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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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158 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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36 views

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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46 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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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 ...
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153 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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346 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$

$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$ How can I explain this to a school student who doesn't know what a limit is?
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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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102 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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101 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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“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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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...