For questions about gaining and achieving motivation.

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5
votes
1answer
612 views

Why is unique ergodicity important or interesting?

I have a very simple motivational question: why do we care if a measure-preserving transformation is uniquely ergodic or not? I can appreciate that being ergodic means that a system can't really be ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Jacobi identity - intuitive explanation

I am really struggling with understanding the Jacobi Identity. I am not struggling with verifying it or calculating commutators.. I just can't see through it. I can't see the motivation behind it (as ...
2
votes
2answers
58 views

Banach spaces containing copies of $\ell^1$

Why is it important that a Banach spaces $X$ contains (or not) copies of the space $\ell^1$? I always hear talk about it but I don't know its importance. Could someone explain this?
-4
votes
1answer
73 views

Equal Categories

Let $\infty$ be the "category" of all categories, where the objects are categories and the morphisms are functors. I am trying to motivate the definition of equal categories by doing it as follows. ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

What motivates the definition of a ring in abstract algebra? [closed]

I've read a lot of questions about rings but I still don't know why they are useful/ I'm sure they are, but I don't know why. Are their properties somehow used in proofs or as foundations for ...
2
votes
0answers
21 views

Motivation for the study of units in cyclotomic fields beyond Washington's book

Right now, I am reading Larry Washington's book "Introduction to Cyclotomic Fields." In Chapter 8 of this book, the unit group of the ring of integers in a cyclotomic field (or its totally real ...
3
votes
2answers
76 views

Motivation for separation axioms

I have recently been studying different separation and countability axioms in topology. I am looking for a motivation for why such a refined division of different axioms was made and is studied. I am ...
3
votes
3answers
274 views

Intuition behind independence & conditional probability

This is a basic question. I have a good intuition that $A$ is independent of $B$ if $P(A \vert B) = P(A)$, and see how you can easily derive from this that it must hold that $P(A,B) = P(A)P(B)$. ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

Justification for ordinal arithmetic at limit ordinals

Wikipedia tells me that: $$\alpha + \lambda := \bigcup_{\beta < \lambda} \left ( \alpha + \beta \right ) $$ for a limit ordinal $\lambda$. Multiplication and exponentiation, as Wikipedia says, ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
105 views

Ordinals - motivation and rigor at the same time

Can someone provide a description of ordinals within ZFC in a rigorous way that exhibits motivation? Every description or explanation I see in the literature or on the Internet is either too formal ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

Traveling salesman problem: why visit each city only once?

According to wikipedia, the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) is: Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city ...
7
votes
4answers
594 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 ...
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?
2
votes
1answer
102 views

How to understand cocategories

$\newcommand\CC{\mathsf{C}}$The notion of a category is well-known. There are multiple equivalent definitions; small categories can be seen as an internal category in $\mathsf{Set}$, that is a ...
6
votes
1answer
86 views

What is the motivation to continuous functions and measurable functions?

In topology the objects of interest are the space open sets, and a function will be continuous if the inverse image of any open set is an open set. In measure theory the objects of interest are the ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Motivation For Tensor Product of R-Modules

I have recently learned about tensor products of modules,specifically the material in Dummit and Foote chapter 10 section 4. My understanding is that the construction of tensor spaces is important ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

Motivation for Grassmannian variety

I need some information about the Grassmanian variety for my final project in algebraic geometry course that I am taking. My questions are: Why do we define the Grassmannian variety? Do we use ...
2
votes
2answers
58 views

Do coalgebras arise outside the study of bi/Hopf-algebras?

Hopefully the title is fairly self explanatory. I'm curious as to whether the coalgebra structure (that is, a vector space with a comultiplication and counit) comes up an any area of mathematics not ...
23
votes
4answers
951 views

Book ref. request: “…starting from a mathematically amorphous problem and combining ideas from sources to produce new mathematics…”

I couldn't find Charles Radin's Miles of Tiles at the local university library or the public library, and cannot afford its Amazon price right now. Thus, while sorely disappointed for the moment, I ...
1
vote
2answers
76 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
360 views

The “Empty Tuple” or “0-Tuple”: Its Definition and Properties

(I would like to link to a previous discussion on the subject: What is A Set Raised to the 0 Power? (In Relation to the Definition of a Nullary Operation)) In axiomatic (ZFC) set theory, we define ...
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
1answer
43 views

Is there a particularly simple example of geometric descent?

I'm looking for a particularly simple and familiar example of descent in geometry or topology in order to motivate the general definition. I'm not counting the definition of the arrow category ...
1
vote
0answers
50 views

How do I visualize algebraic products?

I think I have no or a little problem with analyzing given algebraic products. That is, I know properties of direct, semi-direct and free products. For example, the free product $G\ast H$ is a group ...
16
votes
6answers
374 views

What problems, ideas or questions first got you interested in algebraic geometry?

Obviously, a lot of people are very interested in algebraic geometry. I suppose this means it is a fascinating area. However the few times I have tried to read introductory books and/or articles in ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

A good way to explain $\varepsilon$-$\delta$ for chemistry / biology students?

I feel like I have a pretty good way to talk about $\varepsilon$-$\delta$ to physics and engineering students (and possibly students in comp sci). But I am not very sure what I can do for chemistry ...
2
votes
0answers
61 views

Intuition for the Positive Real Number $\epsilon$ in Topology

Although this question might sound a little too simple, it is a problem that I must get addressed. In addition, there is no way for me to formally describe it. If you have something you can add, by ...
2
votes
0answers
49 views

Set theory, motivating factors [duplicate]

Set theory seems to pop up in many different fields of mathematics. As someone with a CS degree, I've only encountered very basic set theory; dealing with non-specific sets, and their intersections, ...
4
votes
2answers
70 views

Why are functional analysts interested in not only the point spectrum of $f$, but also, its spectrum?

Suppose $\mathbb{K}\in \{\mathbb{R},\mathbb{C}\},$ that $X$ is a Banach space over $\mathbb{K}$, and that $f : X \leftarrow X$ is a bounded linear transform. Then the spectrum of $f$ is defined as the ...
7
votes
1answer
72 views

Motivation behind parameters

This article shows a technique of evaluating a definite integral by introducing a suitable parameter. This however doesn't throw light on motivation for introducing that particular parameter. For ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Why do we consider only real or complex Banach spaces?

In wikipedia, normed vector space is defined as a vector space over a subfield of $\mathbb{C}$ equipped with a norm. However, Banach space is defined as a complete normed space over $\mathbb{R}$ or ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

What is the motivation/applications for the definition of Lebesgue measure on $\mathbb R^n$?

The definition of the Lebesgue measure on $\mathbb R^n$ is fundamentally tied up with the following assumption: The measure of the cartesian product of $n$ intervals should be the product of the ...
28
votes
12answers
574 views

Nonobvious examples of metric spaces that do not work like $\mathbb{R}^n$

This week, I come to the end of the first year analysis, and suffer from a "crisis of motivation." With this question, I want to chase away my thought, "Why is it important to study the general ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

Growth conditions for partial differential equations

Hi I am interested in what the exact purpose is of growth conditions associated with solving partial differential equations. For example the following pde: $$\text{div}(a(x,u,\nabla u)) + c(c,u,\nabla ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Linear systems of differential equations

I would like to see an example of a real physical situation where one can find a set of variables evolving according to a system of linear differential equations. I wasn't able to find any such ...
6
votes
3answers
778 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Why are special numbers important? (Such as fermat prime, mersenne prime)

Whenever I studied topics in mathematics, I found those topics are important in purely mathematical sense and I could see some motivations. However, I cannot see neither motivation nor importance of ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Motivation and examples for ramification

I started learning algebraic number theory, but it seems like all the sources I had are too abstract, giving me difficulty understanding the concept and tripping me up frequently. For today it is ...
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' ...
6
votes
1answer
61 views

Motivation for and differences between properties of measure, outer measure

This is related to my measure theory class, but it's not homework. The motivation behind this post is to understand the big picture relationship between properties of measure and outer measure. I ...
8
votes
3answers
370 views

What's a good motivating example for the concept of a slice category?

What nice example can one give a beginner to really motivate the idea of a slice category, before they've met the more general notion of a comma category? There's the toy example of a poset category ...
4
votes
0answers
60 views

Why do we care about non-$T_0$ spaces?

(Reminder: A $T_0$ topological space, also known as a Kolmogorov space, is a space where the topological structure "recognizes" that different points are different: No two points have exactly the same ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Uses of Mersenne primes in math

There is an international search for Mersenne primes. The project is huge. But what are the uses of Mersenne Primes in math? Do they have any other properties other than being of the form $2^n-1$?
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are modular lattices important?

A lattice $(L,\leq)$ is said to be modular when $$(\forall a,b\in L) x \leq b \implies x \vee (a \wedge b) = (x \vee a) \wedge b,$$ where $\vee$ is the join operation, and $\wedge$ is the meet ...
1
vote
2answers
73 views

Where do I start learning and how do I stay motivated?

I just finished intermediate algebra in college. I liked it and breezed through it. I feel like at this level of math I can only expect dull and unenthusiastic teachers (which has been the case ...
1
vote
0answers
92 views

Application of integrating $\cos^4 x$?

A student asked a colleague the other day for a practical application that involved needing to integrate the fourth power of cosine, but no one here could think of one off-hand other than some volume ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

An equation that generates a beautiful or unique shape for motivating students in mathematics

Could anyone here provide us an equation that generates a beautiful or unique shape when we plot? For example, this is old but gold, I found this equation on internet: $$ \large\color{blue}{ ...
3
votes
0answers
73 views

What is the motivation behind the study of pattern-avoiding permutations?

There is a ton of research on pattern-avoiding permutations (permutations that do not contain some designated permutation pattern). We're figuring out how to enumerate them, what random ones are ...
1
vote
2answers
176 views

Relation between long exact sequences and Derived functors

I know that if i have a short exact sequence of chain complexes $$0\rightarrow A\rightarrow B\rightarrow C\rightarrow 0$$ then i can extend it to long exact sequence of homology groups as ...