Euclidean, hyperbolic, discrete, convex, coarse geometry, comparisons in Riemannian geometry, symmetric spaces.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

51
votes
3answers
4k views

Is the sphere the only surface all of whose projections are circles? Or: Can we deduce a spherical Earth by observing that its shadows on the Moon are always circular?

Several ancient arguments suggest a curved Earth, such as the observation that ships disappear mast-last over the horizon, and Eratosthenes' surprisingly accurate calculation of the size of the Earth ...
16
votes
8answers
1k views

Determining a surface in $\mathbb{R}^3$ by its Gaussian curvature

A curve in the plane is determined, up to orientation-preserving Euclidean motions, by its curvature function, $\kappa(s)$. Here is one of my favorite examples, from Alfred Gray's book, Modern ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

Representability of finite metric spaces

There have been a couple questions recently regarding metric spaces, which got me thinking a bit about representation theorems for finite metric spaces. Suppose $X$ is a set equipped with a metric ...
4
votes
1answer
181 views

Computational approach deciding whether a set of Wang Tile could tile the space up to some size

As an applied person, I'm facing one practical problem deciding whether a set of Wang tile could tile the plane periodically or aperiodically. Although both problems seem undecidable, but I'm on a ...
38
votes
7answers
4k views

Riemannian surfaces with an explicit distance function?

I'm looking for explicit examples of Riemannian surfaces (two-dimensional Riemannian manifolds $(M,g)$) for which the distance function d(x,y) can be given explicitly in terms of local coordinates of ...
37
votes
12answers
2k views

Can a discrete set of the plane of uniform density intersect all large triangles?

Let S be a discrete subset of the Euclidean plane such that the number of points in a large disc is approximatively equal to the area of the disc. Does the complement of S necessarily contain ...
45
votes
5answers
2k views

If a unitsquare is partitioned into 101 triangles, is the area of one at least 1%?

Update: The answer to the title question is not necessarily, as pointed out by Tapio and Willie. I would be more interested in lower bounds. Monsky's famous and amazingly tricky proof says that if we ...
14
votes
9answers
6k views

Algorithm for finding the volume of a convex polytope

It's easy to find the area of a convex polygon by division into triangles, but what is the optimal way of finding the volume of higher-dimensional convex bodies? I tried a few methods for dividing ...
26
votes
0answers
807 views

Concerning the various proofs from the axiom of choice that R^3 admits of surprising geometrical decompositions into circles, skew lines and so on: can we prove in any instance that there are no Borel such decompositions? Or that AC is required?

This question follows up on a comment I made on Joseph O'Rourke's recent question, one of several questions here on mathoverflow concerning surprising geometric partitions of space using the axiom of ...
11
votes
3answers
361 views

Can a tangle of arcs interlock?

Can a (finite) collection of disjoint circle arcs in $\mathbb{R}^3$ be interlocked in the sense in that they cannot be separated, i.e. each moved arbitrarily far from one another while remaining ...
4
votes
5answers
836 views

Feasibility of a list of prescribed distances in R^3

I am puzzled with the following problem: Given $n$ real numbers it is to obtain a Yes/No answer to: "whether it is possible to arrange different points in the Euclidean $\mathbb{R}^3$ so that every ...
9
votes
1answer
255 views

Can Tarski decide constructibility in elementary geometry?

Can the decision routine for Tarski's Elementary geometry be extended to decide when an existence claim in that theory can be instantiated by a compass and straightedge construction? The answer does ...
8
votes
1answer
613 views

In a locally CAT(k) space, does uniqueness of geodesics imply the lack of conjugate points?

A complete, simply connected Riemannian manifold has no conjugate points if and only if every geodesic is length-minimizing. I just realized that I don't know whether the same is true for a locally ...
12
votes
1answer
327 views

(A question about)${}^3$ 3-dimensional convex bodies

Related to the questions mathoverflow.net question No. 137850 and mathoverflow.net question No. 39127, is there a 3-dimensional convex body other than a ball whose perpendicular projections in all ...
6
votes
1answer
545 views

A problem on infinite dimensional metric space

Let $(X_{n},d_{n})_{n \in \mathbb{N}}$ be a sequence of complete geodesic metric spaces verifying : $X_{n}$ is a regular CW complex of constant local dimension $n$. $X_{n}$ is of finite type, ...
6
votes
2answers
463 views

Homotopy problem for infinite dimensional topological space II

This post here is a specification of this post. Let $(X_{n},d_{n})_{n \in \mathbb{N}}$ be a sequence of intrinsic metric spaces verifying : $X_{n}$ have topological dimension $n$. $X_{n+1}$ is ...
6
votes
1answer
221 views

A question about a question about 3-dimensional convex bodies

For each positive integer n let E(n) denote n-dimensional Euclidean space and let the term "n-dimensional convex body" mean a compact convex subset of E(n) whose interior (with respect to E(n)) is ...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

Maximal regions with given diameter

Let us call a bounded region $D$ in the plane maximal if the conditions $D\subset D'$ and $\mathrm{diam} D'=\mathrm{diam} D$ imply $D'=D$. Is it possible to describe all maximal regions? The only ...
4
votes
3answers
472 views

Uniquely geodesic and CAT(0) spaces?

Improvement after J-M Schlenker's comment below : This post has been divided into two parts, the second part is here. Question : Is a finite dimensional metric space, uniquely geodesic if and only ...
4
votes
0answers
143 views

Upper bounds on art gallery problems using independent witnesses

Given a polygon $P$, the art gallery problem looks to find a smallest set of points that sees all of $P$. One way of bounding the number of guards necessary (from below) is to find a largest set of ...
4
votes
0answers
217 views

Symmetric matrices and Hilbert's fourth problem

From the analytic viewpoint, the Busemann-Pogorelov solution of Hilbert's fourth problem is summarized in the following result: Theorem. All straight lines are extremals of the variational problem $$ ...
19
votes
6answers
2k views

Covering a unit ball with balls half the radius

This is a direct (and obvious) generalization of the recent MO question, "Covering disks with smaller disks": How many balls of radius $\frac{1}{2}$ are needed to cover completely a ball of radius ...
61
votes
11answers
8k views

Is it possible to capture a sphere in a knot?

You and I decide to play a game: To start off with, I provide you with a frictionless, perfectly spherical sphere, along with a frictionless, unstretchable, infinitely thin magical rope. This rope ...
15
votes
1answer
308 views

Does every convex polyhedron have a combinatorially isomorphic counterpart whose all faces have rational areas?

Does every convex polyhedron have a combinatorially isomorphic counterpart whose faces all have rational areas? Does every convex polyhedron have a combinatorially isomorphic counterpart whose edges ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Weitzenböck Identities

I asked this question at Maths Stack Exchange, but I haven't received any replies yet (I'm not sure how long I should wait before it is acceptable to ask here, assuming there is such a period of ...
34
votes
3answers
1k views

What fraction of the integer lattice can be seen from the origin?

Consider the integer lattice points in the positive quadrant $Q$ of $\mathbb{Z}^2$. Say that a point $(x,y)$ of $Q$ is visible from the origin if the segment from $(0,0)$ to $(x,y) \in Q$ passes ...
34
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
885 views

About the ratio of the areas of a convex pentagon and the inner pentagon made by the five diagonals

Question : Letting $S{^\prime}$ be the area of the inner pentagon made by the five diagonals of a convex pentagon whose area is $S$, then find the max of $\frac{S^\prime}{S}$. ...
18
votes
5answers
778 views

Lightray trapped between two mirror disks: Computation formulation?

I would like to calculate the angle of a ray $r$ from a given point $p$ such that it gets "stuck" reflecting between two congruent mirror-disks. For why there is such a ray, see the (amazing!) answer ...
17
votes
9answers
4k views

Open problems in Euclidean geometry ?

Which are some (research level) open problems in Euclidean geometry ? (Edit: I ask just out of curiosity, to understand how -and if- nowadays this is not a "dead" field yet) I should clarify a ...
19
votes
4answers
935 views

Surfaces filled densely by a geodesic

Which smooth, closed surfaces $S \subset \mathbb{R}^3$ have no single geodesic $\gamma$ that fills $S$ densely? Say a geodesic $\gamma$ "fills $S$ densely" if the closure of the set of points ...
19
votes
1answer
443 views

Voronoi cell of lattices with the same profile

Definition 1. Given a body $V$ in $\mathbb R^n$, the function $p_V\colon \mathbb R_+\to \mathbb R_+$ $$p_V(r)=\mathop{\rm vol} [V\cap B_r(0)]$$ will be called profile of $V$. Definition 2. Define ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the “right” universal property of the completion of a metric space?

I'm a little embarrassed to ask this one, but it could help for a class I'm teaching, so here goes: Let $X$ be a metric space. We all know that $X$ admits a completion, which is a complete metric ...
8
votes
3answers
852 views

Intuition for Levi-Civita connection via Hamiltonian flows

A Euclidean metric on a manifold $X$ defines a function on the symplectic space $T^*X$ whose Hamiltonian flow gives geodesics. Is there a similar interpretation of the Levi-Civita connection?
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Probing a manifold with geodesics

Supposed you stand at a point $p \in M$ on a smooth 2-manifold $M$ embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$. You do not know anything about $M$. You shoot off a geodesic $\gamma$ in some direction $u$, and learn ...
15
votes
5answers
867 views

Is a rhombus rigid on a sphere or torus? And generalizations.

If a rectangle is formed from rigid bars for edges and joints at vertices, then it is flexible in the plane: it can flex to a parallelogram. On any smooth surface with a metric, one can define a ...
6
votes
0answers
83 views

Does every convex polyhedron have a combinatorially isomorphic counterpart whose angles between edges are rational multiples of $\pi$?

After reading these very interesting questions, I came up with another one: Does every convex polyhedron have a combinatorially isomorphic counterpart whose angles between all pairs of edges meeting ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Non-regular Connected Hausdorff Banach Manifold

After reading this MO post, I am wondering: Is every (connected) Hausdorff Banach manifold a regular space? Though unjustified, page 53 of this paper nonchalantly states: "Note that a Hausdorff ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Advanced view of the napkin ring problem?

The "napkin-ring problem" sometimes shows up in 2nd-year calculus courses, but it can fit quite neatly into a high-school geometry course via Cavalieri's principle. However, the conclusion remains ...
12
votes
3answers
355 views

Characterization of discs

Let $D$ be a bounded simply connected region (open subset homeomorphic to the disc) in the plane, containing the origin. Suppose that for every line $L$ through the origin the intersection ...
10
votes
1answer
362 views

Chord arrangement that avoids confining small or large disks

This question is These two questions are two-dimensional variations on this recent MO question, "Threading pinholes in the wall of cylinder to pass through an internal coordinate." Noam Elkies ...
3
votes
0answers
435 views

Is compass and straight edge geometry complete?

Euclid's first three postulates are the basis of compass and straight edge constructions which are as complex as arithmetic. The constructions themselves may be expressed as a formula with each of ...
7
votes
0answers
141 views

Lattice radial-step (ratchet) spirals

(30Oct13: Now solved; see Addendum.) Define a curve, a ratchet spiral, $S(r_0,\epsilon)$ as follows, where $r_0 > 0$ and $\epsilon < 1$.     $S(r_0,\epsilon)$ begins with the arc ...
7
votes
2answers
281 views

Is this a metric on the Grassmannian Manifold?

Let $m>n$ and consider the Set $$S_{m,n}=\{A \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n}\lvert A^TA=I_n \}.$$ Does the function $d\colon S_{m,n} \times S_{m,n} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ defined by ...
6
votes
2answers
937 views

Approximation by locally Lipschitz functions

Could you tell me what is the name and/or reference for the following theorem: Let $M$ be a metric space. Then any continuous function $f:M\to\mathbb R$ can be a be uniformly approximated by a ...
3
votes
1answer
208 views

Length spectrum and Zoll surfaces of revolution

The earlier MO question, "Length spectrum of spheres," asked if the length spectrum of closed geodesics determines the metric on $S^2$, and the answer was a clear No due to Zoll surfaces, all of whose ...
17
votes
2answers
315 views

An equivalence relation for norms

Let us say that two norms $\|\cdot\|_1$ and $\|\cdot\|_2$ on a real vector space $V$ are strongly equivalent if there exists a constant $\lambda \geq 1$ such that $$ \frac{1}{\lambda} \left( \|x\|_1 ...
13
votes
1answer
724 views

Essentially one random metric on $\mathbb{S}^2$?

I heard it claimed that there is, in some sense, only one random metric on $\mathbb{S}^2$. I would appreciate any pointer to literature that explicates this intriguing claim. So far my own searches ...
12
votes
7answers
443 views

Can a tangle of arcs of ellipses interlock

This is a variation on an earlier question resolved by user35353: Can a tangle of arcs interlock? In that question, the arcs were restricted to circular arcs, and user35353's proof that one arc can be ...
11
votes
1answer
741 views

What is the limit of the “knight” distance on finer and finer chessboards?

Consider the "infinite chessboard" on the plane. Think of it as the lattice $X_1:=\mathbb{Z}^2$, and also finer chessboards $X_n$ corresponding to $\frac{1}{n}\cdot \mathbb{Z}^2$, $n\geq 1$. Given two ...