**23**

votes

**0**answers

532 views

### History of the Proj construction in algebraic geometry

Projective geometry was introduced by fifteenth century Renaissance painters (like Alberti, da Vinci and Dürer) in the guise of perspective theory, although one could argue that Pappus was already ...

**23**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### Name of amateur who gave a new proof of the Ramanujan-Nagell theorem?

In an article by George Johnson in the New York Times back in 1999, it says that an amateur mathematician from India once sent Ian Stewart a proof of the Ramanujan-Nagell theorem that the Diophantine ...

**16**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### Origins of the Nerve Theorem

Recently, I've read two papers which have cited the Nerve Theorem, one crediting Borsuk with the result and another Leray. Here is the question:
Who was the first to prove the Nerve Theorem?

**13**

votes

**0**answers

550 views

### Where might I find a scanned handwritten copy of Ramanujan's second letter to Hardy?

I am giving a lecture to undergraduates on the lovely identity $$1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + \cdots = -\frac{1}{12}.$$
Ramanujan wrote in his second letter to Hardy (courtesy Wikipedia),
"Dear Sir, I am very ...

**12**

votes

**0**answers

241 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 ...

**12**

votes

**0**answers

212 views

### Who first showed that $SL(n,O_K)$ is a lattice for a number ring $O_K$?

Let $O_K$ be the ring of integers in an algebraic number field $K$. Assume that $K$ has $r$ real embeddings and $s$ pairs of complex conjugate complex embeddings. There is then an injective ...

**12**

votes

**0**answers

465 views

### How come Cartan did not notice the close relationship between symmetric spaces and isoparametric hypersurfaces?

Elie Cartan made fundamental contributions to the theory of Lie groups and their geometrical applications. Among those, we can list the introduction of the remarkable family of Riemannian symmetric ...

**12**

votes

**0**answers

258 views

### Who stated and proved the “Hopf lemma” on bilinear maps?

If $A\otimes B\rightarrow C$ is a nondegenerate linear map, where $A, B, C$ are vector spaces over an algebraically closed field, then $\dim C\ge \dim A + \dim B -1$.
Nondegenerate here means ...

**12**

votes

**0**answers

406 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 ...

**11**

votes

**0**answers

220 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 ...

**11**

votes

**0**answers

577 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 ...

**11**

votes

**0**answers

876 views

### Galois theory timeline (II)

This question is a sequel. I structured the previous one around Emil Artin's classic treatment of Galois theory from the 1940s, though making clear some reservations of my own about whether Artin ...

**10**

votes

**0**answers

291 views

### What is the history of the notion of subdivision of categories?

A recent answer by Peter May prompts me to ask a question which I have been considering to ask for several months. (The reason why I have not asked it before is that it is not directly related to my ...

**9**

votes

**0**answers

248 views

### From Frege to Gödel - German equivalent?

I know this question does not quite fit here, but I felt it could best be answered here. I recently stumbled upon the book From Frege to Gödel, which is a sourcebook containing some of the most ...

**9**

votes

**0**answers

449 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 ...

**8**

votes

**0**answers

162 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 ...

**8**

votes

**0**answers

481 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" ...

**8**

votes

**0**answers

232 views

### First Table of Random Numbers

What was the first table of random numbers of any sort?
The best I can do is Tippett and Pearson's Random Sampling Numbers of 1927.
Can anybody identify an earlier table?
Thanks for any ...

**7**

votes

**0**answers

134 views

### Origin of Lie Product Formula

I'm interested in where Lie wrote down the Lie Product formula (for finite matrices)
(the precursor of the Trotter product formula; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie_product_formula). With a ...

**7**

votes

**0**answers

190 views

### Reference Request: Topological h-cobordism theorem in higher dimensions

I think this question on math.stackexchange is more appropriate on mathoverflow. Correct me, if you don't think so.
The h-cobordism theorem is true in the topological and in the smooth category in ...

**7**

votes

**0**answers

219 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 ...

**7**

votes

**0**answers

443 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 ...

**7**

votes

**0**answers

221 views

### What is the historical connection between Zeeman's twist spinning and Fox's Examples?

Both Ralph Fox and (at that time, yet to be knighted) Sir Christopher Zeeman attended the 1961 Georgia topology conference. Fox's paper from that conference was his seminal work, "A Quick Trip through ...

**7**

votes

**0**answers

632 views

### Innovations in deformation theory

I've been trying to get into deformation theory lately, and I became thirsty for a bit of context.
Has Deformation Theory seen a lot of development since its inception? If I read Michael Artin's ...

**7**

votes

**0**answers

597 views

### Original references for the homotopy groups pi_5 of SU(3) and pi_4 of SU(2)?

For revision of a paper (http://arxiv.org/abs/1008.1189), I'd like to
correct my references to the original work on aspects of the homotopy
groups pi_5 of SU(3) and pi_4 of SU(2). I'm not a ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

240 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 ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

232 views

### Silver's unpublished work on reverse Easton iteration

Silver was the first person who used the method of reverse Easton iterations in connection with large cardinals, and used it to force the failure of $GCH$ at some measurable cardinal.
At most papers ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

182 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 ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

328 views

### Why the $M$ for Thom spaces?

I've heard $E$ is for entire space, $B$ is for base space, so what is $M$ for?

**6**

votes

**0**answers

470 views

### functor before cat?

As i read the literature, derived functors were there several years before derive categories - right?

**6**

votes

**0**answers

278 views

### Cutting and pasting in Galois theory

I want to ask who was the first to use cut-paste construction in Galois theory.
This question is motivated from the trend in contemporary Galois theory to use patching methods to construct Galois ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

402 views

### Does mathematical fecundity ever deviate from its applicability?

We are all familiar with Wigner's "unreasonable effectiveness
of mathematics" thesis (1), and of Hardy's opinion
that "the great bulk of higher mathematics is useless" (2).
I am wondering if there are ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

457 views

### Historical and terminological questions about Dan Kan's Ex functor and its relation to the classical case of simplicial complexes

Recall that we may define a functor $\xi:\Delta\to \operatorname{Poset}$ sending a simplex $[n]$ to the set of monotone injections $[k]\hookrightarrow [n]$ for $k\geq 0$ (effectively, $k\leq n$ as ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

136 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,
...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

210 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 ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

181 views

### Did the notion of “angle” originate with Thales?

Thales (circa 600BC—roughly 50 years before Pythagoras, 200 years before Plato,
and 300 years before Euclid)
certainly knew and reasoned with the concept of a planar angle.
Are there earlier ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

263 views

### Sophus Lie on the symplectic foliation theorem

Given a Poisson manifold $(P,\{\cdot,\cdot\})$, its characteristic distribution $\mathcal C$ is the singular tangent distribution on $M$ generated by the Hamiltonian vector fields,i.e.
$$\mathcal ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

248 views

### Proof of Lomnicki and Ulam on Infinite Product Probability Spaces

Given an arbitrary, nonempty family $(\Omega_i,\Sigma_i,\mu_i)_{i\in I}$ of probability spaces, there exists a probability measure $\mu$ on $\otimes_i\Sigma_i$ such that for every finite set ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

251 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 ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

215 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

**0**answers

220 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 ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

427 views

### sine and Archimedes' derivation of the area of the circle

The elementary "opposite over hypotenuse" definition of the sine function defines the sine of an angle, not a real number. As discussed in the article "A Circular Argument" [Fred Richman, The College ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

755 views

### What did Hilbert do on Hilbert spaces to deserve his name?

This question is just curiosity. When I had my first course in Functional Analysis, most of basic theorems about Banach spaces were presented to me as attributed to Banach (Hahn-Banach, ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

104 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 ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

127 views

### History of limit point compact -/-> compact example

A standard example in elementary topology (e.g. Munkres) of a space which is limit-point compact (every infinite subset of the space has a limit point) but not compact is the minimal uncountable ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

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* ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

263 views

### A Question Regarding Boolean-valued Models

What were the intuitions motivating the creation (or discovery, if you will) of Boolean-valued models? I have searched for the Scott-Solovay paper on the subject, but to no avail. There also seems to ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

206 views

### Key variety technique, a history question

I have a history question about the technique called "key variety technique" used in algebraic geometry. (see eg http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.9.6880). One can find many ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

539 views

### Missing exposes in SGA 5, and the composition of the SGA's

Over the past couple of years I had to look in SGA for various results, and I can't but marvel at how poorly constructed it is. In SGA1 expose VII "n'existe pas", SGA 1 references higher SGA's, and so ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

93 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 ...