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65
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4answers
5k views

Is the sphere the only surface all of whose projections are circles? Or: Can we deduce a spherical Earth by observing that its shadows on the Moon are always circular?

Several ancient arguments suggest a curved Earth, such as the observation that ships disappear mast-last over the horizon, and Eratosthenes' surprisingly accurate calculation of the size of the Earth ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Hanging a ball with string

What is the shortest length of string that suffices to hang a unit-radius ball $B$? This question is related to an earlier MO question, but I think different. Assume that the ball is ...
62
votes
2answers
4k views

Light reflecting off Christmas-tree balls

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4
votes
5answers
1k views

Feasibility of a list of prescribed distances in R^3

I am puzzled with the following problem: Given $n$ real numbers it is to obtain a Yes/No answer to: "whether it is possible to arrange different points in the Euclidean $\mathbb{R}^3$ so that every ...
29
votes
3answers
1k views

“Softness” vs “rigidity” in Geometry

According to common wisdom, there are structures in Geometry that have a more "topological" flavor, others that are more "geometrical", and others that are halfway between. Usually, geometries${}^*$ ...
33
votes
10answers
4k views

Is there a mathematical axiomatization of time (other than, perhaps, entropy)?

Since Euclid's axiomatization of space, we have developed a sophisticated mathematical model of space. Given a category of structures (measures), local space is modeled the spectrum of measurements ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Why do I need densities in order to integrate on a non-orientable manifold?

Integration on an orientable differentiable n-manifold is defined using a partition of unity and a global nowhere vanishing n-form called volume form. If the manifold is not orientable, no such form ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Probing a manifold with geodesics

Supposed you stand at a point $p \in M$ on a smooth 2-manifold $M$ embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$. You do not know anything about $M$. You shoot off a geodesic $\gamma$ in some direction $u$, and learn ...
14
votes
1answer
365 views

The sparsest planar net that captures every unit segment

Let $\cal C = \lbrace C_i \rbrace$ be a collection of rectifiable curves in the plane with the property that every unit-length segment meets at least one curve in at least one point. Call such a ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

About MF Atiyah and R Bott's 1983 paper

I am a theoretical physics major student working on string theory. I want to understand the work of MF Atiyah and R Bott, "The Yang-Mills equations over riemann surfaces" . What kinds of mathematical ...
4
votes
0answers
245 views

Symmetric matrices and Hilbert's fourth problem

From the analytic viewpoint, the Busemann-Pogorelov solution of Hilbert's fourth problem is summarized in the following result: Theorem. All straight lines are extremals of the variational problem $$ ...
5
votes
0answers
509 views

Dao's theorem on six circumcenters associated with a cyclic hexagon

This questions from Ngo Quang Duong's paper In 2013, O. T. Dao published without proof a theorem with title Another seven circles theorem in Cut the Knot, a free site for popular expositionsof many ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

An exact counting solution for the number of points within a circle of radius $r$ centered on a lattice point in a $A_2$ hexagonal lattice

In a previous question: (The Gauss circle problem on a hexagonal lattice) I asked for an analytic approximation for the number of lattice points in or along the contour of a circle centered on a ...
3
votes
1answer
253 views

cover and hide with squares

I am studying two numbers, related to squares, that can characterize a polygon P: MinCoverNumber = the minimum number of axis-aligned squares required to exactly cover P (the covering squares may ...
79
votes
5answers
3k views

Light rays bouncing in twisted tubes

Imagine a smooth curve $c$ sweeping out a unit-radius disk that is orthogonal to the curve at every point. Call the result a tube. I want to restrict the radius of curvature of $c$ to be at most 1. I ...
48
votes
4answers
3k views

Tying knots with reflecting lightrays

Let a lightray bounce around inside a cube whose faces are (internal) mirrors. If its slopes are rational, it will eventually form a cycle. For example, starting with a point $p_0$ in the interior of ...
26
votes
2answers
976 views

The kissing number of a square, cube, hypercube?

How many nonoverlapping unit squares can (nonoverlappingly) touch one unit square? By "nonoverlapping" I mean: not sharing an interior point. By "touch" I mean: sharing a boundary point. ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

Geometry of complex elliptic curves

Is there an elliptic curve in CP^2 whose induced Remannian metric ( induced from the Fubini-Sudy metric on CP^2) is Euclidian flat?
16
votes
5answers
1k views

Is a rhombus rigid on a sphere or torus? And generalizations.

If a rectangle is formed from rigid bars for edges and joints at vertices, then it is flexible in the plane: it can flex to a parallelogram. On any smooth surface with a metric, one can define a ...
15
votes
0answers
496 views

Does every connected set that is not a line segment cross some dyadic square?

A dyadic square is a subset of $R^2$ of the form $x + 2^{-n} [0,1]^2$ with $x \in 2^{-m} Z^2$, for integers $m,n \geq 0$. We say that a set $A$ crosses a square $S$ if there exists a connected subset ...
15
votes
1answer
681 views

Blocking visibility with cylinders

Suppose you have a supply of infinite-length, opaque, unit-radius cylinders, and you would like to block all visibility from a point $p \in \mathbb{R}^3$ to infinity with as few cylinders as possible. ...
14
votes
2answers
270 views

Random rings linked into one component?

Let $S$ be a sphere of unit radius. Let $C_n$ be a collection of unit-radius circles/rings whose centers are (uniformly distributed) random points in $S$, and which are oriented (tilted) randomly ...
9
votes
2answers
477 views

When can a freely moving sphere escape from a 'cage' defined by a set of impassible coordinates?

To ask this question in a (hopefully) more direct way: Please imagine that I take a freely moving ball in 3-space and create a 'cage' around it by defining a set of impassible coordinates, $S_c$ ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Intuitive proof that the first (n-2) coordinates on a sphere are uniform in a ball

It is a classical fact that if $(x_1,\ldots,x_n)$ is a random vector uniformly distributed on the sphere $S^{n-1} \subseteq \mathbb{R}^n$, then the random vector $(x_1,\ldots,x_{n-2})$ is uniformly ...
14
votes
1answer
613 views

Totally rational polytopes

Define a convex polytope in $\mathbb{R}^d$ as totally rational (my terminology) if its vertex coordinates are rational, its edge lengths are rational, its two-dimensional face areas are rational, ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Ping-pong relief map of a given function $z=f(x,y)$

I have an idea to design a type of Galton's Board to "draw" a relief map of a given two-dimensional function $z=f(x,y)$. A typical Galton's Board drops, say, ping-pong balls through a series of evenly ...
6
votes
2answers
684 views

Maximal number of connected components of complement to an affine plane real algebraic curve

Let $X$ be a (singular, reducible) affine plane real algebraic curve of degree $d$. How we can estimate maximal number of connected components of it's complement in $R^2$ in terms of degree?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Packing density of randomly deposited circles on a plane

Let's say that I have a rectangular two-dimensional surface of bounded dimensions, $[0,A]$ and $[0,B]$: Under "no overlap" constraints, I sequentially deposit circles of radii $r_c$ on this ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Largest hyperbolic disk embeddable in Euclidean 3-space?

Hilbert proved that there's no complete regular (C^k for sufficiently large k) isometric embedding of the hyperbolic plane into R^3. On the other hand, the pseudosphere is locally isometric to the ...
13
votes
1answer
876 views

Essentially one random metric on $\mathbb{S}^2$?

I heard it claimed that there is, in some sense, only one random metric on $\mathbb{S}^2$. I would appreciate any pointer to literature that explicates this intriguing claim. So far my own searches ...
12
votes
1answer
337 views

Limiting shape for Brillouin zones

Is it true that the limiting shape for Brillouin zones (for any lattice) is a circle? You can find the definition and the step by step construction of Brillouin zones here. This picture is taken from ...
10
votes
3answers
620 views

A “round” lattice with low kissing number?

Historically, the lattices with high density were studied intensively, e.g. E_8 lattice or Leech Lattice. However, there are situations that lattices with low kissing number are required. ...
7
votes
2answers
561 views

Dense sphere packings which are not lattice packings

This question is about dense sphere packings in euclidean space $\mathbb R^n$. By a sphere packing I understand any arrangement of mutually disjoint solid open spheres in $\mathbb R^n$, all of the ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Covering an arbitrary polygon with minimum number of squares

I have a problem whereby, given an arbitrary polyogn with any number of points, I need to cover the whole area by a number of fixed size squares. I can easily find a set of squares which covers the ...
7
votes
2answers
535 views

Fitting a mesh to a density function

Suppose I have a probability density function defined on a region in the plane (in my case, the pdf is of the form $f(x) = \alpha\|x\|^{-\beta}$, and the region is the unit disk). For large $N$, is ...
6
votes
1answer
241 views

Lattice points on the boundary of an ellipse

How many points of the integer lattice ${\mathbb Z}^2$ can an axis-parallel ellipse of radius $r$ contain on its boundary? (that is, we consider ${\mathbb Z}^2$ as lying in ${\mathbb R}^2$). ...
6
votes
2answers
188 views

Untangling entwined rigid chains in 3-space

I am interested in exploring the degree of "tangledness" of two rigid chains in space. A polygonal chain is a simple (non-self-intersecting) path of segments in $\mathbb{R}^3$, viewed as a rigid body. ...
6
votes
0answers
350 views

Maximum volume convex body coverable by a unit square

Suppose you are given a single unit square, and you are permitted to cut it into $k$ (connected) pieces (where $k=1$ means just the square). Your task is to construct the largest volume convex body ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Maximum number of mutually equidistant points in an n-dimensional Euclidean space is (n+1). Proof? [closed]

How to prove that the maximum number of mutually equidistant points in an n-dimensional Euclidean space is (n+1)?
4
votes
1answer
258 views

Sixteen points circle - A conjecture on Möbius plane

The conjecture refer the reader about the Bundle's theorem configuration. (This conjecture from a note) Consider the Bundle theorem configuration : Points $A_1, A_2, A_3, A_4$ lie on a circle, ...
3
votes
0answers
61 views

Equidistribution of Brillouin zones

Answering the question about Limiting shape for Brillouin zones Victor Kleptsyn proved that $N$th Brillouin zone is very close to a circle of radius $c\sqrt N$ (you can find all necessary definitions ...
6
votes
2answers
974 views

Finding the convex combination of vertices which yields an inner point of a polytope

Given a convex polytope $P\in \mathbb{R}^n$, and a point $x\in P$, Caratheodory's theorem gives us that there exists a set of at most $n+1$ vertices of $P$, such that $x$ is a convex combination of ...
5
votes
1answer
206 views

How many convex shapes can be made with the pieces of the Stomachion?

Tangrams are a well-known dissection of the square into seven convex polygons. One fun mathematical question is: how many convex rearrangements of the seven pieces are there? Answer: there are 12 ...
5
votes
3answers
377 views

Finding a hyperplane that splits a convex polytope evenly

Say we have a convex polytope in standard form: \begin{equation*} \begin{array}{rl} \mathbf{A}\mathbf{x} = \mathbf{b} \\\\ \mathbf{x} \ge 0 \end{array} \end{equation*} Are there any known methods ...
4
votes
1answer
194 views

Zoll Flat Finsler tori and convex bodies on a starry night

The starry night. The "celestial sphere" is given by set of non-zero vectors in $\mathbb{R}^n$ modulo positive dilations (i.e., $v \equiv w$ if $v = \lambda w$ for some $ \lambda > 0$) and the ...
4
votes
6answers
382 views

Characterizing Convex Configurations of Quadrupels of Coplanar Points via Linear (In-)equalities between Distance Sums or Differences

Given 4 points $A$, $B$, $C$ and $D$ in general position in the euclidean plane, is it possible to determine from the 6 distances $AB$, $BC$, $CD$, $AD$, $AC$ and, $BD$ alone, whether every point is a ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Subtract Rectangle from Polygon

I'm looking for an algorithm that will subtract a rectangle from a simple, concave polygon and return a remainder of polygons. If the rectangle encloses the polygon, the remainder is null. In most ...
3
votes
5answers
600 views

Is the following two-dimensional graph likely to be globally rigid?

Consider the two-dimensional non-planar graph $G$, with known topology and edge lengths $(r_1, r_2, ... r_N) \in R$, but unknown vertex coordinates. We further specify that: All vertices within a ...
2
votes
1answer
499 views

Minimizing the Perimeter of a polyomino

Imagine I generate some polyomino (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyomino) with $N$ unit squares, under the constraint that I want to maximize the number of shared edges between unit squares, or ...
2
votes
2answers
537 views

Euclidean triangulation of the plane with degree 7 at each vertex.

Hyperbolic plane has a beautiful triangulation by congruent hyperbolic triangles where all the vertices of the triangulation have degree 7, this is of course not possible in the euclidean plane, even ...