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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28
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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 ...
20
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0answers
2k views

Why “open immersion” rather than “open embedding”?

When topologists speak of an "immersion", they are quite deliberately describing something that is not necessarily an "embedding." But I cannot think of any use of the word "embedding" in algebraic ...
20
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0answers
1k views

Name of amateur who gave a new proof of the Ramanujan-Nagell theorem?

In an article by George Johnson in the New York Times back in 1999, it says that an amateur mathematician from India once sent Ian Stewart a proof of the Ramanujan-Nagell theorem that the Diophantine ...
17
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0answers
409 views

Why is there a connection between enumerative geometry and nonlinear waves?

I'm not 100% sure that this question is appropriate for this site. If it's not, please tell me and I'll delete it. Recently I encountered in a class the fact that there is a generating function of ...
13
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0answers
774 views

Origins of the Nerve Theorem

Recently, I've read two papers which have cited the Nerve Theorem, one crediting Borsuk with the result and another Leray. Here is the question: Who was the first to prove the Nerve Theorem?
13
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0answers
421 views

Motivation for Hall-Witt identity

I've wondered for a while about the (Hall-)Witt identity in group theory: $[[a,b^{-1}],c]^b \cdot [[b,c^{-1}],a]^c \cdot [[c,a^{-1}]],b]^a = 1$. (Here, $x^y$ means $y^{-1}xy$ and $[x,y]$ ...
11
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0answers
185 views

Eilenberg's rational hiererchy of nonrational automata & languages — where is it now?

In the preface to his very influential books Automata, Languages and Machines (Volumes A, B), Samuel Eilenberg tantalizingly promised Volumes C and D dealing with "a hierarchy (called the rational ...
9
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0answers
278 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 ...
8
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0answers
270 views

Riemann's quote cited by Lakatos: what is the context?

"If only I had the theorems! Then I should find the proofs easily enough." This quote is generally attributed to Bernhard Riemann. In particular, on page 9 in Proofs and refutations by Imre ...
8
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0answers
282 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
181 views

Fixed marginals of joint distribution: status

One of the well-known problems of classical probability theory is the determination of the set of all extreme points in the convex set of all probability distributions in a product Borel space $\left ...
8
votes
0answers
367 views

Composition of two formal series

There are two formal semi-infinite Laurent series $$ f_+(z)=z+\sum_{k=2}^{\infty} a_k z^k $$ and $$ f_-(z)=z+\sum_{k=0}^{\infty} b_k z^{-k} $$ Their composition (we assume that this composition ...
7
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0answers
143 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? ...
7
votes
0answers
166 views

what's the role of $H^{p}(\mathbb{R}^{n})$ in modern (harmonic) analysis?

The classical theory of $H^p$,due to it's heavy dependence on the complex function theory(such as Blaschke products), seemed to have an insurmountable obstacle barrying its extension to several ...
7
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0answers
645 views

triangulated/derived categories in Physics and algebraic geometry

Why do physicists care about the triangulated/derived categories? I mean what are the problems we want to approach using the machinery of triangulated/derived categories. e.g. in homological mirror ...
6
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0answers
78 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
192 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 ...
6
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0answers
266 views

Where does the term “torsor” come from?

Is there a heuristic reason why pricipal homogeneus spaces of a group (object) $G$ (in some categories) are called $G$-torsors? Does it have anything to do with the idea of "torsion", somehow? When ...
6
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0answers
219 views

Is it possible to define a perverse $t$-structure for a certain triangulated category of sheaves of spectra?

The perverse t-structure for the derived category of complexes of sheaves is certainly a mighty tool for studying cohomology. My question is: does there exist any homotopy-theoretic analogue for it ...
5
votes
0answers
854 views

Blinding a paper : the acknowledgements section

I am about to submit a paper (my first!) to a journal in statistics. There is a requirement to submit a "blinded" version. Should I remove the acknowledgements section too for this? If I do, what are ...
5
votes
0answers
490 views

Mathematical etiquette: Rephrasing / restructuring a work, limited release (with attribution) acceptable?

Hello, I am reading a mathematics textbook (which one is irrelevant, and I do not wish to insult the author if (s)he happens to be reading this). One section relies quite a bit on an appendix and ...
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 ...
4
votes
0answers
262 views

Stability conditions for coherent sheaves and GIT

I am learning stability conditions for derived categories of coherent sheaves, following Bridgeland, and coming from a vector bundles background. $\mu$-stability for vector bundles has a clear GIT ...
4
votes
0answers
437 views

How would you cite a result that it is not quite correct, but whose proof contains some useful ideas

There is a paper that was published 15 years ago; one of the theorems in it is wrong in general. A few years ago some people told the author that this theorem is wrong as stated, but yet a partial ...
4
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0answers
464 views

Two different theorems but only one fact?

Let me first state an example: Let $X$ be the multiplication operator on the polynomials in $x$ defined by $Xf(x)=xf(x)$ and let $D$ be the differentiation operator defined by $Df(x) = f'(x).$ ...
3
votes
0answers
105 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
187 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
176 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
714 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: ...
3
votes
0answers
229 views

A Question Regarding Boolean-valued Models

What were the intuitions motivating the creation (or discovery, if you will) of Boolean-valued models? I have searched for the Scott-Solovay paper on the subject, but to no avail. There also seems to ...
3
votes
0answers
231 views

Seminar Notes Repository

On Seminars, people actually talk a lot more about motivations than when they write in paper. It would be a good idea if there is an online repository where people can upload notes (handwritten, ...
3
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0answers
143 views

Who defined the Inertia Group $I(M^n)\subset\Theta_n$ of a smooth manifold?

If you're unfamiliar with the definition, for an oriented smooth manifold $M^n$ we define the inertia group $I(M)$ to be the set of (h-coboridsm classes of) homotopy spheres $\Sigma^n$ such that ...
3
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0answers
620 views

What did Hilbert do on Hilbert spaces to deserve his name?

This question is just curiosity. When I had my first course in Functional Analysis, most of basic theorems about Banach spaces were presented to me as attributed to Banach (Hahn-Banach, ...
3
votes
0answers
964 views

What would an ideal mathematical note-taking/organizer/PIM software look like?

I'm struggling with this problem for a long time, and I'm sure a lot of you out there are having similar problems too: when studying from a e-textbook I read and annotate in one app and make ...
2
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0answers
140 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
245 views

Equal signs with fancy marks

Some people use $\stackrel{\mathrm{def}}{=}$, $:=$ or $\stackrel{\Delta}{=}$ for definitions. In more informal contexts, I have also seen $\stackrel{?}{=}$, for "I wish to prove this equality, which ...
2
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0answers
232 views

Descriptive set theory on $\mathbb{R}^\mathbb{N}$

The short version of my question is, What is a good source for learning about descriptive set theory on the space $\mathbb{R}^\mathbb{N}$, under the product topology coming from the discrete topology ...
2
votes
0answers
324 views

From complexity to topology after a CS PhD

Let me start by apologizing for the soft and lengthy nature of the question. I am a third year graduate student (in India) working in complexity theory. Early this year, I developed an interest for ...
2
votes
0answers
120 views

Is there something interesting in the uniqueness condition for a sheaf?

After digesting the Presheaf definition by the very first time, one feels (at least I felt) a strange sensation noticing the existence and uniqueness conditions to graduate that Presheaf as a sheaf, ...
2
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0answers
290 views

Different approaches to Shimura varieties

I have just started taking a look at some introductory papers about Shimura varieties, after a friend of mine suggested me to do so. They seem to be a sort of very interesting and many-sided topic, ...
2
votes
0answers
154 views

Relationship between the notions of “excellent ring” and “universally catenary Nagata ring”

Every excellent ring is both universally catenary and Nagata. How "close" is a universally catenary Nagata ring to being excellent? Context: I have not worked very much with the notions described ...
1
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0answers
187 views

Recreating the wheel

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 ...
1
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0answers
145 views

English version of “Quasi-Hopf Algebras”

I was wondering where I can find a pdf of Drinfeld's paper "Quasi-Hopf Algebras," which formulated the Grothendieck-Teichmuller group. The Russian version is in Algebra i Analiz, 1:6 (1989), 114–148, ...
1
vote
0answers
114 views

Algebraic properties of the semiring of open subsets.

Does anyone know of a useful general topological application of the algebraic properties of the semiring of open subsets of some topological space? Or examples of any such nontrivial properties at ...
1
vote
0answers
269 views

Do Arbib and Manes describe just concrete categories?

In “Arbib, Manes. Arrows, Structures and Functors. The Categorical Imperative. 6. Structured sets.” there is an approach to formalize structures. I have a strong feeling that they describe just ...
1
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0answers
333 views

Why is scalar extension important?

What I want to know is maybe not as dumb as the bare question. Suppose B is a commutative unital ring and C is a category of B-modules. Suppose that f : A --> B is a homomorphism, and F is ...
0
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0answers
168 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 ...
0
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0answers
83 views

On non-unital ring and algebraic geometry

When I learned abstract algebra many years ago,I noticed the author deals with commutative ring say,$A$ has the proposition:$A^2=A$(without assuming it has identity).It seems that many proposition of ...
0
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0answers
604 views

Any tips on finding generating functions from recurrence relations involving minimization and maximization?

Any general tips on or examples of finding interesting generating functions from recurrence relations involving minimization and maximization? I'd imagine the case with one term of a minimization or ...
0
votes
0answers
222 views

topological B model

The topological A model was constructed by Witten in Comm. Math. Phys. Volume 118, Number 3 (1988), 411-449. I am looking for the original paper where topological B model was first introduced. I am ...