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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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
312 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
838 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
763 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
209 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
950 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
411 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
312 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
271 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
881 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
584 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
348 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
184 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
404 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
258 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
2k 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 ...
9
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
248 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
212 views

Equivalent definitions of ample bundles

M. Atiyah in "VECTOR BUNDLES OVER AN ELLIPTIC CURVE" defined ample line bundle $E$ on $X$ as satisfying the following conditions: Canonical map $H^0(X, E)\to E_x$ is surjective for any $x\in X$. ...
28
votes
13answers
2k views

Great mathematics books by pre-modern authors

Last summer, I read Euclid's Elements, and it was an eye-opening experience; I had assumed that three thousand years' difference would make the notation incomprehensible and the reasoning alien, but ...
17
votes
2answers
737 views

Age of Stochasticity?

One user on MSE made an interesting question, which was unanswered so I suggested him to post it here but he refused for personal reasons and said I could ask it here. The question is this: Today ...
7
votes
7answers
993 views

Gelfand representation and functional calculus applications beyond Functional Analysis

I think it is fair to say that the fields of Operator Algebras, Operator Theory, and Banach Algebras rely on Gelfand representation and functional calculus in a crucial way. I am curious about ...
4
votes
5answers
394 views

What is “Data” involved in a mathematical construction?

What exactly do mathematicians mean when they refer to "the data" involved in a construction? I've encountered this many times and I can usually figure out what's going on, but I am curious about the ...
3
votes
1answer
438 views

The average number of people that can sit on a bench of a given length.

Let me explain what I mean: The width of the average person varies, perhaps with a normal distribution. Given a specific variance, how many people (on average) can sit side-by-side on a bench of a ...
9
votes
3answers
819 views

Is there an observer dependent mathematics? [closed]

Is there any field of mathematics that deals with the role of the observer? E.g., some formulation in which a set is changed, in some unspecified way, when it is observed? Or maybe some philosophy of ...
3
votes
1answer
760 views

The shortest mathematical paper [duplicate]

I was looking at the paper Zum Hilbertschen Nullstellensatz [1] and wondered if there was a shorter mathematical paper than this one. A colleague of mine rumored about a number-theoretic paper where ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Euler's mathematics in terms of modern theories?

Some aspects of Euler's work were formalized in terms of modern infinitesimal theories by Laugwitz, McKinzie, Tuckey, and others. Referring to the latter, G. Ferraro claims that "one can see in ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How to refer to a theorem that you have shown to be wrong

I am writing a paper about a flaw that I found in a published paper. There, the statement is called “Theorem 2”. In my paper, I am reproducing the other paper’s definitions, and steps leading towards ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Two questions about combinatorics journals

Hello, I have two questions regarding combinatorics journals. I hope that this is the right place for such questions. Which combinatorics/DM journals would you consider as the "top tier"? I tried ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

On mentioning recommenders' names in cover letter for postdoctoral applications

If I want to apply for a postdoctoral job, can I mention the name of my recommenders in my cover letter just to bolster my application, particularly when I am sure that the people who will read my ...
0
votes
2answers
387 views

Correct definition of the sequence of natural numbers with set theory, but without counting or measuring size [closed]

This question may appear banal, but there seems to be more than meets the eye; a common glitch is to explain numbers by the "size" of sets without saying how to measure or compare the size of sets. ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Mathematical Paper That Just Links Two Different Fields of Sciences

I have a soft question that is interesting for me in some aspects. I appreciate your answers and comments about it. Four years ago, one of my friends in MIT, in the biology lab, had working on ...
20
votes
8answers
1k views

Self-containing structures

(This question is partly inspired by What is inter-universal geometry?.) I have absolutely no background in Teichmuller theory or any related subject, but what I can follow of Mochizuki's description ...
7
votes
4answers
829 views

Coboundaries and Gluing in Cech Cohomology - Intuition?

I'm trying to develop an intuition for Cech cohomology geometrically, but am currently failing. A lot of people seem to say that the groups $H^n$ measure obstructions to gluing local sections to get ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How many proofs of the Weil conjectures are there?

I hope this this is not seen as too much as jumping on the band-wagon, but here goes. Deligne's proof of the last of the Weil conjectures is well-known and just part of a huge body of work that has ...
29
votes
0answers
2k views

The Work of Pierre Deligne

In this biography of Pierre Deligne, there is a quote of Jacques Tits which says that "quite a few of his best ideas have never been written!". What are some of his best ideas that you have heard of ...
1
vote
1answer
892 views

PhD in operator algebras and non-commutative geometry [closed]

I do not know whether it is a good place to ask this question or not. I want to PhD in operator algebras and non-commutative geometry. What are the best places in the world for that? I want a good ...
8
votes
1answer
688 views

Topology, the board game

Edit: I am reposting this question fom math.stackexchange.com; there may be some professors here who have more experience teaching topology. This is a math education question that I've been thinking ...
9
votes
1answer
415 views

New research on coding in reverse mathematics?

Coding is obviously a fundamental tool in reverse mathematics, and practitioners take care to both demonstrate the correctness of their coding mechanisms and point out their limitations. Harvey ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How long should one wait for a report before asking about its status? [closed]

I apologize if this question is too soft or if its answers would be too subjective for this site. However, I would find it highly useful to have such a question answered on this site, and I believe ...
1
vote
1answer
286 views

If X is a Haussdorf topological space and R and equivalence relation on X, when is X/R Haussdorf?

I was wondering if there are some necessary and sufficient conditions for the quotient space to be Haussdorf. I have been trying a little for a while, but I only got very restrictive sufficient ...
13
votes
3answers
626 views

Is there an editors checklist for mathematics?

I always have trouble with editing math papers for publication. I know there are plenty of checklists for English exposition but is there one for math specific exposition errors?