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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2
votes
1answer
414 views

Hilbert style axiomatic proof or sequent Calculus?

I am puzzling with the question which of the two proof systems (Hilbert style axiomatic proofs or substructural Sequent Calculi) is the most discriminatory? With discriminatory I mean is which proof ...
33
votes
17answers
4k views

What are some deep theorems, and why are they considered deep?

All mathematicians are used to thinking that certain theorems are deep, and we would probably all point to examples such as Dirichlet's theorem on primes in arithmetic progressions, the prime number ...
5
votes
1answer
437 views

Naive question on adelic groups

The ever-reliable Wikipedia says: ... an adelic algebraic group is a semitopological group defined by... No more details are given, and I was wondering if the multiplication only being ...
18
votes
5answers
629 views

Online high quality colloquium talks

In my department we're thinking about showing online lectures one day per week at lunch, as sort of a virtual colloquium appropriate to mathematics undergraduates as well as faculty. To start with ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Contemporary mathematical themes

The presence of fruitful mathematical themes suggests the unity of mathematics. What I mean by a mathematical theme here is a basic idea or guiding principle that motivates or directs the central ...
2
votes
5answers
251 views

Equivalence relations not associated with a group

This is a vague question; so vague that I wonder if anyone will get it. Many, perhaps most, equivalence relations that are regularly used in mathematics correspond to the orbits of some group action ...
6
votes
1answer
619 views

What are current trends/questions in algebraic logic?

What are current trends/questions in algebraic logic? I mean the research developed by Paul Halmos. Could anyone give some references for the overview of its history? Any overview of its application ...
5
votes
1answer
367 views

What are good ways to present proofs of theorems requiring auxiliary lemmas? [closed]

I am writing an academic paper for submission to a journal. One of my co-authors wrote the following: Theorem Statement of the theorem Proof of theorem We first show the following result ...
9
votes
2answers
653 views

Rigid analytic spaces vs Berkovich spaces vs Formal schemes

I wonder if someone could explain briefly what is the relation between these 3 formal models, of a Berkovich space, a rigid analytic space and a formal scheme? I have been working with formal schemes ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Why Cohen-Macaulay rings have become important in commutative algebra?

I want to know the historic reasons behind singling out Cohen-Macaulay rings as interesting algebraic objects. I'm reviewing my previous lecture notes about Cohen-Macaulay rings because now I'm ...
14
votes
10answers
2k views

An example of a proof that is explanatory but not beautiful? (or vice versa)

This question has a philosophical bent, but hopefully it will evoke straightforward, mathematical answers that would be appropriate for this list (like my earlier question about beautiful proofs ...
5
votes
1answer
251 views

Origins of Axiomatic Reasoning

Is there any evidence that axiomatic reasoning has been used prior to Thales of Milet (624-547BC), who is generally credited for the "invention" of axioms. In this context I understand axioms in the ...
36
votes
15answers
3k views

How does the work of a pure mathematician impact society? [closed]

First, I will explain my situation. In my University most of the careers are doing videos to explain what we do and try to attract more people to our careers. I am in a really bad position, because ...
1
vote
4answers
455 views

What is the meaning of “algebraic construction”, and how could this be used in algebraic geometry

I try to make my question clear: When reading a paper or listening a seminar talk, people showed me some set, and claim it to be a scheme; or some map, and claim it to be a morphism. I query why this ...
32
votes
9answers
2k views

Homotopy as a general organizing principle

One of the realizations that led to the development of Homotopy Type Theory (HoTT) is that the ideas of homotopy theory have very broad applicability in mathematics. Indeed, Quillen model categories ...
7
votes
1answer
392 views

Number theory underlying Euler's theory of music

I've recently been studying Euler's theories on music, and I came across Euler's concept of gradus suavitatis or 'degree of pleasure' of a rational number representing the ratio of two tones. (I found ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Review papers in mathematics

Are there review papers, literature reviews in mathematics that describe the recent developments in various fields for a newcomer? Or is the prerequisite knowledge always provided in research ...
6
votes
3answers
752 views

How to Discover Counterexamples and Required Objects [closed]

What are strategies or tips, which research mathematicians have discovered through their work and experience, that would help undergraduates learn how to discover counterexamples or find an object on ...
-1
votes
1answer
325 views

collective slide-hosting for Mathematics [closed]

Has anyone considered using SlideShare to host slides from talks? In much the same way arXiv hosts papers. Truth be told, the slides are often much easier to absorb than the papers. Sometimes I will ...
2
votes
4answers
950 views

When did you “meet Polya”? [closed]

I guess most of us didn't meet Polya in person (this is the answer to the title)! Perhaps, it is much easier to guess that most of us have met one of his writings (or alike) on problem solving, and ...
4
votes
1answer
878 views

Preparing for Set Theory Research

Is reading Jech's text on Set Theory too little, just enough, or overkill to prepare oneself to do independent research in set theory? This would be my first attempt at doing independent research ...
19
votes
2answers
744 views

Strict applications of deformation theory in which to dip one's toe

I hesitate to ask a question like this, but I really have tried finding answers to this question on my own and seemed to come up short. I readily admit this is due to my ignorance of algebraic ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a scheme corresponding to the unit interval?

Can someone complete the following table? $\begin{array}{cc} \text{Topology over } \mathbb{R} & \text{Topology over } \mathbb{C} & \text{Algebraic Geometry} \\\\ \hline \mathbb{R} & ...
18
votes
21answers
2k views

What are some examples of mathematicians who had an unconventional education? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Famous mathematicians with background in arts/humanities/law etc What are some examples of mathematicians who had an unconventional education and yet, went on to make an ...
21
votes
7answers
1k views

Pros and cons of math teaching using smartboards

Currently, there is some talk in my university concerning a change in our lecture rooms from blackboards to smartboards (or other alternatives, such as a smart podium). For that reason, I'm interested ...
9
votes
0answers
305 views

State of research in moduli space of flat connections

I am a recent PhD student trying to settle into a research topic. Even though I have a current project I am working on, I am not particularly enjoying it and would like to switch. Before braving the ...
21
votes
9answers
3k views

Research topics restricted to students at top universities?

Hello everybody. I am a Ph.D student in North America looking for advice about my prospective research area. My supervisor works in a research area, let's say area A, so as soon as I was accepted as ...
5
votes
1answer
820 views

How to find a topic to do research with as a Post-Doc? [closed]

I will soon finish my PhD in arithmetic geometry. My advisor told me that I will have to find my next research topic on my own. How do I do that? (Except for "continue where the PhD thesis ends") Can ...
19
votes
3answers
761 views

Where to look for corrections of papers?

When I start reading a paper, is there some easy way to find a list of corrections for that paper? For example, it happens occasionally that some result of a paper turns out to be wrong, or at least ...
6
votes
0answers
206 views

History of the characterization of commutative Artin rings

When it comes to the world of "classical" (pre-homological) Noetherian commutative algebra, I tend to think of most of the results (Krull's intersection theorem, the principal ideal theorem, etc.) as ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there an RSS reader for mathematicians?

For a while, I have used Google Reader to stay on top of several math blogs. Unfortunately, Google will pull the plug on Reader one month from today, so I need to find an alternative fast. I was ...
6
votes
7answers
917 views

famous papers/results by non professional mathematicians [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What recent discoveries have amateur mathematicians made? Dear overflowers Out of curiosity: do you know any famous papers and/or results by non professional ...
-1
votes
1answer
407 views

A question concerning how mathematicians feel about theorems and their proofs. [closed]

Must one of my favorite geometrical theorems come to be regarded as "trivial" or "obvious", when it is shown to have a really short and easy proof? Let C denote any closed unbounded subset of the ...
3
votes
3answers
301 views

Embedding Theorem for topological spaces, and in general

There are many examples throughout mathematics of abstracting the formal properties of a "familiar" structure, but then having a theorem stating that all models of the abstract axioms embed into one ...
43
votes
7answers
2k views

How closed-form conjectures are made?

Recently I posted a conjecture at Math.SE: $$\int_0^\infty\ln\frac{J_\mu(x)^2+Y_\mu(x)^2}{J_\nu(x)^2+Y_\nu(x)^2}\mathrm dx\stackrel{?}{=}\frac{\pi}{2}(\mu^2-\nu^2),$$ where $J_\mu(x)$ and $Y_\mu(x)$ ...
40
votes
13answers
3k views

Why don't more mathematicians improve Wikipedia articles?

Wikipedia is a widely used resource for mathematics. For example, there are hundreds of mathematics articles that average over 1000 page views per day. Here is a list of the 500 most popular math ...
2
votes
2answers
268 views

fixedpoint or fixed point or fixed-point

I am unsure which is the right spelling (if there even is a ‘right’ spelling), but maybe native speakers can enlighten me: When should I use fixed point fixed-point fixedpoint when I refer to the ...
4
votes
0answers
94 views

Categorical notions involving $\ell_p$ spaces.

First of all, apologies for a somewhat vague question but let me give a try. We know what the projective objects in the category of Banach spaces are: these are precisely $\ell_1(\Gamma)$-spaces. (One ...
7
votes
3answers
838 views

Importance of separability vs. second-countability

For me second-countability always felt like to be the more important and fundamental concept from general topology than separability. I wonder whether there are any points which can be made for the ...
2
votes
1answer
535 views

Derivation of Bessel functions

I am writing a summary on a work on Fluid Dynamics that develops irrotational flow states that appear to interact amongst each other according to the equations of Electromagnetism ...
4
votes
1answer
347 views

Is it true that Nature promotes products?

I hope this question is not unreasonable. We all know how to take products of numbers, this generalises to a huge amount of different types of products in mathematics. In a certain sense this notion ...
3
votes
0answers
179 views

Is it difficult to prove that nature is chaotic?

If we have a Markov coding or another symbolic description of a dynamical system it is usually easy to prove that the system is chaotic (in the sense of of Li-York, Devaney, positive entropy of what ...
0
votes
1answer
289 views

Do you set a one or two commas when using \mapsto?

I am currently revising a paper and I am completely confused about the commas. Is it correct English to write 1) "The canonical map $X \to Y$, $x \mapsto f(x)$, is injective." or is it 2) "The ...
60
votes
24answers
6k views

Modern Mathematical Achievements Accessible to Undergraduates

While there is tremendous progress happening in mathematics, most of it is just accessible to specialists. In many cases, the proofs of great results are both long and use difficult techniques. Even ...
9
votes
1answer
320 views

Discrete Morse theory and chess

There are many mathematical objects that are similar to groups and Cayley graphs of groups but lack homogeneity in some sense. Graphs of webpages with edges corresponding to links are one example. ...
4
votes
1answer
244 views

Alexandrov angles in Riemannian manifolds

Dear all, I am teaching a course in Riemannian geometry, and I would like to prove some comparison theorems in the next lessons, building on the well-known theory of Jacobi fields, and of Rauch ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

motivating geometric representation theory

I am wondering if there is a good motivation for geometric representation theory from within the questions of classical representation theory. In other words, I'd be curious to see something using ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Intuitionistic logic as quantization of classical logic?

A classically trained mathematician is more likely to be familiar (at least anecdotally) with an area of mathematical physics such as deformation quantization than with Intuitionistic logic. It is ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What does a mathematician expect from mathematics education? [closed]

Consider that my question is not a personal and/or subjective question. Perhaps, you have hired a mathematics educator in your department and you are interested in finding a way to communicate with ...
2
votes
2answers
247 views

Stronger theorem not resulting from proof analysis

Suppose that we proved $\varphi$ from a theory $T$. Often we ask whether or not we could have proved $\varphi$ with a weaker theory, to find out we usually analyze the proof and try to figure out ...