Linked Questions

162
votes
78answers
34k views

Which math paper maximizes the ratio (importance)/(length)?

My vote would be Milnor's 7-page paper "On manifolds homeomorphic to the 7-sphere", in Vol. 64 of Annals of Math. For those who have not read it, he explicitly constructs smooth 7-manifolds which are ...
267
votes
42answers
81k views

Widely accepted mathematical results that were later shown to be wrong?

Are there 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 later, possibly ...
128
votes
21answers
33k views

What recent discoveries have amateur mathematicians made?

E.T. Bell called Fermat the Prince of Amateurs. One hundred years ago Ramanujan amazed the mathematical world. In between were many important amateurs and mathematicians off the beaten path, but what ...
110
votes
26answers
22k views

What are some famous rejections of correct mathematics?

Dick Lipton has a blog post that motivated this question. He recalled the Stark-Heegner Theorem: There are only a finite number of imaginary quadratic fields that have unique factorization. ...
61
votes
7answers
8k views

Theorems demoted back to conjectures

Many mathematicians know the Four Color Theorem and its history: there were two alleged proofs in 1879 and 1880 both of which stood unchallenged for 11 years before flaws were discovered. I am ...
18
votes
7answers
10k views

If d/dx is an operator, on what does it operate?

If $\frac{d}{dx}$ is a differential operator, what are its inputs? If the answer is "(differentiable) functions" (i.e., variable-agnostic sets of ordered pairs), we have difficulty distinguishing ...
18
votes
8answers
4k views

Failures that lead eventually to new mathematics [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Most interesting mathematics mistake? In the 25-centuries old history of Mathematics, there have been landmark points when a famous mathematician claimed to have proven a ...
31
votes
2answers
7k 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.. For Mathematical ...
13
votes
5answers
6k views

Projection of Borel set from $R^2$ to $R^1$

Hello This should be easy to prove but i have no idea how to do it: If $X \subseteq \mathbb{R}^2$ is borel then $f(X)$ is borel where $f(x,y) = x$ Thanks Tobias
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are smooth numbers called “smooth”?

"Adleman refers to integers which factor completely into small primes as “smooth” numbers." (ME Hellman, JM Reyneri. Advances in Cryptology, 1983: citation link.) Does anyone know what is the ...
8
votes
2answers
405 views

On the definition of “almost-everywhere” for non-complete measure spaces

If $(X,\mathcal{B},\mu)$ is a (non-necessarily complete) measure space, we can give two different notions of a property $P(x)$ that is true almost-everywhere : (D1) There is a measurable set $A$ ...