videos available online, namely: Sphere inside out (part I and part II) Moebius transformation revealed Do you know of any other good math videos? Share.
11
votes
12answers
2k views

On proving that a certain set is not empty by proving that it is actually large

It happens occasionally that one can prove that a given set is not empty by proving that it is actually large. The word "large" here may refer to different properties. For example, one can prove that ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

Looking for interesting, natural models of this algebraic theory in which $x^\dagger$ is not always the multiplicative inverse of $x$

It is easy to think up interesting, natural models of the algebraic theory presented as follows, such that in these models, $x^\dagger$ is always the multiplicative inverse of $x$. Question. What ...
30
votes
15answers
2k views

What are examples of good toy models in mathematics?

This post is community wiki. A comment on another question reminded me of this old post of Terence Tao's about toy models. I really like the idea of using toy models of a difficult object to ...
41
votes
46answers
15k views

An example of a beautiful proof that would be accessible at the high school level?

The background of my question comes from an observation that what we teach in schools does not always reflect what we practice. Beauty is part of what drives mathematicians, but we rarely talk about ...
8
votes
6answers
774 views

Spaces of filters

This question arose more from curiosity than from an actual problem. There are situations when you embed some space $X$ in a set of filters on $X$, which inherits properties of $X$ or has even better ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Example of a polycyclic group which is not of polynomial growth? [closed]

The title already says everything: What is an example of a polycyclic group $G$ which is not of polynomial growth (equivalently, by Gromov's theorem, which is not virtually nilpotent)?
2
votes
1answer
158 views

Divergence invariant lifting of a vector field via a submersion

What is an example of a smooth submersion $P:S^{3}\to S^{2}$ for which the following statment is Not true: For every vector field $X$ on $S^{2}$ there is a non vanishing vector field ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

Finite extension of fields with no primitive element

What is an example of a finite field extension which is not generated by a single element? Background: A finite field extension E of F is generated by a primitive element if and only if there are a ...
7
votes
0answers
211 views

Is Hironaka's example the only known deformation of Kähler manifolds with non-Kähler central fibre?

A well-known example in the deformation theory of compact complex manifolds is the one given by Hironaka in his 1962 paper An Example of a Non-Kählerian Complex-Analytic Deformation of Kählerian ...
12
votes
3answers
349 views

Examples of compact complex non-Kähler manifolds which satisfy $h^{p,q} = h^{q,p}$

The existence of a Kähler metric on a compact complex manifold $X$ imposes restrictions on it's Dolbeault cohomology; namely, $h^{p,q}(X) = h^{q,p}(X)$ for every $p$ and $q$. I am looking for some ...
4
votes
3answers
806 views

An example where GCD depends on the domain

First some notation. Given a domain $R$ and $x,a,b \in R$, I write $x=gcd(a,b)_R$ to mean that $x$ is one gcd of $a$ and $b$ in $R$. I want to find an example of an GCD-domain $R$, a subdomain $S ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

Recent, elementary results in algebraic geometry

Next semester I will be teaching an introductory algebraic geometry class for a smallish group of undergrads. In the last couple weeks, I hope that each student will give a one-hour presentation. ...
6
votes
10answers
910 views

Examples of $G_\delta$ sets

Recall that a subset A of a metric space X is a $G_\delta$ subset if it can be written as a countable intersection of open sets. This notion is related to the Baire category theorem. Here are three ...
33
votes
19answers
6k views

Wonderful applications of the Vandermonde determinant

This semester I am assisting my mentor teaching a first-year undergraduate course on linear algebra in Peking University, China. And now we have come to the famous Vandermonde determinant, which has ...
35
votes
24answers
7k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
919 views

A simplicial complex which is not collapsible, but whose barycentric subdivision is

Does anyone know of a simplicial complex which is not collapsible but whose barycentric subdivision is? Every collapsible complex is necessarily contractible, and subdivision preserves the ...
75
votes
6answers
7k views

Mistakes in mathematics, false illusions about conjectures

Since long time ago I have been thinking in two problems that I have not been able to solve. It seems that one of them was recently solved. I have been thinking a lot about the motivation and its ...
27
votes
13answers
6k views

Examples of using physical intuition to solve math problems

For the purposes of this question let a "physical intuition" be an intuition that is derived from your everyday experience of physical reality. Your intuitions about how the spin of a ball affects ...
3
votes
5answers
302 views

Existence of orientation preserving, finite order self homeomorphism on a genus 2 surface without fixed point

Let $M$ be a compact 2-manifold of genus 2. Does there exist an orientation preserving homeomorphism $f:M\to M$, so that $f^n=id$ for some integer $n$, and $f$ doesn't have fixed points? Using ...
84
votes
42answers
17k views

What are the most attractive Turing undecidable problems in mathematics?

What are the most attractive Turing undecidable problems in mathematics? There are thousands of examples, so please post here only the most attractive, best examples. Some examples already appear on ...
30
votes
14answers
5k views

Explicit computations using the Haar measure

This question is somewhat related to my previous one on Grassmanians. The few times I've encountered the Haar measure in the course of my mathematical education, it's always been used in a very ...
11
votes
2answers
393 views

A sequence of subsets of an infinite group

Is there an infinite group $G$ such that there is not any sequence $(A_n)$ of its subsets such that always $$A_n=A_n^{-1}, \quad A_{n+1}A_{n+1}\subsetneqq A_n$$ ? link
4
votes
0answers
214 views

Examples of unproven but likely true existential sentence (in the sense of incompleteness)

Some examples of universal statements that are unproven but likely true include the Riemann hypothesis (all non-trivial zeros of the zeta function have real part 1/2) and the Goldbach conjecture (all ...
2
votes
0answers
111 views

Is there a smooth rationally connected, proper variety $M$ over $\mathbb{C}$ such that c_1(L)([A]) = 1 which is not projective space?

Is there a smooth, rationally connected, projective variety $M$, which is not a projective space and is equipped with an ample line bundle $L$, such that the homology class of the curves $[A]$ which ...
48
votes
33answers
4k views

Dimension Leaps

Many mathematical areas have a notion of "dimension", either rigorously or naively, and different dimensions can exhibit wildly different behaviour. Often, the behaviour is similar for "nearby" ...
0
votes
0answers
150 views

Examples of functions with natural boundary that do not satisfy Fabry or Hadamard gap theorem condition

there are examples of lacunary functions with natural boundary that do not satisfy Fabry or Hadamard gap theorem condition.I want to know more examples of those functions,the more the ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Locally compact Hausdorff space that is not normal

What is a good example of a locally compact Hausdorff space that is not normal? It seems to be well-known that not all locally compact Hausdorff spaces are normal (and only a weaker version of ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

Mumford-Ramanujam examples in characteristic p [and in Arakelov geometry]

For a compact Riemann surface $B$ of genus $\geq 2$, it is a consequence of the Narasimhan-Seshadri theorem that there exist rank-$2$ vector bundles $E \to B$ of degree zero, all of whose symmetric ...
1
vote
1answer
169 views

Examples of nontrivial local systems in Decomposition Theorem

There is a proper map $f: X \rightarrow Y$ of projective varieties. The Decomposition Theorem of Beilinson–Bernstein–Deligne-Gabber states that $$Rf∗IC_X \cong \oplus_a ...
6
votes
2answers
213 views

How weird can Modular Tensor Categories be over non-algebraically closed fields?

I am trying to understand better the behaviour and character of modular tensor categories over non-algebraically closed fields. How weird can they be? The reason I am interested in this is that my ...
96
votes
59answers
17k views

Jokes in the sense of Littlewood: examples? [closed]

First, let me make it clear that I do not mean jokes of the "abelian grape" variety. I take my cue from the following passage in A Mathematician's Miscellany by J.E. Littlewood (Methuen 1953, p. 79): ...
10
votes
3answers
615 views

Are all vector-space valued functors on sets free?

Let $\mathbf{Set}$ be the category of finite sets and functions between them, and let $\mathbf{Vect}$ be the category of finite-dimensional complex vector spaces and linear transformations between ...