The examples tag has no usage guidance.

**155**

votes

**67**answers

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### 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 ...

**235**

votes

**68**answers

110k 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 ...

**133**

votes

**76**answers

45k 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.

**31**

votes

**14**answers

6k 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 ...

**122**

votes

**58**answers

25k 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 ...

**93**

votes

**42**answers

21k 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 ...

**85**

votes

**6**answers

6k 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 ...

**47**

votes

**7**answers

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 ...

**144**

votes

**136**answers

31k 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 ...

**121**

votes

**81**answers

97k 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.)

**156**

votes

**27**answers

19k 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 ...

**49**

votes

**28**answers

33k 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 ...

**38**

votes

**26**answers

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 ...

**32**

votes

**14**answers

8k 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 ...

**35**

votes

**21**answers

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 ...

**23**

votes

**6**answers

3k 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

**12**answers

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 ...

**31**

votes

**8**answers

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 series,...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

1k 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 ...

**89**

votes

**26**answers

39k 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 ...

**109**

votes

**59**answers

20k 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):
...

**51**

votes

**47**answers

18k 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 ...

**51**

votes

**33**answers

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" ...

**48**

votes

**2**answers

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 ...

**34**

votes

**17**answers

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]."
...

**42**

votes

**6**answers

4k 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.
...

**38**

votes

**19**answers

8k 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 ...

**57**

votes

**41**answers

9k 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 ...

**38**

votes

**12**answers

6k 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 ...

**25**

votes

**19**answers

3k views

**52**

votes

**28**answers

5k views

### Examples where it's useful to know that a mathematical object belongs to some family of objects

For an expository piece I'm writing, it would be useful to have good examples of the following phenomenon:
(1) ${\cal X}$ is a parameterized family of somethings. (Varieties, schemes, manifolds, ...

**77**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### $A$ is isomorphic to $A \oplus \mathbb{Z}^2$, but not to $A \oplus \mathbb{Z}$

Are there abelian groups $A$ with $A \cong A \oplus \mathbb{Z}^2$ and $A \not\cong A \oplus \mathbb{Z}$?

**34**

votes

**7**answers

7k views

### Is there a measure zero set which isn't meagre?

A subset of ℝ is meagre if it is a countable union of nowhere dense subsets (a set is nowhere dense if every open interval contains an open subinterval that misses the set).
Any countable set ...

**14**

votes

**9**answers

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 ...

**25**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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 ...

**31**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### `Naturally occuring' $K(\pi, n)$ spaces, for $n \geq 2$.

[edited!] Given a group $\pi$ and an integer $n>1$, what are examples of Eilenberg-Maclane spaces $K(\pi, n)$ that can be constructed as "known" manifolds? (or if not a manifold, say some space ...

**32**

votes

**3**answers

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 non-...

**27**

votes

**3**answers

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 ...

**38**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Difficult examples for Frankl's union-closed conjecture

Frankl's well-known union-closed conjecture states that if F is a finite family of sets that is closed under taking unions (that is, if A and B belong to the family then so does $A\cup B$), then there ...

**29**

votes

**3**answers

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 ...

**13**

votes

**9**answers

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 ...

**31**

votes

**12**answers

2k views

### Interesting conjectures “discovered” by computers and proved by humans?

There are notable examples of computers "proving" results discovered by mathematicians, what about the opposite:
Are there interesting conjectures "discovered" by computers and proved by humans?
...

**27**

votes

**3**answers

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 ...

**25**

votes

**5**answers

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

**3**answers

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 ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

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 ...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Can a coequalizer of schemes fail to be surjective?

Suppose $g,h:Z\to X$ are two morphisms of schemes. Then we say that $f:X\to Y$ is the coequalizer of $g$ and $h$ if the following condition holds: any morphism $t:X\to T$ such that $t\circ g=t\circ h$ ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### what's the idea behind Carleman estimate

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

**14**

votes

**5**answers

4k 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 Urysohn'...

**17**

votes

**6**answers

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 ...