# All Questions

**59**

votes

**22**answers

9k views

### Examples of major theorems with very hard proofs that have NOT dramatically improved over time

This question complement a previous MO question: Examples of theorems with proofs that have dramatically improved over time.
I am looking for a list of
Major theorems in mathematics whose proofs ...

**166**

votes

**41**answers

62k views

### A single paper everyone should read? [closed]

Different people like different things in math, but sometimes you stand in awe before a beautiful and simple, but not universally known, result that you want to share with any of your colleagues.
Do ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Why should curves be two-dimensional?

In Weil cohomology, a nice curve has cohomology up to degree 2, or more generally a nice $n$-dimensional variety has cohomology up to degree $2n$.
I know that this was motivated at least in part by a ...

**235**

votes

**21**answers

28k views

### Thinking and Explaining

How big a gap is there between how you think about mathematics and what you say to others? Do you say what you're thinking? Please give either personal examples of how your thoughts and words ...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

226 views

### A generalization of residual finiteness to topological groups

Consider the following generalization of residual finiteness to
topological groups.
A locally compact Hausdorff group $G$ is called residually compact if
for every compact $K \subseteq G$ there is a ...

**145**

votes

**11**answers

43k views

### Have any long-suspected irrational numbers turned out to be rational?

The history of proving numbers irrational is full of interesting stories, from the ancient proofs for $\sqrt{2}$, to Lambert's irrationality proof for $\pi$, to Roger Apéry's surprise demonstration ...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### How to write an abstract for a math paper? [closed]

How would you go about writing an abstract for a Math paper? I know that an abstract is supposed to "advertise" the paper. However, I do not really know how to get started. Could someone tell me how ...

**72**

votes

**25**answers

28k views

### What are the most misleading alternate definitions in taught mathematics?

I suppose this question can be interpreted in two ways. It is often the case that two or more equivalent (but not necessarily semantically equivalent) definitions of the same idea/object are used in ...

**100**

votes

**67**answers

33k views

### Math puzzles for dinner [closed]

You're hanging out with a bunch of other mathematicians - you go out to dinner, you're on the train, you're at a department tea, et cetera. Someone says something like "A group of 100 people at a ...

**122**

votes

**15**answers

23k views

### Why worry about the axiom of choice?

As I understand it, it has been proven that the axiom of choice is independent of the other axioms of set theory. Yet I still see people fuss about whether or not theorem X depends on it, and I don't ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

222 views

### Correlation between two distance measures on bitstrings

I have an infinite collection of $0/1$ random strings of length $n$ (i.e., say 010001110101), where each digit is an independent Bernoulli RV, with parameter $p_i$, $i:1...n$.
Define the "trait ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

536 views

### Minimum value of $|p(1)|^2+|p(2)|^2 +…+ |p(n+3)|^2$ over all monic polynomials $p$

Let $n$ be a positive integer. Determine the smallest possible value of $|p(1)|^2+|p(2)|^2 +...+ |p(n+3)|^2$ over all monic polynomials $p$ of degree $n$.
This question was proposed (problem ...

**35**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What is the purpose of the flat/fppf/fpqc topologies?

There have been other similar questions before (e.g. What is your picture of the flat topology?), but none of them seem to have been answered fully.
As someone who originally started in ...

**36**

votes

**30**answers

12k views

### Most intricate and most beautiful structures in mathematics

In the December 2010 issue of Scientific American, an article "A Geometric Theory of
Everything" by A. G. Lisi and J. O. Weatherall states "... what is arguably the most
intricate structure known to ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

689 views

### A question of Erdos on entire functions

At the end of the following paper, Erdos asked if there is a family $F$ of entire functions of size continuum such that for every $z \in \mathbb{C}$, $\{f(z) : f \in F\}$ has size less than continuum. ...

**98**

votes

**41**answers

34k views

### Where does a math person go to learn quantum mechanics?

My undergraduate advisor said something very interesting to me the other day; it was something like "not knowing quantum mechanics is like never having heard a symphony." I've been meaning to learn ...

**20**

votes

**1**answer

577 views

### Harmonic spinors on closed hyperbolic manifolds

Does anyone know an example of a closed spin hyperbolic manifold of dimension 3 or greater such that the kernel of the Dirac operator is non-trivial?
I'm mainly interested in the 3-dimensional case ...

**37**

votes

**37**answers

14k views

### Major mathematical advances past age fifty [closed]

From A Mathematician’s Apology, G. H. Hardy, 1940:
"I had better say something here about this question of age, since it is particularly important for mathematicians. No mathematician should ever ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

739 views

### Counterexamples for strengthening Whitehead's theorem?

Let $f:X\to Y$ be a pointed map of pointed connected $n$-dimensional CW complexes. Whitehead's theorem says that if $f_*:\pi_qX\to \pi_qY$ is an isomorphism for $q\le n$ and a surjection for $q=n+1$, ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

382 views

### An approximate version of $g^2 = e$ for all $g \in G$, implies $G$ is Abelian [closed]

I am trying to understand the concept of approximate group.
So I took a group theory exercise from a physics class at Caltech. The question basically states:
Suppose that for any element $g ...

**120**

votes

**10**answers

14k views

### Is there an introduction to probability theory from a structuralist/categorical perspective?

The title really is the question, but allow me to explain.
I am a pure mathematician working outside of probability theory, but the concepts and techniques of probability theory (in the sense of ...

**61**

votes

**21**answers

8k views

### Probabilistic Proofs of Analytic Facts

What are some interesting examples of probabilistic reasoning to establish results that would traditionally be considered analysis? What I mean by "probabilistic reasoning" is that the approach should ...

**52**

votes

**12**answers

10k views

### How misleading is it to regard $\frac{dy}{dx}$ as a fraction?

I am teaching Calc I, for the first time, and I haven't seriously revisited the subject in quite some time. An interesting pedagogy question came up: How misleading is it to regard $\frac{dy}{dx}$ as ...

**6**

votes

**4**answers

550 views

### Some Non-Trivial Algebraic(Rational) Number

Every problem about algebraic-ness (rational-ness) of numbers that I have seen is in one of the below types:
The number is algebraic(rational) and proving that it is algebraic(rational) is trivial, ...

**3**

votes

**2**answers

253 views

### Commutative von Neumann algebras and localizable measure spaces

This is not my subject so I apologize if my question is too obvious or understood from other pages.
I read some pages such as
Reference for the Gelfand-Neumark theorem for commutative von Neumann ...

**72**

votes

**9**answers

20k views

### solving $f(f(x))=g(x)$

This question is of course inspired by the question How to solve f(f(x))=cosx
and Joel David Hamkins' answer, which somehow gives a formal trick for solving equations of the form $f(f(x))=g(x)$ on a ...

**65**

votes

**17**answers

57k views

### Google question: In a country in which people only want boys [closed]

Hi all!
Google published recently questions that are asked to candidates on interviews. One of them caused very very hot debates in our company and we're unsure where the truth is. The question is:
...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

276 views

### Does the following $ C^{*} $-algebraic result have a purely algebraic proof?

While studying the proof of Bott periodicity for operator $ K $-theory in this set of notes, I learned this fact:
Theorem. Let $ A $ and $ B $ be $ C^{*} $-algebras. Let $ f,g: A \to B $ be $ * ...

**75**

votes

**16**answers

19k views

### What if Current Foundations of Mathematics are Inconsistent? [closed]

The title of the question is also the title of a talk by Vladimir Voevodsky, available here.
Had this kind of opinion been expressed before?
EDIT. Thanks to all answerers, commentators, voters, ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

303 views

### Why are unramified maps not required to be locally of finite presentation?

I have read and heard several times that it is “important” that unramified maps are not required to be locally of finite presentation, but only locally of finite type.
Apart from this issue with ...

**1**

vote

**2**answers

172 views

### Lower bound for $ \sum_{i=1}^n x_i f(x_i)$ when $\sum_{i=1}^{n}x_i = K$

Considering,
the set of all n dim. vectors $\{x_i\}_{i=1,...,n} $ such that $x_i \geq 0 $ and $\sum_{i=1}^{n}x_i = K$
Any continuous and strictly increasing function $f^+(x)$ : $ \mathbb R^+ \to ...

**36**

votes

**9**answers

3k views

### What do named “tricks” share?

There are a number of theorems or lemmas or mathematical ideas that come to be known as eponymous
tricks, a term which in this context is in no sense derogatory.
Here is a list of 10 such tricks (the ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

111 views

### Phase of the inner product between the elements of an ETF

I am doing research in compressive sampling for Cognitive Radio applications. While working on a project I came across with the following question:
Is there any research about the phase of inner ...

**8**

votes

**0**answers

202 views

### Does hypoellipticity imply the existence of a parametrix?

Let $M$ be a smooth manifold, like $\mathbb{R}^n$ for instance. The existence of a parametrix for an operator $P$ on $C^\infty(M)$ in any reasonable pseudodifferential calculus implies that $P$ is ...

**0**

votes

**2**answers

69 views

### Maximum principle for the heat equation with Dirichlet conditions

Let us consider the Laplacian operator in a domain $\Omega\subset \mathbb{R}^n$, with Dirichlet boundary conditions.
For all $f\in L^2(\Omega)$, we denote by $S(t)f$ the solution of the equation
$$
...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

333 views

### Is every connected reductive group over a local field already defined over a global field?

Let $K$ be a local field, e.g. $\mathbb{Q}_p$ or $\mathbb{F}_p((t))$. Let $G$ be a connected reductive group over $K$. Is it true that $G$ is already defined over a global field? More precisely, does ...

**15**

votes

**0**answers

367 views

### Is there a motivic Cauchy integral formula?

Let $R$ be a complete dvr with fraction field $K$ and residue field $k$, and let $X, Y$ be two smooth projective $R$-schemes with isomorphic generic fibers.
Is it true that $[X_k]=[Y_k]$ in ...

**40**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### Are the primes normally distributed? Or is this the Riemann hypothesis?

Forgive my very naive question. I know next to nothing about number theory, but I'm curious about the state of the art on the distribution of primes.
Let $\mathrm{Li}(x)$ be the offset logarithmic ...

**16**

votes

**4**answers

2k 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 ...

**18**

votes

**0**answers

991 views

### Is formula valid for relating $\pi$ with ALL of its OEIS A002485(n)/A002486(n) convergents?

Could anyone try to prove that the below conjectured formula is valid for relating $\pi$ with ALL of its convergents - those, which are described in OEIS via A002485(n)/A002486(n) ?
$$(-1)^n\cdot(\pi ...

**70**

votes

**5**answers

6k views

### Is there a dense subset of the real plane with all pairwise distances rational?

I heard the following two questions recently from Carl Mummert, who encouraged me to spread them around. Part of his motivation for the questions was to give the subject of computable model theory ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

4k views

### Why is it hard to prove that the Euler Mascheroni constant is irrational?

Philosophically why should proving that $\gamma$ is irrational (let alone transcendental) be so much harder than proving $\pi$ or $e$ are irrational?

**1**

vote

**0**answers

63 views

### Variational Properties of the Perelman Functional

After reading a bit more about Perelman's entropy and gradient solitons, I came up with a hunch, which I must test. Non-singular solitons can be regarded as critical points of Perelman's entropy, or ...

**9**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### What are conjectures that are true for primes but then turned out to be false for some composite number?

Note: This is an update formulation since many people misunderstood the question before.
Of course it is easy to make a statement like "Every n is a prime or at most 1000", which is true for every ...

**11**

votes

**4**answers

677 views

### Reference request: expository text on the structure of reductive groups over non-archimedean local fields

I am interested in an expository text in English, which summarizes the main results and aspects of the structure theory of reductive groups over local fields, in a hopefully not very technical manner ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

125 views

### Injectivity of the Dehn-Nielsen-Baer map?

If $S$ is a closed hyperbolic surface, is there an easy proof of the injectivity of the Dehn-Nielsen-Baer map from $\mathrm{Mod}(S)$ to $\mathrm{Out}(\pi_1(S))$, taking an element of the mapping class ...

**34**

votes

**7**answers

6k views

### Are some numbers more irrational than others?

Some irrational numbers are transcendental, which makes them in some sense "more irrational" than algebraic numbers. There are also numbers, such as the golden ratio $\varphi$, which are poorly ...

**22**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Measures of non-abelian-ness

Let $G$ be a finite non-abelian group of $n$ elements.
I would like a measure that intuitively captures the
extent to which $G$ is non-commutative.
One easy measure is a count of the non-commutative ...

**48**

votes

**5**answers

4k views

### Why are abelian groups amenable?

A (discrete) group is amenable if it admits a finitely additive probability measure (on all its subsets), invariant under left translation. It is a basic fact that every abelian group is amenable. ...

**9**

votes

**1**answer

437 views

### Infected square

I saw the following problem in Mathematical Puzzles from Peter Winkler (very good book, by the way): imagine you infect k cases of a chessboard nxn and the infection spreads to a case if it has at ...