**10**

votes

**2**answers

490 views

### History of Tarski's problems on free groups

As is known, Tarski posed his questions about first-order theories of non-abelian free groups around 1945. However, the questions were not published in his papers or books.
What is the original ...

**23**

votes

**4**answers

894 views

### Communal problem books

A certain class of books is defined as follows: (1) the book was kept for years in a cafe or mathematics library; (2) the primary contents are research problems and comments, handwritten by resident ...

**8**

votes

**0**answers

177 views

### History of preservation theorems in forcing theory

For my honours thesis, I am studying a general preservation theorem using a framework provided by Shelah. I am mainly concerned about revised countable support iteration of $\dot{S}$-semiproper ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

107 views

### Filmed lectures by Hassler Whitney

Are there any filmed lectures by outstanding American mathematician Hassler Whitney, besides the two Einstein Chair lectures below?
Old lectures, from the 1940s onwards, would be particularly ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

258 views

### Galois correspondence subgroups/subsystems

In this paper (1998) by M. Izumi, R. Longo, S. Popa, there is the following result (page 49) on compact groups:
Lemma 3.16. Let $G$ be a compact group and $Rep(G)$ the category of finite ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

840 views

### Who coined “mob” and “clan” and why these words?

A mob is a word used for a topological semigroup which is a Hausdorff space. A clan is a compact connected mob with a two-sided identity element.
Who used these words with these meanings first and ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

172 views

### Did Lucas discover Lucas circles?

MathWord's article on Lucas circles traces the name to a little-known 1973 publication. These interesting circles have found their way into several 21st century publications, including the online ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

117 views

### Examples of Geometric Constructions in Higher Dimensions

The classical problem of geometric construction seems to be restricted to planar Euclidean Geometry with straight edge and compass as the only admissible "construction-tools".
I would like to ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

226 views

### Was $\Sigma x$ used as quantifier?

Kurt Gödel in 1931 used $x\Pi a$ where we in contemporary notation would use $(\forall x) A$ or $(x)A$, and $Ex a$ where we would use $(\exists x) A$. I believe that I remember that $\Sigma xA$ has ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

251 views

### History of the orientation of Cartesian coordinates in drawing

Is there any actual historical example in which a Cartesian plane with all four quadrants has been used, but with all axes marked with positive numbers? [Please see Sawyer's paper below for a ...

**-1**

votes

**1**answer

292 views

### History of Poincare conjecture in higher dimension [closed]

As far as I know, when Poincare formulated his well known conjecture, the original statement was the follwoing: if a closed manifold has the same homology groups as the sphere it is homoeomorphic to ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

909 views

### Banach-Zarecki theorem - who was Zarecki?

I'm writing a paper for real analysis seminar, a paper about Banach-Zarecki theorem and I need some information about the authors.
Stefan Banach - there is no problem to find information about him.
...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

173 views

### Filmed lectures by Jürgen Moser

Are there any filmed lectures by outstanding German mathematician Jürgen Moser (July 4, 1928 – December 17, 1999)?

**50**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### History of $\frac d{dt}\tan^{-1}(t)=\frac 1{1+t^2}$

Let $\theta = \tan^{-1}(t)$. Nowadays it is taught:
1º that
$$
\frac{d\theta}{dt} = \frac 1{dt\,/\,d\theta} = \frac 1{1+t^2},
\tag1
$$
2º that, via the fundamental theorem of calculus, this is ...

**12**

votes

**0**answers

344 views

### Why is a matrix pencil called a pencil?

I'm trying to understand the historical context behind the word pencil in matrix pencils, or pencil of curves so on.
I am aware that even Gantmacher 1959 has this terminology however I don't know ...

**13**

votes

**0**answers

286 views

### Grothendieck on polyhedra over finite fields

In Grothendieck's Sketch of a Programme he spends a few pages discussing polyhedra over arbitrary rings and concludes with some intriguing remarks on specializing polyhedra over their "most singular ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

157 views

### Two questions on substitutability

(1) The condition that a term $a$ be substitutable for another term in an expression can be given a recursive definition. Who first developed such a definition?
(2) One sometimes see the phrase "$a$ ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

402 views

### Why did Grothendieck say stop publishing his works? [closed]

Why did Grothendieck say stop publishing his works?
https://sbseminar.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/grothendiecks-letter/
Any edition or dissemination of such texts which have been made in the past ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

442 views

### Shuffle (co-)multiplication and generalized Leibniz formula in tensor calculus

The headline already says it: Is anybody (except me, UPDATE: plus Gavrilov) aware of this formula for higher total covariant derivatives of tensor products?
It is the simplest application of the ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

126 views

### Why are they called 'pernicious' numbers?

The definition of a pernicious number:
In number theory, a pernicious number is a positive integer where the Hamming weight (or digit sum) of its binary representation is prime.
The meaning of ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

232 views

### When was the “arrow notation” for functions first introduced?

When was the "arrow notation" $f: X \to Y$ for functions first introduced? Who introduced it and with which motivation?
I ask this question in order to understand whether it was, in part, this ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

290 views

### Convention about “long” roots for simple Lie algebras of types ADE?

The classification of simple Lie algebras (over $\mathbb{C}$ or other sufficiently large field of characteristic 0) correlates these Lie algebras with the irreducible reduced root systems (in ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

455 views

### Did Brouwer evade uncountability?

I have the distinct memory of having often heard and read that intuitionism was inter alia geared to avoid Cantor's uncountable sets, and it may be that this was Brouwer's plan. But are there accounts ...

**10**

votes

**1**answer

454 views

### Metric $d(A,B) = \mathbb P(\overline A\cup\overline B\mid A\cup B)$

I'm wondering where the relative probabilistic distance was first studied:
$$d(A,B) =\mathbb P(\overline A\cup\overline B\mid A\cup B)$$
where $\overline A$ is the complement of $A$.
A web search ...

**55**

votes

**5**answers

5k views

### Are there any serious investigations of whether “mathematicians do their best work when they're young”?

There is no shortage of anecdotes and conjectures on both sides of this widespread belief, but good supporting data either way is harder to find. Can anyone provide any references for serious ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

673 views

### Discovery and Study of Conic Sections in Ancient Greece

Is there anything known about what drew the attention of ancient greek mathematicians to conic sections and, what were the models they used to study conic sections?
What I would like to know, is ...

**8**

votes

**1**answer

354 views

### Who first proved the fundamental theorem of projective geometry?

The following theorem is often called the fundamental theorem of projective geometry:
Let $k$ be a field and let $n \geq 3$. Let $X$ be the partially ordered set of nonzero proper subspaces of ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

320 views

### What is the reason that $\sigma$-algebra replaced $\sigma$-ring in introductory measure theory?

May I ask what is the (historical) reason we adopted the $\sigma$-algebra rhetoric instead of $\sigma$-rings (like used in Halmos)? To my knowledge almost all modern measure theory or real analysis ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

287 views

### Reference request : Grothendieck's topological space valued integral

As I am learning the different kind of Banach space valued integrals (Pettis, Bochner), I know that Grothendieck made a "mémoire" in his youth about this topic, but I don't know if it is available ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

882 views

### Who first introduced the functional definition of symmetry?

Who first introduced the definition of symmetry using functions explicitly? (That is, for instance, a symmetry of a subset $X$ of the plane is a function $F$ from the plane to the plane that preserves ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

174 views

### Longevity of “random” conjectures

The "random" sample is obviously very, very skewed: If you would be asked to name a random conjecture, it probably will be a "famous" conjecture, and the longer a conjecture stands, the more famous it ...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

633 views

### What is a totient?

In addition to the Euler totient function, there are a great many generalizations and related functions which go by the "totient", usually with some name: Jordan, Lehmer*, Schemmel, Nagell, Alder, ...

**12**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Sierpinski's construction of a non-measurable set

In the early 20th century there was a lot of fuss over the axiom of choice implying that there are Lebesgue non-measurable sets of reals. In his book about The Axiom of Choice, Gregory Moore points to ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

378 views

### A bit of history of Verdier duality

I was wondering who originated the presentation of Verdier duality as an equivalence between categories of sheaves and cosheaves ?
I learnt it reading Jacob Lurie's Higher Algebra and Justin Curry's ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

535 views

### Modular forms and “too many symmetries”

How do we interpret Barry Mazur's quote of
Modular forms are functions on the complex plane that are inordinately symmetric. They satisfy so many internal symmetries that their mere existence ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

367 views

### Cap product à la Poincaré

Recently, it became apparent to me that I was not the only one who always first thought in terms of cap product before actually computing a cup product. There is no denying this is evil, but I found ...

**31**

votes

**1**answer

833 views

### Producing finite objects by forcing!

It is a trivial fact that forcing can not produce finite sets of ground model objects. However there are situations,
where we can use forcing to prove the existence of finite objects with some ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

52 views

### Reason for the Choice of Line Parameters in the Radon Transform

Why are the lines, over which the integrals in a Radon Transform are calculated, apparently always parameterized as $L(t,\phi,\alpha) := ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

145 views

### Link between abelian groups and endomorphisms

When teaching Algebra, I try to share my fascination about two apparently unrelated questions, which turn out to involve the same theory:
classifying the finitely generated abelian groups,
...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

319 views

### Euler's Triangular Number closure properties

Burton, in "Elementary Number Theory", states that the following problems are due to Euler 1775:
If $n$ is a triangular number, then so are $9n+1$, $25n+3$ and $49n + 6$.
R. F. Jordan in the J. ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

798 views

### Von Neumann's consistency proof

In the paper Zur Hilbertschen Beweistheorie, John Von Neumann has proposed a consistency proof for
a fragment of first-order arithmetic (the fragment without induction and with
the successor axioms ...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

289 views

### When was Bounded Zermelo set theory first formulated?

Bounded Zermelo set theory, and many variants named for MacLane in some way, are used in equiconsistency proofs for Simple Theory of Types plus infinity, and for the Elementary Theory of the Category ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

382 views

### Oldest photographed mathematician [closed]

Who is the most ancient mathematician of which we have a photograph?
(or, in the same vein, what is the oldest photograph of a mathematician)
A quick search on MacTutor History of Mathematics gives ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

407 views

### When did “Betti cohomology” come to be used the way it is today? (and how is it used)

This is sort of a mixture of a math and history question.
First the math part: thinking about it, I do not actually know how to properly use the term "Betti cohomology". I know I should, but I ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Riemann's formula for the metric in a normal neighborhood

I would love to understand the famous formula $g_{ij}(x) = \delta_{ij} + \frac{1}{3}R_{kijl}x^kx^l +O(||x||^3)$, which is valid in Riemannian normal coordinates and possibly more general situations.
...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

519 views

### Who first noticed that Stirling numbers of the second kind count partitions?

When the Stirling numbers of the second kind were introduced by James Stirling in 1730, it was not combinatorially; rather, the numbers ${n \brace k}$ were defined via the polynomial identity
$$
x^n = ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

306 views

### Disruptive innovations in mathematical notations [closed]

I am wondering whether there are examples of mathematical notations that, once introduced, have drastically changed or simplified the way to address a problem or a mathematical area, or that have ...

**2**

votes

**3**answers

407 views

### How did the summation operation come into use? [closed]

So we've been using summations at least since the dawn of calculus. I'm wondering how the process of summing a function came to be known? Are there events that led to the invention of the summation ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

584 views

### Who first defined quantum integers?

Who first gave the defintion of quantum integers
$$ [m]_q = \frac{1 - q^m}{1 - q} $$ and addition as
$$ [m]_q \oplus_q [n]_q = [m]_q + q^m [n]_q $$ and multiplication as
$$ [m]_q \otimes_q [n]_q = ...

**30**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### What did Rolle prove when he proved Rolle's theorem?

Rolle published what we today call Rolle's theorem about 150 years before the arithmetization of the reals. Unfortunately this proof seems to have been buried in a long book [Rolle 1691] that I can't ...