# Tagged Questions

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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### What's an intuitive way to think about the determinant?

In my linear algebra class, we just talked about determinants. So far I’ve been understanding the material okay, but now I’m very confused. I get that when the determinant is zero, the matrix doesn’t ...
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### Dominoes and induction, or how does induction work?

I've never really understood why math induction is supposed to work. You have these 3 steps: Prove true for base case (n=0 or 1 or whatever) Assume true for n=k. Call this the induction hypothesis....
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### How can I understand and prove the “sum and difference formulas” in trigonometry? (cos(a ± b) = …, etc.)?

The "sum and difference" formulas often come in handy, but it's not immediately obvious that they would be true. \begin{align} \sin(\alpha \pm \beta) &= \sin \alpha \cos \beta \pm \cos \alpha \...
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### What Does it Really Mean to Have Different Kinds of Infinities?

Can someone explain to me how there can be different kinds of infinities? I was reading "The man who loved only numbers" by Paul Hoffman and came across the concept of countable and uncountable ...
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### Intuitive Understanding of the constant “$e$”

Potentially related-questions, shown before posting, didn't have anything like this, so I apologize in advance if this is a duplicate. I know there are many ways of calculating (or should I say "...
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### Motivation behind standard deviation?

Let's take the numbers 0-10. Their mean is 5, and the individual deviations from 5 are -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 And so the average (magnitude of) ...
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### Intuition behind Matrix Multiplication

If I multiply two numbers, say $3$ and $5$, I know it means add $3$ to itself $5$ times or add $5$ to itself $3$ times. But If I multiply two matrices, what does it mean ? I mean I can't think it ...
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### Why is the area under a curve the integral?

I understand how derivatives work based on the definition, and the fact that my professor explained it step by step until the point where I can derive it myself. However when it comes to the area ...
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### Intuitive Explanation of Bessel's Correction

When calculating a sample variance a factor of (N-1) appears instead of N (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sample_variance#Population_variance_and_sample_variance ). Does anybody have an intuitive ...
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### Convergence of the series $\sum \limits_{n=2}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n\log^s n}$

We all know that $\displaystyle \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^s}$ converges for $s>1$ and diverges for $s \leq 1$ (Assume $s \in \mathbb{R}$). I was curious to see till what extent I can push the ...
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### Intuition behind the Definition of Conditional Probability (for 2 Events)

What is some intuitive insight regarding the conditional probability definition: $P(A\mid B) = \large \frac{P(A \cap B)}{P(B)}$ ? I am looking for an intuitive motivation. My textbook merely gives a ...
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### Why is compactness so important?

I've read many times that 'compactness' is such an extremely important and useful concept, though it's still not very apparent why. The only theorems I've seen concerning it are the Heine-Borel ...
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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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### Why are polynomials defined to be “formal”?

Despite the fact that $\forall n, n^3 + 2n \equiv 0 \pmod 3$, I understand that $n^3 + 2n$ (considered as a polynomial with coefficients in $\mathbb Z/3\mathbb Z$) is not equal to the zero polynomial. ...
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### Intuition of Addition Formula for Sine and Cosine

The proof of two angles for sine function is derived using $$\sin(A+B)=\sin A\cos B+\sin B\cos A$$ and $$\cos(A+B)=\cos A\cos B-\sin A\sin B$$ for cosine function. I know how to derive both of the ...
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### Intuitive explanation of the Fundamental Theorem of Linear Algebra

Can someone explain intuitively what the Fundamental Theorem of Linear Algebra states? and why specifically it is called the above? Specifically, what makes it 'Fundamental' in the broad scope of the ...