Questions that are about research in mathematics, or about the job of a research mathematician, without being mathematical problems or statements in the strictest sense. In other words, questions that can be answered without making computations or applying theorems and axioms.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

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 ...
17
votes
7answers
1k 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
441 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
420 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
568 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
295 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
2k 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
779 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 ...
114
votes
26answers
26k 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 ...
32
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
959 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
120 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 ...
26
votes
15answers
5k 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
488 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?
32
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
1k 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
465 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
197 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
287 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. ...
11
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 ...
8
votes
0answers
171 views

Literature that helps explain what the theory of numerosities contributes with

Since 2003 a group of Italian mathematicians (Benci, Di Nasso and Forti) has developed a new measure for infinite sets that satisfies the Euclidian principle: The whole is greater than the part. The ...
3
votes
0answers
65 views

Almost everywhere in a rectangle [duplicate]

I would like to ask a question about the product (Lebesgue) measure on rectangle. I tried to solve the problem but I couldn't. Let $S$ be a subset of a region, say $R$ which is enclosed by a ...
87
votes
17answers
8k views

How does one justify funding for mathematics research?

G. H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology provides an answer as to why one would do mathematics, but I'm unable to find an answer as to why mathematics deserves public funding. Mathematics can be ...
38
votes
8answers
4k views

What recent programmes to alter highly-entrenched mathematical terminology have succeeded, and under what conditions do they tend to succeed or fail?

I think we all occasionally come across terminology that we'd like to see supplanted (e.g. by something more systematic). What I'd like to know is, under what circumstances is it reasonable to believe ...
7
votes
1answer
553 views

Differences in philosophy between Lie Groups and Differential Galois Theory

As far as I have heard,Sophus Lie's aim was to construct an analogue of galois theory for differential galois theory. I am familiar with lie group but not with differential galois theory. What is the ...
31
votes
2answers
2k views

Do's and don'ts of writing survey papers

I am not sure if this is the appropriate forum to ask as it is not directly related to a research level (math) problem, but I figured it was worth a try. I recently attended a conference and felt that ...
4
votes
0answers
204 views

Why is the density function of a sum of many iid random variables (i.e., the Gaussian) self-dual?

In the usual proof of the central limit theorem via characteristic functions, we note that if $X_1, \dots, X_n$ are independent and identically distributed, with probability density function $f(x)$, ...
22
votes
0answers
589 views

Good ways to organize old personal mathematical resources

I am wondering how the other Mathematicians organize their old mathematical resources, like calculation drafts, class and seminar notes etc. These old resources may be related to a wide range of ...
28
votes
26answers
4k views

Mathematicians who made important contributions outside their own field? [closed]

It is often said that scientists who cross disciplinary borders can make unexpected discoveries thanks to their fresh view of the problems at hand. I am looking for mathematicians who did just that. ...
0
votes
1answer
223 views

What do Hilbert and Bernays mean when they say “finitist number theory”? [closed]

Perhaps it is not a fair question to be addressed here. Anyway, when I read that Hilbert and Bernays develop finitist number theory. What does "finitist number theory" mean here?
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Optical methods for number theory?

I found a paper: 'A New Method of Finding the Distribution of Prime Number', saying We stack discs and annuluses with certain rules then turn on the light to illuminate. The projection of ...
29
votes
9answers
5k views

Why differential forms are important?

Importance of differential forms is obvious to any geometer and some analysts dealing with manifolds, partly because so many results in modern geometry and related areas cannot even be formulated ...
6
votes
2answers
394 views

Are there any organized websites for seminar/conference videos?

These days, there are many conference centers and universities recording seminars and conference talks and make them available on the web. Some examples: http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/video-archive ...
102
votes
10answers
6k views

What non-categorical applications are there of homotopical algebra?

(To be honest, I actually mean something more general than 'homotopical algebra' - topos theory, $\infty$-categories, operads, anything that sounds like its natural home would be on the nLab.) More ...
3
votes
0answers
79 views

Choice of MIP (mixed integer programming) solver

I would start using MIP solver for the research on the tiling. I know (heard of) the open source solver jump: https://github.com/JuliaOpt/JuMP.jl and also the gold standard solver from IBM cplex. ...
77
votes
6answers
8k views

Mistakes in mathematics, false illusions about conjectures

Since long time ago I have been thinking in two problems that I have not been able to solve. It seems that one of them was recently solved. I have been thinking a lot about the motivation and its ...
10
votes
1answer
397 views

Sources to find industrial jobs for mathematicians with a Ph.D., or with advanced backgrounds? (preferably research positions but not necessarily)

Several companies (google, IBM etc.) are known to hire mathematicians with advanced degrees (Ph.D. and so) to work in different sectors; I mean mostly research oriented positions in industry but could ...
0
votes
2answers
473 views

Guidelines for writing proofs in math papers [closed]

In the light of the recent "proof wars" in symplectic geometry (in which some groups contend that proofs given by some other groups are wrong, see here, here and here) I thought it would be good to ...
5
votes
2answers
882 views

Why can't mathematics be formalised in terms of classes rather than sets? [closed]

I've always been curious about the seeming compulsion to found mathematics upon sets, be it ZF(C) or some other system. Of course, there are other approaches these days like category theory and type ...
9
votes
3answers
694 views

Correct spelling of names, Chebychev and Cholesky [closed]

I'm writing a paper on orthogonal polynomials and I have to cite results by Chebychev and Cholesky. I found several and different translitterations from Russian. I wonder if there is a standard and ...
17
votes
8answers
1k views

Should a theorem be numbered by where it is first stated or where it is proven?

Suppose I am writing a paper in which an important lemma has a proof which is either long and unenlightening or requires additional background of the reader (or both). Thus, to avoid disrupting the ...
22
votes
4answers
848 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 ...
11
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
713 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
270 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
226 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
318 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
838 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 ...
11
votes
8answers
806 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
2k 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 ...