2
votes
2answers
51 views

Does the word 'ten' have a base?

My friends and I had a debate: "Does the word 'ten' have a base?" My Argument: 'ten' is only 10 in base 10 so if i have 10 objects, counting in base 10, when I get to the end of the list, I will ...
8
votes
4answers
283 views

What is linearity?

Once someone asked me the question "What is linearity?" in a proficiency exam. I went hot and cold all over. Although, I heard and even used the term linearity many many times, I had not really ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is an image called an “image”?

Given a function $f : A \to B$, the image, denoted by $\operatorname{Im}f$ is the set of all $f(x)$ where $x \in A$. Why do we call this set the image? When was it first used, and what motivated its ...
6
votes
2answers
163 views

Why should the generalization of a 'sequence' be called a 'net'?

The title says it all, really. Reading through Reed & Simon's book on functional analysis, I have now reached the chapter on topological spaces, and the notion of a net is introduced there to ...
3
votes
2answers
65 views

Is calling a linear-equation a linear-function, misnomer or completely wrong?

From my college life, I remember many professors used to call a linear-equation a linear-function, however: A standard definition of linear function (or linear map) is: $$f(x+y)=f(x)+f(y),$$ ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

Phrases for uniform boundedness and uniform convergence

I have some doubts about using prepositions. I. Let $f_a : \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$, $f : \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$. Assume that $f_a (x)$ converges uniformly to $ f (x)$, $x \in [0;1]$, as $a ...
1
vote
3answers
222 views

Is there an adjective appropriate for describing mathematical terminology that you feel needs to be phased out? [closed]

Let me firstly apologize; this is more of an English language question, so posting it here is perhaps slightly inappropriate. But I couldn't think of a non-mathematical example, so here we are. ...
2
votes
0answers
25 views

Have any authors suggested mathematics-wide prefixes for “missing a quotient” and/or “missing an identity”?

The prefixes in the following terms both mean: "missing the obvious quotient by the obvious equivalence relation." seminorm pseudometric Similarly, the prefixes in the following terms both mean: ...
37
votes
17answers
4k views

What exactly is a number?

We've just been learning about complex numbers in class, and I don't really see why they're called numbers. Originally, a number used to be a means of counting (natural numbers). Then we extend ...
4
votes
1answer
85 views

What is the difference between field theory and Galois theory

I am about to finish the book Galois theory by Harold Edwards. I am planning to study Galois theory at a more advanced level or field theory. I am unable to decide because I don't know the difference ...
7
votes
2answers
555 views

Derive or differentiate?

When the action is: Taking the derivative what verb should be used? to differentiate to derive I feel that deriving is not the correct word here. In my mind it's more a synonym of deducing. Am I ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

Soft question (Etymology - Flatness)

Why where flat modules named "flat"? Is it because they are necessarily torsion free so in a "not convoluted" or circular like $\mathbb{Z}/n\mathbb{Z}$ is as a $\mathbb{Z}$-module?
6
votes
1answer
69 views

What is the difference between a calculus and an algebra? [duplicate]

You can have a lambda calculus, the calculus of the real numbers or a logical calculus but on the other hand you could also have an algebra of sets, a Lie algebra, or a linear algebra. Is there any ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Writing a chain of implications in English

How to write a theorem of the form $A\Rightarrow B\Rightarrow C\Rightarrow D$ where every $A$, $B$, $C$, $D$ are formulated with words (English) rather than with formulas? One idea: The next item of ...
4
votes
0answers
49 views

Name for a body that can be completely described using its silhouettes

I'm shooting blind over here because I have no background in this field of mathematics. I assume that if you have a body (in $\mathbb{R}^3$), you can call it convex if any segment from one point ...
2
votes
0answers
110 views

How mathematical theorems and concepts gain their names?

Cantor's theorem, Woodin Cardinal, Sacks Forcing and Martin's Axiom are just some of well-known theorems and concepts of mathematics which have the name of those mathematicians who introduced these ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

What defines “triviality”?

I realize the title is perhaps not the most helpful. I am aware of several uses of the word "trivial," and I'm hoping that perhaps someone can provide some further insight. 1) Trivial sub-objects, ...
13
votes
3answers
593 views

Why are groups “abelian” but rings “commutative”?

I have never seen, in any text, a ring whose multiplication is commutative being called an "abelian ring", even though this would make perfect sense, because this term would necessarily refer to ...
6
votes
0answers
74 views

Origins of the name “Q” and “R” for cofibrant and fibrant replacement functors.

In a model category $\mathscr M$ (in the modern sense, i.e. closed and with functorial factorizations), there is a notion of fibrant and cofibrant replacement functors. Specifically, for any object ...
30
votes
6answers
1k views

Why are integrals called integrals?

What is the historical background for this term? I cannot quite see what is integral about an integral, even if we go back to the viewing it as the area under a curve. It seems a strange choice of ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Has an order with this property a special name?

If $a$ is an element in a preorder then you can eventually go 'a step back' (and repeat this) in the sense of finding an element with $b\leq a$ and not $a\leq b$. Is there a special name for ...
3
votes
3answers
99 views

Colloquialisms in Math Terminology

What are some of your favorite colloquial sounding names for mathematical objects, proofs, and so on? For example, manifolds are often described using an atlas and a neighborhood describes a small ...
14
votes
2answers
721 views

Why is analysis called “analysis”?

Just as the topic says, how did the name "analysis" come to denote the specific mathematical branch dealing with limits and stuff? The term "analysis" seems very generic compared to the words for the ...
7
votes
3answers
92 views

Why do we say $n$ distinct points?

" Let's say we have $n$ distinct points... " , you see this every time you open a geometry textbook. Why not just $n$ points ? If the points are not distinct, they are not exactly $n$ points, are they ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

The term $rank$ in methematics

Reading wikipedia's disambiguation page about the "rank" word I see many concept of rank of many different matematical object. I only know about the rank of a graded poset and the rank of a set that ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Definition of the $\sec$ function

I am a postgraduate student of mathematics from Slovenia (central Europe) with quite some experience in mathematics. While answering questions on this site, I often encounter the function $\sec(x)$ ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

why calling these 'algebra' and 'ring' too?

In measure theory you have 'algebra's' and 'rings' as subsets of the powerset of the underlying set of the measurable space. If I am well informed then you speak of an algebra if it is closed under ...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

Replacing $q^2$ by $q$

I have a rather strange question. Suppose we are given a formal power series $$S(q^2) = \sum_{n = 0}^\infty a_n q^{2n}.$$ I wish to replace $q^2$ by $q$. This implies that $S(q) = \sum_{n = 0}^\infty ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

Why is a perfect group called a perfect group

A group is called perfect if we have $[G,G]=G$. I was wondering in what sense is this group perfect? I've never really done anything much with perfect groups so I don't really know anything about ...
2
votes
1answer
49 views

The Jacobi nome $q$

Does anyone know why $q = e^{-\pi K'/K} = e^{\pi i \tau}$ is called the nome? Is there a historical reason? Does the word nome mean something in Latin or German?
1
vote
0answers
12 views

Is there a specific term for such collections of filters?

Let $U$ be a set. Concept = "a set $\mathscr{C}$ of proper filters on $U$ such that if $X\in\mathscr{C}$ and $Y$ is a proper filter on $U$ and $Y\supseteq X$, then $Y\in\mathscr{C}$." Is there a ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Why are left/right adjoint functors not called up/down?

I am studying category theory and I recently learned about adjoint pairs of functors. It seems to me that they are called left and right adjoints because if we have categories $\mathcal{C}$ and ...
2
votes
1answer
36 views

Why do we want to define a $k$-scheme to be birational if the rational map (and its inverse) to $\Bbb A_k^n$ is over $k$?

Two varieties $X,Y$ are said to be birational if there exist rational maps in each direction such that either composition is the identity on a open dense subset. Note that here the morphisms aren't ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

Have arrows in a category with this property a special name?

Studying posets I encountered the notation $a\prec b$. It means that $a<b$ and no $c$ exists with $a<c<b$. If $a\prec b$ then in words $a$ is covered by $b$. Looking at a poset $P$ as a ...
4
votes
2answers
365 views

Definition: Theorem, Lemma, Proposition, Conjecture and Principle etc.

Definition: Theorem, Lemma, Proposition, Corollary, Postulate, Statement, Fact, Observation, Expression, Fact, Property, Conjecture and Principle Most of the time a mathematical statement is ...
0
votes
2answers
167 views

Growth Rate. A precise definition.

Recently I came across a problem (see statement below) growth rate . During my attempts to solve the exercise I concluded that I do not know the meaning of need backup growth rate when this rate is ...
7
votes
3answers
580 views

Why are compact sets called “compact” in topology?

Given a topological space $X$ and a subset of it $S$, $S$ is compact iff for every open cover of $S$, there is a finite subcover of $S$. Just curiosity: I've done some search in Internet why compact ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Adding together curves or shapes to approximate something more complex

I'm looking for proper terminology / references for the following sort of problem: Say we have some one-dimensional curve like $y = 10$ defined over the real valued domain $[0,1]$, and we ask, how ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

From $\mathsf{O}$ to $\mathsf{I}$ via $\infty$

The following is not true mathematics, but a little imaginary story about mathematical symbols. I wonder if there is - in parts - a true (etymological) story behind it. Once there was a symbol ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

What is matrix inequality such as $A>0$ or $A\succ 0$?

I am trying to gather here different meanings of the same symbol, inequality symbol or the succ symbol. I find many other use them so many different ways. Sometimes, $A>0$ means $\bar x^T A \bar x ...
3
votes
0answers
78 views

Etymology of the term “weight vector”

I am writing a work on the representation theory of $SU(3)$ in basque and I would like to know the etymology of the term $\textbf{weight vector}$ in order to properly translate it.
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What does it mean to solve a math problem analytically?

I'm reading a Calculus book for my own edification and at the beginning the pre-calculus introduction has the problem, $3x+y=7$ They talk about solving the problem graphically, analytically, and ...
0
votes
1answer
91 views

How to make a ghost manifold [closed]

How does one mathematically define a manifold that can pass through another manifold? A "ghost" passing through a "wall" type construction. I understand that this may be done by creating a copy of the ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

We refer to X for standard notations and definitions from Y

I'm having problems with my mathematical English, so I'd like to ask for your help! Is it correct to write something like "Unless stated otherwise, we refer to [1] and [2], respectively, for standard ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Additive analogy of proportionality symbol

The relation of proportionality is quite abundant, and so for convenience there exist symbols, such as "$\propto$", to denote it. I would like to know if there is likewise a symbol to denote the ...
5
votes
2answers
196 views

Is $(-\infty,\infty)$ a closed **interval**?

Note that we are working in the reals, not the extended reals. Do you understand a closed interval as "an interval that is a closed set" or as "an interval that includes both its endpoints"? If the ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

Soft question on “what” vs “which” when referring to sets of numbers [closed]

Maybe this question is completely inappropriate for this forum. I therefore apologize in advance and welcome anyone to close it should this be the case. When referring to elements of sets, should you ...
1
vote
1answer
102 views

Is there a way to mathematically describe “surprise”?

Let's say that there are ten people entered into a random drawing, the winner gets some large prize. If I were one of those ten people, and I were to win, then I would be pleasantly surprised. If ...
9
votes
1answer
490 views

On a joke of Yoneda embedding

I have heard a joke like this: The Yoda embedding, contravariant it is. And a joke concerning "How to put an elephant into a refrigerator", a comment from "Category Theorist" says Isn’t this ...
25
votes
2answers
1k views

Word origin / meaning of 'kernel' in linear algebra

It may be the dumbest question ever asked on math.SE, but... Given a real matrix $\mathbf A\in\mathbb R^{m\times n}$, the column space is defined as $$C(\mathbf A) = \{\mathbf A \mathbf x : ...