**338**

votes

**2**answers

26k views

### Polynomial bijection from $\mathbb Q\times\mathbb Q$ to $\mathbb Q$?

Is there any polynomial $f(x,y)\in{\mathbb Q}[x,y]{}\ $ such that $f:\mathbb{Q}\times\mathbb{Q} \rightarrow\mathbb{Q}$ is a bijection?

**197**

votes

**7**answers

13k views

### Polynomial representing all nonnegative integers

Lagrange proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 4 squares.
Gauss proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 3 triangular numbers.
Is there a 2-variable polynomial $f(x,y) \in ...

**189**

votes

**7**answers

94k views

### 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 ...

**129**

votes

**11**answers

41k views

### Have any long-suspected irrational numbers turned out to be rational?

The history of proving numbers irrational is full of interesting stories, from the ancient proofs for $\sqrt{2}$, to Lambert's irrationality proof for $\pi$, to Roger Apéry's surprise demonstration ...

**107**

votes

**1**answer

7k views

### What is a Frobenioid?

Since there will be a long digression in a moment, let me start by reassuring you that my intention really is to ask the question in the title.
Recently, there has been a flurry of new discussion ...

**102**

votes

**13**answers

22k views

### Knuth's intuition that Goldbach might be unprovable

Knuth's intuition that Goldbach's conjecture (every even number greater than 2 can be written as a sum of two primes) might be one of the statements that can neither be proved nor disproved really ...

**91**

votes

**3**answers

9k views

### Convergence of $\sum(n^3\sin^2n)^{-1}$

I saw a while ago in a book by Clifford Pickover, that whether $\displaystyle \sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1{n^3\sin^2 n}$ converges is open.
I would think that the question of its convergence is really ...

**84**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### Is the set $ AA+A $ always at least as large as $ A+A $?

Let $A$ be a finite set of real numbers. Is it always the case that $|AA+A| \geq |A+A|$?
My first instinct is that this is obviously true, and there is a one-line proof which I am foolishly ...

**80**

votes

**4**answers

29k views

### Philosophy behind Yitang Zhang's work on the Twin Primes Conjecture

Yitang Zhang recently published a new attack on the Twin Primes Conjecture. Quoting Andre Granville :
“The big experts in the field had
already tried to make this approach
work,” Granville ...

**76**

votes

**10**answers

10k views

### Why is the Gamma function shifted from the factorial by 1?

I've asked this question in every math class where the teacher has introduced the Gamma function, and never gotten a satisfactory answer. Not only does it seem more natural to extend the factorial ...

**72**

votes

**6**answers

10k views

### Why does the Riemann zeta function have non-trivial zeros?

This is a very basic question of course, and exposes my serious ignorance of analytic number theory, but what I am looking for is a good intuitive explanation rather than a formal proof (though a ...

**65**

votes

**6**answers

7k views

### Does Zhang's theorem generalize to $3$ or more primes in an interval of fixed length?

Let $p_n$ be the $n$-th prime number, as usual:
$p_1 = 2$, $p_2 = 3$, $p_3 = 5$, $p_4 = 7$, etc.
For $k=1,2,3,\ldots$, define
$$
g_k = \liminf_{n \rightarrow \infty} (p_{n+k} - p_n).
$$
Thus the twin ...

**64**

votes

**2**answers

5k views

### Riemann hypothesis via absolute geometry

Several leading mathematicians (e.g. Yuri Manin) have written or said publicly that there is a known outline of a likely natural proof of the Riemann hypothesis using absolute algebraic geometry over ...

**63**

votes

**4**answers

8k views

### How small can a sum of a few roots of unity be?

Let $n$ be a large natural number, and let $z_1, \ldots, z_{10}$ be (say) ten $n^{th}$ roots of unity: $z_1^n = \ldots = z_{10}^n = 1$. Suppose that the sum $S = z_1+\ldots+z_{10}$ is non-zero. How ...

**63**

votes

**2**answers

4k views

### Is it known that the ring of periods is not a field?

I have just learned here that we know numbers that are not periods; is it known meanwhile that the ring of periods is not a field? I know that it is conjectured that $1/\pi$ is not a period, but the ...

**62**

votes

**5**answers

23k views

### Consequences of the Riemann hypothesis

I assume a number of results have been proven conditionally on the Riemann hypothesis, of course in number theory and maybe in other fields. What are the most relevant you know?
It would also be nice ...

**60**

votes

**36**answers

11k views

### Where is number theory used in the rest of mathematics?

Where is number theory used in the rest of mathematics?
To put it another way: what interesting questions are there that don't appear to be about number theory, but need number theory in order to ...

**60**

votes

**10**answers

8k views

### “Understanding” $\mathrm{Gal}(\bar{\mathbb{Q}}/\mathbb{Q})$

I have heard people say that a major goal of number theory is to understand the absolute Galois group of the rational numbers $G = \mathrm{Gal}(\bar{\mathbb{Q}}/\mathbb{Q})$. What do people mean when ...

**59**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### Is there a “classical” proof of this $j$-value congruence?

Let $j: \mathbf{C} - \mathbf{R} \rightarrow \mathbf{C}$ denote the classical $j$-function from the theory of elliptic functions. That is, $j(\tau)$ is the $j$-invariant of the elliptic curve ...

**58**

votes

**9**answers

7k views

### Why should I believe the Mordell Conjecture?

It was Faltings who first proved in 1983 the Mordell conjecture, that a curve of genus 2 or more over a number field has only finitely many rational points.
I am interested to know why Mordell and ...

**56**

votes

**22**answers

15k views

### What's the “best” proof of quadratic reciprocity?

For my purposes, you may want to interpret "best" as "clearest and easiest to understand for undergrads in a first number theory course," but don't feel too constrained.

**56**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### Open project: Let's compute the Fourier expansion of a non-solvable algebraic Maass form.

OK so let's see if I can use MO to explicitly compute an example of something, by getting other people to join in. Sort of "one level up"---often people answer questions here but I'm going to see if I ...

**54**

votes

**4**answers

6k views

### Etale cohomology — Why study it?

I know (at least I think I know) that some of the main motivating problems in the development of etale cohomology were the Weil conjectures. I'd like to know what other problems one can solve using ...

**54**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### How does “modern” number theory contribute to further understanding of $\mathbb{N}$?

I hope this question is appropriate for MO. It comes from a genuine desire to understand the big picture and ground my own studies "morally".
I'm a graduate student with interest in number theory. I ...

**53**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### What are the local Langlands conjectures nowadays, for connected reductive groups over a $p$-adic field?

Let me stress that I am only interested in $p$-adic fields in this question, for reasons that will become clear later. Let me also stress that in some sense I am basically assuming that the reader ...

**53**

votes

**0**answers

3k views

### The topology of Arithmetic Progressions of primes

The primary motivation for this question is the following: I would like to extract some topological statistics which capture how arithmetic progressions of prime numbers "fit together" in a manner ...

**52**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### What is the limit of gcd(1! + 2! + … + (n-1)! , n!) ?

Let $s_n = \sum_{i=1}^{n-1} i!$ and let $g_n = \gcd (s_n, n!)$. Then it is easy to see that $g_n$ divides $g_{n+1}$. The first few values of $g_n$, starting at $n=2$ are $1, 3, 3, 3, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, ...

**52**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### Existence of a zero-sum subset

Some time ago I heard this question and tried playing around with it. I've never succeeded to making actual progress. Here it goes:
Given a finite (nonempty) set of real numbers, $S=\{a_1,a_2,\dots, ...

**52**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Perron number distribution

A Perron number is a real algebraic integer $\lambda$ that is larger than the absolute value of any of its Galois conjugates. The Perron-Frobenius theorem says that any
non-negative integer matrix $M$ ...

**51**

votes

**11**answers

4k views

### Why certain diophantine equations are interesting (and others are not) ?

It is quite clear why certain differential equations, among the jungle of possible diff equations that is possible to conceive, are studied: some come from physical problems, or from "spontaneous" ...

**50**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Are there infinitely many integer-valued polynomials dominated by $1.9^n$ on all of $\mathbb{N}$?

The original post is below. Question 1 was solved in the negative by David Speyer, and the title has now been changed to reflect Question 2, which turned out to be the more difficult one. A bounty of ...

**50**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### The inverse Galois problem and the Monster

I have a slight interest in both the inverse Galois problem and in the Monster group. I learned some time ago that all of the sporadic simple groups, with the exception of the Mathieu group $M_{23}$, ...

**50**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Can a positive binary quadratic form represent 14 consecutive numbers?

NEW CONJECTURE: There is no general upper bound.
Wadim Zudilin suggested that I make this a separate question. This follows
representability of consecutive integers by a binary quadratic form
where ...

**50**

votes

**0**answers

4k views

### Grothendieck-Teichmuller conjecture

(1) In "Esquisse d'un programme", Grothendieck conjectures
Grothendieck-Teichmuller conjecture: the morphism
$$
G_{\mathbb{Q}} \longrightarrow Aut(\widehat{T})
$$
is an isomorphism.
Here ...

**49**

votes

**5**answers

9k views

### Inaccessible cardinals and Andrew Wiles's proof

In a recent issue of New Scientist (16 Aug 2010), I was surprised to read that a part of Wiles' proof of Taniyama-Shimura conjecture relies on inaccessible cardinals.
Here's the link:
...

**49**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### Smooth proper scheme over Z

Does every smooth proper morphism $X \to \operatorname{Spec} \mathbf{Z}$ with $X$ nonempty have a section?
EDIT [Bjorn gave additional information in a comment below, which I am recopying here. -- ...

**48**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Are there refuted analogues of the Riemann hypothesis?

The classical Riemann Hypothesis has famous analogues for function fields and finite fields which have been proved. It has by now very many analogues, many of them still open. Are there important ...

**48**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### When has the Borel-Cantelli heuristic been wrong?

The Borel-Cantelli lemma is very frequently used to give a heuristic for whether or not certain statements in number theory are true.
For example, it gives some evidence that there are finitely many ...

**48**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Strange (or stupid) arithmetic derivation

Let us consider the following operation on positive integers: $$n=\prod_{i=1}^{k}p_i^{\alpha_i} \qquad f(n):= \prod_{i=1}^{k}\alpha_ip_i^{\alpha_i-1}$$ (Is it true that if we apply this operation to ...

**48**

votes

**3**answers

5k views

### What is the status of the Gauss Circle Problem?

For $r > 0$, let $L(r) = \# \{ (x,y) \in \mathbb{Z}^2 \ | \ x^2 + y^2 \leq r^2\}$ be the number of lattice points lying on or inside the standard circle of radius $r$. It is easy to see that $L(r) ...

**47**

votes

**3**answers

5k views

### Is there a “Basic Number Theory” for elliptic curves?

Tate's thesis showed how to profitably analyze $\zeta$ functions of number fields in terms of adelic points on the multiplicative group. In particular, combining Fourier analysis and topology, Tate ...

**47**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Non-abelian class field theory and fundamental groups

Over the years, I've been somewhat in the habit of asking questions in this vein to experts in the Langlands programme.
As is well known, given an algebraic number field $K$, they propose to replace ...

**46**

votes

**12**answers

5k views

### Is there a high-concept explanation for why characteristic 2 is special?

The structure of the multiplicative groups of Z/pZ or of Zp is the same for odd primes, but not for 2. Quadratic reciprocity has a uniform statement for odd primes, but an extra statement for 2. So ...

**46**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### A function whose fixed points are the primes

If $a(n) = (\text{largest proper divisor of } n)$, let $f:\mathbb{N} \setminus \{ 0,1\} \to \mathbb{N}$ be defined by $f(n) = n+a(n)-1$. For instance, $f(100)=100+50-1=149$. Clearly the fixed points ...

**45**

votes

**14**answers

5k views

### What is the high-concept explanation on why real numbers are useful in number theory?

The utopian situation in mathematics would be that the statement and the proof of every result would live "in the same world", at the same level of mathematical complexity (in a broad sense), unless ...

**45**

votes

**3**answers

5k views

### who fixed the topology on ideles?

I am teaching a course leading up to Tate's thesis and I told the students last week, when defining ideles, that the first topology that was put on the ideles was not so good (e.g., it was not ...

**45**

votes

**2**answers

5k views

### Galoisian sets of prime numbers

The question is about characterising the sets $S(K)$ of primes which split completely in a given galoisian extension $K|\mathbb{Q}$. Do recent results such as Serre's modularity conjecture (as proved ...

**45**

votes

**5**answers

4k views

### Quasicrystals and the Riemann Hypothesis

Let $0 < k_1 < k_2 < k_3 < \cdots $ be all the zeros of the Riemann zeta function on the critical line:
$$ \zeta(\frac{1}{2} + i k_j) = 0 $$
Let $f$ be the Fourier transform of the sum ...

**45**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### What if the Riemann Hypothesis were false?

There are lots of known and interesting consequences of the Riemann Hypothesis being true. Are there any known and interesting consequences of the Riemann Hypothesis being false?

**44**

votes

**28**answers

26k views

### Applications of the Chinese remainder theorem

As the title suggests I am interested in CRT applications. Wikipedia article on CRT lists some of the well known applications (e.g. used in the RSA algorithm, used to construct an elegant Gödel ...