Mathematical intuition is the instinctive impression regarding mathematical ideas which originate naturally without regard to formal mathematical proofs. It may or may not stem from a cognitive rational process.

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Show elementarily that $\lim_{R\to\infty}\int_{\Gamma_1} \frac{e^{iz}}{z} = 0$

Context: I am trying to show that $\int_0^\infty x^{-1}\sin x dx = \frac{\pi}{2}$ using complex analysis, by first integrating $\oint_{\Gamma} z^{-1}e^{iz}$, where $\Gamma$ is a closed contour ...
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Does a four-variable analog of the Hall-Witt identity exist?

Lately I have been thinking about commutator formulas, sparked by rereading the following paragraph in Isaacs (p.125): An amazing commutator formula is the Hall-Witt identity: ...
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333 views

The standard role of intuitive numbers in the foundations of mathematics

In my career I've been formed mostly in the formal side of mathematics, that is, standard set theory and every classical branch of mathematics that uses set theory. However, I am not pretty sure about ...
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Intuition for the definition of the Gamma function?

In these notes by Terence Tao is a proof of Stirling's formula. I really like most of it, but at a crucial step he uses the integral identity $$n! = \int_{0}^{\infty} t^n e^{-t} dt$$ coming from ...
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45 views

Why is it called a primitive root?

I am looking for a paper or reference that explains why primitive roots are called primitive roots. I know what they are but was wondering if there was a reason?
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1answer
213 views

In a finite cyclic group of order n, number of solutions to $x^m = e$ - Fraleigh p. 68 6.53,54

(53.) Show that in a finite cyclic group G of order n, written multiplicatively, the equation $x^m = e$ has exactly m solutions $x$ in G for each $m \in \mathbb{N}$ that divides n. (54.) With ...
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90 views

Geometric Intuition for Dihedral Group Automorphisms

I noticed the other day that the automorphism group of the dihedral group $D_{2n}$ (of order $2n$) is $\operatorname{Aff}(\mathbb Z/n\mathbb Z)$, the group of affine transformations of the $\mathbb ...
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150 views

What if we removed all the irrational numbers from the real number line? [closed]

(1) Imagine drawing the real number line and tippexing out all the irrational numbers. What would the resulting shape look like- would there even be a line? (2) And what about if we ...
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343 views

Visual intuition partial/directional derivative

I've had some trouble with the (visual) intuition behind the directional derivatives so I decided to take a step back and look up the visual intuition behind partial derivatives, which I think I do ...
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31 views

Gambling interpretation of conditional probability

In Billingsley, when defining conditional probability the following property has been given a gambling interpretation : $$ \int_G P[A||\mathscr{G}]dP = P(A \cap G), G \in \mathscr{G} $$ where at ...
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201 views

Expressing the probability density function of $Ax$ in terms of the pdf of $x$

I understand that, for example, you might have a density function which measures the probability of observing an outcome in a certain interval measured in feet, but someone wishes to use meters ...
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Why isn't the Cantor Set contradictory?

So you start with a 1-dimensional stick, remove the middle third of it, leaving 2 pieces. From each of these 2 pieces, remove the middle third. Etc. Whatever is left at the end of infinitely many ...
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Single variable justification for the multivariate chain rule.

I $\def\d{\mathrm d}\def\p{\partial}$am going to ask everyone to switch their paradigms to that of the real line. I am looking for a "lowbrow" explanation of the following phenomena. I am talking ...
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74 views

Intuitive interpretation of $\frac{\partial S(a,t)}{\partial t} = -\frac{\partial S(a,t)}{\partial a}$

I'm trying to visualize what the following equation is saying: $$\frac{\partial S(a,t)}{\partial t} = -\frac{\partial S(a,t)}{\partial a}$$ where $S$ is a probability-density, but I think you can ...
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112 views

Getting an intuitive feel for induced representations

I'm reading about induced representations for research. Particularly, I'm trying to get a firm grasp on the finite group case before venturing on to the locally compact case. I've been looking at ...
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Looking for an intuitive explanation why the row rank is equal to the column rank for a matrix

I am looking for an intuitive explanation as to why/how row rank of a matrix = column rank. I've read the proof at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rank_of_a_linear_transformation and I understand the ...
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35 views

Derive $f(Ax)=f(x)g(A)$: the property for scale invariance.

This is part of a proof for the following question: Show that if a probability density function $f(x)$ with $x>0$ is scale invariant then $f(Ax)=\frac{1}Af(x)$ where $A$ is a real constant. ...
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30 views

Differentiable curves that are not smooth

We call a curve admitting a parameterization $t\to z(t)$, $t\in[0,1]$ differentiable if the vector function $z$ is differentiable. We call the curve smooth if it is differentiable and its derivative ...
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26 views

Understanding arguments to functions in $\mathbb R^n$

Example of two theorems I have problems with: Mean value theorem: $U\subseteq\mathbb R^n$ open, $f:U\to\mathbb R^m$continuously differentiable, $x\in U$, $\xi\in\mathbb R^n$ such that $x+t\xi\in U$ ...
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95 views

$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$

$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$ How can I explain this to a school student who doesn't know what a limit is?
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86 views

Can a statement in FOL be equivalent to two separate independent statements?

This may seem like a dumb question, and it certainly seems dumb to me asking it, but I'm running into a contradiction. I'm looking at the problem of finding a statement $\phi$ such that $\psi$ and ...
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101 views

Why do we denote $S^1$ for the the unit circle and $S^2$ for unit sphere?

Maybe a quite easy question. Why is $S^1$ the unit circle and $S^2$ is the unit sphere? Also why is $S^1\times S^1$ a torus? It does not seem that they have anything in common, do they?
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25 views

Intuition behind prism operators to prove homotopy invariance of homology

I'm trying to understand the proof of homotopy invariance of induced maps on homology. However, I do not really understand the intuition behind this proof and especially what the prism operators (as ...
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43 views

Paradox of the trumpet shape

This is a question I had for long time now, when you rotate the function y=1/x, x>0 (say x and y both measure meters) about the x axes by 2pi you get a shape which has infinite surface area and finite ...
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Meaning of “Identify a set with another set” in group theory

There is a exercise problem that asks "Identify a set with another set ". I don't understand what I should do. Do I need to establish a bijection between them? Thanks EDIT-I: Actual question: G is a ...
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Too old to start math

I'm sorry if this question goes against the meta for posting questions - I attached all the "beware, this is a soft-question" tags I could. This is a question I've been asking myself now for some ...
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1answer
84 views

Arrows-only implication & disjunction in $\mathbf{Set}.$

Just before the truth-arrows in a topos subsection of Goldblatt's "Topoi: A Categorial Analysis of logic," descriptions of the truth functions $\Rightarrow$ and $\smallsmile$ are given in ...
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183 views

The physical meaning of ${n \choose k} = {n \choose n-k}$.

They say that $${n \choose k}={n \choose n-k}.$$ Can someone explain its physical meaning? Among many problems that use this proof, here is an example: The english alphabet has $26$ letters ...
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1answer
36 views

Method of Variation of Parameters - Assigning zero works?

I have yet to find a decent answer on this, and so I don't think this question is inappropriate. Also, this question is mainly meant for people that are very familiar with this method. In the method ...
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8answers
705 views

What are the most important functions every mathematician should know? [closed]

I am an undergrad in math and was wondering, what are for you the most important functions every mathematician should know? At the moment I think ...
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83 views

Terminology in forcing

In the context of forcing one reads the relation $p \leq q$ in a poset $P$ as "$p$ extends $q$". A typical example is the poset $P$ of finite partial functions, where one defines $p \leq q$ when $q ...
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54 views

Factoring $x^4 -8a^2x^2 -48a^4 -8bx^3 - 32a^2 bx +16b^2x^2 +64a^2b^2$

The subject line pretty much says it all. In my geometry class today, the following equation came up: $$x^4 -8a^2x^2 -48a^4 -8bx^3 - 32a^2 bx +16b^2x^2 +64a^2b^2 = 0$$ Specifically, it was in the ...
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Why is the Jordan Curve Theorem not “obvious”?

I am horribly confused about Jordan's Curve Theorem (henceforth JCT). Could you give me some reason why should the validity of this theorem be in doubt? I mean for anyone who trusts the eye theorem is ...
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1answer
95 views

Understand the $\operatorname{Hom}$ Functor.

Via Wikipedia I see that $\operatorname{Hom}_C(A,-): C \rightarrow \textbf{Set}$ a covariant functor which maps each object $X$ in $C$ to the set of morphisms $\operatorname{Hom}_C(A,X)$. I am trying ...
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127 views

Geometric intuition behind the Hasse principle

Let $f(X,Y) \in \mathbb{Q}[X,Y]$ be a quadratic polynomial. The Hasse-Minkowski theorem says that $f(X,Y) = 0$ has a solution $(x,y) \in \mathbb{Q}^2$ iff it has a solution in $\mathbb{R}^2$ and ...
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248 views

What really is an indeterminate form?

We can apply l’Hôpital’s Rule to the indeterminate quotients $ \dfrac{0}{0} $ and $ \dfrac{\infty}{\infty} $, but why can’t we directly apply it to the indeterminate difference $ \infty - \infty $ or ...
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100 views

How to imagine “tensoring with Serre's twisted sheaf”

What has an algebraic geometer in mind when (s)he sees $\otimes \mathcal{O}(1)$? I think it has something to do with an intersection of a hypersurface...? Thanks, Adrian
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Intuition - If $Ax = b$ has infinitely many solutions, why can't $Ax = c$ have only one solution? [Strang P165 3.4. 22]

If $\mathbf{Ax = b}$ has infinitely many solutions, why is it impossible for $\mathbf{Ax = c}$ (where $\mathbf{c}$ is a new right side) to have only one solution? Proof : Take two solutions of ...
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1answer
65 views

“Geometric” proof of Rouche's theorem on the number of zeros?

I understand the analytic proof of Rouche's theorem as presented in Stein and Shakarchi's complex analysis - $|f(z)| > |g(z)|$ on the boundary circle C ensures that the argument principle can be ...
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1answer
129 views

A Nonabelian group of order of product of primes G has a trivial center - Fraleigh p. 153 15.18

Using Exercise 37, show: A nonabelian group G of order pq where p and q are primes has a trivial center. Reference: http://users.humboldt.edu/pgoetz/Homework%20Solutions/Math%20343/hw...
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53 views

Intuitively, what separates Mersenne primes from Fermat primes?

A Mersenne prime is a prime of the form $2^n-1$. A Fermat prime is a prime of the form $2^n+1$. Despite the two being superficially very similar, it is conjectured that there are infinitely many ...
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112 views

What application is there for a non-Hausdorff topological space?

I'm learning basic topology and as I understand it, a good way to intuit what an open set is, is that it determines which elements are near each other. However, in a non-Hausdorff space, it would be ...
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123 views

Prove That the Second Moment is Minimized with a Circle Packing

Graham and Sloane studied the problem of minimzing the second moment of disks on the plane, i.e. minimize $$ U = \frac{1}{d^2} \sum_{i=1}^{n} || \mathbf{p}_i - \bar{\mathbf{p}} ||^2 $$ s.t. ...
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What is the intuition behind the Poisson distribution's function?

I'm trying to intuitively understand the Poisson distribution's probability mass function. When $X \sim \mathrm{Pois}(\lambda)$, then $P(X=k)=\frac{\lambda^k e^{-k}}{k!}$, but I don't see the ...
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26 views

convert continuous random variable to a discrete one for the given exponential distribution

I understand that the following question requires converting continuous r.v. to discrete r.v. But How can we get a PMF from the CDF of continuous distribution? It involves dividing continuous values ...
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72 views

Does such a mathematics book exist?

A book that is intuition and theory driven, with lots of exercises to practice. A book that goes over basic mathematics to more advanced topics (from say algebra 1 and 2 to calculus and beyond..) Or ...
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4answers
174 views

Why does $e^{i\pi}=-1$? [duplicate]

I will first say that I fully understand how to prove this equation from the use of power series, what I am interested in though is why $e$ and $\pi$ should be linked like they are. As far as I know ...
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94 views

Deep Understanding of Independence of Probabilities

I really want to have a deep understanding of the independent probabilities of two events. That means to me that I just do not want to use and know the definition. I want to fully understand the why. ...
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44 views

Why are frames called “frames”?

Definition: A frame $F$ is a suplattice such that for any $x_{i}, y\in F$ (for $i\in I$, $I$ a set), we have $$y\wedge\left(\bigvee_{i\in I}x_i\right)=\bigvee_{i\in I}(y\wedge x_i).$$ Why are ...
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Find extrema of $f_a(x)=\vert x-a\vert^2$ on $\overline{B_1(0)}$

Let $\overline{B_1(0)}\subseteq\mathbb R^3$ be the closed unit-sphere and $a\in\mathbb R^3$. Find all extrema of the function $f_a(x)=\vert x-a\vert^2$ on $\overline{B_1(0)}$ depending on $a$. ...