The motivation tag has no usage guidance.

**212**

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### Philosophy behind Mochizuki's work on the ABC conjecture

Mochizuki has recently announced a proof of the ABC conjecture. It is far too early to judge its correctness, but it builds on many years of work by him. Can someone briefly explain the philosophy ...

**78**

votes

**18**answers

7k views

### How do you decide whether a question in abstract algebra is worth studying?

Dear MO-community, I am not sure how mature my view on this is and I might say some things that are controversial. I welcome contradicting views. In any case, I find it important to clarify this in my ...

**66**

votes

**10**answers

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### Motivation for algebraic K-theory?

I'm looking for a big-picture treatment of algebraic K-theory and why it's important. I've seen various abstract definitions (Quillen's plus and Q constructions, some spectral constructions like ...

**42**

votes

**5**answers

5k views

### Why are spectral sequences so ubiquitous?

I sort of understand the definition of a spectral sequence and am aware that it is an indispensable tool in modern algebraic geometry and topology. But why is this the case, and what can one do with ...

**39**

votes

**5**answers

7k views

### Why tropical geometry?

Tropical geometry can be described as "algebraic geometry" over the semifield $\mathbb{T}$ of tropical numbers. As a set, $\mathbb{T}=\mathbb{R}\cup \{ -\infty\}$; this is endowed with addition being ...

**34**

votes

**4**answers

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### Is there a good way to think of vanishing cycles and nearby cycles?

Once in a while I run into literature that invokes vanishing cycle machinery with a cryptic sentence like, "this follows from a standard vanishing cycle argument." Is there a good way to look at ...

**30**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### What motivates modern algebraic geometry for a combinatorial/constructive algebraist?

This is, basically, me trying to generalize "Why should I care for sheaves and schemes?" into a reasonable question. Whether successfully, time will tell, but let me hope that if not the question, ...

**28**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### Applications of Noncommutative Geometry

This is related to Anweshi's question about theories of noncommutative geometry.
Let's start out by saying that I live, mostly, in a commutative universe. The only noncommutative rings I have much ...

**22**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Why are subfactors interesting?

I get asked this question a lot, and am not very happy with any of the answers.
Vaguely I think of subfactor theory as a generalization of representation theory of groups. That is, if you have a ...

**21**

votes

**9**answers

2k views

### Why localize spaces with respect to homology?

A basic construction in algebraic topology is the localization of spaces or spectra with respect to a homology theory: one formally inverts the $E$-homology isomorphisms, reflecting each space into ...

**18**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### Are quivers useful outside of Representation Theory?

Dear All!
There is a trend, for some people, to study representations of quivers. The setting of the problem is undoubtedly natural, but representations of quivers are present in the literature for ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

884 views

### Nice application of generalized smooth spaces

I am a fan of category theory in general, and I appreciate that various brands of generalized smooth spaces (Diffeological spaces, Chen spaces, Frolicher spaces ...) form much nicer categories of ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

898 views

### Motivation for equivariant homotopy theory?

I'm in the process of learning equivariant homotopy theory, so I was wondering: what is the importance of equivariant homotopy theory, and what has it been applied to so far? I know of HHR's solution ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Understanding iterated integrals

I have encountered iterated integrals on papers dealing with multizeta values, polylogarithms etc.. Since then I am trying to figure out the motivations and purpose of the theory.
It seems the ...

**12**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### Fundamental motivation for several complex variables [closed]

I have 3 general abstract reasons to care about complex analysis in a single variable:
The laplacian is, up to a constant multiple, the only isometry invariant PDO in the plane, and so it is ...

**12**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Is modern computability theory “really” about algorithms?

Apologies if my question seems overly naive, but I haven't seen/heard/read any good answers.
What is modern computability theory "really" about? The study of feasible(even remotely feasible) ...

**12**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Are rings really more fundamental objects than semi-rings?

The discovery (or invention) of negatives, which happened several centuries ago by the Chinese, Indians and Arabs, has of course be of fundamental importance to mathematics.
From then on, it seems ...

**10**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### How to motivate the skein relations?

I am teaching an advanced undergraduate class on topology. We are doing introductory knot theory at the moment. One of my students asked how do we know to use this skein relation to compute all these ...

**10**

votes

**3**answers

878 views

### Motivation for uniform surjectivity of mod l representations associated to elliptic curves

Background
Let $E$ be an elliptic curve over $\mathbb{Q}$ and let $G_{\mathbb{Q}}$ be the absolute Galois group $Aut(\overline{\mathbb{Q}})$. For any positive integer $n$ the $n$-torsion subgroup ...

**9**

votes

**6**answers

12k views

### How to understand the concept of compact space [closed]

the definition of compact space is: A subset K of a metric space X is said to be compact if every open cover of K contains finite subcovers. What is the meaning of defining a space is "compact". I ...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

847 views

### Why doesn't this group have a name?

$$\{A\in GL_n(\mathbb{C}) : |det(A)|=1\}$$ This seems to me to be a perfectly natural group to study; it is easy to define and contains $U(n), SL_n$, and all the torsion. Is there any good reason ...

**6**

votes

**3**answers

580 views

### Motivation for the Preprojective Algebra

Let $Q=(Q_0,Q_1)$ be a quiver and $k$ a field. We construct a new quiver $\bar{Q}$ in the following way. Let the vertices of $\bar{Q}$ be the same as the vertices of $Q$, and let the arrows of ...

**6**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Examples of high level math that can be motivated to laypeople

One of the difficulties of mathematics over other sciences is that our problems are harder to motivate to a general audience. A biologist studying a particular pathway in the body can say that he's ...

**6**

votes

**0**answers

442 views

### Snazzy applications of Several Complex Variables techniques

I am starting to dive into a study of Several Complex Variables. I would like to have a few guiding examples of "big payoffs". These should be very natural sounding theorems which depend on a lot of ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

403 views

### Motivation for the covariant model structure on SSet/S

I was reading HTT 2.1.4, and I just totally lost what was going on. Could someone provide some motivation for this section? Why do we want another model structure?
I'm sorry for not providing ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Why are Galois Representations so important in Number theory ?

Dear everyone,
Motivation :
From the past few days, I have been reading about the Galois Representations . I was really amazed to see that every seminal idea in the theory of elliptic curves have ...

**3**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

**3**

votes

**4**answers

545 views

### applications of Berkovich spaces

What are applications of the theory of Berkovich analytic spaces? The analytification $X \mapsto X^{\mathrm{an}}$

**3**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### motivation for compactness [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate:
How to understand the concept of compact space
Hello,
I am learning some analysis on my own and
what is the motivation to consider compactness?
eg. I do not understand ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

177 views

### How to understand a rooting of a dessin d'enfant?

As I understand it, rooted maps on surfaces were first introduced in enumerative combinatorics because they are easier to count than unrooted maps, which can have non-trivial symmetries. A map is a ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

111 views

### What determinant application can I show to a 16 year old? [on hold]

I am teaching matrices, determinants and systems to a class of 16-year-olds.
As you can expect, they do not know calculus or linear algebra.
What they do know is a little bit of matrices (how to ...