1
vote
2answers
333 views

Can one branch of mathematics be completely learned from the perspective of another branch of mathematics? [closed]

This arose from a discussion with a friend (people involved are two engineers) who argued that every result in mathematics should be transformable into another branch. For example, he argued that ...
7
votes
2answers
842 views

How should you respond to a student who asks whether a very nice physical example constitutes a proof? [closed]

"Is this really a proof?" is the exact question e-mailed to me today from an undergraduate mathematics student whom I know as a highly competent student. The one sentence question was accompanied with ...
2
votes
4answers
972 views

When did you “meet Polya”? [closed]

I guess most of us didn't meet Polya in person (this is the answer to the title)! Perhaps, it is much easier to guess that most of us have met one of his writings (or alike) on problem solving, and ...
-6
votes
3answers
666 views

Where is the belly button of the Universe? [closed]

It's fine and nice and wonderful when a part of learning mathematics is chaotic, ad hoc, spontaneous, social, ... However it would be perhaps of fundamental value to know a very central point of ...
11
votes
2answers
708 views

Anything special (historical?) about surface $x\cdot y\cdot z\ +\ x+y+z=0$?

QUESTION I wanted to introduce and develop the complex logarithm from scratch. As the result I've arrived a couple of months ago at the following identity after which the road to complex logarithm is ...
37
votes
19answers
5k views

Are there proofs that you feel you did not “understand” for a long time?

Perhaps the "proofs" of ABC conjecture or newly released weak version of twin prime conjecture or alike readily come to your mind. These are not the proofs I am looking for. Indeed my question was ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What does a mathematician expect from mathematics education? [closed]

Consider that my question is not a personal and/or subjective question. Perhaps, you have hired a mathematics educator in your department and you are interested in finding a way to communicate with ...
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 ...
15
votes
7answers
1k views

Unexpected applications of the fact that nth degree polynomials are determined by n+1 points

I had a funny idea for proving an identity in Euclidean geometry. While it didn't end up being a very nice proof strategy in my case, I would still like to collect nice examples of where the proof ...