Prime numbers, diophantine equations, analytic or algebraic number theory, arithmetic geometry, Galois theory, transcendental number theory, continued fractions

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381
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1answer
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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?
216
votes
7answers
14k 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 ...
212
votes
7answers
108k 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 ...
153
votes
11answers
46k 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 ...
115
votes
13answers
26k 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 ...
112
votes
1answer
10k 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
3answers
11k 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 ...
88
votes
7answers
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 ...
83
votes
10answers
11k 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 ...
82
votes
4answers
30k 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
6answers
11k 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 ...
73
votes
5answers
27k 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 ...
73
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
69
votes
10answers
9k 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 ...
68
votes
2answers
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 ...
67
votes
0answers
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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 ...
66
votes
6answers
8k 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 ...
65
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
64
votes
2answers
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
36answers
14k 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 ...
61
votes
22answers
18k 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.
61
votes
9answers
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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 ...
61
votes
1answer
8k views

What is an étale theta function?

Let me start out by urging you to take seriously that whatever I write about the papers surrounding IUTT really are questions. If you would like to use it as a guide to the mathematics in any way, ...
59
votes
1answer
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 ...
57
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
57
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
57
votes
4answers
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 $M$ ...
56
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
56
votes
4answers
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, ...
56
votes
7answers
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
3answers
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 ...
53
votes
3answers
4k views

Every prime number > 19 divides one plus the product of two smaller primes?

This is a part of my answer to this question I think it deserves to be treated separately. Conjecture Let $A$ be the set of all primes from $2$ to $p>19$. Let $q$ be the next prime after $p$. ...
52
votes
6answers
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, ...
51
votes
12answers
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 ...
51
votes
5answers
10k 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: ...
51
votes
11answers
5k 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" ...
51
votes
2answers
4k 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 $M_{23}$, ...
51
votes
1answer
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. -- ...
50
votes
4answers
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 ...
50
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
50
votes
3answers
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 ...
49
votes
28answers
32k 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 ...
49
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
49
votes
3answers
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 ...
49
votes
4answers
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
2answers
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 ...
48
votes
4answers
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
3answers
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
2answers
15k views

What are “perfectoid spaces”?

This talk is about a theory of "perfectoid spaces", which "compares objects in characteristic p with objects in characteristic 0". What are those spaces, where can one read about them? Edit: A bit ...
47
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6answers
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How to recognise that the polynomial method might work

A couple of days ago I was at a nice seminar given by Christian Reiher, during which he told us about a short proof of the following special case of a theorem of Olson. Theorem. Let ...