# Tagged Questions

Questions asking for the intuition behind some definition, conjecture, proof etc. In other words, questions designed to improve or to acquire understanding on a conceptual or intuitive level, as opposed to on a technical or formal level. When asking such a question it can be helpful to include a ...

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### A geometric characterization for arithmetic genus

Let $X$ be a smooth projective variety over $\mathbb{C}$. The following information is all equivalent (any of these numbers can be computed by a linear equation from any of the others): the ...
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### Other Homology Theories still Count Holes?

This may be a naive question, but since first learning homology I considered it as a tool which counts appropriate holes in your space (on top of orientation and torsion phenomena). Then I was ...
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### Why are lacunary series so badly behaved?

Hi! I just came across the Ostroski-Hadamard gap theorem, and while I can understand the proofs as well as the principle that the series $\sum_{n=0}^\infty z^{2^n}$ ought to have a singularity at ...
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### Intuition behind generic points in a scheme

In a scheme, each point is a generic point of its closure. In particular each closed point is a generic point of itself (the set containing it only), but that's perhaps of little interest. A point ...
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### Why should the anabelian geometry conjectures be true?

I had probed friends of mine about Grothendieck's motivation for making the anabelian geometry conjectures, and they gave me the following explanation: If $X$ is a hyperbolic curve over some field $K$...
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### What is a complex inner product space “really”?

This is an extended re-post of a question that I have asked on MSE not a long time ago. But anyway, it seems more appropriate for MO. To begin with, in a real inner product space we have a geometric ...
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### What does Mellin inversion “really mean”?

Given a function $f: \mathbb{R}^+ \rightarrow \mathbb{C}$ satisfying suitable conditions (exponential decay at infinity, continuous, and bounded variation) is good enough, its Mellin transform is ...
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### Is there an intuitive reason for Zariski's main theorem?

Zariski's main theorem has many guises, and so I will give you the freedom to pick the one that you find to be most intuitive. For the sake of completeness, I will put here one version: Zariski's ...
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### Intuition for coends

Let $D$ be a co-complete category and $C$ be a small category. For a functor $F:C^{op}\times C \to D$ one defines the co-end $$\int^{c\in C} F(c,c)$$ as the co-equalizer of  \coprod_{c\to c'}F(c,c'...
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### What is a coalgebra intuitively?

How to think about coalgebras? Are there geometric interpretations of coalgebras? If I think of algebras and modules as spaces and vectorbundles, what are coalgebras and comodules? What basic ...
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### Relationship between R-transform and free convolution of random matrices?

I've been using the R-transform to calculate the free convolution of the eigenvalue spectra of two random matrices and I am trying to understand how it works, and in particular how it relates to ...
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### Intuition behind the age grading in quantum cohomology of orbifolds

Let $\mathscr{X}$ be a smooth DM-stack with projective coarse moduli space. I am interested in the orbifold cohomology ring $H^\mathrm{orb}(\mathscr{X})$, as defined by Chen-Ruan (for orbifolds) and ...
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### Physicist's request for intuition on covariant derivatives and Lie derivatives

A friend of mine is studying physics, and asks the following question which, I am sure, others could respond to better: What is the difference between the covariant derivative of $X$ along the curve ...
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### Help motivating log-structures

I'm currently reading a thesis that uses log-structures. I should mention that this is my first encounter with them, and the thesis (as well as my expertise) is scheme-theoretic (in fact stack-...
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### Weight filtration of MHSs

This is probably a very stupid question, but could someone explain to me where the weight filtration of mixed Hodge structures come from and why we actually need it? If the Hodge-to-de Rham spectral ...
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### Tomita-Takesaki versus Frobenius: where is the similarity?

I've often heard Alain Connes say that the modular flow of Tomita-Takesaki theory should be thought of as a characteristic zero analog of the Frobenius endomorphism. ... can anyone justify this claim?...
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### How to solve Ax=b incrementally ?

Hi, everyone. What I am struggling is the following problem. I have a linear matrix equation $Ax=b$, where $A$ is a known $n \times n$ large sparse real matrix, $x$ and $b$ are known $n \times 1$ ...
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### Overview of the interplay of Harmonic Analysis and Number Theory

I'm kind of disappointed that the question here was never sharpened. The Laplacian $\Delta$ on the upper half-plane is $-y^{2}(\partial^{2}/\partial x^{2}+\partial^{2}/\partial y^{2}))$. Suppose $D$ ...
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### What is a Lagrangian submanifold intuitively?

What are good ways to think about Lagrangian submanifolds? Why should one care about them? More generally: same questions about (co)isotropic ones. Answers from a classical mechanics point of view ...
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### Surprising and Useful Physical Intuition for Mathematical Objects

I believe I.M. Gelfand said that when beginning to learn a new subject, one should learn it like a physicist. In this spirit, what are some helpful and surprising physical intuitions accompanying ...
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### Algebraic P vs. NP

I recently attended a lecture where the speaker mentioned that what he was talking about was connected to the algebraic version of the $P$ vs. $NP$ problem. Could someone explain what that means in a ...
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### What notions are used but not clearly defined in modern mathematics?

"Everyone knows what a curve is, until he has studied enough mathematics to become confused through the countless number of possible exceptions." Felix Klein What notions are used but not ...
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### Canonical geometric examples

The proofs without words post has some great entries. I'm interested in a similar concept: examples where a problem in math or physics is accompanied by a geometric figure that illuminates some key ...
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### Intuition on Log-Concave Sequences

A sequence $(a_n)$ is said to be log-concave provided $a_i^2 \geq a_{i-1}a_{i+1}$ for all $i$. What sorts of intuition can one have about log-concave sequences? In particular, what kind of "picture" ...