This tag is for questions seeking external references (books, articles, etc.) about a particular subject. Please do not use this as the only tag for a question.

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179
votes
37answers
17k views

Fun but serious mathematics books to gift advanced undergraduates.

I am looking for fun, interesting mathematics textbooks which would make good studious holiday gifts for advanced mathematics undergraduates or beginning graduate students. They should be serious but ...
173
votes
4answers
14k views

The Integral that Stumped Feynman?

In "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!," Nobel-prize winning Physicist Richard Feynman said that he challenged his colleagues to give him an integral that they could evaluate with only complex methods ...
160
votes
14answers
37k views

Is computer science a branch of mathematics?

I have been wondering, is computer science a branch of mathematics? No one has ever adequately described it to me. It all seems very math-like to me. My second question is, are there any books about ...
132
votes
22answers
19k views

Examples of mathematical discoveries which were kept as a secret

There could be several personal, social, philosophical and even political reasons to keep a mathematical discovery as a secret. For example it is completely expected that if some mathematician find ...
131
votes
29answers
53k views

Best book ever on Number Theory

Which is the single best book for Number Theory that everyone who loves Mathematics should read?
105
votes
23answers
24k views
105
votes
5answers
3k views

Proof of $\frac{1}{e^{\pi}+1}+\frac{3}{e^{3\pi}+1}+\frac{5}{e^{5\pi}+1}+\ldots=\frac{1}{24}$

I would like to prove that $\displaystyle\sum_{\substack{n=1\\n\text{ odd}}}^{\infty}\frac{n}{e^{n\pi}+1}=\frac1{24}$. I found a solution by myself 10 hours after I posted it, here it is: $$f(x)=\...
104
votes
4answers
18k views

Books that every student “needs” to go through

I'm still a student, but the same books keep getting named by my tutors (Rudin, Royden). I've read Baby Rudin and begun Royden though I'm unsure if there are other books that I "should" be working on ...
102
votes
9answers
30k views

Teaching myself differential topology and differential geometry

I have a hazy notion of some stuff in differential geometry and a better, but still not quite rigorous understanding of basics of differential topology. I have decided to fix this lacuna once for all....
101
votes
25answers
38k views

What is a good complex analysis textbook?

I'm out of college, and trying to learn complex analysis on my own. I took out Ahlfors' text from the library, but I'm finding it difficult. Any textbook recommendations? I'm probably at an ...
92
votes
22answers
14k views

The Best of Dover Books (a.k.a the best cheap mathematical texts)

Perhaps this is a repeat question -- let me know if it is -- but I am interested in knowing the best of Dover mathematics books. The reason is because Dover books are very cheap and most other books ...
86
votes
23answers
34k views

Complete course of self-study [closed]

I am about $16$ years old and I have just started studying some college mathematics. I may never manage to get into a proper or good university (I do not trust fate) but I want to really study ...
86
votes
7answers
9k views

Exterior Derivative vs. Covariant Derivative vs. Lie Derivative

In differential geometry, there are several notions of differentiation, namely: Exterior Derivative, $d$ Covariant Derivative/Connection, $\nabla$ Lie Derivative, $\mathcal{L}$. I have listed them ...
83
votes
30answers
15k views

What is the single most influential book every mathematician should read? [closed]

If you could go back in time and tell yourself to read a specific book at the beginning of your career as a mathematician, which book would it be?
81
votes
16answers
20k views

Mathematical equivalent of Feynman's Lectures on Physics?

I'm slowly reading through Feynman's Lectures on Physics and I find myself wondering, is there an analogous book (or books) for math?
77
votes
6answers
5k views

What are the issues in modern set theory?

This is spurred by the comments to my answer here. I'm unfamiliar with set theory beyond Cohen's proof of the independence of the continuum hypothesis from ZFC. In particular, I haven't witnessed ...
77
votes
8answers
4k views

A Case Against the “Math Gene”

I'm currently teaching a mathematics course for elementary educators (think of it as math methods, but with less focus on methods and more focus on content). In a student's essay, I encountered the ...
73
votes
0answers
3k views

Continuous projections in $\ell_1$ with norm $>1$

I was trying to find papers and articles about non-contractive continuous projections in $\ell_1(S)$ where $S$ is an arbitrary set. If it is not studied yet, I would like to know results for the case $...
72
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a definitive guide to speaking mathematics?

Is there a definitive guide to speaking mathematics to avoid ambiguity? I'm writing a program to generate text for a variety of mathematical expressions and would like to code it so that it adheres ...
70
votes
3answers
20k views

phd qualifying exams

Where can I find phd qualifying exams questions.Is there any website that keeps a collection of such problems? I need it for doing some revision of the basic topics. I know of a book but that do not ...
69
votes
30answers
32k views

Best Maths Books for Non-Mathematicians [closed]

I'm not a real Mathematician, just an enthusiast. I'm often in the situation where I want to learn some interesting Maths through a good book, but not through an actual Maths textbook. I'm also often ...
69
votes
5answers
2k views

Defining a manifold without reference to the reals

The standard definition I've seen for a manifold is basically that it's something that's locally the same as $\mathbb{R}^n$, without the metric structure normally associated with $\mathbb{R}^n$. ...
68
votes
7answers
6k views

Why do books titled “Abstract Algebra” mostly deal with groups/rings/fields?

As a computer science graduate who had only a basic course in abstract algebra, I want to study some abstract algebra in my free time. I've been looking through some books on the topic, and most seem ...
68
votes
20answers
50k views

Good book for self study of a First Course in Real Analysis

Does anyone have a recommendation for a book to use for the self study of real analysis? Several years ago when I completed about half a semester of Real Analysis I, the instructor used "Introduction ...
66
votes
2answers
2k views

Reference request for tricky problem in elementary group theory

The following could have shown up as an exercise in a basic Abstract Algebra text, and if anyone can give me a reference, I will be most grateful. Consider a set $X$ with an associative law of ...
66
votes
1answer
3k views

Theorem that von Neumann proved in five minutes.

In "How To Solve It", George Pólya writes: "There was a seminar for advanced students in Zürich that I was teaching and von Neumann was in the class. I came to a certain theorem, and I said it ...
64
votes
4answers
11k views

String Theory: What to do?

This is going to be a relatively broad/open-ended question, so I apologize before hand if it is the wrong place to ask this. Anyways, I'm currently a 3rd year undergraduate starting to more seriously ...
64
votes
3answers
698 views

All real numbers in $[0,2]$ can be represented as $\sqrt{2 \pm \sqrt{2 \pm \sqrt{2 \pm \dots}}}$

I would like some reference about this infinitely nested radical expansion for all real numbers between $0$ and $2$. I'll use a shorthand for this expansion, as a string of signs, $+$ or $-$, with ...
63
votes
3answers
2k views

Paul Erdos's Two-Line Functional Analysis Proof

Legends hold that once upon a time, some mathematicians were rather pleased about a 30-ish page result in functional analysis. Paul Erdos, upon learning of the problem, spent ten or so minutes ...
61
votes
15answers
2k views

Unconventional mathematics books

I've recently purchased Oliver Byrne's reproduction of Euclid's Elements. It's a beautiful tome, that's rather unique in its presentation of the material as it represents many of Euclid's proof as ...
60
votes
2answers
5k views

Sheaf cohomology: what is it and where can I learn it?

As I understand it, sheaf cohomology is now an indispensable tool in algebraic geometry, but was originally developed to solve problems in algebraic topology. I have two questions about the matter. ...
55
votes
15answers
21k views

Good book for self study of functional analysis

I am a EE grad. student who has had one undergraduate course in real analysis (which was pretty much the only pure math course that I have ever done). I would like to do a self study of some basic ...
55
votes
17answers
3k views

Good “history of mathematical ideas” book?

All too often, mathematical history books include far too much material on the private lives of the personalities involved and not enough information on the actual ideas. Mathematics is a living ...
54
votes
0answers
2k views

When is an infinite product of natural numbers regularizable?

I only recently heard about the concept of $\zeta$-regularization, which allows the evaluation of things like $$\infty != \prod_{k=1}^\infty k = \sqrt{2\pi}$$ and $$\infty \# = \prod_{k=1}^\infty ...
53
votes
5answers
7k views

Completion of rational numbers via Cauchy sequences

Can anyone recommend a good self-contained reference for completion of rationals to get reals using Cauchy sequences?
53
votes
18answers
16k views

Good Book On Combinatorics

What is your recommendation for an in-depth introductory combinatoric book? A book that doesn't just tell you about the multiplication principle, but rather shows the whole logic behind the questions ...
52
votes
51answers
5k views

What was the book that opened your mind to the beauty of mathematics? [closed]

Of course, I am generalising here. It may have been a teacher, a theorem, self pursuit, discussions with family / friends / colleagues, etc. that opened your mind to the beauty of mathematics. But ...
52
votes
8answers
79k views

What is the best book to learn probability?

Question is quite straight... I'm not very good in this subject but need to understand at a good level.
50
votes
4answers
70k views

Eigenvectors of real symmetric matrices are orthogonal

Can someone point me to a paper, or show here, why symmetric matrices have orthogonal eigenvectors? In particular, I'd like to see proof that for a symmetric matrix $A$ there exists decomposition $A = ...
50
votes
1answer
905 views

A fleshed-out version of the Noncommutative Geometry proof of the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem?

In Connes's book on noncommutative geometry, he outlines a rather short "algebraic" proof of the Gauss-Bonnet theorem that uses multilinear forms. (Start reading on page 19 of the book) This is given ...
49
votes
13answers
24k views

Interesting math-facts that are visually attractive

To give a talk to 17-18 years old (who have a knack for mathematics) about how interesting mathematics (and more specifically pure mathematics) can be, I wanted to use nice facts accompanied by nice ...
49
votes
10answers
13k views

Best Algebraic Geometry text book? (other than Hartshorne)

Lifted from Mathoverflow: I think (almost) everyone agrees that Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry is still the best. Then what might be the 2nd best? It can be a book, preprint, online lecture note, ...
49
votes
16answers
39k views

Best book for topology?

I am a graduate student of math right now but I was not able to get a topology subject in my undergrad... I just would like to know if you guys know the best one..
49
votes
8answers
21k views

Good 1st PDE book for self study

What is a good PDE book suitable for self study? I'm looking for a book that doesn't require much prerequisite knowledge beyond undergraduate-level analysis. My goal is to understand basic ...
48
votes
4answers
4k views

Is “A New Kind of Science” a new kind of science?

A couple of years ago I was reading "New Kind of Science" (NKS) by S. Wolfram, and it presented lot of interesting ideas for a young Physics undergraduate. Now that I am studying Mathematics however, ...
47
votes
17answers
2k views

What are some math books written in dialogue or story form, e.g., a teacher explaining to a student?

Good examples would be The Square Root of 2 by David Flannery or Math Girls by Hiroshi Yuki.
47
votes
5answers
3k views

Understanding the Laplace operator conceptually

The Laplace operator: those of you who now understand it, how would you explain what it "does" conceptually? How do you wish you had been taught it? Any good essays (combining both history and ...
47
votes
10answers
57k views

What is the best book for studying discrete mathematics?

As a programmer, mathematics is important basic knowledge to study some topics, especially Algorithms. Many websites, and my fellows suggest me to study Discrete Mathematics before going to Algorithms,...
47
votes
4answers
3k views

Why can't we define more elementary functions?

$\newcommand{\lax}{\operatorname{lax}}$ Liouville's theorem is well known and it asserts that: The antiderivatives of certain elementary functions cannot themselves be expressed as elementary ...
47
votes
5answers
12k views

(Theoretical) Multivariable Calculus Textbooks [duplicate]

(Note that I have used bold text frequently simply to highlight the key points of my question for those who do not have the time to read through it thoroughly (it is not very long, however); I hope ...