I was reading a question on here about the road to learning arithmetic geometry, and one of the suggestions was to start reading some foundational papers in the area. Similarly, one of the responses linked to a comment on Terry Tao's blog which echoed this view as a supplement to standard textbook treatments because it shows how these ideas get applied to problems.

Luckily, in this case many of the people pointed to papers, but I was wondering in general how to find 'foundational' (by which I don't nescessarily mean historically important papers, but papers which use the foundational techniques of a field) papers which might add more motivational material or context when starting to learn a field, as opposed to books?

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of roadmap for studying arithmetic geometry $\endgroup$
    – JMP
    Mar 10, 2017 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ That's the question I was referring to. This question isn't about arithmetic geometry, it's about how to find papers if a question like that doesn't exists or doesn't have such wonderful responses. $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2017 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ I think an answer is contained within your question: look for Tao's blog on the subject you are interested in. If there isn't one yet, ask him to write it. $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2017 at 9:08
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    $\begingroup$ Look for the most highly cited papers on that particular topic (MathSciNet is a good tool for this). These will usually be the foundational papers. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Grant
    Mar 10, 2017 at 13:43


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