For questions about gaining and achieving motivation.

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9
votes
4answers
989 views

Topological groups, why need them?

I'm reading through Munkres and Armstrong's books on topology. However, I find topological groups to be really complicated objects! I feel they are twice as hard to deal with then just groups and ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Motivation for construction of cross-product (Quaternions?)

I just found a very interesting article here: http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2012/02/15/dot-cross-and-quaternion-products/ The author observes that by defining i,j,k s.t. $i^2=j^2=k^2=ijk=-1$, ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

Practical motivation for analysis at school

I want to show pupils at an age of 14 to 17 and who do not like math what they can use analysis/analytic geometry in a job. I could not remember an impressive example for most topics. Let's assume ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

What does this theorem mean?

Let $(V,\|\cdot\|)$ be a finite-dimensional normed space. Define $\|T\|_\mathrm{op}=\sup\{\|T(x)\|:\|x\|≦1\}$, for all linear operators on $V$ Define $\Omega$ to be the set of all invertible linear ...
22
votes
4answers
801 views

Fractional Calculus: Motivation and Foundations.

If this is too broad, I apologise; let's keep it focused on the basics if necessary. What's the motivation and the rigorous foundations behind fractional calculus? It seems very weird & ...
4
votes
2answers
382 views

What is the importance of the spectral theorem?

I know that the spectral theorem tells us that in the case of a real inner product space, an operator is self adjoint if and only if there is an orthonormal basis with only eigenvectors of that ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

For what reason, the surface measure represents the surface area?

Let $||\cdot||$ be a norm on $\mathbb{R}^n$ (It's an arbitrary norm, not 2-norm) Define $S^{n-1}=\{x\in\mathbb{R}^n : ||x||=1\}$ Let $\mu$ be the n-dimensional Lebesgue measure. Define ...
5
votes
1answer
98 views

Reference request: Introduction to Finite Group Cohomology

I don't know anything about group cohomology and I'd like to. What is the best text to learn this subject? I'd prefer as soft an introduction as possible - that is, lots of motivation, lots of ...
1
vote
2answers
77 views

How to motivate vectors as derivations?

In a manifold it's easy to motivate the definition of vectors as equivalence classes of curves. On the other hand the definition as derivations is harder to motivate. I know how to show that the space ...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

What is a motivation for this theorem and what is an example this theorem is applied?

If one doesn't know a motivation, it's hard to memorize such a theorem. So do I. Rudin RCA p.30 Let $(X,\Sigma,\mu)$ be a measure space such that $\mu(X)<\infty$ and $f\in L^1(\mu)$. ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Why might one be inclined to think that polynomials of the form $\cos(n\arccos{x})$ would minimize error in Lagrange interpolation?

I was first introduced to Chebyshev polynomials (of the first kind) in the form $T_n(x)=\cos\left(n \operatorname{arccos}(x)\right)$. The usual recurrence relation was then derived from using trig ...
8
votes
1answer
131 views

Representation theory approach VS Module theory approach?

Given an associative algebra $A$, there is a correspondence between representations of $A$ and left $A-$ modules. Thus, one can study the representation theory of an associative algebra via its left ...
4
votes
5answers
446 views

Why - not how - do you solve Differential Equations? [closed]

I know HOW to mechanically solve basic diff. equations. To recap, you start out with the derivative $\frac{dy}{dx}=...$ and you aim to find out y=... To do this, you separate the variables, and ...
2
votes
1answer
179 views

What's with conditionals in mathematical logic?

Having a bit of difficulty understanding the conditional ($\rightarrow$) in mathematical logic. I read up on the already-existing questions and it did help me understand it better (the 'promise' ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Motivation for definition of Mobius function

Why is the Mobius function defined the way it is? \begin{align*} \mu(n) = \begin{cases} (-1)^r & \text{ if $n$ is square-free and is of the form }n=p_1p_2\ldots p_r\\ 0 & \text{ if $n$ is not ...
5
votes
6answers
506 views

What is the point of quadratic residues?

What is the most motivating way to introduce quadratic residues? Are there any real life examples of quadratic residues? Why is the Law of Quadratic Reciprocity considered as one of the most ...
11
votes
3answers
158 views

Applications of functions of the form $f(x)^{g(x)}$

Early on in my calculus education, I learned how to take the derivative of $x^x$ by re-writing it in the form $e^{x\ln x}$. More generally, this technique is helpful in finding the derivative of ...
6
votes
1answer
210 views

Can we capture all domains of discouse in the predicate logic within categorical logic?

In the construction of the bounded quantifiers via adjoints in the fibered category of subsets over a set (see e.g. here on Wikipedia), is there any restriction on the sets - specifically regarding ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

Motivation for abstractness

I'm seeking examples of concepts or theorems in school mathematics that are better understood when we generalize (when we deal with a more abstract concept where the former concept is a special case ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

What motivates the study of Abelian groups?

Monoids arise naturally as endomorphism monoids, and groups arise naturally as automorphism groups. These are among the primary motivators for their study, in my opinion. What are the (main) ...
29
votes
10answers
1k views

What are the applications of continued fractions?

What is the most motivating way to introduce continued fractions? Are there any real life applications of continued fractions?
-3
votes
6answers
1k views

What purpose does the use of functions serve in mathematics?

Ok, so I know the overview a bit. I would like to know why one should use one, what they're used for, and maybe even the history behind their purpose. X = X (Y) + 7 ... 5 = 5 (20) + 7 ... 32 is the ...
1
vote
3answers
94 views

Mean Value Theorem Motivation

I am currently practicing presenting mathematics to various audiences and am considering the example of the mean value theorem. I was wondering how would I be able to motivate this theorem to a ...
2
votes
1answer
190 views

Motivations for Prime Factorizaton

I'm at the beginning of some middle school math sessions on divisors, gcd, lcm, and prime numbers. It's the first place in the curriculum that the students encounter the three latter concepts ...
9
votes
2answers
334 views

Why do we want probabilities to be *countably* additive?

In probability theory, it is (as far as I am aware) universal to equate "probability" with a probabilistic measure in the sense of measure theory (possibly a particularly well behaved measure, but ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Motivation and application for stochastic geometry.

I am starting a PhD, and there is a good chance that my project will be oriented in the study of random polytopes or/and random mosaics. I was wondering what are the motivations and applications of ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

New ways to light the fire again

Recently I've been studying a lot of analytic geometry and this subject made my motivation drop. The thing is, the courses aren't stopping and I'm beginning to lose the passion I had before. I need ...
7
votes
1answer
350 views

What is the significance of limit points?

When I had my first taste of topology a couple of years ago, our lecturer emphasized the following notions. closed set, closure, closure point open set, interior, interior point Of course, these ...
3
votes
0answers
116 views

Do expressions like $(-1)^{2/3}$ show up naturally in pure or applied math?

Let $x$ denote an arbitrary real number. Then $x^n$ makes sense for arbitrary $n \in \mathbb{N},$ via the obvious recursive definition. We can extend this definition by asserting that if $x$ is ...
4
votes
0answers
207 views

What are the advantages of proof-relevant mathematics?

I've read that Theorems in HoTT (homotopy type theory) tend to characterize the space of proofs of a proposition, rather than simply state that the corresponding type is inhabited. So, HoTT ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Why doesn't the definition of (model-theoretic) conservative extension need strengthening?

In the wikipedia page dedicated to conservative extensions, we find the following sentence: $T_2$ is a model-theoretic conservative extension of $T_1$ if every model of $T_1$ can be expanded to ...
1
vote
0answers
94 views

Big theorems in information geometry?

Working on preparing a talk on information geometry to a young finance/applied math audience. Motivating this area is turning out a little difficult. What are some big theorems or results that I ...
15
votes
1answer
328 views

Motivation for the study of amoebas.

What was the primary motivation for the study of the amoebas?
7
votes
4answers
595 views

Why the axioms for a topological space are those axioms?

This question might have even been asked here before, I don't really know, so sorry if it's duplicate. I've started to study topological spaces and I've found the axioms for such spaces kind of hard ...
2
votes
1answer
331 views

Intuition behind the definition of Adjoint functors

I think of adjoint functors as some sort of inverses. So, the first part of the definition looks reasonable that there exists natural transformations $$\epsilon : FG \rightarrow 1_C$$ $$\eta : 1_D ...
6
votes
3answers
780 views

Quaternions vs Axis angle

Whats the use of representing rotation with quaternions compared to normal axis angle representation? I've been trying to learn quaternions and they make enough sense but as far as I can tell ...
18
votes
2answers
916 views

Motivation for/history of Jacobi's triple product identity

I'm taking a short number theory course this summer. The first topic we covered was Jacobi's triple product identity. I still have no sense of why this is important, how it arises, how it might have ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

What is the significance of permutable subgroups? (and $X$-permutable subgroups?)

Let $G$ be a group and $H$, $K$, $X$ be subgroups of $G$. We say $H$, $K$ are permutable if $HK=KH$. or we say $H, K$ are X-permutable if $‎\exists x, x\in X$ such that $H^{x}K=KH^{x}.$ Why are ...
6
votes
1answer
100 views

Recovering the structure of an object from its morphism:Yoneda Lemma

I've heard that Yoneda lemma informally states that one can recover the internal structure of an object by looking at the morphism coming out from that object. But this is not clear to me from the ...
8
votes
2answers
489 views

Motivation of stable homotopy theory

A stable homotopy category can be obtained by modifying the category of pointed CW-complexes: objects are pointed CW-complexes, and for two CW-complexes $X$ and $Y$, we take $$\lbrace X,Y \rbrace = ...
2
votes
1answer
224 views

Why do we need continuous random variables since they can be approximated by discrete ones?

I do not understand the motivation of developing the theory of continuous random variables. Given simple discrete random variables, the continuous ones can be well approximated.
6
votes
1answer
217 views

What is the physical meaning of fractional calculus?

What is the physical meaning of the fractional integral and fractional derivative? And many researchers deal with the fractional boundary value problems, and what is the physical background? What ...
12
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is it important to study combinatorics?

I was having a discussion with my friend Sayan Mukherjee about why we need to study combinatorics which admittedly, is not our favourite subject because we see very less motivation for it(I am not ...
3
votes
6answers
161 views

Motivation for creation of complex exponentiation

I am curious how mathematicians came to develop complex exponentiation. How is the rule for complex exponentiation derived?
4
votes
2answers
397 views

Motivation for the study of the Chern connection

Given a Hermitian metric $H$ over a holomorphic vector bundle $E$ with holomorphic structure $\overline{\partial}$, there exists a unique connection $\nabla$ (named afer Chern) satisying the following ...
1
vote
1answer
215 views

Intuition behind symmetric and antisymmetric tensors

I've been studying multilinear algebra on Kostrikin's "Linear Algebra and Geometry" and he says the following. If $V$ is a linear space, $T^q_0(V)=V^{\otimes q}$ and if $f_\sigma :T^{q}_0(V)\to ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

It is not possible to introduce multiplication in $v_n$(For $n>2$) so as to satisfy all field properties

In the book Calculus Vol 1- Tom M. Apostol .Before beginning to define the dot product of two vectors he tells It can be shown that except $n=1, 2$, it is not possible to introduce multiplication ...
5
votes
3answers
249 views

What is the point of extremal epimorphisms in category theory? Why not just use strong epis instead?

I've been trying to get my head around the various types of epimorphisms you get in category theory, but I can't see why anyone uses "extremal" epis as opposed to the slightly less general notion of ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is the tensor product constructed in this way?

I've already asked about the definition of tensor product here and now I understand the steps of the construction. I'm just in doubt about the motivation to construct it in that way. Well, if all that ...
35
votes
6answers
2k views

Motivation for spectral graph theory.

Why do we care about eigenvalues of graphs? Of course, any novel question in mathematics is interesting, but there is an entire discipline of mathematics devoted to studying these eigenvalues, so ...