568
votes
217answers
144k 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 ...
224
votes
99answers
36k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
2k 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 (Izumi-Longo-...
24
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 4/...
16
votes
1answer
942 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 & ...
31
votes
2answers
2k views

What is known about the sum x^{n^2}/n?

It follows from a general theorem of Honda that the formal group with the logarithm $$ x+x^{2^s}/2+x^{3^s}/3+x^{4^s}/4+\cdots $$ has integer coefficients. I became interested in it because its $p$-...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
124
votes
10answers
15k 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 ...
32
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
53
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
443 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 “...
9
votes
3answers
739 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 n{...
182
votes
36answers
50k 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 ...
119
votes
46answers
40k 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: ...
117
votes
39answers
34k 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. Poincaré's 3d sphere characterization or the search to prove ...
46
votes
11answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
480 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 ...
173
votes
35answers
42k 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 ...
129
votes
33answers
76k views

Best Algebraic Geometry text book? (other than Hartshorne)

I think (almost) everyone agrees that Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry is still the best. Then what might be the 2nd best? It can be a book, preprint, online lecture note, webpage, etc. One suggestion ...
126
votes
15answers
24k 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 ...
38
votes
8answers
4k views

Does the formal power series solution to $f(f(x))= \sin( x) $ converge?

I have spent some time using gp-pari. There is, of course, a formal power series solution to $ f(f(x)) = \sin x.$ It is displayed, below, identified by the symbol $g$ because I am not entirely sure ...
31
votes
1answer
2k views

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

Recently I encountered in a class the fact that there is a generating function of Gromov--Witten invariants that satisfies the Korteweg--de Vries hierarchy. Let me state the fact more precisely. ...
26
votes
1answer
6k 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 $(n+...
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 ...
21
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
838 views

Proof-Theoretic Ordinal of ZFC or Consistent ZFC Extensions?

Let the proof theoretic ordinal $\alpha$ of a theory $T$ be the least recursive ordinal such that $T$ does not prove that $\alpha$ is well-founded. This ordinal is intended to quantify in some sense ...
12
votes
3answers
785 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
404 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: ...
5
votes
1answer
375 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
256 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 ...
118
votes
94answers
66k views

Famous mathematical quotes [closed]

Some famous quotes often give interesting insights into the vision of mathematics that certain mathematicians have. Which ones are you particularly fond of? Standard community wiki rules apply: one ...
154
votes
67answers
53k views

Awfully sophisticated proof for simple facts [closed]

It is sometimes the case that one can produce proofs of simple facts that are of disproportionate sophistication which, however, do not involve any circularity. For example, (I think) I gave an ...
119
votes
7answers
9k 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 $$ {\Aut}^n(G):= \Aut(\Aut(...\Aut(G)...)) $$ ...
54
votes
2answers
16k 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 ...
76
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
51
votes
6answers
5k views

third stable homotopy group of spheres via geometry?

It is ''well-known'' that the third stable homotopy group of spheres is cyclic of order $24$. It is also ''well-known'' that the quaternionic Hopf map $\nu:S^7 \to S^4$, an $S^3$-bundle, suspends to a ...
37
votes
37answers
15k 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 ...
40
votes
5answers
4k views

Is there a “geometric” intuition underlying the notion of normal varieties?

I first got concious of the notion of normal varieties around 3 years ago and despite the fact that by now I can manipulate with it a bit, this notion still puzzles me a lot. One thing that strikes me ...
37
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
41
votes
3answers
5k views

$C^1$ isometric embedding of flat torus into $\mathbb{R}^3$

I read (in a paper by Emil Saucan) that the flat torus may be isometrically embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$ with a $C^1$ map by the Kuiper extension of the Nash Embedding Theorem, a claim repeated in this ...
19
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 $S_n$)?
42
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 $o(n^2)$?
35
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 ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

Which number fields are monogenic? and related questions

A number field $K$ is said to be monogenic when $\mathcal{O}_K=\mathbb{Z}[\alpha]$ for some $\alpha\in\mathcal{O}_K$. What is currently known about which $K$ are monogenic? Which are not? From Marcus'...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Kuenneth-formula for group cohomology with nontrivial action on the coefficient

For a trivial action on the coefficient, we have the following Kuenneth formula for group cohomology: $$ H^n(G_1 \times G_2; M) \cong [\oplus_{i= 0}^n H^i(G_1;M) \otimes_M H^{n-i}(G_2;M)] \oplus [\...
14
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Giving $Top(X,Y)$ an appropriate topology

I am not sure if its OK to ask this question here. Let $Top$ be the category of topological spaces. Let $X,Y$ be objects in $Top$. Let $F:\mathbb{I}\rightarrow Top(X,Y)$ be a function (I will ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

Can a problem be simultaneously polynomial time and undecidable?

The Robertson-Seymour theorem on graph minors leads to some interesting conundrums. The theorem states that any minor-closed class of graphs can be described by a finite number of excluded minors. As ...
27
votes
2answers
5k views

The error in Petrovski and Landis' proof of the 16th Hilbert problem

What was the main error in the proof of the second part of the 16th Hilbert problem by Petrovski and Landis? Please see this related post and also the following post. Added : According to their ...

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