**268**

votes

**4**answers

22k 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?

**186**

votes

**7**answers

11k 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 ...

**141**

votes

**79**answers

23k views

### Not especially famous, long-open problems which anyone can understand

Question: I'm asking for a big list of not especially famous, long open problems that anyone can understand. Community wiki, so one problem per answer, please.
Motivation: I plan to use this list ...

**135**

votes

**7**answers

7k views

### Two commuting mappings in the disk

Suppose that $f$ and $g$ are two commuting continuous mappings from the closed unit disk (or, if you prefer, the closed unit ball in $R^n$) to itself. Does there always exist a point $x$ such that ...

**66**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### If 2^x and 3^x are integers, must x be as well?

I'm fascinated by this open problem (if it is indeed still that) and every few years I try to check up on its status. Some background: Let $x$ be a positive real number.
If $n^x$ is an integer for ...

**57**

votes

**2**answers

3k 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 ...

**55**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### Nontrivial finite group with trivial group homologies?

I stumbled across this question in a seminar-paper a long time ago:
Does there exist a positive integer $N$ such that if $G$ is a finite group with $\bigoplus_{i=1}^NH_i(G)=0$ then $G=\lbrace ...

**55**

votes

**0**answers

3k views

### Volumes of Sets of Constant Width in High Dimensions

Background
The n dimensional Euclidean ball of radius 1/2 has width 1 in every direction. Namely, when you consider a pair of parallel tangent hyperplanes in any direction the distance between them ...

**52**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Does linearization of categories reflect isomorphism?

Given a category $C$ and a commutative ring $R$, denote by $RC$ the $R$-linearization: this is the category enriched over $R$-modules which has the same objects as $C$, but the morphism module between ...

**49**

votes

**6**answers

9k views

### Is Thompson's Group F amenable?

Last year a paper on the arXiv (Akhmedov) claimed that Thompson's group $F$ is not amenable, while another paper, published in the journal "Infinite dimensional analysis, quantum probability, and ...

**47**

votes

**21**answers

13k views

### Open problems with monetary rewards

Since the old days, many mathematicians have been used to attaching monetary rewards to problems they admit are difficult. Their reasons could be to draw other mathematicians' attention, to express ...

**47**

votes

**8**answers

6k views

### The “sensitivity” of 2-colorings of the d-dimensional integer lattice

Consider the $d$-dimensional integer lattice, $Z^d$. Call two points in $Z^d$ "neighbors" if their Euclidean distance is 1 (i.e., if they differ by 1 on exactly one coordinate).
Let $C$ be a ...

**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

**2**answers

2k views

### vector balancing problem

I believe the solution posted to the arXiv on June 17 by Marcus, Spielman, and Srivastava is correct.
This problem may be hard, so I don't expect an off-the-cuff solution. But can anyone suggest ...

**45**

votes

**0**answers

2k views

### 2, 3, and 4 (a possible fixed point result ?)

The question below is related to the classical Browder-Goehde-Kirk fixed point theorem.
Let $K$ be the closed unit ball of $\ell^{2}$, and let $T:K\rightarrow K$
be a mapping such that $\Vert ...

**43**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Local structure of rational varieties

I've been asked this question by a colleague who's not an algebraic geometer; we both feel that the answer should be "no", but I don't have a clue how to prove it.
Here's the question:
let $X$ be a ...

**42**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Polynomials having a common root with their derivatives

Here is a question someone asked me a couple of years ago. I remember having spent a day or two thinking about it but did not manage to solve it. This may be an open problem, in which case I'd be ...

**38**

votes

**12**answers

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 ...

**37**

votes

**13**answers

5k views

### What are some of the big open problems in 3-manifold theory?

From what I understand, the geometrization theorem and its proof helped to settle a lot of outstanding questions about the geometry and topology of 3-manifolds, but there still seems to be quite a lot ...

**37**

votes

**11**answers

2k views

### Important open problems that have already been reduced to a finite but infeasible amount of computation

Most open problems, when formalized, naturally involve quantification over infinite sets, thereby obviating the possibility, even in principle, of "just putting it on a computer."
Some questions ...

**36**

votes

**30**answers

4k views

### Fundamental problems whose solution seems completely out of reach [closed]

In many areas of mathematics there are fundamental problems that are embarrasingly natural or simple to state, but whose solution seem so out of reach that they are barely mentioned in the literature ...

**36**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Can $N^2$ have only digits 0 and 1, other than $N=10^k$?

Pablo Solis asked this at a recent 20 questions seminar at Berkeley. Is there a positive integer $N$, not of the form $10^k$, such that the digits of $N^2$ are all 0's and 1's?
It seems very ...

**36**

votes

**3**answers

5k views

### Do there exist chess positions that require exponentially many moves to reach?

By "chess" here I mean chess played on an $n\times n$ board with an unbounded number of (non-king) pieces. Some care is needed if you want to generalize some of the subtler rules of chess to an ...

**35**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### improving known bounds for Pierce expansions; cash prize

Here's a problem that I thought of back in 1978 or so, and only a little progress has been made on it since then. I still think about it from time to time, but probably not that many people have ...

**34**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### The maximum of a polynomial on the unit circle

Encouraged by the progress made in a recently posted MO problem, here is a "conceptually related" problem originating from a 2003 joint paper of Sergei Konyagin and myself.
Suppose we are given $n$ ...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Euler and the Four-Squares Theorem

There are several questions in the Euler-Goldbach correspondence that
I am unable to answer. Sometimes it does not take very much: in his
letter to Goldbach dated June 9th, 1750, Euler conjectured
...

**32**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### The shortest path in first passage percolation

Consider a square planar grid. (The vertices are pair of points in the plane with integer coordinates and two vertices are adjacent if they agree in one coordinate and differ by one in the other.)
...

**31**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### Set-theoretic reformulation of the invariant subspace problem

The invariant subspace problem (ISP) for Hilbert spaces asks whether every bounded linear operator $A$ on $l^2$ (with complex scalars) must have a closed invariant subspace other than $\{0\}$ and ...

**30**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Difficult examples for Frankl's union-closed conjecture

Frankl's well-known union-closed conjecture states that if F is a finite family of sets that is closed under taking unions (that is, if A and B belong to the family then so does $A\cup B$), then there ...

**29**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### Is there a complex structure on the 6-sphere?

I don't know who first asked this question, but it's a question that I think many differential and complex geometers have tried to answer because it sounds so simple and fundamental. There are even a ...

**29**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Are most cubic plane curves over the rationals elliptic?

%This is a new version of the original question modified in the light of the answers and comments.
The word 'most' in the title is ambiguous. The following is one way of making it precise.
...

**29**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Is the set of primes “translation-finite”?

The definition in the title probably needs explaining. I should say that the question itself was an idea I had for someone else's undergraduate research project, but we decided early on it would be ...

**29**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Factorials in Pascals Triangle

Hi,
I asked this question of Keith Conrad, and he suggested that I try posting here. One of my students observed that the only instances of factorials in the interior of Pascal's triangle are ...

**29**

votes

**1**answer

911 views

### Example of a compact Kähler manifold with non-finitely generated canonical ring?

A celebrated recent theorem of Birkar-Cascini-Hacon-McKernan and Siu says that the canonical ring $R(X)=\oplus_{m\geq 0}H^0(X,mK_X)$ of any smooth algebraic variety $X$ over $\mathbb{C}$ is a finitely ...

**28**

votes

**8**answers

4k views

### Series whose convergence is not known

For most of the mathematical concepts I learn, it has more or less always been possible to find (at least google and find) unsolved problems pertaining to that specific concept. Keeping a bag of ...

**28**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Can we color Z^+ with n colors such that a, 2a, …, na all have different colors for all a?

For example for n=2 coloring odd numbers red, numbers of the form 4k+2 blue and so on works.
This problem was posed in the KoMaL for n+1 prime, if I know well by Geza Kos. I verified it for all ...

**28**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### Shortest closed curve to inspect a sphere

Let $S$ be a sphere in $\mathbb{R}^3$. Let $C$ be a closed curve in $\mathbb{R}^3$ disjoint from and
exterior to $S$
which has the property that every point $x$ on $S$ is visible to some point $y$ of ...

**27**

votes

**3**answers

4k views

### Can we cover the unit square by these rectangles?

The following question was a research exercise (i.e. an open problem) in R. Graham, D.E. Knuth, and O. Patashnik, "Concrete Mathematics", 1988, chapter 1.
It is easy to show that
$$\sum_{1 \leq k } ...

**27**

votes

**2**answers

871 views

### Is there an associative metric on the non-negative reals?

Recall that a function $f\colon X\times X \to \mathbb{R}_{\ge 0}$ is a metric if it satisfies:
definiteness: $f(x,y) = 0$ iff $x=y$,
symmetry: $f(x,y)=f(y,x)$, and
the triangle inequality: $f(x,y) ...

**27**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Is the ratio Perimeter/Area for a finite union of unit squares at most 4?

Update: As I have just learned, this is called Keleti's perimeter area conjecture.
Prove that if H is the union of a finite number of unit squares in the plane, then the ratio of the perimeter and ...

**27**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Density of values of polynomials in two variables

This question is a reposting of a comment I made on Polynomial representing all nonnegative integers. Let $f(x,y)\in \mathbb Q[x,y]$ such that $f(\mathbb Z\times \mathbb Z)$ is a subset of $\mathbb ...

**26**

votes

**0**answers

2k views

### A Combinatorial Abstraction for The “Polynomial Hirsch Conjecture”

Consider $t$ disjoint families of subsets of {1,2,…,n}, ${\cal F}_1,{\cal F_2},\dots {\cal F_t}$ .
Suppose that
(*)
For every $i \lt j \lt k$
and every $R \in {\cal F}_i$, and $T \in {\cal F}_k$, ...

**25**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### When shorter means smaller?

Assume a convex figure $F\subset \mathbb R^2$ satisfies the following property: if $f:F\to \mathbb R^2$ is a distance-non-increasing map then its image $f(F)$ is congruent to a subset of $F$.
Is it ...

**25**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Important open questions in the field of Tropical geometry

What are some of the important unanswered questions in the field of tropical geometry?

**24**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Is Lebesgue's “universal covering” problem still open?

The following problem has been attributed to Lebesgue. Let "set" denote any subset of the Euclidean plane. What is the greatest lower bound of the diameter of any set which contains a subset congruent ...

**24**

votes

**2**answers

872 views

### A group-theoretic perspective on Frankl's union closed problem

Here is a group theoretic phrasing of a special case of the union closed conjecture:
Question: Given a finite group $G$, is there an element of prime power order which is contained in at most half ...

**24**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### Is S^2 x S^4 a complex manifold?

As observed by Calabi a long time ago, the manifold $S^2\times S^4$ admits an almost-complex structure (obtained by embedding it in $\mathbb{R}^7$ and using the octonionic product), which however is ...

**23**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Can you flip the end of a large exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$

Can you flip the end of a large exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$
Background
Definition (Exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$):
An exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$ is a smooth manifold $R$ homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic to ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Projective Plane of Order 12

I asked this question on the new Theoretical Computer Science "overflow" site, and commenters suggested I ask it here. That question is here, and it contains additional links, which I doubt I can ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Topologically distinct Calabi-Yau threefolds

In dimensions 1 and 2 there is only one, respectively 2, compact Kaehler manifolds with zero first Chern class, up to diffeomorphism. However, it is an open problem whether or not the number of ...