Questions that ask about some aspect of mathematical research or study which doesn't involve the actual mathematics. In general, soft questions can be answered without using mathematical reasoning.

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3
votes
0answers
118 views

Is the ISC kaput [on hold]

The very useful Inverse Symbolic Calculator is showing me this What's up? multiple choice (a) No, it's fine at that address: idiot Edgar did something wrong... (b) It is off-line at that ...
1
vote
1answer
170 views

Disruptive innovations in mathematical notations [on hold]

I am wondering whether there are examples of mathematical notations that, once introduced, have drastically changed or simplified the way to address a problem or a mathematical area, or that have ...
4
votes
4answers
234 views

Are there examples of families of objects which are canonically isomorphic, but where diagrams of canonical isomorphisms don't commute?

Specifically, are there "nice" (ie, not too obscure or contrived) examples of families of objects, where say for each objects $A,B,C$ in the family, the canonical isomorphism from $A\rightarrow C$ is ...
12
votes
12answers
1k views

Obscure Names in Mathematics [on hold]

I recently stumbled over the "Happy Ending Problem" (cf e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Ending_problem), which made we wonder, if there are other conjectures, theorems or problems, whose names ...
3
votes
2answers
304 views

Intuition behind $\zeta(2) = \frac{\pi^2}{6}$ [on hold]

In literature, there are many proofs of the well-known result $$\zeta(2) = \frac{\pi^2}{6}.$$ However, as far as I know, they do not offer an intuitive explanation of why this result should be true. ...
2
votes
3answers
325 views

How did the summation operation come into use? [on hold]

So we've been using summations at least since the dawn of calculus. I'm wondering how the process of summing a function came to be known? Are there events that led to the invention of the summation ...
1
vote
0answers
117 views

is there an analogy between fractals and automorphic forms? [on hold]

Disclaimer: this question is rather vague and thus might not be suitable for this site. Still, as I already asked a similar question on MSE and got no feedback, I finally decided to take the plunge ...
7
votes
0answers
370 views

Number Theory over $\mathbb{F}_q [t]$, why is it important/interesting?

This is something I was curious about, but not really sure why. I was hoping maybe someone could give me a good explanation. I understand that there are similarities between $\mathbb{Z}$ and ...
-4
votes
0answers
93 views

Löwenheim–Skolem as an argument for discrete mathematics? [closed]

At least as far as first-order theories go, one could construe the (downward) Löwenheim–Skolem theorem as an incentive to invest more in discrete models rather than in continuous ones. This would ...
-1
votes
1answer
70 views

CAT spaces and Metric Measure Spaces [closed]

This is very vague question but here it goes: are there any results of analysis on metric spaces in CAT spaces?, for instance as in the paper of Sturm (On the geometry of metric measure spaces) or as ...
1
vote
0answers
100 views

current status of combinatorial optimization solvers [closed]

What is the current status of the solvers in combinatorial optimization? For example, what is the "usual feasible size" for a traveller sale's man problem, say, how many nodes and edges are "usually ...
1
vote
1answer
189 views

Concise definition of subobjects

Higher category theory tells us that it is a bad idea to identify isomorphic things. Rather, the isomorphism should belong to some additional data. Also, categorification tells us that one should, ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Interpretation of riemannian geodesics in probability

Good morning everybody. My question is, as maybe already hinted in the title, rather philosopic. We know that geometric properties of a riemannian manifold can be interpreted in terms of certain ...
10
votes
4answers
624 views

Soft question: beginners reference to moduli spaces

What is a geometrically intuitive yet reasonably general first introduction to the theory of Moduli spaces? (Possibly introducing stacks also)? I'm looking for something which really gets the pictures ...
0
votes
0answers
155 views

Heuristic probabilistic argument for the Navier-Stokes existence and smoothness conjecture

The Collatz Conjecture is a famous conjecture that has never been proven; nevertheless, there exists a simple heuristic probabilistic argument which supports its truth - in Wikipedia's words, "If one ...
6
votes
0answers
145 views

Why is the Dynamical Mordell-Lang conjecture interesting?

The gist of the Dynamical Mordell-Lang conjecture is: Let's say you have a set $S$. Inside $S$, you have a point $x$ where you start off at. Now, you also have a function $f: S \rightarrow S$ (is ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

Models for events where position and time are correlated

Apologies in advance if this question is not sufficiently research-level: What are the standard models that are used to describe phenomena in which events that occur at the same time are likely to be ...
2
votes
1answer
231 views

Is the identification between symmetric tensors and homogeneous polynomials useful?

The general question: Given an $n$-dimensional vector space $V$ over a field $k$, there exists an identification $$\mathrm{Sym}^d(V) \sim k[x_1, \dots, x_n]_d$$ between the space of symmetric order ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

(Very) High dimensional manifolds

Usually one regards manifolds up to dimension 4 as a part of low dimensional topology. There are plenty of various results which work only in low dimensional topology; especially in dimension 4. ...
17
votes
8answers
5k views

Why have mathematicians used differential equations to model nature instead of difference equations

Ever since Newton invented Calculus, mathematicians have been using differential equations to model natural phenomena. And they have been very successful in doing such. Yet, they could have been just ...
5
votes
3answers
259 views

A. Markov's papers?

A. Markov published several papers on his chains, starting in 1906, so it is written, in the journal: (1) Извѣстія Физико-математического общества при Казанском университете I am surprised by the ...
62
votes
21answers
9k views

What is the most useful non-existing object of your field?

When many proofs by contradiction end with "we have built an object with such, such and such properties, which does not exist", it seems relevant to give this object a name, even though (in fact ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

Semigroups with group like behavior

I'm trying to generalize some results done to groups to the semigroup case. I noticed that the results will not work with a general semigroup, I decided to try to extend the results to the inverse ...
11
votes
2answers
781 views

What justification can you give for the fact that “most ODEs do not have an explicit solution”?

What justification can you give for the fact that "most ODEs do not have an explicit solution"?
4
votes
1answer
168 views

Sites for seeking possible collaborations

As a material scientist, I have recently constructed algorithms for solving ground state of arbitrary cluster interactions models and prepared publications in the field of physics and material ...
6
votes
0answers
318 views

Any reason to believe that $NP \neq P$ is unprovable in ZFC

We know $NP \neq P$ from a lot of point of view like empirical reason,or theoretical reasons such as finite model theory or descriptive complexity.Although we find so many reasons to believe $NP \neq ...
2
votes
0answers
305 views

Cases of Mathematical Fraud [closed]

Are there any cases of Mathematical Fraud? Analogous to other sorts of "scientific misconduct" it could be intentional [1], unintentional [2] or other [4]. [1]: Schoen Scandal ...
1
vote
0answers
93 views

reference on aperiodicity and cluster [closed]

From this image: I believe there is a message relating those clusters drawn in picture and aperiodic tiling. Does anyone have some reference on this? Thank you :)
2
votes
2answers
129 views

Software producing complex trees

Does anyone know any kind of graph software that could produce graphs like this for publication? Those links and crosses and numbers actually needs to be presented…. Thank you:) One small update, ...
2
votes
0answers
384 views

Help with my research topic [closed]

I have a masters degree in mathematics and I'm currently a PHD student. Since the beginning of my studies (2 years ago) I haven't progressed and still don't have a research topic. I was a very good ...
25
votes
9answers
1k views

Continuous relations?

What might it mean for a relation $R\subset X\times Y$ to be continuous? In topology, category theory or in analysis? Is it possible, canonical, useful? I have a vague idea of the possibility of ...
15
votes
7answers
762 views

Where to find (personal) motivation [closed]

I think it would be appropriate to make this question CW... It is likely that this question will not survive here on MO for long, but I do hope that the community gives it a chance. I also hope to ...
-4
votes
1answer
410 views

Publishing problem [closed]

First, I want appreciate your work on this platform, as I have been getting very helpful advice even though I am not a member. My problem is that I have been working on-off on a famous math problem ...
4
votes
1answer
278 views

Lower bound on the irrationality measure of $\pi$

There seems to be a lot of work on the upper bound for the irrationality measure of $\pi$, but I could not find anything on a lower bound except the general $\mu(\pi)\geq2$. Looks like it is the best ...
4
votes
2answers
434 views

Why considering schemes over discrete valuation rings?

For many times, I find people working on schemes over DVRs, and prove theorems on such setting. For example, my latest experience is the "semi-stable reduction theorem" by Kempf, Knudsen, Mumford and ...
8
votes
1answer
159 views

Construction of the Lie functor: left vs. right invariant vector fields on Lie groups and Lie groupoids

When constructing the Lie algebra $L(G)$ of a Lie group $G$, one usually uses the identification of the tangent space $T_1 G$ with left invariant vector fields $\mathcal{V}^l(G)$ to construct the Lie ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

ICM 2014 streaming video

Is there a possibility to watch ICM 2014 opening ceremony and the big talks online? I hope there is since it was possible for the previous meeting.
5
votes
2answers
667 views

Salvaging Leibnizian formalism?

Can one justify Leibniz's formalism in a suitable algebraic or topological context? We have published some papers recently where we argue that Leibniz's formalism for the calculus wasn't ...
94
votes
19answers
21k views

Examples of unexpected mathematical images

I try to generate a lot of examples in my research to get a better feel for what I am doing. Sometimes, I generate a plot, or a figure, that really surprises me, and makes my research take an ...
29
votes
1answer
3k views

A topologist is not a mathematician - a small question

Years ago I read about a topologist who was to enter the states as an immigrant and was asked a question about his profession. He indicated he was a topologist, but as this was not included on the ...
12
votes
4answers
722 views

Examples of research on how people perceive mathematical objects

What examples are there on research related to human perception and mathematical objects? For example, the shape of a beer glass influences drinking habits, since people are bad at integrating. ...
0
votes
0answers
112 views

Looking for rapidly converging series for the reciprocal gamma and/or gamma function

There are rapidly converging infinite series for Pi and the such but it is difficult to locate those for either the gamma or reciprocal gamma function. I am searching for rapidly converging series ...
24
votes
15answers
4k views

Examples of famous 'workhorse' theorems

I use the term 'workhorse' to describe a theorem which is technically challenging to prove, perhaps very deep, but the statement is either uninteresting at first glance or too imposing to be ...
2
votes
4answers
356 views

Should all equations which appear in a thesis be numbered?

I was just wondering if there is any sort of consensus on the topic of when to number math expressions. For example different lines in a proof, these should be tagged or not tagged?
30
votes
6answers
2k views

Negative impact of wrong or non-rigorous proofs

The recent talks of Voevodsky (for example, http://www.math.ias.edu/~vladimir/Site3/Univalent_Foundations_files/2014_IAS.pdf), which describe subtle errors in proofs by him as well as others, as well ...
9
votes
3answers
811 views

Proof correctness problem

I was watching this talk by Vladimir Voevodsky which was given at the Institute of Advanced Study in 2006. In his talk the first slide he shows has the following written on it: ...
5
votes
0answers
346 views

Refereeing a paper containing strong statements about other papers

The title says it all. Suppose you are refereeing a paper where the author A makes strong statements about other papers by a different author B, like: the proof of Theorem 1 in paper [B] is wrong and ...
3
votes
1answer
133 views

Countable model theory for $\omega$-stable theories?

This is a bit of a fishing expedition, because I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Very vaguely stated, here's the driving question: What conditions on an $\omega$-stable theory make the class of ...
3
votes
4answers
252 views

Which fields could be applied to neurosciences?

I have a friend who wants to study something applied to neurosciences. He is going to begin his grad studies in mathematics. He asked me which areas of mathematics could be applied to neurosciences. ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Reading Papers in a Language you don't Speak

First, I apologize if I'm posting this to the wrong place, but it seems correct. My adviser sent me the SGA text of Grothendieck which is in French. Though I can piece together parts of the text, I'm ...