50
votes
18answers
5k views

If there are obvious things, why should we prove them?

Obviously, there are obvious things in mathematics. Why we should prove them? Prove that $\lim\limits_{n\to\infty}\dfrac{1}{n}=0$? Prove that $f(x)=x$ is continuous on $\mathbb{R}$? $\dotsc$ Just ...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

Revise high school material

Can you suggest me a comprehensive book to revise high school mathematics (up to besic calculus)? It should be extremely clear and complete and "scientific" (not like most high school books). Thank ...
25
votes
3answers
669 views

Create a Huge Problem

I am wondering if any problems have been designed that test a wide range of mathematical skills. For example, I remember doing the integral $$\int \sqrt{\tan x}\;\mathrm{d}x$$ and being impressed at ...
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Matrices of the form $A^p=(a_{ij}^p)$

I am wondering if there is a name for these kind of matrices and if they are interesting or not? Do they even exist? Let $A$ be a $n\times n$ matrix with elements $a_{ij}$. $A= (a_{ij})_{i,j\in\{1, ...
2
votes
5answers
335 views

What area of Abstract Algebra do you find most interesting? [closed]

For my Abstract Algebra class, we will be doing small presentations (2 class periods) covering some topic in Abstract Algebra. Thus far, I have studied groups, rings, fields, modules, tensor ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Why the $\log$ is so special?

When I first learn about the logarithm function $\log$ or $\ln$. My professor said that $\log x$ is a function that when we derive we get the inverse function $1/x$. This $\log$ becomes very popular ...
78
votes
20answers
13k views

Visually deceptive “proofs” which are mathematically wrong

Related: Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain Beside the wonderful examples above, there should also be counterexamples, where visually intuitive demonstrations are actually ...
363
votes
42answers
166k views

Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain

Since I'm not that good at (as I like to call it) 'die-hard-mathematics', I've always liked concepts like the golden ratio or the dragon curve, which are easy to understand and explain, but are ...
2
votes
3answers
132 views

University-level books focusing on intuition?

I help some students with difficulties in Mathematics and Physics (especially math, physics, and engineering majors). While in high school they usually don't study, or are not interested, etc., in ...
30
votes
12answers
1k views

How To Present Algebraic Topology To Non-Mathematicians?

I am writing my master thesis in algebraic topology (fundamental groups) and as a system in my school students must write about one page about their theses explaining for non mathematicians the ...
5
votes
6answers
375 views

“$n$ is even iff $n^2$ is even” and other simple statements to teach proof-writing

I am supposed to teach undergraduate students who do not major in mathematics and I would like to give them a short introduction to mathematical reasoning and to the concept of proof. I am looking for ...
41
votes
13answers
5k views

Interesting math-facts that are visually attractive

To give a talk to 17-18 years old (who have a knack for mathematics) about how interesting mathematics (and more specifically pure mathematics) can be, I wanted to use nice facts accompanied by nice ...
4
votes
4answers
131 views

Resources to help an 8yo struggling with math

Friends of mine asked me for suggestion for one of their children (age 8) who had bad scores at the local Star test (the family is based in California). Both parents work, so they have also limited ...
64
votes
22answers
5k views

The Best of Dover Books (a.k.a the best cheap mathematical texts)

Perhaps this is a repeat question -- let me know if it is -- but I am interested in knowing the best of Dover mathematics books. The reason is because Dover books are very cheap and most other books ...
8
votes
5answers
263 views

High-School Level Introduction to Dynamical Systems

In one month I'll be giving a talk to motivated high schools students on a topic of my choice from dynamical systems and/or ergodic theory. I'm having trouble coming up with a topic compelling enough ...
430
votes
134answers
26k views

What was the first bit of mathematics that made you realize that math is beautiful? (For children's book)

I'm a children's book writer and illustrator, and I want to to create a book for young readers that exposes the beauty of Mathematics. I recently read Paul Lockhart's essay "The Mathematician's ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Mathematics, Philosophy and writing.

Do you know of any famous mathematicians who were also philosophers? I have heard of Descartes, Plato and Leibniz. Are there other good examples, especially more modern examples? Also welcome are ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

Films about math: a question about math education and motivation for learning math

I'm interested in movies about or related with mathematics or physics, I mean not documentaries which I also consider movies, but artistic or mainstream films about math. Now I have the following in ...
7
votes
11answers
1k views

Good examples for mathemathical problems/statements that are easely solvable/provable in one theory and hard to solve/prove in another

Let $P$ be a mathematical statement or a mathematical problem. I am looking for a couple of nice examples for $P$ that satisfy the following criteria: Given two (or more) mathematical points of view ...
31
votes
13answers
3k views

Research done by high-school students

I'm giving a talk soon to a group of high-school students about open problems in mathematics that high-school students could understand. To inspire them, I would like to give them examples of ...
12
votes
5answers
615 views

Can the order of learning be changed?

I have been advised by many people to learn from scratch. So I decided to learn it. But I have the following questions in my mind. Can we skip "the Trinity" and learn something else directly? ("the ...
16
votes
5answers
572 views

Math department space design ideas

I'm looking for resources on design space for academic departments, particularly, We've been asked to provide ideas on designing a "dream math department". I'd like to gather some ideas for doing ...
3
votes
1answer
150 views

A Formal and Precise treatment of Simplification?

I am looking to gain a deeper understanding of, and increase my own skill in "Mathematical Simplification". But I've been finding the concept overly vague and haven't been able to find any good ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

Mind maps of Advanced Mathematics and various branches thereof

I would like to get a list of mind maps of advanced mathematics topics. As an example, I have posted one below. I would be happy if you post such other maps. Making one and posting it here is also ...
4
votes
1answer
231 views

Request for “Nice” Papers in i) Differential Geometry ii)Analysis iii)Topology, to Go Over

Everyone: I am a little frustrated with the progress in my bottom-up learning process, and I think I might get better results by doing some more top-down, i.e., by reading and trying to make sense of ...
7
votes
2answers
260 views

Enlightening misunderstandings of test questions

What enlightening misunderstandings of test questions have you encountered? Of course, there are jokes about this, such as literal (graphic) “expansion” of the power of a binomial, but I am asking ...
41
votes
12answers
2k views

Examples of results failing in higher dimensions

A number of economists do not appreciate rigor in their usage of mathematics and I find it very discouraging. One of the examples of rigor-lacking approach are proofs done via graphs or pictures ...
10
votes
7answers
7k views

practical uses of matrix multiplication

The use of matrix multiplication is usually given with graphics initially (scalings, translations, rotations, etc). Then there are more in-depth examples such as counting the number of walks between ...
5
votes
1answer
322 views

Links to interesting metaphors for problematic aspects of mathematics education

Can you give references to articles/books that contain interesting metaphors for what is wrong in mathematics education from the point of view of mathematicians? An example for what I am searching: ...
36
votes
6answers
1k views

Need a result of Euler that is simple enough for a child to understand

Talking to my 8 yr old about "the greatest mathematician of all time", I said it was probably Gauss in my opinion, but that Gauss was not very kind to his kids (for example, forbidding them to go into ...
6
votes
5answers
890 views

discrete math book suitable for younger person?

When I took discrete math as an adult I realized that this was a subject I would have enjoyed and done well at much earlier in life, even in my early teens. Does anyone know if there are good books, ...
10
votes
3answers
412 views

Popular general-interest math courses

I'm hoping the userbase here doesn't mind if I do a little crowd-sourcing. I'm curious to find out about popular general-interest mathematics or statistics classes that are offered universities that ...
14
votes
8answers
1k views

Elementary Papers at ArXiv

Inspired by this question, at MO i am asking this question. Can anyone list some elementary articles at ArXiv which can be understood by High-School/Undergrad Students. I am asking this because, i ...
13
votes
3answers
842 views

Guidelines for learning about Ramanujan's work?

It is well known that one of the first books Ramanujan studied was "Synopsis of Pure and Applied Mathematics" and that it shaped the way Ramanujan thought and wrote about mathematics. Being interested ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Common misconceptions about math

YARFMO (Yet another reposting from Mathoverflow) ;-) The more you know about math the more you find conceptions previously thought correct to be false: 1.) math is not as exact as many believe - in ...
1
vote
4answers
334 views

Which discussion board is good for homework questions?

I'm a CompSci university student and i want some help for my math questions. Therefore i am looking for a good discussion board for math homework questions. I don't know any (good), because I come ...
10
votes
13answers
2k views

False beliefs in mathematics (conceptual errors made despite, or because of, mathematical education)

Over on mathoverflow, there is a popular CW question titled: Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics. I thought it would be nice to have a parallel question on this site to serve as a ...
13
votes
8answers
656 views

Elevator pitch for a (sub)field of maths?

When I first saw the title of this question, I forgot for a moment I was on meta, and thought it was asking about quick, catchy, attractive, informative one-or-two-liner summaries of various fields of ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

What should the high school math curriculum consist of?

"Life is open book." With the advent of widely accessible, inexpensive (or even free) computational tools and Computer Algebra Systems (TI-89, Wolfram|Alpha, etc.), much of what traditionally ...
13
votes
6answers
4k views

Best intuitive metaphors for math concepts (of any level)

Frequently, we introduce a new concept with a formal definition, then immediately say "Intuitively, what this means is..." What are the absolute best metaphors you've seen (for concepts of any level)? ...
80
votes
19answers
3k views

Good Physical Demonstrations of Abstract Mathematics

I like to use physical demonstrations when teaching mathematics (putting physics in the service of mathematics, for once, instead of the other way around), and it'd be great to get some more ideas to ...