Questions tagged [geometry]

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93
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6answers
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Light rays bouncing in twisted tubes

Imagine a smooth curve $c$ sweeping out a unit-radius disk that is orthogonal to the curve at every point. Call the result a tube. I want to restrict the radius of curvature of $c$ to be at most 1. I ...
78
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4answers
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Is the sphere the only surface all of whose projections are circles? Or: Can we deduce a spherical Earth by observing that its shadows on the Moon are always circular?

Several ancient arguments suggest a curved Earth, such as the observation that ships disappear mast-last over the horizon, and Eratosthenes' surprisingly accurate calculation of the size of the Earth ...
73
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2answers
5k views

Light reflecting off Christmas-tree balls

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49
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6answers
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What do Weierstrass points look like?

As somebody who mostly works with smooth, real manifolds, I've always been a little uncomfortable with Weierstrass points. Smooth manifolds are totally homogeneous, but in the complex category you ...
39
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10answers
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Is there a mathematical axiomatization of time (other than, perhaps, entropy)?

Since Euclid's axiomatization of space, we have developed a sophisticated mathematical model of space. Given a category of structures (measures), local space is modeled the spectrum of measurements ...
37
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3answers
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Sheaves and bundles in differential geometry

Because the theory of sheaves is a functorial theory, it has been adopted in algebraic geometry (both using the functor of points approach and the locally ringed space approach) as the "main theory" ...
32
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3answers
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“Softness” vs “rigidity” in Geometry

According to common wisdom, there are structures in Geometry that have a more "topological" flavor, others that are more "geometrical", and others that are halfway between. Usually, geometries${}^*$ ...
31
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9answers
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Why is the Laplacian ubiquitous?

The title says it all. I'm wondering why the Laplacian appears everywhere, e.g. number theory, Riemannian geometry, quantum mechanics, and representation theory. And people seems to care about their ...
26
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7answers
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Rolle's theorem in n dimensions

This looks like a statement from a calculus textbook, which perhaps it should be. "Rolle's theorem". Let $F\colon [a,b]\to\mathbb R^n$ be a continuous function such that $F(a)=F(b)$ and $F'(t)$ ...
25
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2answers
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Why is the half-torus rigid?

The half-torus surface that results from slicing a torus like a bagel, depicted below (left), is isometrically rigid.       I know this from a remark of Alexandrov in Mathematics: Its ...
23
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2answers
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Geometry of complex elliptic curves

Is there an elliptic curve in CP^2 whose induced Remannian metric ( induced from the Fubini-Sudy metric on CP^2) is Euclidian flat?
22
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6answers
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Is there a topological description of combinatorial Euler characteristic?

There are a collection of definitions of "combinatorial Euler characteristic", which is different from the "homotopy Euler characteristic". I will describe a few of them and give some references, and ...
21
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4answers
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Minimal surface in a ball

Assume a minimal surface $\Sigma$ has boundary on the unit sphere in the Euclidean space and $r$ is the distance from $\Sigma$ to the center of the ball. Is it true that $$\mathop{\rm area} \Sigma\ge ...
21
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1answer
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A Weak Form of Borsuk's Conjecture

Problem: Let P be a d-dimensional polytope with n facets. Is it always true that P can be covered by n sets of smaller diameter? Background and motivation The Borsuk conjecture (disproved in 1993) ...
21
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0answers
843 views

Random Distance Matrices

My question is motivated by the following recent paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.6333 Assume you have a metric space $(X,d)$ equipped with a Borel probability measure $\mu$. We can further assume ...
18
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2answers
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Turning pants inside-out (or backwards) while tied together

An entertaining topological party trick that I have seen performed is to turn your pants inside-out while having your feet tied together by a piece of string. For a demonstration, check out this ...
17
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1answer
529 views

Can all convex polytopes be realized with vertices on surface of convex body?

The following question was asked by me on Mathematics.SE. Unfortunately, no one answered it so I thought I might give it a try one level higher. Below the line you can find the slightly edited ...
17
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2answers
3k views

A question about the proof of Mostow rigidity

I have recently been studying a proof of Mostow rigidity (along the lines of Mostow's original argument), and I'm left a little confused about something. We start with an isomorphism $\alpha: \Gamma \...
17
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2answers
750 views

Arrangements of points in the plane

Let $p_1,\ldots,p_n$ be a collection of distinct points in $\mathbb{R}^2$, no three of which lie on a line. For each $p_i$, let $\omega_i(p_1,\ldots,p_n)$ be the following ordered list (well-defined ...
17
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1answer
1k views

What can be said about the Shadow hull and the Sight hull?

This is a question implicitly raised by Is the sphere the only surface all of whose projections are circles? Or: Can we deduce a spherical Earth by observing that its shadows on the Moon are always ...
16
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5answers
1k views

Which norms have rich isometry groups?

Let $n \ge 2$ be some positive integer. Given a norm $p : \mathbb{R}^n \to \mathbb{R}$, one can inquire about the structure and properties of its isometry group, i.e. the group of all bijections $F:\...
16
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3answers
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When does the set of isometries form a group?

Motivation Its a classic set up. Take a metric space $M$, with distance function $d:M\times M\to \mathbb{R}$. The set of isometries of $M$ is the set of functions $f: M \to M$ which preserve distance....
16
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2answers
874 views

Integer lattice points on a hypersphere

Is the following statement true? For every integer $n\ge2$ and every integer $k\ge0$ there exists a hypersphere in $\mathbb{R}^n$ (circle, sphere etc) containing exactly $k$ integer lattice points ...
16
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2answers
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Geometric interpretation of Cartan's structure equations

Given a linear connection on a Riemmanian manifold $M$ and $\phi^1,...,\phi^n$ a local frame for $T^*M$ we can define the connection 1-forms $\omega^j_i$. We define the curvature 2-forms by $\Omega_i^...
16
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1answer
786 views

Totally rational polytopes

Define a convex polytope in $\mathbb{R}^d$ as totally rational (my terminology) if its vertex coordinates are rational, its edge lengths are rational, its two-dimensional face areas are rational, etc.,...
15
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2answers
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Approximating a convex function by a piecewise linear function

Suppose I have a Lipschitz-continuous convex function $f:\mathbb{R}^n\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$. I wish to approximate it on the unit ball by a piecewise-linear function $g:\mathbb{R}^n\rightarrow \...
15
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0answers
557 views

Does every connected set that is not a line segment cross some dyadic square?

A dyadic square is a subset of $R^2$ of the form $x + 2^{-n} [0,1]^2$ with $x \in 2^{-m} Z^2$, for integers $m,n \geq 0$. We say that a set $A$ crosses a square $S$ if there exists a connected subset ...
14
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8answers
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The Symmetry of a Soccer Ball

Let $P$ be a polyhedron which satisfies the following three conditions: $P$ is built out of regular hexagons and regular pentagons. Three faces meet at each vertex. $P$ is topologically a sphere. An ...
14
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3answers
955 views

Use of n-transitivity in finite group theory

Hello, apparently finite groups which are n-transitive with n>5 are only the permutation groups Sn or the alternating groups An+2, see e.g. page 226 this book by Isaacs http://books.google.fr/books?...
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5answers
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How far is a set of vectors from being orthogonal?

Given some vectors, how many dimensions do you need to add (to their span) before you can find some mutually orthogonal vectors that project down to the original ones? Or, more formally... Suppose $...
13
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3answers
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orientations for zero-dimensional manifolds

I am teaching a course on manifolds, and soon I will have to prove the Stokes' theorem which, of course, involves defining oriented manifolds. There are many ways to define an oriented manifold. My ...
13
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5answers
848 views

A characterization of convexity

While doing some research on polytopes I came to the following question. Maybe it's already somewhere but anyway I'll post it here. Let $X\subset \mathbb{R}^3$ be such that, for every plane $P$, $P\...
13
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4answers
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When do two holonomy maps determine flat bundles that are isomorphic as just bundles (w/o regard to the flat connections)?

Suppose we have a surface S (although the question might make as much sense in higher dimensions) and a topological group G. The data of a flat vector bundle on S (up to isomorphism) is the same as a ...
13
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4answers
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When sticks fall, will they weave?

Imagine $n$ $z$-vertical sticks uniformly spaced around a unit-radius circle in the $xy$-plane. At $t{=}0$, each is randomly $\epsilon$-perturbed from the vertical, and they fall under the influence ...
13
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2answers
836 views

Geodesic metrics that admit dilatation at each point

Consider the class of geodesic metrics $g$ on manifolds, that have the following property: for each point $x$ there exists a neighbourhood $U_x$ and a smooth vector field $v_x$ in $U_x$ that ...
13
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1answer
898 views

Fixed point theorems and equiangular lines

I've been thinking about the equiangular lines (or SIC-POVM) conjecture, and my conclusion is that the best means of attack would be through some kind of fixed point theorem -- I'm thinking ...
13
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3answers
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Optimal Wireframe Sphere

Suppose you have a length $L$ of metal pipe at your disposal, and you would like to build a wireframe unit-radius sphere, by bending, cutting, and welding the pipe into a connected structure $F$. Your ...
13
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1answer
738 views

On the definition of regularity

In the litterature on D-modules, there are many definitions of regularity of holonomic D-modules. (1) Bernstein first defines regularity on a curve then says a holonomic D-module is regular if its ...
13
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0answers
511 views

Who conjectured that a transitive projective plane is Desarguesian?

The only known finite projective plane with a transitive automorphism group is the Desarguesian plane $PG(2,q)$ and it seems likely that there are no others, although this is not (quite) proved. ...
12
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5answers
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Shortest-path Distances Determining the Metric?

The metric of a Riemannian manifold determines the shortest distance between any two points. I assume the reverse holds? That is, if you are given the shortest distance d(x,y) between every pair of ...
12
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3answers
802 views

F→E→B bundle with B,E,F hyperbolic: possible?

It would be interesting to me obtain an answer to the following easy to state question: Does there exist a (smooth) fibre bundle $\pi\colon E\rightarrow B$ with typical fibre $F$ such that $E$, $B$ ...
12
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7answers
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Cheap, non-constructive, free group generating rotations for Banach-Tarski

Stan Wagon's exposition of Banach-Tarski (for example) includes a beautiful explicit construction of two 2-sphere rotations which generate a free subgroup of the rotation group. For teaching purposes ...
12
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7answers
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Upper bound on the area of a midpoint pentagon?

Starting with a convex pentagon P, we define the "middle polygon" Q, whose vertices are the middle points of the sides of the initial pentagon. The ratio between the areas of this polygons seem to ...
12
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3answers
587 views

Effective contraction of a loop. Reference or a simple proof?

Let $M$ be a compact simply connected R. manifold. Let $x$ be a base point and let $\gamma$ be a smooth loop in $M$ starting and ending at $x$. Is there a base point preserving retraction of $\...
12
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2answers
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Which platonic solids can form a topological torus?

8 cubes can be joined face-to-face to form a closed ring with a hole in it, with each cube sharing a face with only two others. The same can be done with 8 dodecahedrons. Is the same possible with the ...
12
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2answers
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There are two points on the Earth's surface that … ?

At every moment in time, there are two points on the Earth's surface that have the same $\lbrace x, y, z, ... \rbrace$...? What is the strongest, most impressive statement one can make here? The ...
12
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2answers
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Altitudes of a triangle

The three altitudes of a triangle are concurrent -- this is true in all three constant curvature geometries (Euclidean, hyperbolic, spherical), but, as far as I know, the proofs are different in the ...
12
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4answers
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Finding Constant Curvature Metrics on Surfaces without full power of Uniformization

(I rewrote this question, hopefully it's more clear now. It's still the same question, but I reordered its parts.) Let S be a surface (possibly non-compact, but no boundary). It seems that there are ...
12
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1answer
576 views

Limiting shape for Brillouin zones

Is it true that the limiting shape for Brillouin zones (for any lattice) is a circle? You can find the definition and the step by step construction of Brillouin zones here. This picture is taken from ...
12
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1answer
457 views

Find structure geometry of $A_1, A_2,…,A_n$ such that $\prod_{i<j} A_iA_j$ is maximum

In any triangle we have the well-known inequality: $$\sin{A}\sin{B}\sin{C} \le \frac{3\sqrt{3}}{8} (1)$$ Signification of inequality (1): Let three points $A, B, C$ lie on a circle then $AB.BC.CA$ ...