# All Questions

99,581 questions

**20**

votes

**13**answers

6k views

### Category theory sans (much) motivation?

So I have a friend (no, really) who's taking algebra and is struggling to gain intuition for it. My story is as follows: I used to hate abstract algebra, with pretty much a burning passion, until I ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

335 views

### Weil-Châtelet group

Sorry if this is obvious. I'd like to understand why the map
WC(E/Q) -> H^1(Gal(Q/Q), E(Q))
is bijective. Thanks.

**9**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Does Cantor-Bernstein hold for classes?

In Bonn, we've been have a discussion on the topic in the title:
Suppose that A and B is are classes and that there are injections from A to B and fom B to A. Does it follow that there is a ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

949 views

### What are the higher $\mathrm{Ext}^i(A,\mathbf{G}_m)$'s, where $A$ is an abelian scheme?

Let $S$ be a base scheme, let $A/S$ be an abelian scheme, and let $\mathbf{G}_m/S$ be the multiplicative group; consider $A$ and $\mathbf{G}_m$ as objects in the abelian category of sheaves of abelian ...

**49**

votes

**22**answers

12k views

### What's a groupoid? What's a good example of a groupoid? [closed]

Or more specifically, why do people get so excited about them? And what's your favorite easy example of one, which illustrates why I should care (and is not a group)?

**10**

votes

**4**answers

786 views

### easy(?) probability/diff eq. question

I've been wondering about this ever since I was a little kid and I used to ride in the back of the car and my mom would speed like hell towards a green light, only to slam on the brakes when she ...

**14**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### Smooth classifying spaces?

Take G to be a group. I care about discrete groups, but the answer in general would be welcome too. There are the various ways to construct the classifying space of G, bar construction, cellular ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

284 views

### Smooth immersion(?) of graphs into the plane

Sorry if the terminology's wrong, I don't know differential topology. Also, this is more of a brain-teaser than a bona fide research question, but it's hopefully a "real mathematician"-level brain-...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

661 views

### Commutativity in K-theory and cohomology

The Chern classes give a map $f : BU \to \prod_n K(\mathbb{Z},2n)$, which is a rational equivalence. However, it is not an equivalence over $\mathbb{Z}$ because the cohomology of $BU$ is just a ...

**155**

votes

**80**answers

124k views

### Do good math jokes exist? [closed]

Have a good joke? Share.
I know this is subjective, but the principle "should be of interest to mathematicians" trumps. (I hope.)

**8**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### What is an example of a topological space that is not homotopy equivalent to a CW-complex?

It would also be nice if someone can explain this comment appearing on the Wikipedia page on CW-complexes:
"The homotopy category of CW complexes is, in the opinion of some experts, the best if not ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### How to compute the (co)homology of orbit spaces (when the action is not free)?

Suppose a compact Lie group G acts on a compact manifold Q in a not necessarily free manner. Is there any general method to gain information about the quotient Q/G (a stratified space)? For example, I ...

**3**

votes

**3**answers

920 views

### Boolean network as a gauge field

Consider a set of N binary-state nodes at "time" t, each of which is a (boolean) transition function of two nodes in the set, evaluated at time t-1. Thus there are N of these boolean functions of two ...

**5**

votes

**4**answers

996 views

### Motivation for coherence axioms

The pentagon and hexagon axioms in the definition of a symmetric monoidal category are one example that I was thinking of here; the axioms of a weak 2-category are another. I understand that it can ...

**45**

votes

**1**answer

7k views

### Order of an automorphism of a finite group

Let G be a finite group of order n. Must every automorphism of G have order less than n?
(David Speyer: I got this question from you long ago, but I don't know whether you knew the answer. I stil ...

**6**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Definition of infinite permutations

I've been trying to find a definition of an infinite permutation on-line without much success. Does there exist a canonical definition or are there various ways one might go about defining this?
The ...

**-1**

votes

**1**answer

261 views

### Change of basis with Multilinear fucntion [closed]

Take a multi-linear function(or functional) M that takes m arguments V1…Vm, each with a dimension n. Consider only the case where m=n. Let there be a change of basis performed on the arguments(V1...Vm)...

**73**

votes

**7**answers

6k views

### When does Cantor-Bernstein hold?

The Cantor-Bernstein theorem in the category of sets (A injects in B, B injects in A => A, B equivalent) holds in other categories such as vector spaces, compact metric spaces, Noetherian topological ...

**9**

votes

**4**answers

764 views

### What m minimizes E(|m-X|^3) for a random variable X?

Let X be a random variable. Then E(|m-X|^1) is minimized when (as a function of m) when m is the median of X, and E(|m-X|^2) is minimized when m is the mean of x.
A couple weeks ago in a technical ...

**18**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Splitting Pythagorean triples

Can one partition the set of positive integers into finitely many Pythagorean-triple-free subsets? If so, what is the smallest number of such subsets? Taking a wild guess, I would
be least surprised ...

**35**

votes

**12**answers

16k views

### Why is it so cool to square numbers (in terms of finding the standard deviation)?

When we want to find the standard deviation of $\{1,2,2,3,5\}$ we do
$$\sigma = \sqrt{ {1 \over 5-1} \left( (1-2.6)^2 + (2-2.6)^2 + (2-2.6)^2 + (3-2.6)^2 + (5 - 2.6)^2 \right) } \approx 1.52$$.
Why ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

985 views

### What is the size of the category of finite dimensional F_q vector spaces?

The size of a finite skeletal category C in the sense of Leinster is defined as follows: Label the objects of C by integers 1,2,...,n and let aij be the number of morphisms from i to j (for i and j ...

**6**

votes

**4**answers

584 views

### decidability of group homomorphism existence

Fix a finitely-presented group $G$ with distinguished non-identity element $g$. For any finitely-presented group $H$ with element $h$, is it decidable whether there is a homomorphism $h: G \...

**3**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Decomposing a 1-d signal into arbitary basis functions

Hi all,
The short-time fourier transform decomposes a signal window into a sin/cosine series.
How would one approximate a signal in the same way, but using a set of arbitrary basis functions instead ...

**6**

votes

**2**answers

866 views

### Explicit Direct Summands in the Decomposition Theorem

Let f:X→Y be a semismall resolution of singularities. Then the pushforward of the constant sheaf on X is a semisimple perverse sheaf on Y. Under these conditions, I know how to calculate the ...

**19**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### “Fermat's last theorem” and anabelian geometry?

Do I remember a remark in "Sketch of a program" or "Letter to Faltings" correctly, that acc. to Grothendieck anabelian geometry should not only enable finiteness proofs, but a proof of FLT too? If yes,...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

339 views

### Limit of sequence involving gamma functions

Let G be the gamma function, and b be a constant in (-2,inf). Let
H(n, i) = G(i+1+b) * G(n-i+1+b) / [G(i+1) * G(n-i+1)]
for integers n > i > 0. Let
S(n) = \sum_{i=1}^{i=n-1} H(n, i).
Let x_ n = H(...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

7k views

### Latex Template for a Popular Math Journal [closed]

Can anyone offer a Latex template for a popular mathematics journal? It is easy to prepare a template for a technical journal with simple page layout but what I am looking for is something like the ...

**13**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### Intro to automatic theorem proving / logical foundations?

Is there any web-based course or materials about logic / automatic theorem proving? (I checked MIT's OpenCourseWare and I only found a vaguely related AI course)

**9**

votes

**4**answers

518 views

### What is the right way to think about / represent general tilings?

For periodic/symmetric tilings, it seems somewhat "obvious" to me that it just comes down to working out the right group of symmetries for each of the relevant shapes/tiles, but its not clear to me if ...

**22**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Motivation/interpretation for Quillen's Q-construction?

This question has been on my mind for a while. As I understand it, the Q-construction was the first definition for higher algebraic K-theory. Some details can be found here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

639 views

### Example where you *need* non-DVRs in the valuative criteria

The valuative criterion for separatedness (resp. properness) says that a morphism of schemes (resp. a quasi-compact morphism of schemes) f:X→Y is separated (resp. proper) if and only if it ...

**50**

votes

**9**answers

5k views

### Is every finite group a group of “symmetries”?

I was trying to explain finite groups to a non-mathematician, and was falling back on the "they're like symmetries of polyhedra" line. Which made me realize that I didn't know if this was actually ...

**7**

votes

**4**answers

983 views

### For which hypersurfaces in projective space does the complement admit an algebraic group structure?

For example, if $H$ is a hyperplane, then $\mathbb{P}^n - H = \mathbb{A}^n$, which is a vector space.
If $n = m^2 - 1$, then we can regard $\mathbb{A}^{n+1}$ as the space of $m \times m$ matrices and ...

**10**

votes

**6**answers

4k views

### Applications and Natural Occurrences of Prime Numbers

I'm fascinated by prime numbers, and over the years, I've found multiple applications and natural occurrences for them. But can anyone suggest some alternatives that aren't in my list?
Applications ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### algebraic K-theory and tensor products

Algebraic K-theory defines a functor K taking commutative rings to E_\infty ring spectra. I'm interested in which pushouts (tensor/smash products) K preserves. For example, if R is a regular ...

**14**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### What is lambda calculus related to?

So I'm not much of a math guy but I've really enjoyed programming in Lisp and have become interested in the ideas of lambda calculus which it is based.
I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion ...

**9**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Rational maps with all critical points fixed

What can be said about rational self-maps of $\mathbb P^1$
for which all critical points are also fixed points ?
If all but one of the fixed points are critical, there is
a characterization in http://...

**33**

votes

**10**answers

16k views

### Algorithm for finding the volume of a convex polytope

It's easy to find the area of a convex polygon by division into triangles, but what is the optimal way of finding the volume of higher-dimensional convex bodies? I tried a few methods for dividing ...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

999 views

### Does Ribet's level lowering theorem hold for prime powers?

I often use the following theorem (that one can state more generally) in my research.
Let E/Q be an elliptic curve of conductor N corresponding to a modular form f(E), l a prime of good or ...

**13**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### What is the Hilbert class field of a cyclotomic field?

In the answers to Qiaochu's post on defining representations of finite groups over the algebraic integers, it came out that which fields a representation of a finite group is defined over might depend ...

**6**

votes

**3**answers

884 views

### Looking for cubic, bipartite graphs with girth at least six and no cycles of length 8.

Aside from the Desargues graph, are there nice (at least vertex-transitive), small (say, less than 60 vertices), cubic, bipartite graphs with girth at least 6 and no 8-cycles? (or, even better, no ...

**9**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Fourier transform of exp(-||x||_p): more general question

David Corfield asked the following questions yesterday: Is the
n-dimensional Fourier transform of exp(-||x||) always non-negative,
where ||.|| is the Euclidean norm on R^n? What is its support?
I ...

**34**

votes

**5**answers

4k views

### Analogue to covering space for higher homotopy groups?

The connection between the fundamental group and covering spaces is quite fundamental. Is there any analogue for higher homotopy groups? It doesn't make sense to me that one could make a branched ...

**84**

votes

**12**answers

24k views

### Where are mathematics jobs advertised if not on mathjobs (e.g. in Europe and elsewhere)?

My impression is that in the US, there is a canonical place for finding math jobs, namely mathjobs.org. For those of us who live and apply for jobs elsewhere, life is more complicated, and searching ...

**3**

votes

**2**answers

368 views

### Legendrian homotopy of curves in a contact structure?

I'm aware of the great body of work on Legendrian knot theory in contact geometry, but suppose I'm curious just about homotopy and not isotopy. How does one understand the space of Legendrian loops ...

**16**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### How Does One Find the “Loneliest Person on the Planet”?

I'm looking for the algorithm that efficiently locates the "Loneliest Person on the Planet", where "loneliest" is defined as:
Maximum minimum distance to another person -- that is, the person for ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

736 views

### Operator Valued Weights

One of the basic tools in subfactors is the conditional expectation. If $N\subset M$ is a $II_1$-subfactor (or an inclusion of finite factors), then there is a unique trace-preserving conditional ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

482 views

### a general theory of configurations?

Once I found by accident an article by MacPherson: "Classical projective geometry and modular varieties", in "Algebraic analysis, geometry, and number theory" (Baltimore, MD, 1988), whose introduction ...

**0**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Friedberg, Insel, and Spence Linear Algebra example

In the chapter 6.4 on normal and self-adjoint operators, there is an example of an infinite dimensional inner product space H that has a normal operator but that has no eigenvectors.
The space is the ...