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60
votes
32answers
10k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
171 views

system with solutions $\{x-a:0\leqslant a\leqslant z-1\}$ [closed]

What must be $F$ there where $0=F(1,x,0)=F(x-0,x,z)=F(x-1,x,z)=F(x-2,x,z)=F(x-3,x,z)=$ $\dots$ $=f(x-z-1,x,z)=0$? Define $F$ in the domain where a continuous function exists that behaves so for ...
9
votes
1answer
249 views

Non-field example of a commutative, local, dual ring with nilradical $N$ such that $ann(N)\nsubseteq N$

I asked this question on math.stackexchange a month ago with no progress, even after a bounty. I hope to eliminate one if the other receives a satisfactory answer. For an ideal $I\lhd R$ in a ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

What manifolds are bounded by RP^odd?

Real projective spaces $\mathbb{R}P^n$ have $\mathbb{Z}/2$ cohomology rings $\mathbb{Z}/2[x]/(x^{n+1})$ and total Stiefel-Whitney class $(1+x)^{n+1}$ which is $1$ when $n$ is odd, so it follows that ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the long line paracompact?

A manifold is usually defined as a second-countable hausdorff topological space which is locally homeomorphic to Rn. My understanding is that the reason "second-countable" is part of the definition is ...
35
votes
22answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
323 views

What's the role of $H^{p}(\mathbb{R}^{n})$ in modern (harmonic) analysis?

The classical theory of $H^p$,due to it's heavy dependence on the complex function theory(such as Blaschke products), seemed to have an insurmountable obstacle barrying its extension to several ...
6
votes
0answers
90 views

Linear vs smooth actions of finite groups on spheres, euclidean spaces and closed disks

I would like to know examples (with references, if possible) of the following: (1) a finite group $G$ acting effectively and smoothly on a sphere $S^n$ (any $n$) but admitting no effective linear ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Images of interval edge coloring

I found out the definition of interval edge colorings, concept put by Kamalian in various papers but could not find a graph depicting an example. Where can I find pictures of explicit examples of ...
22
votes
6answers
2k views

Failure of smoothing theory for topological 4-manifolds

Smoothing theory fails for topological 4-manifolds, in that a smooth structure on a topological 4-manifold $M$ is not equivalent to a vector bundle structure on the tangent microbundle of $M$. Is ...
201
votes
66answers
97k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

what's the idea behind Carleman estimate

A standard Carleman-type estimate is of the form $$ \sum_{|\alpha|<m}{\tau^{2(m-|\alpha|-1)}\int{|D^{\alpha}u|^{2}e^{2\tau\phi}}dx}\leq K\int{|Pu|^{2}e^{2\tau\phi}dx},\quad u\in C_{0}^{\infty} $$ ...
46
votes
46answers
16k 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
110 views

Example of a torsionfree group satisfying a cohomological condition

Let us call a finitely generated group $G$ cohomologically rich if for each $k \geq 0$, we can find a subgroup $G'$ and a prime $p$ such that $H^k(G';\mathbb F_p) \neq 0$. Examples which come to mind ...
3
votes
2answers
170 views

Examples of TVS with no non-trivial open convex subsets

I give here the classical example of the space $E = L^p([0,1])$ which has no open convex subsets apart from $\emptyset$ and $E$. Consequently, there is no non-trivial continuous linear form on $E$. ...
70
votes
25answers
25k 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 ...
132
votes
27answers
16k views

What are some reasonable-sounding statements that are independent of ZFC?

Every now and then, somebody will tell me about a question. When I start thinking about it, they say, "actually, it's undecidable in ZFC." For example, suppose A is an abelian group such that every ...
37
votes
26answers
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 ...
100
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): ...
33
votes
21answers
7k views

Nontrivial question about Fibonacci numbers?

I'm looking for a nontrivial, but not super difficult question concerning Fibonacci numbers. It should be at a level suitable for an undergraduate course. Here is a (not so good) example of the sort ...
2
votes
2answers
118 views

Variation of Hodge structures associated to a hermitian symmetric domain

Let $D$ be an irreducible hermitian symmetric domain. Then there exists a variation of Hodge structures $(h_s)_{s\in D}$ on a vector space $V$ satisfying specific conditions which depend on $D$ such ...
3
votes
2answers
244 views

Example s.t. the unbased loop-space is not $\Omega X \times X$

For a connected pointed CW-complex $X$, let us write (as usual) $\Omega X$ for the space of based loops at $X$. I am looking for an example where the space $\Omega' X$ of all (unbased) loops in $X$ is ...
7
votes
3answers
818 views

Is $\mathbb{A}²$ the universal smooth scheme which is a finite cover of $\mathbb{A}²/μ₂$?

One very handy (counter)example I often think about is the scheme $Spec(k[a,b,c]/(ab-c^2))$ (where $k$ is a field), which you may also know as $Spec(k[x^2,xy,y^2])$, as $\mathbb A^2/\mu_2$, or as the ...
130
votes
132answers
29k 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 ...
62
votes
34answers
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 ...
4
votes
0answers
131 views

Bialgebras with Hopf restricted duals

It is known from the general theory that, given a bialgebra (over a field $k$) \begin{equation} \mathcal{B}=(B,\mu,1_B,\Delta,\epsilon) \end{equation} the Sweedler's dual $\mathcal{B}^0$ (called also ...
119
votes
76answers
38k 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.
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
716 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 ...
60
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 ...
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
662 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
352 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
107 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
43 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 ...
102
votes
55answers
22k 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
147 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
440 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
639 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. ...
101
votes
81answers
79k 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.)
6
votes
0answers
167 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 ...
12
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
204 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
804 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
108 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
161 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
228 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
394 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
817 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 ...