# Questions tagged [soft-question]

Questions that are about research in mathematics, or about the job of a research mathematician, without being mathematical problems or statements in the strictest sense. Do not use this tag for easy or supposedly easy mathematical questions.

1,805
questions

**5**

votes

**1**answer

71 views

### Why do people study Weyl asymptotics and partial-spectral-projections?

The major focus of the research that my advisor has me doing centers around the idea of asymptotic behavior of partial-spectral-projections on compact manifolds. In a few sentences, here is the ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What are some examples of theorem requiring highly subtle hypothesis?

I would like you to expose and explain briefly some examples of theorems having some hypothesis that are (as far as we know) actually necessary in their proofs but whose uses in the arguments are ...

**0**

votes

**0**answers

282 views

### What question does category theory answer? [closed]

I have been studying category theory for the past couple of months and I'm struggling to understand what's the point?
I'm going to build up an intuition from what I know to understand if I am on the ...

**-2**

votes

**2**answers

171 views

### Basic research problems references [closed]

I have been looking for research problems in pure mathematics that I can try to solve for publishing papers. I am quite aware that it takes a lot of time and effort to get to a level where I can do ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

352 views

### Mathematics based only on real numbers [closed]

I'm aware that >90% will outright reject this, so feel free to ignore it. I'd much appreciate those trying to figure out in which way this question (or rather its eventual answer) would make sense.
...

**0**

votes

**0**answers

113 views

### Status of the $n$ conjecture, and, as secondary question or reference request, what about a transfer method for this conjecture $n>3$

The n conjecture is a generalization of the abc conjecture. What is the current status of the $n$ conjecture? See also [1]
Question 1. Can you tell us what about the current status of the $n$ ...

**31**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### How do you check that your mathematical research topic is original?

Sorry if this question is not well-suited here, but I thought research in mathematics can be identified from other science field, so I wanted to ask to mathematicians.
I am just starting graduate ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Can the place of publication be harmful to one's reputation?

What can be said about publishing mathematical papers on e.g. viXra if the motivation is its low barriers and lack of experience with publishing papers and the idea behind it is to build up a ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

584 views

### Current status of axiomatic quantum field theory research

Axiomatic quantum field theory (e.g. the wightman formalism and constructive quantum field theory) is an important subject. When I look into textbooks and papers, I mostly find that the basic ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

95 views

### Book on Rigorous Renormalization

Many years ago I came across Salmhofer's Renormalization book and I studied its first chapter for a while. At the time, a professor told me the aim of the book was to develop a perturbative fermionic ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

201 views

### Compact spaces whose compactness does not come from a product of compact spaces

For the (Hausdorff) compact spaces I can think of, compactness is established either using a product of compact spaces (including the Heine-Borel Theorem, the Banach-Alaoglu Theorem, Stone-Čech ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

728 views

### Examples of improved notation that impacted your research?

The intention of this question is to find practical examples of improved mathematical notation that enabled actual progress in someone's research work.
I am aware that there is a related post ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

157 views

### How are Poisson brackets and the variational principle related?

In the lecture Space and spaces, Segal argues that the origin of non-commutativity in classical mechanics “which is encoded in the Poisson Bracket” is the fact that the evolution of classical states ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

109 views

### More important or relevant progress in discretizing hard problems in physics in last decade

This is a reference request, and soft question as companion.
I'm curious to ask, from an informative point of view, what about the more important progress in the goal to discretize hard problems in ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

385 views

### A soft question on the ABC conjecture

In Nature Vol 580, in an article about Shinichi Mochizuki's proposed proof of the abc-conjecture, there is a formulation saying:
The conjecture roughly states that if a lot of small primes divide ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

194 views

### Interesting things you learned while grading/marking? [closed]

What are some interesting mathematical things you have learned while grading (or marking, if you prefer) student work? For example, clever proofs that students came up with; nice counterexamples or ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

256 views

### Game on a square grid

Not research level, comments are welcome.
Consider the following game:
The board is the vertices of an $n$ by $n$ square grid.
Two players take moves in turns.
A move is picking two vertices and ...

**8**

votes

**1**answer

630 views

### Recreational mathematical papers [closed]

Sometimes it is nice to get a less technical paper on mathematics to read and learn something different for a change. These papers often make us discover some new curiosity, to think about the process ...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

156 views

### Universal property for derived category of coherent sheaves

Let $X$ be a scheme, and let $D^{*}(X)$ be the unbounded (resp. unbounded, resp. bounded below/above, etc) derived category of coherent sheaves on $X$.
The work of Robalo establishes a universal ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

826 views

### Do mathematicians ignore mathematical works from non-mathematicians? [closed]

Is it true that mathematicians ignore and do not like to take a look at or comment on any mathematical work or manuscript from a person outside the field of mathematics (meaning is not a professional ...

**25**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### What aspects of math olympiads do you find still useful in your math research?

I was rereading the book Littlewood's Miscellany and this passage struck me:
It used to be said that the discipline in 'manipulative skill' bore
later fruit in original work. I should deny this ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

94 views

### Adjoining data about singularities to “correct” the category of pure motives?

There are a few well known constructions of potential categories of pure motives for smooth projective varieties over a field. My understanding is that modulo the standard conjectures these should be ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

165 views

### Is there a precise relationship between the goals of moduli theory and the minimal model program?

I want to get into some of the big classification problems in algebraic geometry, but have a very broad question. Ultimately we would like to classify all varieties over some field up to isomorphism, ...

**60**

votes

**7**answers

15k views

### Results that are widely accepted but no proof has appeared

The background of this question is the talk given by Kevin Buzzard.
I could not find the slides of that talk. The slides of another talk given by Kevin Buzzard along the same theme are available here....

**5**

votes

**0**answers

157 views

### To what extent is the derived category of coherent sheaves on a scheme a “homotopy type” of the scheme?

It is well known that the derived category of coherent sheaves (unbounded, bounded, and all cousins) on a scheme $X$ contain most - if not all (depending on specifics) - of the cohomological ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

441 views

### What are some efficient ways to keep a note of results when reading a research article in mathematics?

I learn and produce mathematics. In that process, I had to read quite a number of research articles.
Question :
What are some efficient ways to keep a note of results when reading a research ...

**71**

votes

**4**answers

6k views

### Note rejected from arXiv: what to do next?

Short version: A note of mine was rejected by the arXiv moderation (something I didn't even know was possible) on account of being “unrefereeable”. The moderation process provides absolutely no ...

**36**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### Interpretation of the action in classical mechanics

In classical mechanics the dynamics on a manifold $M$ are characterised by the minimisation of a functional
$$ \min_{q \in C^\infty(\mathbb{R},M)} \int_{\mathbb{R}}L(q(t),\dot{q}(t))dt, $$
where $L:TM\...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

216 views

### Hassan Akbar-Zadeh's mathematical legacy

Professor Hassan Akbar-Zadeh (Born: March 23, 1928- Iran), a prominent Iranian mathematician has died (March 23, 2020) in Paris after years of research and study. (I'm not sure of the exact dates.)
...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### How do mathematicians find coauthors? [closed]

I am totally new to academia so I am really not sure how mathematicians works together, can more experienced mathematicians here shed some light on how you find coauthors? I guess one way to do this ...

**-2**

votes

**2**answers

338 views

### Asking for advice (references/papers) in masters project in analytic number theory as i have no other source of help and i am stranded midway [closed]

Please don't downvote it. I have no other guidance.
Edited as suggested by User Shreya -> I have studied number theory from David M Burton and apostol introduction to analytic number theory and ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

240 views

### Progress on a problem list

There is a list of open problems in my sub-field that was published in a journal some time ago and has had an impact on the area.
Many of the problems have been solved, some have partial solutions, ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

78 views

### Is there a rectangular tiling based on the Padovan sequence? [closed]

I'm thinking of developing a rectangular tiling based on the Padovan sequence (think of the Fibonacci mosaic). It seems like something that should exist, but I can't find anything in the literature. ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

399 views

### Learning a new field under publishing pressure? [closed]

This question is about real situation and I do not say anything about the field of research or any name. Also, I do not have any special opinion. I just want to say a real story and know the experts ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

249 views

### Journal of serious opinions on weighty matters for mathematicians

Is there any scholarly journal
of opinion on professional matters,
for mathematicians, that would exclude things just as relevant to other fields as to mathematics,
that is not just $\text{“}\,$...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

151 views

### Categorical view of Hilbert’s Nullstellensatz, and Zariski topology

Let k be algebraic closed field. then $\mathbb{A}_n(k)$ as $\operatorname{Hom}(k_n,k)$ and $V(\alpha)$ as $\operatorname{Hom}(k_n/\alpha,k)$ which is true by using noether normalization theorem. so ...

**44**

votes

**5**answers

13k views

### How and when do I learn so much mathematics?

I am about to (hopefully!) begin my PhD (in Europe) and I have a question: how did you learn so much mathematics?
Allow me to explain. I am training to be a number theorist and I have only some read ...

**31**

votes

**6**answers

6k views

### Pros and cons of specializing in an esoteric research area

If a mathematician specializes in a popular research area, then there are many job positions available, but at the same time, many competitors who are willing to get such job positions. For an ...

**62**

votes

**30**answers

4k views

### Atlas-like websites on specific areas of mathematics

In this post, we look for the existing atlas-like websites providing well-presented classifications or database about some specific areas of mathematics. Here are some examples:
GroupNames: https://...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

309 views

### How often do you put your research into trash?

A soft question.
I am a PhD student, at early stages of my academic career; and have personally experienced the following many times. Sometimes you come up with a result, that you are not quite ...

**7**

votes

**3**answers

350 views

### Examples of complicated parametric Jordan curves

For test purposes I need parametric Jordan curves that are complicated in the sense of having many inflection points and ideally no symmetries.
When doing online search I always land at complex ...

**15**

votes

**0**answers

699 views

### Application of higher categories in algebra

Higher topos and derived algebraic geometry are relatively new areas and probably fewer people are working on them compared to the majority of topologists or geometers. I believe higher categories ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

52 views

### Uniqueness constraints for Delaunay triangulation

Commonly the assumption that is made on point sets that shall be Delaunay-triangulated is that no three are collinear and no four are cocircular.
Those assumptions are however too restrictive: if ...

**24**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Evaluation of the quality of research articles submitted in mathematical journals: how do they do that?

I would like to know as curiosity how the editorial board or editors* of a mathematical journal evaluate the quality, let's say in colloquial words the importance, of papers or articles.
Question. ...

**11**

votes

**0**answers

504 views

### The status of the journal “Forum Geometricorum”

The online journal Forum Geometricorum is a sort of central organ of elementary geometry (mainly triangle geometry and related topics). It has been published regularly since 2000 but seems to have ...

**21**

votes

**10**answers

4k views

### The meaning and purpose of "canonical''

This question is jointly formulated with Neil Barton. We want to know about the significance of canonicity in mathematics broadly. That is, both what it means in some detail, and why it is important....

**57**

votes

**6**answers

10k views

### Why is the Fourier transform so ubiquitous?

Many operations and equivalences in mathematics arise as some sort of Fourier transform. By Fourier transform I mean the following:
Let $X$ and $Y$ be two objects of some category with products, and ...

**-2**

votes

**2**answers

210 views

### Early examples of proof appraisals [closed]

What are the earliest known examples for attributing proofs as 'deep', 'elegant' or 'beautiful' (or their equivalents in other languages)?
Gauß for example called one of his results 'remarkable' ...

**67**

votes

**9**answers

17k views

### Nontrivially fillable gaps in published proofs of major theorems

Prelude: In 1998, Robert Solovay wrote an email to John Nash to communicate an error that he detected in the proof of the Nash embedding theorem, as presented in Nash's well-known paper "The Imbedding ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

304 views

### Journey into a strange wilderness [closed]

W. S. Anglin wrote
Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explorers often get lost. Rigour should be a signal to the ...