**8**

votes

**0**answers

252 views

### Why do we study symplectic geometry? [on hold]

What is the motivation behind studying smooth manifolds with a non-degenerate closed two-form?
The subject certainly originated from physics, but is there a deeper reason for why it is still an ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

150 views

### Early examples of problems that are easier in high dimension

In many areas of mathematics, there are problems that admit a natural formulation in any dimension. It often happens that such a problem is easier to solve in dimension $n>k$ as compared to ...

**-7**

votes

**0**answers

105 views

### When and why did this happen: ${1,2,3} \neq {1,3,2}$? [on hold]

Formerly, there was a clear distinction between $(1,2,3)$ and $\{1,2,3\}$, and only the former indicated order. Now, in Mathematica and elsewhere, $\{1,2,3\} \neq \{1,3,2\}$. Also, a sequence was ...

**83**

votes

**29**answers

8k views

### Examples of theorems misapplied to non-mathematical contexts

For something I'm writing -- I'm interested in examples of bad arguments which involve the application of mathematical theorems in non-mathematical contexts. E.G. folks who make theological arguments ...

**64**

votes

**56**answers

14k views

### Pseudonyms of famous mathematicians

Many mathematicians know that Lewis Carroll was quite a good mathematician, who wrote about logic (paradoxes) and determinants. He found an expansion formula, which bears his real name (Charles ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Nelson's proof of Liouville's theorem

The paper "A proof of Liouville's theorem" by E. Nelson, published in 1961 in Proceedings of AMS, contains just one paragraph, giving a (now) standard proof that every bounded harmonic function in ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

166 views

### Fréchet L-Spaces

According to the paper The emergence of open sets, closed sets, and limit points
in analysis and topology famous mathematician Maurice Fréchet who introduced the concept of metric spaces has also ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

404 views

### origin of analogy “primes as the atoms of number theory/ arithmetic”

a math student recently challenged me on the old comparison/ analogy of prime numbers to "the atoms of number theory or arithmetic" and then was wondering the origin of the phrase.
where does this ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

503 views

### Have Grothendieck's notes in Montpellier already been investigated?

Grothendieck, who passed away on November 13, 2014, left a huge amount (around 20.000 sheets) of personal notes in the University of Montpellier that he thought he was the only one to be able to ...

**0**

votes

**2**answers

271 views

### The Zeta Function Before Riemann [duplicate]

Leonhard Euler studied the function that is now known as the Riemann zeta function. I have not found the notation $\zeta$ in any of the works of any mathematicians prior to Bernhard Riemann's paper On ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

192 views

### Have some works by Émile Borel ever been translated from French to English or another foreign language?

I plan to submit a couple of questions around Émile Borel's works in probability theory to MO.
In this scope, I'd like to know if the following works have ever been translated from French to English ...

**42**

votes

**31**answers

7k views

### Trichotomies in mathematics

Added. Thanks to all who participated! Let me humbly apologize to those who were annoyed (quite understandably) by this thread, deeming it nothing more than an exercise in futility. If you thought the ...

**23**

votes

**1**answer

586 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 ...

**27**

votes

**16**answers

3k views

### What are some examples of narrowly missed discoveries in the history of mathematics?

What are the examples of some mathematicians coming very close to a very promising theory or a correct proof of a big conjecture but not making or missing the last step?

**6**

votes

**1**answer

465 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 ...

**40**

votes

**14**answers

6k views

### Does any research mathematics involve solving functional equations?

This is a somewhat frivolous question, so I won't mind if it gets closed. One of the categories of Olympiad-style problems (e.g. at the IMO) is solving various functional equations, such as those ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

624 views

### Fibonacci = Leonardo Pisano?

Leonardo of Pisa is best known as Fibonacci; various stories found in books and on the web claim that the name Fibonacci was invented by Edouard Lucas or Guillaume Libri in the 19th century, and that ...

**1**

vote

**6**answers

2k views

### Looking for a source for Intended Interpretation

Hao Wang writes: "The originally intended, or standard, interpretation takes the ordinary nonnegative integers $\{0, 1, 2, \ldots \}$ as the domain, the symbols $0$ and $1$ as denoting zero and one, ...

**6**

votes

**2**answers

446 views

### English translation of Lambert's Theorie der Parallellinien?

Does anyone know if there is an available (published or unpublished) English translation of Johann Lambert's Theorie der Parallellinien? I was able to find it online in German by way of the ...

**60**

votes

**15**answers

7k 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 ...

**9**

votes

**0**answers

669 views

### Has anyone pursued Frege's idea of numbers as second-order concepts?

Gottlob Frege was a pivotal figure in the history of mathematical logic. He gave an analysis of numbers that proceeded along roughly the following lines, in his books "The Foundations of Arithmetic" ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

717 views

### Gauss proof of fundamental theorem of algebra

My question concerns the argument given by Gauss in his "geometric proof" of the fundamental theorem of Algebra. At one point he says (I am reformulating) :
A branch (a component) of any algebraic ...

**256**

votes

**72**answers

95k 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 ...

**179**

votes

**36**answers

48k 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 ...

**40**

votes

**15**answers

6k views

### Abstract Thought vs Calculation

Jeremy Avigad and Erich Reck in their remarkable historical paper "Clarifying the nature of the infinite: the development of metamathematics and proof theory" claim that one of the factors of becoming ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

373 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, ...

**23**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### In what ways did Leibniz's philosophy foresee modern mathematics?

Leibniz was a noted polymath who was deeply interested in philosophy as well as mathematics, among other things. From my mathematical readings I have the impression that Leibniz's stature as a ...

**3**

votes

**2**answers

349 views

### Archive of the Work of J Sutherland Frame

Does anyone know of the existence of an archive of the work of J Sutherland Frame?
The Briscoe Center for American History maintains about 100 archives of American mathematics and I have found the ...

**94**

votes

**94**answers

12k 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 ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

641 views

### Reference for Connes Bourbaki membership or otherwise

Alain Connes being a leading French mathematician today one could ask whether he is a member of the Bourbaki group. Is there a published reference that would either refute or confirm this?

**10**

votes

**1**answer

375 views

### What was a cusp to Hurwitz in 1892?

Let $d\in\mathbb{N}$
be squarefree.
Let $\mathcal{O}_d$
be the ring of integers of $\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{-d})$.
Let $\Gamma_d=\mathrm{PSL}_2(\mathcal{O}_d)$.
Let $\mathcal{H}^3$
be the upper half-space ...

**9**

votes

**1**answer

347 views

### Analogy between Lagrange's Theorem and Rank-Nullity Theorem?

One can view view Lagrange's Theorem $$|G/H|=|G|/|H|$$ and the Rank-Nullity Theorem $$\dim(V/U)=\dim(V)-\dim(U)$$ as directly analogous. Does anyone know a high-level explanation of this analogy? I ...

**241**

votes

**21**answers

30k views

### Thinking and Explaining

How big a gap is there between how you think about mathematics and what you say to others? Do you say what you're thinking? Please give either personal examples of how your thoughts and words ...

**102**

votes

**6**answers

8k views

### Source and context of $\frac{22}{7} - \pi = \int_0^1 (x-x^2)^4 dx/(1+x^2)$?

Possibly the most striking proof of Archimedes's inequality $\pi < 22/7$ is an integral formula for the difference:
$$
\frac{22}{7} - \pi = \int_0^1 (x-x^2)^4 \frac{dx}{1+x^2},
$$
where the ...

**36**

votes

**9**answers

3k views

### What do named “tricks” share?

There are a number of theorems or lemmas or mathematical ideas that come to be known as eponymous
tricks, a term which in this context is in no sense derogatory.
Here is a list of 10 such tricks (the ...

**21**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Arnold on Newton's anagram

Arnold, in his paper
The underestimated Poincaré, in Russian Math. Surveys 61 (2006), no. 1, 1–18
wrote the following:
``...Puiseux series, the theory which Newton, hundreds of years before ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### What did Euler do with multiple zeta values?

When reading about multiple zeta values, I often find the claim that the case of length two
$$
\zeta(s_1, s_2)=\sum_{n>m \geq 1} \frac{1}{n^{s_1}m^{s_2}}, \qquad s_1 \geq 2, \quad s_2 \geq 1
$$
...

**59**

votes

**22**answers

9k views

### Examples of major theorems with very hard proofs that have NOT dramatically improved over time

This question complement a previous MO question: Examples of theorems with proofs that have dramatically improved over time.
I am looking for a list of
Major theorems in mathematics whose proofs ...

**60**

votes

**9**answers

7k views

### Have you solved problems in your sleep?

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 ...

**30**

votes

**1**answer

926 views

### Wanted, dead or alive: Have you seen this curve? (circular variant of cardioid)

Let me start with the context. This is definitely not a "research level" question, but I'm hoping that the research community will be able to settle for me whether or not a particular construction ...

**53**

votes

**20**answers

7k views

### Rediscovery of lost mathematics

Archimedes (ca. 287-212BC) described what are now known as the 13
Archimedean solids
in a lost work, later mentioned by Pappus.
But it awaited Kepler (1619) for the 13 semiregular polyhedra to be
...

**39**

votes

**14**answers

5k views

### Do mathematical objects disappear?

I am asking this question starting from two orders of considerations.
Firstly, we can witness, considering the historical development of several sciences, that certain physical entities ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

177 views

### Backgrounds of the p-Laplacian Operator

Motivation
I encountered the following partial differential equation (PDE) in a mathematical paper
$$\begin{array}{}
u_{tt}+\Delta^2u-\nabla\cdot\left(|\nabla u|^{p-2}\nabla u\right)-\Delta ...

**16**

votes

**0**answers

367 views

### History of the functor of points

Until now, I thought the functor of points approach was introduced by Grothendieck at the 1973 Buffalo seminar.
However, in this note by Lawvere the author writes:
"I myself had learned the ...

**93**

votes

**6**answers

9k views

### what mistakes did the Italian algebraic geometers actually make?

It's "well-known" that the 19th century Italian school of algebraic geometry made great progress but also started to flounder due to lack of rigour, possibly in part due to the fact that foundations ...

**20**

votes

**9**answers

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 ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

369 views

### Who is the original author of this simple paradoxical decomposition?

Paradoxical decompositions of sets usually require the axiom of choice; Hausdorff or Banach-Tarski are well-known examples. A paradoxical decomposition of a point set without the axiom of choice has ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

2k 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 ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

541 views

### Who was the first to discover that the curvature of an embedded surface is the product of the principal curvatures?

The invention of intrinsic differential geometry is usually attributed to Gauss in the context of his theorema egregium but the notion of the curvature of an embedded surface existed before. Who was ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

466 views

### The $\zeta-$word [closed]

I was wondering about classical notations in number theory. I will not ask here about special functions in general but about the more ubiquitous number theory functions. That which made me wonder ...