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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19
votes
4answers
711 views

Which journals allow authors to retain copyright…?

I became motivated to ask this question after seeing the inspiring "© The Author(s) 2013 " in the header of this very interesting article, published in Compositio Mathematica. Apart from open access ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Does formalizing math require search and creativity, or is it near-mechanical?

I remember reading somewhere that it takes about a week to convert a page of math into something a proof-assistant like Isabelle or HOL Light would accept. Is this type of conversion something that ...
4
votes
1answer
573 views

What is the critical idea behind Hardy-Littlewood circle method?

I want to know what the critical idea behind Hardy-Littlewood circle method is. It seems that they divide the circle into major arcs and minor arcs to ignore the singularities of generating function ...
4
votes
1answer
221 views

Where can I find resources for creating a mathematics “bridge course”?

My department is in the very early stages of developing a "bridge course" or "introduction to proofs" course, motivated by our lower-level courses not currently doing a good job of preparing our ...
0
votes
1answer
148 views

Choosing Notation for Variable Substitution into Derivative Expressed with Differentials [closed]

Consider function $f(x)$. I've counted 4 possible notations to write a derivative of $f(x)$ at point $x = a$: $f'(a)$; $\frac{\operatorname{d}{f(a)}}{\operatorname{d}x}$; ...
8
votes
3answers
273 views

Punctuation and Other Rules for Variables and Their Verbal Definitions in Math Narrative [closed]

To better understand what I'm asking about, let's immediately define some examples. Imagine that you are writing some paper which involves a lot of math narrative. And you have a term, say, computing ...
7
votes
1answer
777 views

Is there a “big program” in mathematics at the moment? [closed]

I apologize in the event that you should find this question off topic. Please feel free to delete it if that is the case. Years ago, I studied undergrad mathematics at university. The understanding ...
0
votes
0answers
111 views

Why “Fourier”-Mukai? [duplicate]

The Fourier-Mukai functor is one of the most important tools to work with in the derived category. While it is clear why the name of S.Mukai appears there, why does Joseph Fourier appear in the name ...
11
votes
8answers
742 views

Interesting examples of generic behavior of mathematical objects being either unreasonably structured or simply unreasonable

My experience seems to be that quite often "generic" mathematical objects tend to be either extremely well behaved or structured, or at the opposite extreme are as unstructured as possible. For ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

'Category-theory'-free areas of pure math, 'category-theory'-loaded areas of applied math

To put it short: In which active research areas of (pure) mathematics no (or only minimal) knowledge in category theory is required ? To put it long: I know almost nothing about category theory - but ...
1
vote
2answers
254 views

when will the surfficient large power of a rational matrix be a integer matrix?

$A$ is a $n\times n$ matrix whose elements are all non-negative rational numbers and $Det(A)$ is a non-zero integer.Under what condition the following is true?(0) There exist a positive integer $M$ ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Is two years without a referee report normal?

Firstly, the help page for Mathoverflow does not forbid asking such a question. Secondly I found a similar question on Mathoverflow and thirdly as far as I know, waiting for two years for a referee ...
6
votes
3answers
861 views

How to publish two interdependent papers

I have two finished articles (each about 25 pages long) but the second one uses results from the first one, none of which has been published yet. I would like to send them to some standard journal for ...
3
votes
0answers
119 views

characterization of all periodic tiling of a simple set of Wang Tile

Consider a set of Wang Tile such that all the edges are either 1 or 0.... there are 16 elements in such a set. Now, I wish to characterize all the periodic tilings of this set (better if they are ...
1
vote
0answers
171 views

Applied Math author order

In applied math it seems to be more common to list authors according to their contribution rather than alphabetically. This being the case, in the instance where there are more than 2 authors, I was ...
1
vote
0answers
122 views

Basis of periodic tiling of Wang tile

Given a set of Wang tile, Given 3 periodic tiling: A, B, C We define 3 vector F[A], F[B], F[C] each vector correspond to the appearing frequency of each type of tiles in the tiling. Now, we ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

simple cycle analog in 2D (with application in tiling)

We know that any closed cycle of a graph could be decomposed into sum of simple cycles. To translate this theorem into tiling of 1D (Wang tile). We know that any 1D periodic tiling could be ...
5
votes
3answers
703 views

Why isn't there more interest in “large powerset axioms”?

By a large powerset axiom, let us mean informally an axiom that says that for some cardinal numbers $\kappa$, we have that $2^\kappa$ is somehow "large" or "difficult to access from below." For ...
50
votes
8answers
4k views

Have you solved problems in your sleep? [closed]

I have hit upon major (for me—relative to my trivial accomplishments) insights in my research in various sleep-deprived altered states of consciousness, e.g., long solo car-drives extending ...
3
votes
0answers
145 views

Stable homotopy of spheres non-locally

Are there any results/conjectures about the stable homotopy groups of spheres that relate the picture at different primes? Something like Gauss's reciprocity law in number theory? I know about the ...
7
votes
5answers
964 views

Advice on choosing an area of specialization

I'm not sure if this is an appropriate question for MO, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. I'm a second year graduate student, currently gearing up to construct a committee and syllabus for my ...
2
votes
2answers
455 views

Have axioms / axiom schemata of this flavour been proposed or otherwise considered?

With the exception of a few miscellaneous cases, the axioms (and/or schemeta) of ZFC can roughly be divided into two kinds: Those that guarantee the existence of more complicated sets, given that ...
1
vote
0answers
218 views

Recreating the wheel [closed]

I recently finished my Phd in pure maths and I am looking for open problems in my research area, functional analysis. Without going into the details, I stumbled onto an interesting problem and I ...
4
votes
1answer
134 views

What is the early history of the concepts of probabilistic independence and conditional probability/expectation?

In the 1738 second edition of The Doctrine of Chances, de Moivre writes, Two Events are independent, when they have no connexion one with the other, and that the happening of one neither forwards ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Advice for number theory library

Hi I just got a faculty position and it comes with a generous start up funds for "office supplies", which I must use or lose. What does a pure mathematician need? I have good computers already. I ...
2
votes
2answers
336 views

Beautiful constructions in algebraic topology that facilitate one's understanding of homotopy theory [closed]

There is an army of interesting constructions in AT, and Understanding them are usually very helpful for appreciate the theory underneath. So I would like to invite you to share those examples that ...
3
votes
1answer
203 views

References for von Neumann Algebras

I have some -possibly- simple but broad questions: Where to begin the study of von Neumann Algebras? Which are the important questions in the field that guide current research? I'm interested in ...
12
votes
2answers
550 views

Applications of really large numbers

I have seen several questions here on MO regarding large numbers, (uparrow notation, etc.), and different way to construct and compare such numbers. I am curious what the applications are for the ...
1
vote
0answers
425 views

Is it possible to give a fair assessment of the influence of Bourbaki's “Eléments de mathématique”? [closed]

Well, I apologize if this "soft-question" (related to the "Arnold-Serre" debate) is considered as irrelevant for MO, and for possible misunderstandings in the two earlier versions of this post (which ...
39
votes
11answers
6k views

What areas of pure mathematics research are best for a post-PhD transition to industry?

I have a student who is looking to start a PhD in pure mathematics. She is talented and motivated, and will do quite well. She is still in a phase of her development where she is still open to the ...
2
votes
0answers
156 views

Looking for author of calculus quote

When I was a lowly calculus student many many years ago, my calculus teacher quoted some famous mathemtician: "Calculus is the last course in arithmetic and the first course in mathematics that one ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

Inserting maple or macaulay script in a paper [closed]

I see many wonderful papers where the authors include some script written in Maple, Macaulay or other software that are needed for their proof. How do you insert that in your tex file?
6
votes
0answers
94 views

Duality between large and small scale structures

A rather immediate reaction to seeing the definition of a coarse structure, at least to me, is to be reminded of a uniform structure. The axioms for a coarse structure $\mathcal{C}$ (defined by a ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

What have simplicial complexes ever done for graph theory?

(I am asking in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion, of course, but nevertheless...) Are there examples of results in "classical" [*] graph theory that have been achieved by using simplicial ...
2
votes
4answers
418 views

Understanding reasons for best constants in inequalities

Why, in functional analysis, is so important to calculate best constant in an embedding inequality? Cross-posted from ...
0
votes
0answers
179 views

Game Theory - need references on analysis of particular game

My hobby AI research have led me to a thorethical game of particular design. As design is pretty simple, I was sure that such game has well-known name. But my question on math.stackexchange, where I ...
4
votes
4answers
386 views

Determine if a graph has a large clique

This question is quite specific and practical. I hope it is still relevant for MO and will not be removed. I have a collection $\mathcal{C}$ of graphs having from 5000-6000 vertices and edge density ...
7
votes
0answers
329 views

Is there a theory of abuse of notation? [closed]

Is there any theory about the different ways notation can be abused and which abuses are ineliminable without complicating the notation in some essential way? We can define "abuse of notation" as any ...
67
votes
9answers
7k views

Analogues of P vs. NP in the history of mathematics

Recently I wrote a blog post entitled "The Scientific Case for P≠NP". The argument I tried to articulate there is that there seems to be an "invisible electric fence" separating the problems in P ...
3
votes
0answers
435 views

Does Pure Mathematics glue Science together? [closed]

A little while ago, I was reading Cathy O'Neil's post Why is math research important (subtext: why does Pure Math deserve funding), where she discusses 3 possible answers. One of these is the usual ...
4
votes
1answer
307 views

Sources of Theorem drafts by the original author

When I look at first time to a theorem and I try to understand it or when I try to memorise a useful theorem I always have difficulties (I am not the only one. For example: I read a question: I always ...
20
votes
3answers
817 views

“Paradoxes” in $\mathbb{R}^n$

One may think of this question as a duplicate of this one. I see it more like an extension. The "inscribed sphere paradox" discussed in the aforementioned question states that if you inscribe a ...
24
votes
1answer
5k views

Who made the famous error in calculation that 'wasted' the final years of his life?

Sorry, I am merely a Middle School maths teacher at an Australian secondary school. I remember reading years ago about a famous mathematician (18th or 19th Century?) who calculated table upon table of ...
9
votes
0answers
342 views

What is a good poster for a math conference?

I'm going to participate to a conference and they ask me to do a poster on my research. I've never made a poster for a conference/seen a poster session in a conference. So what is important? What do ...
3
votes
0answers
199 views

A paper by Elashvili (translation request)

I would like to know if there is an English version of a paper by Elashvili called "Centralizers of nilpotent elements in semisimple Lie algebras". If not, is there atleast an online version of the ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Reference to complete derivation of Kossakowski–Lindblad equation and its steady solutions

Are there recommended textbook or good intro-reference to explain with complete stretch of Kossakowski–Lindblad equation especially how is the idea to derive it from ground? ...
1
vote
2answers
480 views

What are trivial objects, in general?

Trivial objects show up in most every branch of mathematics, and we all know lots of examples: the trivial group, ring, vector space, module over a ring, graph, knot, homomorphism from one object to ...
0
votes
1answer
217 views

Why do we change the order of summation? [closed]

Alexander the Great is staring at the Gordian Knot, bewildered. Absentmindedly he fingers the hilt of his trusty sword. On the sword is inscribed the words: "Change the order of summation". ...
2
votes
3answers
653 views

Assessing effectiveness of (epsilon, delta) definitions [closed]

There is much discussion both in the education community and the mathematics community concerning the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in calculus and the student reception of them. The ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Turing degree actually useful in real life? [closed]

In theoretical computer science, we classify problems according to their Turing degree. Is there any practical application of this? Edit: Given that we cannot explicitly and mechanically understand ...