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41
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46answers
14k views

An example of a beautiful proof that would be accessible at the high school level?

The background of my question comes from an observation that what we teach in schools does not always reflect what we practice. Beauty is part of what drives mathematicians, but we rarely talk about ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

finding permutation matrix I which minimizes TRACE( I* C*( I^T)* D) matrix

I have a problem that is really important for my thesis and i am not studding math so i will be very glad if you help me in this case... thanks for your help in advance I want to find permutation ...
116
votes
29answers
36k views

Real-world applications of mathematics, by arxiv subject area?

What are the most important applications outside of mathematics of each of the major fields of mathematics? For concreteness, let's divide up mathematics according to arxiv mathematics categories, ...
429
votes
186answers
110k views

Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics

The first thing to say is that this is not the same as the question about interesting mathematical mistakes. I am interested about the type of false beliefs that many intelligent people have while ...
47
votes
14answers
5k views

How to write popular mathematics well?

Recently, some classmates and I were lamenting the fact that our classmates in other disciplines had almost no conception of what we did, despite the large mathematics population at Waterloo. Instead ...
37
votes
32answers
5k views

Are there any books that take a 'theorems as problems' approach?

Are there any books that present theorems as problems? To be more specific, a book on elementary group theory might have written: "Theorem: Each group has exactly one identity" and then show a proof ...
43
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
3
votes
11answers
3k views

Your experience of Computer Science/Programming in Mathematics Education? [closed]

This is a survey question, which seeks to produce a list of answers from the audience of mathematicians. Motivation: I'm doing research in mathematics education. I'm particularly interested in ...
29
votes
21answers
8k views

Why linear algebra is fun!(or ?)

Edit: the original poster is Menny, but the question is CW; the first-person pronoun refers to Menny, not to the most recent editor. I'm doing an introductory talk on linear algebra with the ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

When exactly and why matrix multiplication became a part of undergraduate curriculum?

The story about Heisenberg inventing matrices and matrix multiplication in 1925 is very well known and well documented. Few weeks later Born and Jordan picked this and recognized the matrix ...
93
votes
7answers
9k views

How to memorise (understand) Nakayama's lemma and its corollaries?

Nakayama's lemma is mentioned in the majority of books on algebraic geometry that treat varieties. So I think Ihave read the formulation of this lemma at least 20 times (and read the proof maybe ...
2
votes
2answers
288 views

Characterizing triangles unembeddedly

The mathedu mailing list has a recent longish thread at http://www.nabble.com/Why-do-we-do-proofs--to25809591.html which discussed among other things whether we should teach triangles as labeled or ...
4
votes
2answers
466 views

Power series with funny behavior at the boundary

Consider a power series $$ \sum_{n=0}^{\infty}a_nz^n $$ where $a_n$ and $z$ are complex numbers. There is radius $R$ of convergence. Let us assume that is a positive real number. It is well known that ...
34
votes
1answer
2k views

Hilbert's Hotel

Hilbert's Hotel is a famous story about infinity attributed to David Hilbert (1862-1943). Is it documented that Hilbert's Hotel is in fact due to Hilbert, and if yes, where?
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Distance between two distribution of image

I am looking for a common distance method to compare two distribution (ex: histogram of image). Please suggest to me some common method to do it. I found some method ex: Bhattacharyya distance , K-L ...
32
votes
7answers
3k views

Why the Killing form?

I'm teaching a short summer course on algebraic groups and it's time to talk about the Killing form on the Lie algebra. The students are all undergrads of varying levels of inexperience, and I try to ...
5
votes
1answer
704 views

Can one live without actual infinity? [closed]

The title of this question is the exact title of one of the sections of a book written by Alexandre Borovik: Mathematics under the Microscope. Under the title, we read: How should we approach the ...
65
votes
20answers
8k views

“Mathematics talk” for five year olds

I am trying to prepare a "mathematics talk" for five year olds from my daughter's elementary school. I have given many mathematics talks in my life but this one feels very tough to prepare. Could the ...
1
vote
0answers
256 views

Is Independent University of Moscow recognized? [closed]

What graduate schools recognize the degree from Independent University of Moscow? It is not a university strictly speaking and their degree doesn't have any official status in Russia, but they claim ...
40
votes
18answers
5k views

How can an extremely mathematically talented young person be helped to fulfill his/her potential?

Obviously, this question is not a research level mathematics question at all. But, I've just met an extremely mathematically talented 11 years old student and I don't know how I can help him. For ...
27
votes
11answers
3k views

Are there elementary-school curricula that capture the joy of mathematics?

UPDATE: Wow, thank you everyone for the great insights! A couple of months ago I stumbled across Paul Lockhart's essay A Mathematician's Lament and it made perfect sense to me. I'm not meaning to ...
96
votes
37answers
72k views

Too old for advanced mathematics? [closed]

Kind of an odd question, perhaps, so I apologize in advance if it is inappropriate for this forum. I've never taken a mathematics course since high school, and didn't complete college. However, ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

Is $x \, \tan(x)$ integrable in elementary functions?

I'm teaching Calculus and my students asked me to calculate the integral of $x \, \tan(x)$. I spent quite a lot of effort to do this, but I'm now even not sure if the integral could be presented in ...
203
votes
72answers
81k 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
3k views

Leibnizian calculus textbook

Where can I find a calculus textbook that emphasizes differentials? Is there such a book that I could realistically require my calculus students to use? I want a textbook that supports me when I tell ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

Undergraduate Topology

I am developing an introductory topology course for undergraduates, and I am wondering what topics to cover. At my institution, real analysis is not a prerequisite for the course, so it is more than ...
4
votes
5answers
606 views

Resources for learning domain theory?

I'm a computer programmer who's caught on to denotational semantics. I mostly work with Ruby, JavaScript and C, but I know a little Haskell and ML. I've taken my first steps towards reasoning about ...
57
votes
73answers
11k views

Elementary+Short+Useful

Imagine your-self in front of a class with very good undergraduates who plan to do mathematics (professionally) in the future. You have 30 minutes after that you do not see these students again. You ...
89
votes
53answers
20k views

What are your favorite instructional counterexamples?

Related: question #879, Most interesting mathematics mistake. But the intent of this question is more pedagogical. In many branches of mathematics, it seems to me that a good counterexample can be ...
2
votes
3answers
745 views

Assessing effectiveness of (epsilon, delta) definitions [closed]

There is much discussion both in the education community and the mathematics community concerning the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in calculus and the student reception of them. The ...
49
votes
9answers
3k views

Taking “Zooming in on a point of a graph” seriously

In calculus classes it is sometimes said that the tangent line to a curve at a point is the line that we get by "zooming in" on that point with an infinitely powerful microscope. This explanation ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Pacing for learning new material

I'm beginning to run into work where I have to do a significant amount of learning of math by myself, with a book rather than with a teacher. Now, I do know that doing problems tends to be the best ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Applications of Euler-Cauchy ODEs

The Euler-Cauchy ODE (2nd order, homogeneous version) is: $$ x^2 y'' + a x y' + b y = 0 $$ Looking in various books on ODEs and a random walk on a web search (i.e. I didn't click on every link, but ...
28
votes
2answers
957 views

Schubert calculus, as lowbrow as possible

Starting in a week I'm going to be an instructor at a summer program for exceptionally mathematically talented high school students, and I'm going to be teaching a class on Schubert calculus. The ...
14
votes
19answers
11k views

Good combinatorics textbooks for teaching undergraduates?

Hello, can anyone recommend good combinatorics textbooks for undergraduates? I will be teaching a 10-week course on the subject at Stanford, and I assume that the students will be strong and motivated ...
28
votes
6answers
2k views

Taylor's theorem and the symmetric group

Anytime I see an $n!$ in some formula, my instinct is to look for the symmetric group on $n$ letters coming in somewhere. I have never done this seriously with the $n!$ in Taylor's theorem. Question: ...
34
votes
1answer
3k views

Probability that a stick randomly broken in five places can form a tetrahedron

The following problem was brought to my attention by a doctoral dissertation on Mathematics Education, but - as far as I know - the solution remains unknown. I have already asked this question on ...
23
votes
6answers
10k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Moore method?

Describe your experiences with the Moore method. What are its advantages and disadvantages?
6
votes
12answers
5k views

Useless math that became useful

I'm writing an article on Lychrel numbers and some people pointed out that this is completely useless. My idea is to amend my article with some theories that seemed useless when they are created but ...
4
votes
3answers
510 views

Looking for ideas concerning the teaching of lower-division differential equation courses…

I'm looking for problems/lessons plans that could be used in a lower-division differential equations course that involve discerning properties of solutions of an equation, IVP, or BVP, without looking ...
-6
votes
1answer
638 views

V.I. Arnold's high school problem [closed]

According to his interview to the Notices of the AMS, when Vladimir I. Arnold was 12 years old (in 1949) his teacher I.V. Morozkin, gave to his classroom (apparently 6th grade of a soviet primary ...
50
votes
15answers
7k views

What's a nice argument that shows the volume of the unit ball in $\mathbb R^n$ approaches 0?

Before you close for "homework problem", please note the tags. Last week, I gave my calculus 1 class the assignment to calculate the $n$-volume of the $n$-ball. They had finished up talking about ...
11
votes
5answers
675 views

Recreational mathematics: where to search?

I am not sure I can strictly define recreational mathematics. But we all feel what it is about: puzzles, problems you can ask your mathematical friends, problems that will bother them for a couple of ...
55
votes
10answers
10k views

Is Euclid dead? [closed]

Apparently Euclid died about 2,300 years ago (actually 2,288 to be more precise), but the title of the question refers to the rallying cry of Dieudonné, "A bas Euclide! Mort aux triangles!" ...
1
vote
3answers
188 views

Application for functions of the shape $r = f(\theta)$

A fairly ubiquitous object in elementary calculus is a function of the shape $r = f(\theta)$, where $r$ is the radius and $\theta$ the argument. Common examples include the cardiod and limacon, and of ...
13
votes
2answers
600 views

Where and when did “transition to abstraction” courses start?

I often find myself debating the content and structure of such courses and I would find it useful to know the basic history. I don't remember any such offerings during my own undergraduate days in ...
44
votes
4answers
2k views

What algorithm in algebraic geometry should I work on implementing?

This summer my wife and one of my friends (who are both programmers and undergraduate math majors, but have not learned any algebraic geometry) want to learn some algebraic geometry from me, and I ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “problem solving” a subject to be taught?

I am witnessing a new curriculum change in my country (Iran). It includes the change of all the mathematics textbooks at all grades. The peoples involved has sent me the textbook for seven graders (13 ...
39
votes
7answers
5k views

How do you not forget old math?

I am trying to not forget my old math. I finished my PhD in real algebraic geometry a few years ago and then switched to the industry for financial reasons. Now I get the feeling that I want to do a ...
12
votes
4answers
882 views

Simple groups with the same cardinality as PSL_2(Z/p)

In an undergrad honors algebra course it's sometimes shown that when $p$ is prime and $>3$ then $PSL_2(Z/p)$ is simple of of order $p(p-1)(p+1)/2$. But that this is the "only" simple group having ...