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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Plausibility vs Probability

http://whatho.in/2013/plausibility-versus-probability/ refers to pp 155-156 of 533 of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. I'll use one of Kahneman's other questions from p 156: A ...
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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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Math Bases of Comparison and Association [on hold]

My question is about the cognitive phenomenon of intuitive pattern-matching or association by similarity / dissimilarity. Imagine a situation where a person has a particular experience, which might ...
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55 views

Interpretation of partial derivatives of vertical coordinate with respect to $x$ and time

My question is from my lecturers notes, this is what he wrote and I don't know what he is on about : What is a physical meaning of partial derivatives of $y(x,t)$? $y_x(x,t)$ is the rate of change of ...
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50 views

$1$ is not congruent because of Fermat's Last Theorem?

I would like someone to explain something I did not understand. I was reading a page called "nuking the mosquito" where they give very complex proofs for very simple results. The proof I want to talk ...
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22 views

Elements in the same coset and the Cayley Diagram

A question from Visual group theory, by Nathan Carter. In a Cayley diagram, if $aH$ is a coset of a subgroup $H$ of a group $G$ and $b$ belongs to $aH$, why is it that every node that can be reached ...
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Geometric idea behind equations of the form $|x-a|\pm|x-b|=c$

So let's say I want to solve $$|x-a|\pm|x-b|=c$$ Using the classic multiple cases approach, one can show that the solutions are given by $$x=\frac{a+b\pm c}2 $$ But how can one make sense of this ...
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Why does solving $\int \frac{v}{9.8-0.0025v^2}\mathrm{d}v=\int1{d}x$ for $v^2$ in terms of $x$ produce 2 completely different answers?

In this question $g=9.8$ (acceleration of free fall). You are also given that when $x=0$ $v=0$. My answer is $v^2=400g(1-e^\frac{x}{200})$. I obtained it by integrating both sides so that ...
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Intuition for the compactness of real projective space $\mathbb{R}\mathbb{P}^n$.

I want to have an intuition for why the $n$-dimensional real projective space defined as $$\mathbb{R}\mathbb{P}^n:=\mbox{set of 1-dimensional subspaces of }\mathbb{R}^{n+1}$$ is compact. I don't see ...
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37 views

What does local space of a given Banach space says intuitively?

We put, $\mathcal{D}(\mathbb R)=$ The space of $C^{\infty}-$ functions on $\mathbb R$ with compact support Example: For instance bump function is in $\mathcal{D}(\mathbb R)$ Let $E$ is a Banach ...
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27 views

The meaning of the connection between power spectral density and auto correlation

I know that if we have a signal $x(t)$, then its Fourier transform would be the signal in the frequency space, which I understand to be how much of each frequency exists in the x(t) signal. $ ...
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147 views

curvature of helix

Here is the curve of a helix parametrized by its arc length $\alpha(s) = ( a\cos(\frac{s}{c}), a\sin(\frac{s}{c}), b(\frac{s}{c}) ), s \in \mathbb{R}$ such that a$^2$ + b$^2$ = c$^2$. The curvature ...
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Explaining multiplication of fractions

The best way I've been able to describe multiplication is as $$ a\times b = \sum^a_{i=1} b$$ But my definition does not account for things such as $2.99792458\times8.987551787$ and ...
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Show that $q^4+2pq^2 +p^2 = 2pq -(pq)^2 -1$ becomes $p^3+q^3+3pq-1=0$.

I know that these two are exactly the same equation but I can't seem to prove it. You are also given that $p+q=1$. This is a follow up from a similar question.
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Laplace transformations for dummies

Is there a simple explanation of what the Laplace transformation do exactly and how they work? Reading my math book has left me in a foggy haze of proofs that I don't completely understand. I'm ...
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By plugging $p=1-q$, into the $3$ equations show that $x=y=z$

By plugging $p=1-q$, into the 3 equations: $$\begin{cases} z=py+qx \\ x=pz+qy \\ y=px+qz \end{cases}$$ show that $\boxed{x=y=z}$ This is from the final part of question 7 in this STEP paper, and is ...
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Computing of the Gamma Function

I have stumbled upon Gamma functions when dealing with Gamma distributions on my studies with basic statistics. However, I have not understood how its computation expands factorials to real and ...
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How to determine value from willingness to pay?

I use the British pounds symbol instead of dollars because $ conflicts with Mathjax. Source: p 296, The Legal Analyst, Ward Farnsworth "... one time in a thousand we do lose the film; if you’re ...
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1answer
58 views

Series problem:

Parts i) & ii) I can solve. For part iii) I get $z=py+qx$ [For $n=0$] $x=pz+qy$ [For $n=1$] $y=px+qz$ [For $n=2$] leading to $(1-pq)x=(q^2+p)z$ [1] $(1-pq)z=(q^2+p)y$ [2] ...
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Sequential Algebraic Problem:

The first part i) I can do. For part ii) this is how far I can get: If n is odd then $y=px+qy$ If n is even then $x=py+qx$ After some rearranging i end up with $y(1-q)=px$ & $x(1-q)=py$ and ...
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1answer
33 views

Everyday life examples of hyperbolic rotations

I'm trying to find some intuition in Lorentz transformations. I understand that they are basically rotations by imaginary angle of vector of the form $\{ict,x\}$ (for $1+1$ space-time dimensions), and ...
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Understanding Inequalities.

If $(\displaystyle\frac{2(a-1)}{a+1}\lt\ln a\lt\frac{2(a-1)}{2+\ln a})$ equals $(\displaystyle\frac{2(a-1)}{a+1}\lt\ln a \lt -1 + \sqrt{2a-1})$. Does that mean that $-1 + \sqrt{2a-1}$ = ...
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Show that $ \frac{2+\ln a }{2}\lt\frac{a-1}{\ln a} \lt \frac{1+a}{2}$ becomes $ \frac{2(a-1)}{a+1}\lt\ln a \lt -1 + \sqrt{2a-1}$

Show that $\displaystyle \frac{2+\ln a }{2}\lt\frac{a-1}{\ln a} \lt \frac{1+a}{2}$ becomes $\displaystyle \frac{2(a-1)}{a+1}\lt\ln a \lt -1 + \sqrt{2a-1}$ The closest I can get is $$ ...
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106 views

Explain cosmic distances to a child

I seem to have lost all my sense for simple calculations. I'd like to explain to my son how long cosmic distances are. As an example: Our sun has a diameter of 1392684 kilometers. The distance to our ...
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How can one visualize a homomorphic mapping.

It has been a year or so studying Group theory and Ring theory. Funnily enough, this is the part where i am able to solve most of the questions of the book quite easily, yet not fully understanding ...
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Colored Picture for Equivalence Classes, Relations, Partitions, ..

Origin — A Book of Abstract Algebra — Charles Pinter — p120. I'm trying to sketch a colored picture for the ideas from equivalence classes, equivalence relations, partitions, etc... underneath. ...
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32 views

Trigonometric series problem: finding a second valid solution.

Given that I can do part of this question so here goes: Substituting $\theta=\frac{1\pi}{11}$ into LHS of given expression gives $$\cos\frac{1\pi}{11} + \cos\frac{2\pi}{11} + \cos\frac{3\pi}{11} ...
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How do you explain the concept of logarithm to a five year old?

Okay I understand that it cannot be explained to a 5 year old. But, how do you explain the logarithm to primary school students?
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Problem involving summing exponential series:

I can show the first part (i) (a), but the second part (b) i think it should be $S=\infty$ since the denominator is zero with that value of $\theta$. However, this is not the answer, any ideas? ...
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1answer
48 views

Using De-moivres to solve the following problem:

Part (i) I can solve and understand that the solutions are $Z=e^\frac{2ki\pi}{5}$ for $k = 0,1,2,3,4$ Its the part (ii) I cannot understand. Could someone kindly give me a ...
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Is there a relationship between $e$ and the sum of $n$-simplexes volumes?

When I look at the Taylor series for $e^x$ and the volume formula for oriented simplexes, it makes $e^x$ look like it is, at least almost, the sum of simplexes volumes from $n$ to $\infty$. Does ...
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Intuitive explanation of the difference between waves in odd and even dimensions

Motivation: In odd dimensions, solutions to the wave equation: $u_{tt}(x,t)=\nabla u(x,t)$, $u_t(x,0)=0$, $u(x,0)=f(x)$, ($t\geq 0, x\in \mathbb{R}^n$) have the nice property that the value of ...
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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 quite sure about ...
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What is the intuition behind the “par” operator in linear logic?

I'm $\DeclareMathOperator{\par}{\unicode{8523}}$ trying to wrap my mind around the $\par$ ("par") operator of linear logic. The other connectives have simple resource interpretations ($A\otimes B$ ...
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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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1answer
57 views

Intuition concerning Riemann Sums

I have just started learning integrals, and I want to know the following: In the definition of a riemann integral, it states that the interval that the integral is to be evaluated, is partitioned ...
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35 views

Using De Moivre's theorem with relation to the argument of a complex number

Given that $Z^4 = 64(\cos\pi+ i\sin\pi)= 64(-1+0i) = -64$ I understand that the argument [$arg(Z^4)$] is $\pi$, now if instead given the form $Z^4 =64(-1+0i)$ and I desired to find the argument ...
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Distinction between nowhere monotone and nowhere differentiable

It is known that all functions that are continuous and nowhere differentiable are also nowhere monotone but that there is a function that is everywhere differentiable but nowhere monotone. I have ...
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2answers
77 views

The semidirect product as a deformation of the direct product

The way I think of the semidirect product is as a "deformation" of the direct product. Is there a way of making this intuition precise? Perhaps using some certain (co-) homology theory of groups?
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Why “characteristic zero” and not “infinite characteristic”?

The characteristic of a ring (with unity, say) is the smallest positive number $n$ such that $$\underbrace{1 + 1 + \cdots + 1}_{n \text{ times}} = 0,$$ provided such an $n$ exists. Otherwise, we ...
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What nontrivial operations exhibit $\text{op}(f(x)) + \text{op}(f(x+1)) = \text{op}(f(x) + f(x+1))$?

What nontrivial operations exhibit $\text{op}(f(x)) + \text{op}(f(x+1)) = \text{op}(f(x) + f(x+1))$? For example, I know that summation, integration, and their inverses all exhibit this property. To ...
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Why does $ 1+2+3+\cdots+p = {(1⁄2)}\cdots(p+1) $ [duplicate]

I saw this from Project Euler, problem #1: If we now also note that $ 1+2+3+\cdots+p = {(1/2)} \cdot p\cdot(p+1) $ What is the intuitive explanation for this? How would I go about deriving the ...
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160 views

Why is a raised to the power of Zero is 1? [duplicate]

Why is $a^0=1$ $\forall a \in Z, a\neq0$. I understand $2^4=2\cdot2\cdot2\cdot2$ How can I express $a^0$. I am serious about the practical proof of this
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Finding recurrence and an algorithm to represent it

You find yourself in a country with integer coin denominations $c_1 < c_2 < ... < c_r$, where $c_1 = 1$. Unfortunately, the greedy algorithm is not guaranteed to find the optimal way to ...
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Why is $\frac{1}{\frac{1}{X}}=X$?

Can someone help me understand in basic terms why $$\frac{1}{\frac{1}{X}} = X$$ And my book says that "to simplify the reciprocal of a fraction, invert the fraction"...I don't get this because isn't ...
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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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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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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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215 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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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 ...