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0
votes
0answers
39 views

Bounding a ratio by its complement [on hold]

Given some integers $n > \beta + \alpha, \beta > \alpha$ and $\alpha > 0$, is there a real number $\delta$ for which $\frac{n-\alpha}{n-\beta} \geq (\frac{\beta}{\alpha})^{\delta}$, where ...
2
votes
2answers
134 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
142 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
8k 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
401 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
182 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
148 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
942 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
198 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
45 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 ...
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 ...
52
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
310 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
252 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 ...
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
842 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
404 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
413 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 ...
23
votes
1answer
535 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 ...
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
5answers
282 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 ...
78
votes
19answers
11k 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 ...
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
55 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
181 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
802 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" ...
80
votes
90answers
11k views

What would you want to see at the Museum of Mathematics?

EDIT (30 Nov 2012): MoMath is opening in a couple of weeks, so this seems like it might be a good time for any last-minute additions to this question before I vote to close my own question as "no ...
14
votes
12answers
2k views

Why semigroups could be important?

There is known a lot about the use of groups -- they just really appear a lot, and appear naturally. Is there any known nice use of semigroups in Maths to sort of prove they are indeed important in ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Talking about properties of “random” elements

I asked this in MSE but did not get a satisfying answer. I apologize in advance if this is not appropriate for MO. Suppose that we have some set X and we want to say that a "random" (or generic) ...
10
votes
5answers
646 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, ...
7
votes
0answers
236 views

Modelling the difficulty of mental calculation. [closed]

Are you aware of any work that tries to model the difficulty of evaluating a formula mentally (for your average, numerate, person, not a trained mental calculator)? For instance, evaluating an ...
7
votes
1answer
315 views

Experimental mathematics: how are floating point equations discovered/converted to exact equations?

the 2005 AMS article/survey on experimental mathematics[1] by Bailey/Borwein mentions many remarkable successes in the field including new formulas for $\pi$ that were discovered via the PSLQ ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Naturally occurring orderings

The are many orderings that naturally occur in interesting but seemingly unrelated circumstances. Here are some examples: The volume spectrum of orientable hyperbolic 3-manifolds has order type ...
8
votes
3answers
584 views

Is there any monoid in which the product of two non-invertible elements could be invertible?

I think the title speaks for itself. Thus I just explain the story behind the question. Of course, you may want to skip the story. Story: Currently, I teach a course in linear algebra and matrices ...
1
vote
0answers
125 views

Ellipses touching a circle [closed]

This is a crosspost from math.stackexchange, where the question did not find an answer. Given a circle and two points $A$, $B$ in the plane, how do I find an ellipse with focal points $A$ and $B$ ...
5
votes
1answer
493 views

Elementary problem about triangles inside a convex polygon

Let P be a convex polygon with area A(P), and to each side of P, attach the largest area triangle possible that lies entirely within P. Must the sum S(P) of the areas of these triangles always satisfy ...
7
votes
1answer
592 views

Sum of subset of geometric series: a^2^n

The formula for 1 + a + a^2 + .... where 0 < a < 1 is $\frac{1}{1-a}$, but what if you wanted to sum only those where the exponent is a power of 2? That is, $S = a + a^2 + a^4 + a^8 + \cdots$ ...
2
votes
3answers
735 views

Is there a simple criterion to determine if two parallelograms intersect?

see title. assume we are given two parallelograms in the plane. how can I check if the intersection is nonempty? note that I do not need to actually find the intersection.
2
votes
5answers
856 views

Circumference of convex shapes

Here is a puzzle I found in "Mitteilungen der DMV" (roughly "Letters of the German Society of Mathematicians") issue 19/2011. It was posed by Alfred Schreiber in "Wie man Hasen fangt" (How to catch ...
0
votes
3answers
700 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}
-4
votes
2answers
994 views

what part of using vieta's formulas violates quintic non-solvability? [closed]

You can write the n roots of an n degree polynomial in terms of its n coefficients, i.e., "Vieta's" formulas. You can solve this system of nonlinear equations using Newton's method and the Jacobian. ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Famous vacuously true statements

I am interested to know other examples vacuously true statements that are non-trivial. My starting example is Turan's result in regards to the Riemann hypothesis, which states Suppose that for each ...
38
votes
19answers
5k views

Are there proofs that you feel you did not “understand” for a long time?

Perhaps the "proofs" of ABC conjecture or newly released weak version of twin prime conjecture or alike readily come to your mind. These are not the proofs I am looking for. Indeed my question was ...
1
vote
2answers
335 views

Can one branch of mathematics be completely learned from the perspective of another branch of mathematics? [closed]

This arose from a discussion with a friend (people involved are two engineers) who argued that every result in mathematics should be transformable into another branch. For example, he argued that ...
18
votes
5answers
650 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
848 views

How should you respond to a student who asks whether a very nice physical example constitutes a proof? [closed]

"Is this really a proof?" is the exact question e-mailed to me today from an undergraduate mathematics student whom I know as a highly competent student. The one sentence question was accompanied with ...