186
votes
97answers
31k views

Not especially famous, long-open problems which anyone can understand

Question: I'm asking for a big list of not especially famous, long open problems that anyone can understand. Community wiki, so one problem per answer, please. Motivation: I plan to use this list ...
20
votes
1answer
5k views

About Goldbach's conjecture

let's consider a composite natural number $n$ greater or equal to $4$. Goldbach's conjecture is equivalent to the following statement: "there is at least one natural number $r$ such as $(n-r)$ and ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

The cyclic subfactors theory: a quantum arithmetic?

Context: First recall some results: - Actions of finite groups on the hyperfinite type $II_{1}$ factor $R$ (Jones 1980). - A Galois correspondence for depth 2 irreducible subfactors ...
488
votes
199answers
124k views

Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics

The first thing to say is that this is not the same as the question about interesting mathematical mistakes. I am interested about the type of false beliefs that many intelligent people have while ...
148
votes
36answers
40k views

Widely accepted mathematical results that were later shown wrong?

I wonder if there are any examples in the history of mathematics of a mathematical proof that was initially reviewed and widely accepted as valid, only to be disproved a significant amount of time ...
13
votes
1answer
832 views

Non-“weakly group theoretical” integral fusion categories?

Is there an integral fusion category of global dimension $210$, such that the simple objects have dimensions $\{1,5,5,5,6,7,7\}$ and the following fusion matrices? $\small{\begin{smallmatrix} 1 & ...
26
votes
2answers
3k views

Does the curvature determine the metric?

Hello, I ask myself, whether the curvature determines the metric. Concretely: Given a compact Riemannian manifold $M$, are there two metrics $g_1$ and $g_2$, which are not everywhere flat, such that ...
0
votes
0answers
222 views

Lifting a quadratic system to a non vanishing vector field on $S^{3}$ or $T^{1} S^{2}$

Let $P:S^{3}\to S^{2}$ be the Hopf fibration. For a vector field $X$ on $S^{2}$ there is a non vanishing vector field $\tilde{X}$ on $S^{3}$ such that $DP(\tilde{X})=X$. It is constructed in ...
92
votes
39answers
29k views

Most interesting mathematics mistake?

Some mistakes in mathematics made by extremely smart and famous people can eventually lead to interesting developments and theorems, e.g. Poincare's 3d sphere charaterization or the search to prove ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Similarities between Post's Problem and Cohen's Forcing

Remark: I have since learned that G.H. Moore addresses this question in the third reference listed at the end of this post, beginning on p. 157 in which he cites a letter from Kreisel to Gödel dated ...
8
votes
2answers
944 views

Generalization of a theorem of Øystein Ore in group theory

Theorem (Øystein Ore, 1938): A finite group $G$ is cyclic iff its lattice of subgroups $\mathcal{L}(G)$ is distributive. Proof: see below. Let $(H \subset G)$ be an inclusion of finite groups and ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

Distinct numbers in multiplication table

Consider multiplication table for numbers $1,2,\cdots, n$. How many different numbers are there? That is how many different numbers of the form $ij$ with $1 \le i, j \le n$ are there? I'm interested ...
4
votes
3answers
465 views

Jordan-Hölder theorem for subfactors?

All the subfactors $(N\subset M)$ are irreducible and finite index inclusions of II$_1$ factors. First recall that in this paper, D. Bisch characterizes the Jones projections $e_K$ of the ...
215
votes
21answers
26k 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 ...
150
votes
35answers
34k views

Why is a topology made up of 'open' sets? [closed]

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I don't think I've ever been able to genuinely motivate the definition of a topological space in an undergraduate course. Clearly, the definition distills the essence of ...
115
votes
15answers
21k 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 ...
110
votes
10answers
13k 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 ...
46
votes
2answers
14k views

Is the analysis as taught in universities in fact the analysis of definable numbers?

Ten years ago when I studied in the university I had no idea about definable numbers, but I came to this concept myself. My thoughts were as follows: All numbers are divided into two classes: those ...
39
votes
11answers
4k views

Compelling evidence that two basepoints are better than one

This question is inspired by an answer of Tim Porter. Ronnie Brown pioneered a framework for homotopy theory in which one may consider multiple basepoints. These ideas are accessibly presented in his ...
33
votes
5answers
3k views

Is the Riemann Hypothesis equivalent to a $\Pi_1$ sentence?

1) Can the Riemann Hypothesis (RH) be expressed as a $\Pi_1$ sentence? More formally, 2) Is there a $\Pi_1$ sentence which is provably equivalent to RH in PA? (This is mentioned in P. ...
42
votes
4answers
3k views

when is A isomorphic to A^3?

this is totally elementary, but I have no idea how to solve it: let $A$ be an abelian group such that $A$ is isomorphic to $A^3$. is then $A$ isomorphic to $A^2$? probably no, but how construct a ...
35
votes
3answers
3k views

Number of elements in the set $\{1,\cdots,n\}\cdot\{1,\cdots,n\}$

Let $A_n=\{a\cdot b : a,b \in \mathbb{N}, a,b\leq n\}$. Are there any estimates for $|A_n|$? Will it be $o(n^2)$?
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Euler characteristic of a manifold and self-intersection

This is probably quite easy, but how do you show that the Euler characteristic of a manifold M (defined for example as the alternating sum of the dimensions of integral cohomology groups) is equal to ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Dimension of infinite product of vector spaces

This question is motivated by the question link text, which compares the infinite direct sum and the infinite direct product of a ring. It is well-known that an infinite dimensional vector space is ...
9
votes
7answers
4k views

Lower bound for sum of binomial coefficients?

Hi! I'm new here. It would be awesome if someone knows a good answer. Is there a good lower bound for the tail of sums of binomial coefficients? I'm particularly interested in the simplest case ...
6
votes
2answers
386 views

Necessary conditions for cofibrancy in global projective model structure on simplicial presheaves

Consider the global projective model category of simplicial presheaves on some category (the category of smooth manifolds is particularly interesting to me). In Section 9.1 of Dugger's paper ...
5
votes
1answer
337 views

coloring in lattice

This is a mathematical question raised from engineering and physics: Is there some established mathematical approach in filling a physical lattice with some colored basis (black and white here)? For ...
4
votes
0answers
315 views

Reference for Wang Tile

I am working on projects in solving ground state of generalized ising models. One recent work involves tiling with basic tiles that filled the whole lattice. For example, we could obtain results: ...
4
votes
3answers
639 views

Bound the error in estimating a relative totient function

Let $n=p_1^{e_1}\cdots p_k^{e_k}$ be an integer with $k$ prime factors. We know that the number of integers less than $n$ and coprime to it is $$\Phi(n)=n-\sum_i\frac n{p_i}\+\sum_{i \lt j}\frac ...
120
votes
76answers
39k views

Best online mathematics videos?

I know of two good mathematics videos available online, namely: Sphere inside out (part I and part II) Moebius transformation revealed Do you know of any other good math videos? Share.
103
votes
46answers
32k views

Ways to prove the fundamental theorem of algebra

This seems to be a favorite question everywhere, including Princeton quals. How many ways are there? Please give a new way in each answer, and if possible give reference. I start by giving two: ...
107
votes
8answers
11k views

If $f$ is infinitely differentiable then $f$ coincides with a polynomial

Let $f$ be an infinitely differentiable function on $[0,1]$ and suppose that for each $x \in [0,1]$ there is an integer $n \in \mathbb{N}$ such that $f^{(n)}(x)=0$. Then does $f$ coincide on $[0,1]$ ...
90
votes
42answers
17k views

Examples of eventual counterexamples

Define an "eventual counterexample" to be $P(a) = T $ for $a < n$ $P(n) = F$ $n$ is sufficiently large for $P(n) = T\ \ \forall n \in \mathbb{N}$ to be a 'reasonable' conjecture to make. where ...
67
votes
9answers
19k 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 ...
110
votes
7answers
8k views

Does $\mathrm{Aut}(\mathrm{Aut}(…\mathrm{Aut}(G)…))$ stabilize?

Purely for fun, I was playing around with iteratively applying $\DeclareMathOperator{\Aut}{Aut}\Aut$ to a group $G$; that is, studying groups of the form $$ {\Aut}^n(G):= \Aut(\Aut(...\Aut(G)...)) $$ ...
53
votes
2answers
6k views

The amplituhedron minus the physics

Is it possible to appreciate the geometric/polytopal properties of the amplituhedron without delving into the physics that gave rise to it? All the descriptions I've so far encountered assume ...
64
votes
4answers
8k views

How small can a sum of a few roots of unity be?

Let $n$ be a large natural number, and let $z_1, \ldots, z_{10}$ be (say) ten $n^{th}$ roots of unity: $z_1^n = \ldots = z_{10}^n = 1$. Suppose that the sum $S = z_1+\ldots+z_{10}$ is non-zero. How ...
38
votes
37answers
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 ...
34
votes
7answers
6k views

Arguments against large cardinals

I started to learn about large cardinals a while ago, and I read that the existence, and even the consistency of the existence of an inaccessible cardinal, i.e. a limit cardinal which is additionally ...
21
votes
10answers
9k views

Algorithm for finding the volume of a convex polytope

It's easy to find the area of a convex polygon by division into triangles, but what is the optimal way of finding the volume of higher-dimensional convex bodies? I tried a few methods for dividing ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Bijection between irreducible representations and conjugacy classes of finite groups

Is there some natural bijection between irreducible representations and conjugacy classes of finite groups (as in case of $S_n$)?
34
votes
6answers
2k views

Is the non-triviality of the algebraic dual of an infinite-dimensional vector space equivalent to the axiom of choice?

If $V$ is given to be a vector space that is not finite-dimensional, it doesn't seem to be possible to exhibit an explicit non-zero linear functional on $V$ without further information about $V$. The ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Are non-PL manifolds CW-complexes?

Can every topological (not necessarily smooth or PL) manifold be given the structure of a CW complex? I'm pretty sure that the answer is yes. However, I have not managed to find a reference for ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

Are the 'semi' trivial zeros of $\zeta(s) \pm \zeta(1-s)$ all on the critical line?

The proof that $\Gamma(z)\pm \Gamma(1-z)$ only has zeros for $z \in \mathbb{R}$ or $z= \frac12 +i \mathbb{R}$ has been given here: Are all zeros of $\Gamma(s) \pm \Gamma(1-s)$ on a line with real ...
21
votes
4answers
25k views

Eigenvalues of Matrix Sums

Is there a relationship between the eigenvalues of individual matrices and the eigenvalues of their sum? What about the special case when they are Hermitian and positive-definite? I am investigating ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

totally disconnected and zero-dimensional spaces

When do the notions of totally disconnected space and zero-dimensional space coincide? From what I gather, there are at least three common notions of topological dimension: covering dimension, small ...
12
votes
3answers
621 views

Hecke equidistribution

For a prime $p\equiv 1\pmod{4}$, we can write $p=a^2+b^2=N(a+bi)$. Therefore $$ a+bi=p^{1/2}e^{i\varphi} $$ where $\varphi\in [0,2\pi]$. I know that Hecke proved that $\varphi$ is equidistributed. I ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a purely group-theoretic reformulation of an equivalence of subgroups?

There is an equivalence relation between inclusion of finite groups coming from the world of subfactors: Definition: $(H_{1} \subset G_{1}) \sim(H_{2} \subset G_{2})$ if $(R^{G_{1}} \subset ...
7
votes
2answers
865 views

How to construct a continuous finite additive measure on the natural numbers

I want to find some condition to construct a continuous finitely additive measure on the natural numbers, i.e. $f:P(\mathbb{N})\rightarrow [0,1]$ such that $f(\{n\})=0$, and $f$ is an additive ...
3
votes
0answers
256 views

Maximization of a total variation distance subject to another total variation distance in Markov chain

Suppose two dependent random variables $X$ and $V$ from finite alphabets $\mathcal{V}$ and $\mathcal{X}$ with known joint and marginal distributions are given. Let $P_{XV}$ and $P_X$ and $P_V$ are the ...

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