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Prime numbers, diophantine equations, diophantine approximations, analytic or algebraic number theory, arithmetic geometry, Galois theory, transcendental number theory, continued fractions

427
votes
1answer
36k views

Polynomial bijection from $\mathbb Q\times\mathbb Q$ to $\mathbb Q$?

Is there any polynomial $f(x,y)\in{\mathbb Q}[x,y]{}\ $ such that $f:\mathbb{Q}\times\mathbb{Q} \rightarrow\mathbb{Q}$ is a bijection?
266
votes
7answers
125k views

Philosophy behind Mochizuki's work on the ABC conjecture

Mochizuki has recently announced a proof of the ABC conjecture. It is far too early to judge its correctness, but it builds on many years of work by him. Can someone briefly explain the philosophy ...
245
votes
7answers
16k views

Polynomial representing all nonnegative integers

Lagrange proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 4 squares. Gauss proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 3 triangular numbers. Is there a 2-variable polynomial $f(x,y) \in \...
177
votes
11answers
51k views

Have any long-suspected irrational numbers turned out to be rational?

The history of proving numbers irrational is full of interesting stories, from the ancient proofs for $\sqrt{2}$, to Lambert's irrationality proof for $\pi$, to Roger Apéry's surprise demonstration ...
140
votes
13answers
33k views

Knuth's intuition that Goldbach might be unprovable

Knuth's intuition that Goldbach's conjecture (every even number greater than 2 can be written as a sum of two primes) might be one of the statements that can neither be proved nor disproved really ...
127
votes
3answers
15k views

Convergence of $\sum(n^3\sin^2n)^{-1}$

I saw a while ago in a book by Clifford Pickover, that whether $\displaystyle \sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1{n^3\sin^2 n}$ converges is open. I would think that the question of its convergence is really ...
124
votes
1answer
14k views

What is a Frobenioid?

Since there will be a long digression in a moment, let me start by reassuring you that my intention really is to ask the question in the title. Recently, there has been a flurry of new discussion ...
113
votes
11answers
15k views

Why is the Gamma function shifted from the factorial by 1?

I've asked this question in every math class where the teacher has introduced the Gamma function, and never gotten a satisfactory answer. Not only does it seem more natural to extend the factorial ...
103
votes
11answers
19k views

Why are modular forms interesting?

Well, I'm aware that this question may seem very naive to the several experts on this topic that populate this site: feel free to add the "soft question" tag if you want... So, knowing nothing about ...
103
votes
2answers
42k views

Estimating the size of solutions of a diophantine equation

A. Is there natural numbers $a,b,c$ such that $\frac{a}{b+c} + \frac{b}{a+c} + \frac{c}{a+b}$ is equal to an odd natural number ? (I do not know any such numbers). B. Suppose that $\frac{a}{b+c} + \...
102
votes
0answers
8k views

Grothendieck-Teichmuller conjecture

(1) In "Esquisse d'un programme", Grothendieck conjectures Grothendieck-Teichmuller conjecture: the morphism $$ G_{\mathbb{Q}} \longrightarrow Aut(\widehat{T}) $$ is an isomorphism. Here $G_{\...
101
votes
5answers
40k views

Consequences of the Riemann hypothesis

I assume a number of results have been proven conditionally on the Riemann hypothesis, of course in number theory and maybe in other fields. What are the most relevant you know? It would also be nice ...
100
votes
4answers
39k views

What are “perfectoid spaces”?

This talk is about a theory of "perfectoid spaces", which "compares objects in characteristic p with objects in characteristic 0". What are those spaces, where can one read about them? Edit: A bit ...
100
votes
7answers
5k views

Is the set $ AA+A $ always at least as large as $ A+A $?

Let $A$ be a finite set of real numbers. Is it always the case that $|AA+A| \geq |A+A|$? My first instinct is that this is obviously true, and there is a one-line proof which I am foolishly ...
99
votes
3answers
3k views

The number $\pi$ and summation by $SL(2,\mathbb Z)$

Let $f(a,b,c,d)=\sqrt{a^2+b^2}+\sqrt{c^2+d^2}-\sqrt{(a+c)^2+(b+d)^2}$. (it is the defect in the triangle inequality) Then, we discovered by heuristic arguments and then verified by computer that $$\...
93
votes
5answers
7k views

integral of a “sin-omial” coefficients=binomial

I find the following averaged-integral amusing and intriguing, to say the least. Is there any proof? For any pair of integers $n\geq k\geq0$, we have $$\frac1{\pi}\int_0^{\pi}\frac{\sin^n(x)}{\...
92
votes
6answers
15k views

Why does the Riemann zeta function have non-trivial zeros?

This is a very basic question of course, and exposes my serious ignorance of analytic number theory, but what I am looking for is a good intuitive explanation rather than a formal proof (though a ...
89
votes
4answers
32k views

Philosophy behind Yitang Zhang's work on the Twin Primes Conjecture

Yitang Zhang recently published a new attack on the Twin Primes Conjecture. Quoting Andre Granville : “The big experts in the field had already tried to make this approach work,” Granville said....
86
votes
10answers
11k views

“Understanding” $\mathrm{Gal}(\bar{\mathbb{Q}}/\mathbb{Q})$

I have heard people say that a major goal of number theory is to understand the absolute Galois group of the rational numbers $G = \mathrm{Gal}(\bar{\mathbb{Q}}/\mathbb{Q})$. What do people mean when ...
85
votes
22answers
25k views

What's the “best” proof of quadratic reciprocity?

For my purposes, you may want to interpret "best" as "clearest and easiest to understand for undergrads in a first number theory course," but don't feel too constrained.
80
votes
2answers
8k views

Riemann hypothesis via absolute geometry

Several leading mathematicians (e.g. Yuri Manin) have written or said publicly that there is a known outline of a likely natural proof of the Riemann hypothesis using absolute algebraic geometry over ...
79
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
75
votes
9answers
9k views

Why should I believe the Mordell Conjecture?

It was Faltings who first proved in 1983 the Mordell conjecture, that a curve of genus 2 or more over a number field has only finitely many rational points. I am interested to know why Mordell and ...
74
votes
4answers
6k views

Is the series $\sum_n|\sin n|^n/n$ convergent?

Problem. Is the series $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{|\sin(n)|^n}n$$convergent? (The problem was posed on 22.06.2017 by Ph D students of H.Steinhaus Center of Wroclaw Polytechnica. The promised prize for ...
74
votes
7answers
10k views

If I exchange infinitely many digits of $\pi$ and $e$, are the two resulting numbers transcendental?

If I swap the digits of $\pi$ and $e$ in infinitely many places, I get two new numbers. Are these two numbers transcendental?
73
votes
6answers
9k views

Does Zhang's theorem generalize to $3$ or more primes in an interval of fixed length?

Let $p_n$ be the $n$-th prime number, as usual: $p_1 = 2$, $p_2 = 3$, $p_3 = 5$, $p_4 = 7$, etc. For $k=1,2,3,\ldots$, define $$ g_k = \liminf_{n \rightarrow \infty} (p_{n+k} - p_n). $$ Thus the twin ...
72
votes
6answers
13k views

Zagier's one-sentence proof of a theorem of Fermat

Zagier has a very short proof (MR1041893, JSTOR) for the fact that every prime number $p$ of the form $4k+1$ is the sum of two squares. The proof defines an involution of the set $S= \lbrace (x,y,z) \...
70
votes
1answer
11k views

What is an étale theta function?

Let me start out by urging you to take seriously that whatever I write about the papers surrounding IUTT really are questions. If you would like to use it as a guide to the mathematics in any way, ...
69
votes
4answers
10k views

Etale cohomology — Why study it?

I know (at least I think I know) that some of the main motivating problems in the development of etale cohomology were the Weil conjectures. I'd like to know what other problems one can solve using ...
69
votes
7answers
9k views

Quasicrystals and the Riemann Hypothesis

Let $0 < k_1 < k_2 < k_3 < \cdots $ be all the zeros of the Riemann zeta function on the critical line: $$ \zeta(\frac{1}{2} + i k_j) = 0 $$ Let $f$ be the Fourier transform of the sum ...
69
votes
1answer
4k views

The topology of Arithmetic Progressions of primes

The primary motivation for this question is the following: I would like to extract some topological statistics which capture how arithmetic progressions of prime numbers "fit together" in a manner ...
68
votes
4answers
17k views

The enigmatic complexity of number theory

One of the most salient aspects of the discipline of number theory is that from a very small number of definitions, entities and axioms one is led to an extraordinary wealth and diversity of theorems, ...
67
votes
36answers
18k views

Where is number theory used in the rest of mathematics?

Where is number theory used in the rest of mathematics? To put it another way: what interesting questions are there that don't appear to be about number theory, but need number theory in order to ...
67
votes
5answers
2k views

When the automorphism group of an object determines the object

Let me start with three examples to illustrate my question (probably vague; I apologize in advance). $\mathbf{Man}$, the category of closed (compact without boundary) topological manifold. For any $M,...
67
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it known that the ring of periods is not a field?

I have just learned here that we know numbers that are not periods; is it known meanwhile that the ring of periods is not a field? I know that it is conjectured that $1/\pi$ is not a period, but the ...
66
votes
7answers
6k views

How does “modern” number theory contribute to further understanding of $\mathbb{N}$?

I hope this question is appropriate for MO. It comes from a genuine desire to understand the big picture and ground my own studies "morally". I'm a graduate student with interest in number theory. I ...
65
votes
12answers
6k views

Is there a high-concept explanation for why characteristic 2 is special?

The structure of the multiplicative groups of $\mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}$ or of $\mathbb{Z}_p$ is the same for odd primes, but not for $2.$ Quadratic reciprocity has a uniform statement for odd primes, ...
65
votes
7answers
7k views

What are the local Langlands conjectures nowadays, for connected reductive groups over a $p$-adic field?

Let me stress that I am only interested in $p$-adic fields in this question, for reasons that will become clear later. Let me also stress that in some sense I am basically assuming that the reader ...
64
votes
8answers
7k views

The inverse Galois problem, what is it good for?

Several years ago I attended a colloquium talk of an expert in Galois theory. He motivated some of his work on its relation with the inverse Galois problem. During the talk, a guy from the audience ...
64
votes
13answers
21k views

Collecting proofs that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic

I teach elementary number theory and discrete mathematics to students who come with no abstract algebra. I have found proving the key theorem that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic ...
63
votes
4answers
3k views

What are reasons to believe that e is not a period?

In their 2001 paper defining periods, Kontsevich and Zagier (pdf) without further comment state that $e$ is conjecturally not a period while many other numbers showing up naturally (conjecturally) are....
62
votes
1answer
5k views

Is there a “classical” proof of this $j$-value congruence?

Let $j: \mathbf{C} - \mathbf{R} \rightarrow \mathbf{C}$ denote the classical $j$-function from the theory of elliptic functions. That is, $j(\tau)$ is the $j$-invariant of the elliptic curve $\mathbf{...
61
votes
6answers
6k views

How to recognise that the polynomial method might work

A couple of days ago I was at a nice seminar given by Christian Reiher, during which he told us about a short proof of the following special case of a theorem of Olson. Theorem. Let $(a_1,b_1),\dots,(...
61
votes
4answers
4k views

How did Cole factor $2^{67}-1$ in 1903

I just heard a This American Life episode which recounted the famous anecdote about Frank Nelson Cole factoring $N:=2^{67}-1$ as $193707721 \times 761838257287$. There doesn't seem to be a historical ...
61
votes
7answers
4k views

Open project: Let's compute the Fourier expansion of a non-solvable algebraic Maass form.

OK so let's see if I can use MO to explicitly compute an example of something, by getting other people to join in. Sort of "one level up"---often people answer questions here but I'm going to see if I ...
60
votes
9answers
11k views

Why does the Gamma-function complete the Riemann Zeta function?

Defining $$\xi(s) := \pi^{-s/2}\ \Gamma\left(\frac{s}{2}\right)\ \zeta(s)$$ yields $\xi(s) = \xi(1 - s)$ (where $\zeta$ is the Riemann Zeta function). Is there any conceptual explanation - or ...
60
votes
2answers
5k views

The inverse Galois problem and the Monster

I have a slight interest in both the inverse Galois problem and in the Monster group. I learned some time ago that all of the sporadic simple groups, with the exception of the Mathieu group $M_{23}$, ...
60
votes
2answers
4k views

Non-abelian class field theory and fundamental groups

Over the years, I've been somewhat in the habit of asking questions in this vein to experts in the Langlands programme. As is well known, given an algebraic number field $K$, they propose to replace ...
60
votes
4answers
3k views

Perron number distribution

A Perron number is a real algebraic integer $\lambda$ that is larger than the absolute value of any of its Galois conjugates. The Perron-Frobenius theorem says that any non-negative integer matrix $M$ ...
59
votes
3answers
4k views

Are there infinitely many integer-valued polynomials dominated by $1.9^n$ on all of $\mathbb{N}$?

The original post is below. Question 1 was solved in the negative by David Speyer, and the title has now been changed to reflect Question 2, which turned out to be the more difficult one. A bounty of ...