30
votes
6answers
2k views

Negative impact of wrong or non-rigorous proofs

The recent talks of Voevodsky (for example, http://www.math.ias.edu/~vladimir/Site3/Univalent_Foundations_files/2014_IAS.pdf), which describe subtle errors in proofs by him as well as others, as well ...
5
votes
1answer
223 views

Are there any organized websites for seminar/conference videos?

These days, there are many conference centers and universities recording seminars and conference talks and make them available on the web. Some examples: http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/video-archive ...
50
votes
8answers
4k views

Have you solved problems in your sleep? [closed]

I have hit upon major (for me—relative to my trivial accomplishments) insights in my research in various sleep-deprived altered states of consciousness, e.g., long solo car-drives extending ...
4
votes
1answer
305 views

Sources of Theorem drafts by the original author

When I look at first time to a theorem and I try to understand it or when I try to memorise a useful theorem I always have difficulties (I am not the only one. For example: I read a question: I always ...
10
votes
5answers
635 views

Accessible proofs of contemporary results in mathematics

Are there strong results in contemporary mathematical research (last 20 years) which have a proof which every mathematician (holding a PhD) can completely understand within a few days? -- If yes, ...
3
votes
1answer
379 views

Equal signs with fancy marks

Some people use $\stackrel{\mathrm{def}}{=}$, $:=$ or $\stackrel{\Delta}{=}$ for definitions. In more informal contexts, I have also seen $\stackrel{?}{=}$, for "I wish to prove this equality, which ...
18
votes
5answers
630 views

Online high quality colloquium talks

In my department we're thinking about showing online lectures one day per week at lunch, as sort of a virtual colloquium appropriate to mathematics undergraduates as well as faculty. To start with ...
2
votes
4answers
958 views

When did you “meet Polya”? [closed]

I guess most of us didn't meet Polya in person (this is the answer to the title)! Perhaps, it is much easier to guess that most of us have met one of his writings (or alike) on problem solving, and ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What does a mathematician expect from mathematics education? [closed]

Consider that my question is not a personal and/or subjective question. Perhaps, you have hired a mathematics educator in your department and you are interested in finding a way to communicate with ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How to refer to a theorem that you have shown to be wrong

I am writing a paper about a flaw that I found in a published paper. There, the statement is called “Theorem 2”. In my paper, I am reproducing the other paper’s definitions, and steps leading towards ...
7
votes
3answers
617 views

Formal writing: numbers under 10

I've been tasked with proofreading an Engineering/Mathematics thesis paper. I was always told that numbers under 10 should be spelled out (one, two, three, ...) but I was wondering if this rule holds ...
0
votes
2answers
538 views

What constitutes the division between discrete and non-discrete math? Are there any math subject where it's being blurred? [closed]

I often heard about this division but always in a non-formal manner. What constitutes it? Is it a limit operation? Or a fundamental distinction between countable and uncountable sets? And what math ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

Beautiful theorems with short proof [closed]

I like to ask for beautiful mathematical theorems with short proof. A proof is short in my sense if it is at most one page assuming basic notations and very basic results a second year student will ...
3
votes
0answers
233 views

Seminar Notes Repository

On Seminars, people actually talk a lot more about motivations than when they write in paper. It would be a good idea if there is an online repository where people can upload notes (handwritten, ...
6
votes
2answers
501 views

Where is the Euler/Goldbach correspondence?

I know that there is a 1965 volume containing the Euler/Goldbach correspondence, but I'm interested in looking at the original manuscripts. I'm not finding anything at University of Basel or ...
5
votes
0answers
527 views

Open problems with practical outcome in a visible future ? [closed]

I believe that any non-trivial idea will sooner or later find application in real life. However "sooner" is better than "later":) If we look at famous open problems - e.g. Millennium Prize problems - ...
76
votes
19answers
10k views

Mathematical habits of thought and action which would be of use to non-mathematicians

Once again I come to MO for help with something I'm writing for the public. Which habits of mathematicians -- aspects of the way we approach problems, the way we argue, the way we function as a ...
6
votes
10answers
826 views

Examples of “Unusual” Classifications

When one says "classification" in math, usually one of a handful of examples springs to mind: -Classification of Finite Simple Groups with 18 infinite families and 26 sporadic examples (assuming one ...
3
votes
0answers
594 views

How many projects do you work on concurrently? [closed]

I was wondering how many concurrent research projects a typical math researcher works on at a given time. I ask because I currently have the oppertunity to start a second project on something I'm ...
12
votes
17answers
2k views

Individual mathematical objects whose study amounts to a (sub)discipline? [closed]

Certain mathematical objects have a theory so rich that their study alone arguably constitutes a distinct (sub)discipline. My own list would begin with 1) the absolute Galois group of the rationals; ...
47
votes
6answers
6k views

Still Difficult After All These Years

I think we all secretly hope that in the long run mathematics becomes easier, in that with advances of perspective, today's difficult results will seem easier to future mathematicians. If I were ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Theorems true but wrong. [closed]

Many theorems have the form : Premise(es) implies Conclusion(s) Example A of wrongness: There are many examples in which a theorem is stated without mentioning that part of the premise is not ...