**552**

votes

**215**answers

141k 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 ...

**8**

votes

**10**answers

8k views

### Learning Algebra & Group Theory on my own [closed]

I'm learning Algebra & Group Theory, casually, on my own. Professionally, I'm a computer consultant, with a growing interest in the mathematical and theoretical aspects. I've been amazed with ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

44 views

### Discrete Mathematics Uses [closed]

I am trying to explain how and why discrete maths is used in areas such as programming, correctness, data types, state transistion and conditionals. I'm having a really hard time articulating it ...

**43**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### How do you mentor undergraduate research?

Lets say you had an undergraduate who wanted to do some advanced work and some research, possibly for a thesis, or things like that.
There are two slightly more specific groups of questions I have ...

**20**

votes

**9**answers

2k 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 ...

**60**

votes

**18**answers

6k views

### One-step problems in geometry

I'm collecting advanced exercises in geometry. Ideally, each exercise should be solved by one trick and this trick should be useful elsewhere (say it gives an essential idea in some theory).
If you ...

**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 ...

**55**

votes

**8**answers

8k views

### What is Lagrange Inversion good for?

I am planning an introductory combinatorics course (mixed grad-undergrad) and am trying to decide whether it is worth budgeting a day for Lagrange inversion. The reason I hesitate is that I know of ...

**16**

votes

**10**answers

4k 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 ...

**68**

votes

**77**answers

12k 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 ...

**25**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Community experiences writing Lamport's structured proofs

About two years ago, I came across this paper by Lamport
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/lamport/pubs/lamport-how-to-write.pdf
on writing proofs hierarchically. It changed how I wrote ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

249 views

### Everyday, real-life applications of mathematical concepts, and human intuition vs mathematical analysis [closed]

I'm working on an educational project about the applications of reasonably 'lofty', high-ish-level mathematical concepts in the real world. I've already scoured these links (1) (2) (3) after ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

986 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 ...

**9**

votes

**1**answer

509 views

### Problems which use S₄ → S₃

I need examples of problems which use, directly or indirectly, the homomorphism $S_4\to S_3$ in the solution (its kernel is $\mathbb{Z}_2\oplus\mathbb{Z}_2$).
Obvious candidates:
Lagrange resolvent ...

**89**

votes

**17**answers

8k views

### Why do we care about $L^p$ spaces besides $p = 1$, $p = 2$, and $p = \infty$?

I was helping a student study for a functional analysis exam and the question came up as to when, in practice, one needs to consider the Banach space $L^p$ for some value of $p$ other than the obvious ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

349 views

### A logarithmic cotangent inequality

I must be a terrible googling searcher but I cannot find a reference to the following inequality:
$$ \forall_{\phi\in(0;\frac \pi 4)}\ \ln(\cot(\phi)))\, <\, \cot(2\!\cdot\!\phi) $$
I have just ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Advantages of the sequence definition of limits

I will be teaching an introductory analysis course in the coming semester. In it the students will learn about limits of real sequences, and then will learn about limits of functions in terms of ...

**59**

votes

**15**answers

6k views

### Sophisticated treatments of topics in school mathematics

Sophisticated mathematical concepts typically shed light on sophisticated mathematics. But in a few cases they also apply to elementary mathematics in an interesting way. I find such examples ...

**30**

votes

**18**answers

10k views

### Interesting and Accessible Topics in Graph Theory

This summer, I will be teaching an introductory course in graph theory to talented high school seniors. The intent of the course is not to establish proficiency in graph theory, per se. Rather, I hope ...

**45**

votes

**11**answers

6k views

### Interesting results in algebraic geometry accessible to 3rd year undergraduates

On another thread I asked how I could encourage my final year undergraduate colleagues to take an algebraic geometry or complex analysis courses during their graduate studies.
Willie Wong proposed me ...

**104**

votes

**27**answers

15k views

### How To Present Mathematics To Non-Mathematicians?

(Added an epilogue)
I started a job as a TA, and it requires me to take a five sessions workshop about better teaching in which we have to present a 10 minutes lecture (micro-teaching).
In the last ...

**142**

votes

**30**answers

53k 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, ...

**166**

votes

**35**answers

41k views

### Why is a topology made up of 'open' sets? [closed]

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I don't think I've ever been able to genuinely motivate the definition of a topological space in an undergraduate course. Clearly, the definition distills the essence of ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Reference for a nice proof of “undetermined coefficients”

I'm teaching an honors differential equations class and have been using linear algebra heavily. I thought it would be interesting to include a proof of the method of undetermined coefficients along ...

**122**

votes

**58**answers

25k 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 ...

**56**

votes

**12**answers

11k views

### How misleading is it to regard $\frac{dy}{dx}$ as a fraction?

I am teaching Calc I, for the first time, and I haven't seriously revisited the subject in quite some time. An interesting pedagogy question came up: How misleading is it to regard $\frac{dy}{dx}$ as ...

**29**

votes

**13**answers

2k views

### Where have you used computer programming in your career as an (applied/pure) mathematician?

For background: I'm working on a book to help mathematicians learn how to program. However, I need to see some examples from people in the field that have done different kinds of things than I have.
...

**62**

votes

**14**answers

6k 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 ...

**10**

votes

**8**answers

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 ...

**46**

votes

**34**answers

7k 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 ...

**19**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### Euclid with Birkhoff

I'm looking for an short and elementary book which does Euclidean geomety with Birkhoff's axioms.
It would be best if it would also include some topics in projective (and/or) hyperbolic geometry.
...

**42**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

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

Edit (June 2015): Addressing this problem is a brief project report from the Illinois Geometry Lab (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), dated May 2015, that appears here along with a ...

**48**

votes

**45**answers

17k 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 ...

**62**

votes

**8**answers

10k 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 ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

110 views

### Numerical equality testing

I am working on developing an online homework system.
One thing I would like to have is something which compares a student's answer (like $2\sin(x)\cos(x)$) with the intended answer (maybe ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

414 views

### What questions should -ologists of mathematics ask, in order to improve maths researcher training? [closed]

This question is part of a project funded by the International Council for Science, supported by the IMU (among other bodies). Answers gathered here on mathoverflow may be included in the final ...

**62**

votes

**7**answers

10k 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 ...

**35**

votes

**21**answers

7k views

### Nontrivial question about Fibonacci numbers?

I'm looking for a nontrivial, but not super difficult question concerning Fibonacci numbers. It should be at a level suitable for an undergraduate course.
Here is a (not so good) example of the sort ...

**52**

votes

**9**answers

13k views

### Relating Category Theory to Programming Language Theory

I'm wondering what the relation of category theory to programming language theory is.
I've been reading some books on category theory and topos theory, but if someone happens to know what the ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

248 views

### How to teach generalizing the induction hypothesis? [closed]

I just finished teaching a class on using proof assistants (in this case, Agda) to write provably correct programs. Reflecting on how it went, the biggest difficulty I noticed the students having was ...

**18**

votes

**12**answers

7k views

### How seriously should a graduate student take teaching evaluations?

Pretty much the question in the title. If a grad student gets bad reviews as a TA, how much does that hurt them later? How much do good reviews help? What if the situation is more complex? (For ...

**27**

votes

**12**answers

2k views

### Historical (personal) examples of teaching-based research

The phrase "teaching-based research" brings to mind research about teaching, though important, it is not what I mean. Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a better phrase, thus please bear with me ...

**25**

votes

**3**answers

2k 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 ...

**47**

votes

**17**answers

11k views

### Parodies of abstruse mathematical writing

Perhaps under the influence of a recent question
on perverse sheaves,
in conjunction with the impending $\pi$-day (3/14/15 at 9:26:53),
I recalled a long-ago parody of abstruse mathematical language
...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### In studying maths, do you tend to go through books one at a time? [closed]

Or do you read a lot of books on the same subject (say Topology)? Consider these two cases:
Case 1: Suppose you want to study point set topology. You pick up a good book and work thoroughly on it.
...

**63**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Good ways to engage in mathematics outreach?

Greetings all, I have often heard that it would be good if we as a community did more in the way of mathematics outreach: more to explain what it is we do to the community at large, more to expose ...

**34**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Motivation for concepts in Algebraic Geometry

I know there was a question about good algebraic geometry books on here before, but it doesn't seem to address my specific concerns.
**
Question
**
Are there any well-motivated introductions to ...

**6**

votes

**13**answers

7k 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 ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

118 views

### Applications of Freiman's theorem?

What are some interesting applications of Freiman's theorem or, better-yet, its recent generalizations (eg Green-Ruzsa) that could be included in a graduate course in additive combinatorics?
I'm ...

**21**

votes

**14**answers

2k views

### Insightful books about elementary mathematics

What are some books that discuss elementary mathematical topics ('school mathematics'), like arithmetic, basic non-abstract algebra, plane & solid geometry, trigonometry, etc, in an insightful ...