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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4
votes
1answer
251 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
721 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
975 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
429 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
814 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
713 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 ...
13
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
384 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. ...
14
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
817 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 ...
10
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
871 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
685 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
414 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
273 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
615 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?
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Role of applications in modern mathematics [closed]

Older days scientists were universalists and philosophy, physics and mathematics were a part the same question - understanding the world. Nowadays one may get feeling that the role of applications ...
7
votes
3answers
620 views

Formal writing: numbers under 10

I've been tasked with proofreading an Engineering/Mathematics thesis paper. I was always told that numbers under 10 should be spelled out (one, two, three, ...) but I was wondering if this rule holds ...
5
votes
2answers
652 views

Faculty Handbook: Mentoring Undergraduates in Research and Scholarship

A few days ago I was asked by the director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship at Georgia Regents University (formerly known as MCG and Augusta State) to contribute an article for ...
5
votes
0answers
773 views

“Must read ”papers on analytic number theory

Question: What would be some must-read papers for an aspiring analytic number theorist? In other words, what are the papers that any analytic number theorist would have read? (Background: ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

Should one attack hard problems?

When I applied for a PhD student position I had an interview with two professors. Somehow we touched the problem if $P$ is $NP$ and, once we got there, for some reason both professors made it clear ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How should a professor feel peace of mind when a student leaves academia? [closed]

I apologize if this is the wrong forum for this question -- if so, could somebody please point me to the correct one? I'm a professor who recently started advising graduate students, and I'm trying ...
7
votes
0answers
157 views

Tangent space, metrics etc. on simplicial sets

Is there a way to attach some sensible notion of tangent space to a simplicial set? If yes, is it possible to transfer typical local data from differential geometry such as metrics to this setting? ...
49
votes
5answers
2k views

Math Annotate Platform?

Suppose most mathematical research papers were freely accessible online. Suppose a well-organized platform existed where responsible users could write comments on any paper (linking to its doi, ...
15
votes
1answer
576 views

Mendelson's *Mathematical Logic* and the missing Appendix on the consistency of PA

A very soft question, but I hope not out of order here. In the first edition of Elliott Mendelson's classic Introduction to Mathematical Logic (1964) there is an appendix, giving a version of ...
3
votes
1answer
618 views

Math major at 36 [closed]

I decided to go for math at 36. Is this idea possible? I studied literature, political science and international relations and still I am not really sure what I am doing. Since I was kid, I was not ...
38
votes
19answers
6k views

Mathematicians whose works were criticized by contemporaries but became widely accepted later

Gauss famously discarded Abel's proof that an algebraic equation of degree five or more cannot have a general solution (Abel himself had rejected divergent series as the work of the devil). Cantor's ...
5
votes
3answers
875 views

group of diffeomorphisms of a manifold

How much has been the group of diffeomorphisms of a manifold " been studied. I got this information from wiki. " Quite a lot is known about the group of diffeomorphisms of the circle. Its Lie algebra ...
3
votes
2answers
415 views

To what extent should a pure mathematician care about the meaning of things? [closed]

I have asked this on SE before, But i DO hope that you kindly give me more insight about this question since it's very important to me Having come from engineering background, I am kinda obsessed ...
1
vote
1answer
217 views

Bounds for conjugacy classes of subgroups

My question is rather general and the reason for this is that I am primarily interested in finding sources where I can read more about this type of problems. So here goes: To begin with, I want to ...
49
votes
11answers
3k views

Why is Set, and not Rel, so ubiquitous in mathematics?

The concept of relation in the history of mathematics, either consciously or not, has always been important: think of order relations or equivalence relations. Why was there the necessity of singling ...
32
votes
31answers
6k views

Trichotomies in mathematics

Added. Thanks to all who participated! Let me humbly apologize to those who were annoyed (quite understandably) by this thread, deeming it nothing more than an exercise in futility. If you thought the ...
23
votes
9answers
2k views

Is the empty graph a tree?

This is a boring, technical question that I stumbled upon while making a contribution to Sage. I would still like to hear a constructive answer so hopefully the question does not get closed. The ...
6
votes
4answers
863 views

fourier analytic proofs

While searching through Mathoverflow, I found out a fourier analytic proof of the Isoperimetric Inequality.Also, by google search I found a fourier analytic proof of Quadratic Reciprocity theorem.I ...
3
votes
1answer
461 views

Integral representation of the modified Bessel functions of the second kind and asymptotic expansion

The modified Bessel function (Macdonald function) $K_\alpha(z)$ is known to have the following asymptotic expansion for large positive $z$: $$ K_\alpha(z)=\sqrt{\frac{\pi}{2z}}e^{-z}\sum_{k=0}^\infty ...
25
votes
14answers
1k views

Discovering and selecting conferences

Last summer, there were several excellent summer schools in my field that I learned of only after the application date. The events I did attend were chosen without too much care. I'm planning for the ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Financial Mathematics Books

Hi, I am looking for a good reference to start reading about Mathematical Finance/Financial Engineering. I have a good background in Math but have no idea at all in Finance.