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9
votes
6answers
2k views

Is this a rational function?

Is $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{z^n}{2^n-1} \in \mathbb{C}(z)\ ?$$ In a slightly different vein, given a sequence of real numbers $\{a_n\}_{n=0}^\infty$, what are some necessary and sufficient ...
124
votes
36answers
22k views

Demonstrating that rigour is important

Any pure mathematician will from time to time discuss, or think about, the question of why we care about proofs, or to put the question in a more precise form, why we seem to be so much happier with ...
4
votes
2answers
171 views

Find the expansion of the exact solution (beyond Taylor)

In a paper by Kitagawa & Ueda Squeezed spin states they give an argument that the minimum variance in one-axis twisting Hamiltonian scales like $V_{min} \propto S^{-2/3}$. I will shortly describe ...
27
votes
2answers
789 views

Applications of Lawvere's fixed point theorem

Lawvere's fixed point theorem states that in a cartesian closed category, if there is a morphism $A \to X^A$ which is point-surjective (meaning that $\hom(1,A) \to \hom(1,X^A)$ is surjective), then ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do people use “formal calculation” to describe informal calculations?

Many times, I see the word formal being used to describe a calculation that is not rigorous. I would think that such calculations should rather be termed informal than formal. What is the explanation ...
1
vote
0answers
114 views

General procedure to find the determinant of an operator?

I want to learn to find the determinant of an operator. I am given an operator like $\Sigma _{\alpha\beta}=-k^2g_{\alpha\beta}+i\theta\epsilon_{\alpha\beta\gamma} k^\gamma$ $k^2=k^μk_μ$, $g^{αβ}$ ...
17
votes
3answers
970 views

Which way for reading the proofs?

I am a master student in mathematics. For me a large part of doing mathematics is thinking about, reading and verifying the proof of theorems that I find them in my field of study. I can do this ...
1
vote
6answers
3k views

Proofs by induction [closed]

Background I'm interested in the issue of "explanatory" mathematical proofs and would like to try to find out what intuitions mathematicians have about induction, because there seems to be some ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

Collaboration or acknowledgment?

This post is a sequel of: When should a supervisor be a co-author? This time the topic is about the interaction between two professional mathematicians (in particular junior-senior, but not ...
14
votes
2answers
803 views

What are the applications of operator algebras to other areas?

Question: What are the applications of operator algebras to other areas? More precisely, I would like to know the results in mathematical areas outside of operator algebras which were proved by ...
87
votes
20answers
12k 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 ...
40
votes
8answers
3k views

Published results: when to take them for granted?

Two kinds of papers. There are two kinds of papers: self-contained ones, and those relying on published results (which I believe are the vast majority). Checking the result. Of course, one should ...
9
votes
11answers
3k views

What advanced Area of Mathematics can be delved into with only basic Calculus and Linear Algebra

Hello Mathoverflow Community, I would really appreciate some advice on this: All I know is Basic Calculus and Basic Linear Algebra, I want to start learning more advanced material on my own while ...
62
votes
6answers
2k views

Good ways to engage in mathematics outreach?

Greetings all, I have often heard that it would be good if we as a community did more in the way of mathematics outreach: more to explain what it is we do to the community at large, more to expose ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Where do surreal numbers come from and what do they mean?

I know about Conway's original discovery of the surreal numbers by way of games, as well as Kruskal's way of viewing surreal numbers in terms of asymptotic behavior of real-valued functions, leading ...
3
votes
1answer
503 views

Mathematics of Computer science and AI [closed]

Computer science and Artificial Intelligence have been fertile grounds for research for decades, not only for Engineers but particularly for Mathematicians. What kinds of Mathematics have emerged ...
0
votes
2answers
250 views

link to a paper by Ramanujan

Hi friends, Does anybody know of a pdf version of the following paper ? Ramanujan, S. “Modular Equations and Approximations to Pi.” Quart. J. Pure Appl. Math. 45, 350-372, 1913-1914. It's ...
2
votes
2answers
515 views

Popular books written by great mathematicians [closed]

I read: H. Poincare. Value of science F. Klein. Development of Mathematics in the 19th Century J.E. Littlewood. A Mathematicians Miscellany G.H. Hardy. A Mathematician’s Apology R. Courant, ...
6
votes
1answer
152 views

Compiling self-referential forms

Fix $1\leq d\in\mathbb{N}$ and set $D:=\{0,1,\ldots,d-1\}$. Consider the system of equations \begin{equation} x_i=c_i + \sum_{j\in D}\delta_{x_j,i} \end{equation} with $c_i\in D$ given and $x_i\in D$ ...
0
votes
3answers
803 views

Simplifying finite sum over 1/(ax+b)

Can I simplify: \begin{equation} \sum_{x=x_0}^{x_1} \frac{1}{ax+b} \end{equation}
6
votes
2answers
375 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 ...
106
votes
15answers
14k views

When should a supervisor be a co-author?

What are people's views on this? To be specific: suppose a PhD student has produced a piece of original mathematical research. Suppose that student's supervisor suggested the problem, and gave a few ...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

Extension of an involutive automorphism

Suppose that $g$ is a complex semi-simple Lie algebra and $g'$ its reductive subalgebra. If $\tau$ is an involutive automorphism of $g'$, can $\tau$ be extended to an involutive automorphism of $g$ ...
45
votes
6answers
5k views

Does a referee have to check carefully the proof ?

I have always checked very carefully the papers I was refereeing when I wanted to suggest "accept". Actually I spend almost as much time checking the maths of a paper I referee than checking the maths ...
14
votes
5answers
587 views

Mathematics of privacy?

I wonder to which extent the current public debate on privacy issues (not only by state sniffing, but e.g. by microtargetting ads too an issue) offers interesting questions in mathematics? Can we ...
1
vote
1answer
218 views

Concept of synchronizability

This thread is about the concept of synchronizability. It's a concept I tried to formalize in its most general sense but without success. The goal of this thread is therefore to try to formalize it in ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

Websites for Math Shopping [closed]

I was wondering if anyone knows about good websites or stores to buy math related products. On etsy there are normal distribution plushes and famous mathematicians in coasters. However when I search ...
1
vote
2answers
155 views

iterative solution better than analytic solution? [closed]

My supervisor and I were discussing a specific optimisation problem this afternoon. To be simple: solve for $R$ in the equation $Rx=y$, where $x$, $y$ are made of samples in two difference ...
41
votes
17answers
9k views

Is rigour just a ritual that most mathematicians wish to get rid of if they could?

"No". That was my answer till this afternoon! "Mathematics without proofs isn't really mathematics at all" probably was my longer answer. Yet, I am a mathematics educator who was one of the panelists ...
6
votes
1answer
415 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
169 views

How to solve $e^{f(x)} + a f(x) + bx = 0$ [closed]

How should determine solutions to equations of this form? $$e^{-f(x)} + b f(x) = ax$$ Here $f(x)>0$ is real valued. Also $a>0$, $b>0$.
8
votes
2answers
1k views

The impact of large cardinals in mathematics [closed]

What are the main applications of large cardinals in ordinary mathematics, and what is the philosophy behind using them. In particular: Question 1. What is the philosophy behind accepting large ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Proof or citation?

I'm writing an article. I suppose that I'll submit it to a more or less decent journal (in English). I have doubts about the following: I have a lemma (with quite a trivial proof). I don't want to ...
6
votes
1answer
213 views

Constructing a function from preimages

This question was inspired by Can we build a continuous function from "fibers"/preimages defined over a topological base? Let $X,Y$ be sets and $L\subseteq \mathcal{P}(Y)$. Suppose $L$ has ...
25
votes
15answers
2k views

Objects which can't be defined without making choices but which end up independent of the choice

It happens a lot of times that when one defines a new object (ring, module, space, group, algebra, morphism, whatever) out of given data one first chooses some additional structure. And sometimes ...
-4
votes
1answer
102 views

geometry formula adjacent neighbour of a N dimensional cube [closed]

A question from a curious. How many adjacent N dimensional cube there is when they are regularly distributed on a "grid". By N dimensional cube I mean: a point is a OD cube a segment is a 1D cube ...
31
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 ...
54
votes
26answers
5k views

Proof synopsis collection

I hate to keep going with the big lists, but the question about one-sentence summaries of topics/areas spurred this question...and I just can't help myself! Definition (Fraleigh): A proof synopsis ...
1
vote
0answers
317 views

Conjectures on fractions where each digit appears once in numerator and denominator

This is a highly redacted version of a question that was asked before. Please see Criteria of considering relevance of the question to the domain of research topics for details. Some numerical ...
2
votes
7answers
2k views

Books about polynomials [closed]

Hi,have you a good reference (books) for the study of polynomials with one variable or many variables ? Thanks for your help. Don't hesitate to correct my English.
6
votes
10answers
885 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
428 views

Do you have examples of such “transitive” elements?

(I've asked the same question at the MSE, so far with no answers, so I thought I'd try it here as well. If there's some clash with any site rules, please let me know and I'll abide.) Let $A$ be a set ...
3
votes
1answer
545 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 ...
52
votes
8answers
5k 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
5answers
291 views

procedure-based (as opposed to definition-based) concepts

Euler's work on divergent series was guided by computational procedures, rather than any definition of the "value" of such a series. E.g., he was happy to have half a dozen procedures that indicated ...
33
votes
33answers
4k views

Structures that turn out to exhibit a symmetry even though their definition doesn't

Sometimes (often?) a structure depending on several parameters turns out to be symmetric w.r.t. interchanging two of the parameters, even though the definition gives a priori no clue of that symmetry. ...
2
votes
0answers
82 views

Jacobi triple product for multidimensional lattices

The Jacobi triple product identity gives as a special case a product formula for the theta function of a 1-dimensional lattice. Is there a more general product formula for the theta function of an ...
11
votes
9answers
1k views

math circles video lectures for school children?

Hello, I am from India. I find the mathoverflow amazing. I have a question: Are there any good quality video lectures on school math topics? There are a lot of high quality lectures available on ...
-1
votes
1answer
269 views

What is an example of a non-axiomatic mathematical system? [closed]

In this wikipedia article on the foundations of mathematics, it says: In practice, most mathematicians ... do not work from axiomatic systems Is this correct? If so, what is an example of this?
3
votes
4answers
814 views

Another Chicken or Egg: Sequence or Series

This is a side question which is more motivated by teaching than research. First, I am trying to convince myself that sequences appear before series (as numerical approximations to "interesting" ...