**44**

votes

**6**answers

6k views

### Why might André Weil have named Carl Ludwig Siegel the greatest mathematician of the 20th century?

According to Steven Krantz's Mathematical Apocrypha (pg. 186):
As was custom, Weil often attended tea
at [Princeton] University . Graduate
student Steven Weintrab one day went
about the room ...

**224**

votes

**72**answers

88k views

### Video lectures of mathematics courses available online for free

It can be difficult to learn mathematics on your own from textbooks, and I often wish universities videotaped their mathematics courses and distributed them for free online. Fortunately, some ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

116 views

### Was this particular case of the tube formula known before Weyl and Hotelling?

The tube formula is a really nice result in differential geometry which relates the volume of the tubular neighborhood of a submanifold to its intrinsic geometry. It has been proved by Weyl in 1939 ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

610 views

### Area Under Generalized Parabolas and Hyperbolas without Calculus

This is shorter and more specific version of certain questions about a rather simple quadrature method. The answers I got were great but not what I asked. The terms in the title for $y=x^p$ look ...

**10**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Integrating Powers without much Calculus

I'll jump into the question and then back off into qualifications and context
Using the definition of a definite integral as the limit of Riemann sums, what is the best way (or the very good ways) ...

**51**

votes

**27**answers

7k views

### Writing papers in pre-LaTeX era?

I wonder how people wrote papers in the pre-LaTeX era? I mean, when typewriters and simple computers were (60th-70th?). Did they indeed put formulas by hand in the already printed articles?

**1**

vote

**0**answers

113 views

### History of categorical localization sans calculi of fractions

This question arises from a paper which I've just found and skimmed:
FW Bauer, J Dugundji. Categorical homotopy and fibrations. Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, 1969
With 28 ...

**42**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### What were the main ideas and gaps in Yoichi Miyaoka's attempted proof (1988) of Fermat's Last Theorem?

Out of sheer curiosity I have been reading Stewert and Tall's "Algebraic Number Theory and Fermat's Last Theorem" (2001). As it contains various bits of history, I found out to my own shame that I was ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

130 views

### When did people know that all real polynomials of degree greater than 2 are reducible? [migrated]

Admittedly, this may not be a research level question, but I am deeply curious about this.
Let $f(x) \in \mathbb{R}[x]$, and write $d = \deg f$. It is well known that if $\deg f > 2$, then $f$ is ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Did Gauss know Dirichlet's class number formula in 1801?

Let $h_d$ be the number of $SL_{2}(\mathbb{Z})$ classes of primitive binary quadratic forms of discriminant $d$. It's natural to impose the hypothesis that $d$ is not at square, as we do below.
In ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

173 views

### $\alpha$-minimal degrees for singular $\alpha$

An important question in $\alpha$-recursion theory is whether there is a minimal $\alpha$-degree at $\alpha=\aleph_\omega.$
Question 1. Who first introduced the above question, and where can I find ...

**13**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Notation in Frege's Grundgesetze der Arithmetik: The U with a flourish

In the Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, Frege used a number of strange characters for notation. I would be most interested to know anything about the typography (origin, usage and so on) of the strange U ...

**63**

votes

**65**answers

9k views

### Old books still used

It's a commonplace to state that while other sciences (like biology) may always need the newest books, we mathematicians also use to use older books. While this is a qualitative remark, I would like ...

**0**

votes

**2**answers

242 views

### Linear Algebra classic books [closed]

I'm learning linear algebra at the moment, so I'm looking for some great old classic books. Something like Fermat's or Gauss books of some great mathematians.
I don't really like the nowadays books ...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

330 views

### What's the role of $H^{p}(\mathbb{R}^{n})$ in modern (harmonic) analysis?

The classical theory of $H^p$,due to it's heavy dependence on the complex function theory(such as Blaschke products), seemed to have an insurmountable obstacle barrying its extension to several ...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

399 views

### Why is the set-theoretic principle $\diamondsuit$ called $\diamondsuit$?

A shallow answer would just point to theorem 6.2 in Jensen's 1972 paper "The fine structure of the constructible hierarchy", where Jensen introduces this property. Or was this symbol used already ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Why is the identity element of a group denoted by $e$?

The question was asked by a student, and I did not have a ready answer. I can think of the German word ``Einheit'', but since in German that is not how the identity element of a group is called, I ...

**27**

votes

**22**answers

7k views

### Titles composed entirely of math symbols

I apologize for burdening MO with such a vapid, nonresearch question, but
I have been curious ever since
Suvrit's popular October 2010
Most memorable titles MO question
if there were any ...

**19**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### History of Geometric Analogies in Number Theory

My question, put simply, is: When did mathematicians/number theorists begin viewing questions in number theory through a geometric lens?
For example, was it before Grothendieck introduced schemes to ...

**69**

votes

**22**answers

7k views

### Fields of mathematics that were dormant for a long time until someone revitalized them

I thought that the closed question here could be modified to a very interesting question (at least as far as big-list type questions go).
Can people name examples of fields of mathematics that were ...

**22**

votes

**0**answers

433 views

### Next steps on formal proof of classification of finite simple groups

While people are steaming ahead on finessing the proof of the classification of finite simple groups (CFSG), we have a formal proof in Coq of one of the first major components: the Feit-Thompson ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

987 views

### The list of problems for Grothendieck's thesis

Is the list of open problems which were given by Dieudonne and Schwartz to Grothendieck for his thesis published somewhere? I know a quotation of Dieudonne that the problems concerned duality theory ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

781 views

### Describe the desired features of a “Mathematics Colloquium”?

I'm now a member of my department's colloquium committee. Our task is to make a great colloquium series. I thought that the first step would be to come up with an appropriate definition of ...

**59**

votes

**15**answers

6k views

### Mathematical research published in the form of poems

The article
Friedrich Wille: Galerkins Lösungsnäherungen bei monotonen Abbildungen,
Math. Z. 127 (1972), no. 1, 10-16
is written in the form of a lengthy poem, in a style similar to that
of the ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

162 views

### Blow-up as polar coordinates?

While doing some explicit calculations involving a blow-up of the plane in a point, I realised what I was doing was basically writing things in polar coordinates. Somewhat astonished that I hadn't ...

**45**

votes

**19**answers

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 ...

**148**

votes

**36**answers

40k views

### Widely accepted mathematical results that were later shown wrong?

I wonder if there are any examples in the history of mathematics of a mathematical proof that was initially reviewed and widely accepted as valid, only to be disproved a significant amount of time ...

**20**

votes

**1**answer

934 views

### What is $\infty^6$?

The title of this question may make you want to close it immediately, but bear with me a moment. In several older mathematics papers (early 20th century) I have seen statements such as
The ...

**12**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### What are hypergroups and hyperrings good for?

I came across the concept of a hyperring in two recent papers by Connes and Consani (From monoids to hyperstructures: in search of an absolute arithmetic and The hyperring of adèle classes). It's a ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

93 views

### First to note the relation between Stasheff polytopes (associahedra) and compositional inversion?

In my answer to MO-Q: Enumerative geometry and nonlinear waves, I outline the relation between the refined face polynomials of the Stasheff polytopes (associahedra) and the partition polynomials for ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

764 views

### Origin of the term “Diophantine equation”

It seems that the term "Diophantine equation" has been around at least since the second half of the 19th century, since the historian Hermann Hankel writes (polemically) in the chapter on Diophantus ...

**11**

votes

**0**answers

269 views

### Continuous extension of Riemann maps and the Caratheodory-Torhorst Theorem

If $G\subsetneq\mathbb{C}$ is a simply-connected plane domain, then by the Riemann mapping theorem there is a conformal isomorphism $\newcommand{\D}{\mathbb{D}}\varphi:\D\to G$, where $\D$ is the unit ...

**42**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### How did Cole factor $2^{67}-1$ in 1903

I just heard a This American Life episode which recounted the famous anecdote about Frank Nelson Cole factoring $N:=2^{67}-1$ as $193707721 \times 761838257287$. There doesn't seem to be a historical ...

**54**

votes

**5**answers

4k 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 ...

**19**

votes

**18**answers

4k views

### Examples of conjectures that were widely believed to be true but later proved false

It seems to me that almost all conjectures (hypotheses) that were widely believed by mathematicians to be true were proved true later, if they ever got proved. Are there any notable exceptions?

**18**

votes

**5**answers

899 views

### Historical use of figures in geometry

I was surprised to learn from John Stillwell's comment in answer to the
question,
"Can the unsolvability of quintics be seen in the geometry of the icosahedron?",
that
There is not a single ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

469 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 ...

**66**

votes

**25**answers

8k 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 ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

376 views

### Who introduced the concept of topological mixing?

I am writing an introduction and I want to know who introduced the concept of topological mixing?

**7**

votes

**2**answers

750 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 ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

369 views

### What sort of models did Bolyai and Lobachevsky use to demonstrate the consistency of their models of non-Euclidean Geometry?

As is well-known, in the 1820s both Bolyai and Lobachevsky showed, at long last, the independence of the Parallel Postulate from the rest of the axioms of Euclidean geometry by developing what we now ...

**8**

votes

**1**answer

316 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 ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

786 views

### Who was Hermann Künneth?

Question as in the title:
Who was Hermann Künneth? Where can I find some biographical information beyond what is available on Wikipedia?
The well-known Künneth formula, for example in the form of ...

**55**

votes

**13**answers

11k views

### Logic in mathematics and philosophy

What are the relations between logic as an area of (modern) philosophy and mathematical logic.
The world "modern" refers to 20th century and later, and I am curious mainly about the second half of ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

163 views

### Non-Pythagorean proof for the square root of 2 and solution to YBC7289 [closed]

My name is J. Frederic Teubner I am an independent researcher. I wish to publish a proof for the non-Pythagorean solution to the Babylonian tablet YBC7289 and am currently inquiring as to whether or ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

156 views

### What kind of role has Functional Analysis played in Signal Processing? [closed]

Does it serve mainly as a narration or is there any substantive consequence which might not be derived without tools of functional analysis?

**59**

votes

**7**answers

9k views

### Is the boundary $\partial S$ analogous to a derivative?

Without prethought, I mentioned in class once that the reason the symbol $\partial$
is used to represent the boundary operator in topology is
that its behavior is akin to a derivative.
But after ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

149 views

### Reference to forcing with a sigma ideal $\cong$ Cohen forcing

This is a historical question: Who was the first person to notice the following?
If $V \models \kappa$ is measurable and $P$ adds $\kappa$ Cohen reals, then in $V^P$, letting $\hat{I}$ to be the ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### When did the term “Lie group” first appear?

Does anyone know who was the first to coin the term "Lie group"?
The following thesis from 1928 suggests that the term was already in use by that time: "Systems of Two Differential Equations from the ...

**36**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What was the relative importance of FLT vs. higher reciprocity laws in Kummer's invention of algebraic number theory?

This question is inspired in part by this answer of Bill Dubuque, in which he remarks that the fairly common belief that Kummer was motivated by FLT to develop his theory of cyclotomic number fields ...