The tag has no usage guidance.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

120
votes
76answers
39k 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.
110
votes
56answers
23k 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 ...
137
votes
67answers
45k views

Awfully sophisticated proof for simple facts [closed]

It is sometimes the case that one can produce proofs of simple facts that are of disproportionate sophistication which, however, do not involve any circularity. For example, (I think) I gave an ...
31
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 ...
204
votes
67answers
98k 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 ...
74
votes
6answers
5k views

Counterexamples in algebraic topology?

In this thread Books you would like to read (if somebody would just write them...), I expressed my desire for a book with the title "(Counter)examples in Algebraic Topology". My reason for doing so ...
42
votes
7answers
5k views

Riemannian surfaces with an explicit distance function?

I'm looking for explicit examples of Riemannian surfaces (two-dimensional Riemannian manifolds $(M,g)$) for which the distance function d(x,y) can be given explicitly in terms of local coordinates of ...
39
votes
35answers
7k views

Examples of theorems with proofs that have dramatically improved over time

I am looking for examples of theorems that may have originally had a clunky, or rather technical, or in some way non-illuminating proof, but that eventually came to have a proof that people consider ...
131
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 ...
104
votes
81answers
80k 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.)
136
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 ...
71
votes
25answers
26k 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 ...
85
votes
42answers
18k 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 ...
45
votes
28answers
26k views

Applications of the Chinese remainder theorem

As the title suggests I am interested in CRT applications. Wikipedia article on CRT lists some of the well known applications (e.g. used in the RSA algorithm, used to construct an elegant Gödel ...
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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
12answers
3k views

Excellent uses of induction and recursion

Can you make an example of a great proof by induction or construction by recursion? Given that you already have your own idea of what "great" means, here it can also be taken to mean that the chosen ...
28
votes
7answers
3k views

Does any method of summing divergent series work on the harmonic series?

It's sort of folklore (as exemplified by this old post at The Everything Seminar) that none of the common techniques for summing divergent series work to give a meaningful value to the harmonic ...
7
votes
2answers
884 views

Complete theory with exactly n countable models?

For n an integer greater than 2, Can one always get a complete theory over a finite language with exactly n models (up to isomorphism)? There's a theorem that says that 2 is impossible. My ...
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): ...
46
votes
45answers
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 ...
47
votes
2answers
5k views

Galoisian sets of prime numbers

The question is about characterising the sets $S(K)$ of primes which split completely in a given galoisian extension $K|\mathbb{Q}$. Do recent results such as Serre's modularity conjecture (as proved ...
49
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" ...
32
votes
17answers
5k views

Canonical examples of algebraic structures

Please list some examples of common examples of algebraic structures. I was thinking answers of the following form. "When I read about a [insert structure here], I immediately think of [example]." ...
37
votes
12answers
5k views

Combinatorial results without known combinatorial proofs

Stanley likes to keep a list of combinatorial results for which there is no known combinatorial proof. For example, until recently I believe the explicit enumeration of the de Brujin sequences fell ...
36
votes
19answers
7k 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 ...
37
votes
5answers
3k views

What is Yoneda's Lemma a generalization of?

What is Yoneda's Lemma a generalization of? I am looking for examples that were known before category theory entered the stage resp. can be known by students before they start with category theory. ...
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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
9answers
1k views

What representative examples of modules should I keep in mind?

So here's my problem: I have no intuition for how a "generic" module over a commutative ring should behave. (I think I should never have been told "modules are like vector spaces.") The only ...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

A finitely generated, locally free module over a domain which is not projective?

This is a followup to a previous question What is the right definition of the Picard group of a commutative ring? where I was worried about the distinction between invertible modules and rank one ...
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 ...
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 ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Algebras over the little disks operad

Hello, The so-called "recognition principle" of Boardman-Vogt and May leaves me unsatisfied. My problem is the following: The "recognition principle" says that every "group-like" algebra over the ...
16
votes
5answers
5k views

Counterexample for the Open Mapping Theorem

I would like to ask a counterexample for the classical theorem in functional analysis: the open mapping theorem in the case that $Y$ is Banach, but $X$ is not Banach to show that the completeness of X ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Clearing misconceptions: Defining “is a model of ZFC” in ZFC

There is often a lot of confusion surrounding the differences between relativizing individual formulas to models and the expression of "is a model of" through coding the satisfaction relation with ...
13
votes
9answers
1k views

Examples of noncommutative analogs outside operator algebras?

Theo's question made me wonder if there are other "noncommutative analogs" outside of operator algebras. Some noncommutative analogs from operator algebras include: A $C^\ast$-algebra is a ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

Wanted: example of a non-algebraic singularity

Given a finitely generated $\def\CC{\mathbb C}\CC$-algebra $R$ and a $\CC$-point (maximal ideal) $p\in Spec(R)$, I define the singularity type of $p\in Spec(R)$ to be the isomorphism class of the ...
23
votes
5answers
1k views

Explicit elements of $K((x))((y)) \setminus K((x,y))$

In an answer to the popular question on common false beliefs in mathematics Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics. I mentioned that many people conflate the two different kinds of formal ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Algebraic varieties which are topological manifolds

Inspired by this thread, which concludes that a non-singular variety over the complex numbers is naturally a smooth manifold, does anyone know conditions that imply that the topological space ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there an example of a formally smooth morphism which is not smooth?

A morphism of schemes is formally smooth and locally of finite presentation iff it is smooth. What happens if we drop the finitely presented hypothesis? Of course, locally of finite presentation is ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

what's the idea behind Carleman estimate

A standard Carleman-type estimate is of the form $$ \sum_{|\alpha|<m}{\tau^{2(m-|\alpha|-1)}\int{|D^{\alpha}u|^{2}e^{2\tau\phi}}dx}\leq K\int{|Pu|^{2}e^{2\tau\phi}dx},\quad u\in C_{0}^{\infty} $$ ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

Nonfree projective module over a regular UFD?

What is the simplest example of a domain $R$ which is regular (in particular Noetherian) and factorial which admits a finitely generated projective module that is not free? In fact I'll be at least ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Request: A Serre fibration that is not a Dold fibration

A Serre fibration has the homotopy lifting property with respect to the maps $[0,1]^n \times \{0\} \to [0,1]^{n+1}$. A Dold fibration $E \to B$ has the weak covering homotopy property: lifts with ...
6
votes
10answers
963 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
989 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
931 views

Is there an example of a variety over the complex numbers with no embedding into a smooth variety?

Is there an example of a variety over the complex numbers with no embedding into a smooth variety?
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Concavity of $\det^{1/n}$ over $HPD_n$.

One of my beloved theorems in matrix analysis is the fact that the map $H\mapsto (\det H)^{1/n}$, defined over the convex cone $HPD_n$ of Hermitian positive definite matrices, is concave. This is ...
8
votes
5answers
897 views

Examples of left reversible semigroups

I am looking for concrete examples of cancellative, left reversible semigroups. Left reversible semigroups are also called "Ore semigroups". See this wikipedia page for the definition of a left ...
7
votes
1answer
578 views

“Vector bundle” with non-smoothly varying transition functions

I'm working my way through Lang's Fundamentals of Differential Geometry, and when he introduces vector bundles, he states that for finite dimensional bundles, the third axiom is redundant. I'm hoping ...