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7
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2answers
851 views

How should you respond to a student who asks whether a very nice physical example constitutes a proof? [closed]

"Is this really a proof?" is the exact question e-mailed to me today from an undergraduate mathematics student whom I know as a highly competent student. The one sentence question was accompanied with ...
38
votes
19answers
5k views

Are there proofs that you feel you did not “understand” for a long time?

Perhaps the "proofs" of ABC conjecture or newly released weak version of twin prime conjecture or alike readily come to your mind. These are not the proofs I am looking for. Indeed my question was ...
7
votes
1answer
318 views

Experimental mathematics: how are floating point equations discovered/converted to exact equations?

the 2005 AMS article/survey on experimental mathematics[1] by Bailey/Borwein mentions many remarkable successes in the field including new formulas for $\pi$ that were discovered via the PSLQ ...
20
votes
15answers
2k views

Non-rigorous reasoning in rigorous mathematics

I was wondering what role non-rigorous, heuristic type arguments play in rigorous math. Are there examples of rigorous, formal proofs in which a non-rigorous reasoning still plays a central part? ...
139
votes
64answers
23k views

Proofs that require fundamentally new ways of thinking [closed]

I do not know exactly how to characterize the class of proofs that interests me, so let me give some examples and say why I would be interested in more. Perhaps what the examples have in common is ...