Biographies, philosophy of mathematics, mathematics education, recreational mathematics, communication of mathematics

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
1answer
140 views

Understanding the rationale behind “batch means” estimation

Hello all, I am implementing an MCMC algorithm for my work, and I've come upon something in the literature which I just can't understand. Specifically, I am attempting to estimate the amount of ...
5
votes
1answer
153 views

How did Hankel determinants get the name Hankel-Hadamard?

My question concerns the name for determinants of Hankel-matrices $H = (s_{i+j})_{i,j = 0}^n$. In the classical textbook of Shohat and Tamarkin (1943) "The Problem of Moments", these determinants are ...
15
votes
2answers
941 views

Where did Sophus Lie write the group commutator for two one parameter groups

If $X,Y$ are vector fields and $\def\Fl{\operatorname{Fl}}\Fl^X_t$ and $\Fl^Y_t$ their local flows, let $[\Fl^X_t,\Fl^Y_t]:= \Fl^Y_{-t}\Fl^X_{-t}\Fl^Y_t\Fl^X_t$ denote the group commutator of the ...
23
votes
0answers
755 views

Does a proof of Selberg's 3.2 inequality exist?

A well-known inequality of Montgomery and Vaughan (generalizing a result of Hilbert) states that $$ \left |\sum_{r \neq s} \frac{w_{r} \overline{w_{s}} }{\lambda_r - \lambda_s} \right| \leq \pi ...
7
votes
3answers
315 views

Meaning of historical fluxion notation

I've noticed that in 18th century English books on calculus writers would say that 'the fluxion of $ax$ is $a\dot{x}$' and 'the fluxion of $x^n$ is $n x^{n-1} \dot{x}$'. What does this extra ...
36
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the source of this famous Grothendieck quote?

I've seen the following quote many times on the internet, and have used it myself. It is usually attributed to Grothendieck. It is better to have a good category with bad objects than a bad category ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

The Erdős-Turán conjecture or the Erdős' conjecture?

This has been bothering me for a while, and I can't seem to find any definitive answer. The following conjecture is well known in additive combinatorics: Conjecture: If $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ ...
6
votes
0answers
209 views

History of the characterization of commutative Artin rings

When it comes to the world of "classical" (pre-homological) Noetherian commutative algebra, I tend to think of most of the results (Krull's intersection theorem, the principal ideal theorem, etc.) as ...
4
votes
1answer
223 views

Historical precursor for Peano's axioms of a linear space?

Peano is typically credited with giving the first abstract definition of a vector space (1888): http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/HistTopics/Abstract_linear_spaces.html Apparently, Peano credits ...
7
votes
7answers
949 views

famous papers/results by non professional mathematicians [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What recent discoveries have amateur mathematicians made? Dear overflowers Out of curiosity: do you know any famous papers and/or results by non professional ...
11
votes
0answers
400 views

Unpublished Lecture Notes

Hi, Overflowers There was a time (not so long ago) where lecture notes were not published, not commonly at least, and their reproduction was expensive. In my case, that was precisely the time when ...
19
votes
1answer
385 views

Biholomophic non-Algebraically Isomorphic Varieties

Recently, when writing a review for MathSciNet, the following question arose: Is it true that two smooth complex varieties that are biholomorphic are algebraically isomorphic? The converse is true ...
12
votes
0answers
515 views

Why did Bourbaki not use universal algebra?

I have seen a discussion about Bourbaki’s usage of categories before. So let me ask a different question: why did he not use universal algebra? Well, universal algebra is not much older than category ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Why did Bourbaki ignore the theory of categories? [closed]

QUESTION They had plenty of time to adopt the theory of categories. They had Eilenberg, then Cartan, then Grothendieck. Did they feel that they have established their approach already, that it's too ...
5
votes
1answer
372 views

Generalization of the Lefschetz fixed point theorem

I have encountered a certain generalization of the Lefschetz fixed point theorem as folklore, and I am hoping that someone out there knows its provenance or can otherwise refer me to a source where it ...
8
votes
0answers
425 views

Reference/quote request: “All of combinatorics is the representation theory of $S_n$”

I think I remember reading somewhere a glib (or is it deep?) quote, perhaps due to Rota?, which was something like "All of combinatorics is essentially [or can be reduced to?] the representation ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

Did Smith correctly state the mass formula?

Did Smith correctly state the mass formula? H.J.S. "normal form" Smith was the first, in 1867, to state the mass formula for integral quadratic forms in a genus of 4 or more variables. This was ...
2
votes
0answers
134 views

Reference for original paper (but translated to English) of Matiyasevich's proof of Fibonacci relation being Diophantine?

Hello. I am a maths undergraduate. I am doing a project about history of mathematics. I am looking for the original solution to Hilbert's 10th problem, or at least the theorems that is accessible to ...
11
votes
3answers
717 views

The role of the Automatic Groups in the history of Geometric Group Theory

What is the role of the theory of Automatic Groups in the history of Geometric Group Theory? Motivation: When I read through the "Word Processing in Groups" I was amazed by the supreme beauty and ...
9
votes
0answers
425 views

What is Quillen's contribution to index theorem?

In the book "Heat Kernels and Dirac Operators" by Berline, Getzler and Vergne it is said that "Our book is based on a simple principle, which we learned from D. Quillen: Dirac operators are a ...
60
votes
24answers
6k views

Modern Mathematical Achievements Accessible to Undergraduates

While there is tremendous progress happening in mathematics, most of it is just accessible to specialists. In many cases, the proofs of great results are both long and use difficult techniques. Even ...
2
votes
0answers
325 views

What is the oldest known evidence of application of mathematics?

According to Wikipedia the Lebombo bone (age 35 KY) and the Ishango bone (age at least 20 KY) presently are believed to show the first evidence for application of mathematics by humans. (Possibly ...
12
votes
1answer
403 views

Discrete Morse theory and chess

There are many mathematical objects that are similar to groups and Cayley graphs of groups but lack homogeneity in some sense. Graphs of webpages with edges corresponding to links are one example. ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Hahn's Embedding Theorem and the oldest open question in set theory

Hans Hahn is often credited with creating the modern theory of ordered algebraic systems with the publication of his paper Über die nichtarchimedischen Grössensysteme (Sitzungsberichte der ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

History of the high-dimensional volume paradox

Inscribe an $n$-ball in an $n$-dimensional hypercube of side equal to 1, and let $n \rightarrow \infty$. The hypercube will always have volume 1, while it is a fun folk fact (FFF) that the volume of ...
11
votes
1answer
216 views

What is flexible about flexible algebras?

A possibly non-associative algebra is flexible if it satisfies the identity $$(xy)x=x(yx).$$ This is clearly a very weak form of associativity —and obviously an associative algebra is flexible— but it ...
7
votes
1answer
141 views

Who first observed that Conjugate Gradient for Symmetric Positive Definite linear systems is a Krylov method?

Conjugate gradient was originally presented in the 50's before the modern understanding of Krylov subspaces (and the resulting iterative methods) was fully realized. As such, the method was derived ...
28
votes
13answers
2k views

Great mathematics books by pre-modern authors

Last summer, I read Euclid's Elements, and it was an eye-opening experience; I had assumed that three thousand years' difference would make the notation incomprehensible and the reasoning alien, but ...
5
votes
1answer
672 views

Why do mathematicians prefer one definition over the other when they both define the same concept?

Here is a basic, though very important, example: Hilbert takes as primary the notion of “congruence” (or “equal”) between segments. His first axiom of congruence “requires the possibility of ...
1
vote
1answer
309 views

Newton integration without integration

Consider a function f continuous on a compact interval. Approximate it by a sequence of polygonal functions (you can). Then consider a sequence of primitives of the polygonal functions (you can). ...
6
votes
1answer
218 views

Does the vanishing of the Poisson bracket on $S(\mathfrak{g})^{\mathfrak{g}}$ inspire the disover of Duflo's isomorphism theorem?

For any finite dimensional Lie algebra $\mathfrak{g}$, we know that the universal enveloping algebra $U(\mathfrak{g})$ is a deformation of the symmetric algebra $S(\mathfrak{g})$. In fact let's define ...
4
votes
2answers
237 views

Was Desargues more an Euclid or an Eudoxos?

In the course of preparing lessons on projective geometry I want to give an account on the historical development. It is easy to obtain an overview of the history starting with G. Desargues. And with ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Euler's mathematics in terms of modern theories?

Some aspects of Euler's work were formalized in terms of modern infinitesimal theories by Laugwitz, McKinzie, Tuckey, and others. Referring to the latter, G. Ferraro claims that "one can see in ...
3
votes
0answers
121 views

Citation for subset complement result

Let $S=\lbrace s_1,\ldots,s_n \rbrace \subset \lbrace1,\ldots,2n\rbrace$. Consider two operations on $S$: the complement $C(S)=\lbrace 1,\ldots,2n \rbrace \setminus S$ and a reflection* ...
0
votes
1answer
378 views

Has the controversy about *fiducial distribution* been settled? [closed]

Has the controversy about the correct meaning of Fisher's notion fiducial distribution meanwhile been settled? And are there newer applications than quoted in the following literature? G.P. Klimov: ...
3
votes
3answers
699 views

Lapses of “the early proponents of the doctrine of limits”

I have a question that I have been wondering about for a long time without finding any answer. Concerning the period around 1900, Robinson commented in his 1966 book that "there is in the writings of ...
8
votes
3answers
823 views

who invented projective space $\mathbb{P}^n$?

Who invented projective space $\mathbb{P}^n$ as an extension of the usual affine space $\mathbb{A}^n$? Who was the first person to consider projective closure of plane affine algebraic curves (curves ...
18
votes
9answers
3k views

Was the early calculus inconsistent?

This question does NOT concern the RIGOR, or lack thereof, of the early calculus. Rather the question is of its CONSISTENCY. George Berkeley wrote in 1734 with reference to the early calculus that ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between an automorphic form and a modular form?

This is more of a question about terminology than about math. The term "automorphic form" is clearly a generalization of the term "modular form." What is not clear is exactly which generalization it ...
3
votes
0answers
201 views

Where was the arithmetic zeta function of a scheme first defined?

Let $X$ be an arithmetic scheme, that is, a scheme of finite type over the integers. We denote the set of closed points of $X$ by $|X|$. For every $x\in|X|$, write $N(x)$ for the cardinality of the ...
4
votes
0answers
211 views

origin of the notion of “network” in graph theory

In current graph theory, a "network" is a precisely defined object: It is a directed graph associated with a function, the "capacity", which is defined on the edge set and has certain specific ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Similarities between Post's Problem and Cohen's Forcing

Remark: I have since learned that G.H. Moore addresses this question in the third reference listed at the end of this post, beginning on p. 157 in which he cites a letter from Kreisel to Gödel dated ...
2
votes
2answers
175 views

local subrings of matrix ring

When is the subring (containing 1) of a matrix ring $M_n(k)$ over a field $k$ is local? I would be grateful for every reference concerning this matter, Thank you!
19
votes
4answers
965 views

The role of ANR in modern topology

Absolute neighborhood retracts (ANRs) are topological spaces $X$ which, whenever $i\colon X\to Y$ is an embedding into a normal topological space $Y$, there exists a neighborhood $U$ of $i(X)$ in $Y$ ...
20
votes
7answers
2k views

Modern developments in finite-dimensional linear algebra

Are there any major fundamental results in finite-dimensional linear algebra discovered after early XX century? Fundamental in the sense of non-numerical (numerical results, of course, are still ...
5
votes
1answer
304 views

First mention of the fundamental bigroupoid of a space?

The fundamental bigroupoid $\Pi_2(X)$ of a space $X$ was independently described by Hardie, Kamps and Kieboom (paywall) and Stevenson (arXiv) around the year 2000. HKK cite Baez-Dolan's seminal HDA0, ...
15
votes
1answer
618 views

Mendelson's *Mathematical Logic* and the missing Appendix on the consistency of PA

A very soft question, but I hope not out of order here. In the first edition of Elliott Mendelson's classic Introduction to Mathematical Logic (1964) there is an appendix, giving a version of ...
38
votes
19answers
6k views

Mathematicians whose works were criticized by contemporaries but became widely accepted later

Gauss famously discarded Abel's proof that an algebraic equation of degree five or more cannot have a general solution (Abel himself had rejected divergent series as the work of the devil). Cantor's ...
4
votes
3answers
392 views

Biographical Information Concerning Henry Sherwin

Henry Sherwin's Mathematical Tables achieved some popularity. The first edition was published ~1706 and the fifth and last in 1771. Some editions were more erroneous than others and the error rate was ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Algebraic number theory: building and simplifying

This is a somewhat subjective question, about the past, present and especially future of algebraic number theory. I'm not at all in this area, but I'd be interested in an answer. As we all know, ...