For questions whose answers can't be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect, but which are still relevant to this site. Please be specific about what you are after.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

19
votes
0answers
883 views

Is this $really$ a categorical approach to $integration$?

Here's an article by Reinhard Börger I found recently whose title and content, prima facie, seem quite exciting to me, given my misadventures lately (like this and this); it's called, "A Categorical ...
19
votes
0answers
609 views

Irrationality of e

I have a question about the irrationality of $e$: In proving the irrationality of $e$, one can prove the irrationality of $e^{-1}$ by using the series $$e^x = 1+x+\frac{x^2}{2!} + \cdots + ...
18
votes
0answers
549 views

What Do Mathematicians Do?

The American Mathematical Society maintains a web page entitled "What Do Mathematicians Do?" which references two interesting surveys. (One of the reference links is broken, but this one works: What ...
17
votes
0answers
1k views

What is magical about Cartan's magic formula?

Why is Cartan's magic formula $$\mathscr{L}_X\omega = i_Xd\omega + d(i_X\omega)$$ called "magic"? Should it be considered a highly surprising result? Does it "magically" prove several other ...
14
votes
0answers
114 views

What is the importance of modules in algebraic geometry?

I have been trying to teach myself the basics of algebraic geometry. I understand the basic premise, how we define geometry spaces (algebraic sets and schemes) in terms of commutative rings. And I ...
12
votes
0answers
122 views

A “generalized field” with $q$ elements, when $q$ is any number?

It is well-known that if a finite field has $q \in \mathbb{N}$ elements, then $q$ is prime power and $q > 1$. However, various modification of the concept of a "field" have been made in order to ...
11
votes
0answers
154 views

Is it a good approach to heavily depend on visualization to learn math?

I am a third year undergraduate and I am a beginner on these "real mathematics" (no pun intended). Before contacting the "real math", my math level should be considered to be "good", although I was ...
9
votes
0answers
147 views

Is Category Theory geometric?

In "From a Geometrical Point of View" (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1402093837?pc_redir=1407132421&robot_redir=1) Marquis states that category theory is thoroughly geometric. Could someone ...
8
votes
0answers
71 views

Why do people prefer cosine to sine when speaking of harmonic oscillation?

In almost all of the physics textbooks I have ever read, the author will write the oscillating function as $$x(t)=\cos\left(\omega t+\phi\right)$$ My question is that, is there any practical or ...
8
votes
0answers
172 views

Work of Ted Kaczynski

I hope this question is not too crazy sounding, but I was wondering if anyone is familiar with the work of Ted Kaczynski (or even has cited/used it before). After reading in Lars Ahlfors' Complex ...
8
votes
0answers
77 views

Is there any known application for normal numbers?

Background: I am writing a master thesis on the complexity of the expansions of algebraic numbers in some complex basis $\beta$ with $|\beta| > 1$. This is a very small step towards proving the ...
8
votes
0answers
111 views

Why are the fundamental theorems of calculus usually associated to the Riemann Integral?

I am writing a "textbook" on Analysis, and I've reached the time I must talk about integrals. I prefer to approach directly the Lebesgue Integral theory. This question is not about the status of this ...
8
votes
0answers
153 views

A question on popularization of math: inspiring the beauty of mathematics while making New Year's wishes

Many fellow students of mine today shared by various means the following picture: . I was told that this picture is supposed to communicate the beauty of math in a funny way, but I really can't ...
8
votes
0answers
133 views

Can a Power Series tell when to stop?

The naive description of the radius of convergence of a complex power series is as the largest radius so that the ball avoids poles and branch cuts. This makes sense in a world where analytic ...
8
votes
0answers
201 views

How do mathematicians know what is known?

How do mathematicians know that what they are researching has not been already know for 200 years? Obviously if they are researching something that is cutting edge it is not a problem, but if one is ...
8
votes
0answers
183 views

Intuition behind Erdős proof of the infinitude of prime numbers

Suppose by contradiction that there are finitely many primes, namely $p_1, p_2,...,p_k$, where $k$ is a natural number. Now consider another natural number $n$, and all natural numbers $m \leq n$. ...
8
votes
0answers
136 views

Galois Group of Composite Field vs. Second Isomorphism Theorem

$\DeclareMathOperator{\Gal}{Gal}$ In my abstract algebra class, we learned about how Galois groups interact with composite fields. Namely, if $K/F$ is Galois, and $L/F$ is any extension: $$\Gal(KL/L) ...
8
votes
0answers
290 views

The status of $\mathbb{R}$ in homotopy theory.

The definition of a path as a continuous map $I \rightarrow X$ is a completely natural one. But this raises two questions in my mind. First, what properties of the interval give rise to useful ...
7
votes
0answers
91 views

Can you build metric space theory without the real numbers?

Every metric space $M$ has a completion $\widehat M$, that is, it can be embedded as a dense subset in a complete metric space. When I first came across this theorem, I thought "well, that's amazing, ...
7
votes
0answers
104 views

Relations between definite integrals not having a known closed form

Are there any known cases, when there are two (or more) definite integrals, none of them having any known closed-form expression on its own, but there is still a non-trivial$^\dagger$ elementary ...
7
votes
0answers
105 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
142 views

How strong is the analogy between spectra and abelian groups?

I am led to understand that spectra are some kind of $\infty$-analogue of (discrete) abelian groups, or perhaps more accurately, some kind of generalisation of chain complexes of abelian groups. How ...
7
votes
0answers
179 views

Reference suggestion: eigenvalues of tridiagonal matrices

I would like to ask for a reference on the problem of computing the eigenvalues/eigenvectors of tridiagonal matrices (not necessarily with constant diagonals). I have seen authors use continued ...
7
votes
0answers
158 views

Why are injective $\mathscr{O}$-modules flasque?

Let $X$ be a topological space, and let $\mathscr{O}$ be a sheaf of rings on $X$. It is easy to verify that the functor $\Gamma (U, -) : \textbf{Mod}(\mathscr{O}) \to \textbf{Ab}$ is representable, ...
7
votes
0answers
301 views

(Mathematical) Applications of Quantum Group

What are some mathematical applications of Quantum Groups? I have tried researching and found that it is used to find solutions to Yang-Baxter equation. Any other applications? Thanks a lot.
7
votes
0answers
749 views

How to use Hardy and Wright's text and what corresponding exercises/problem books can I do?

I have just started out with Hardy and Wright's An Introduction to the Theory of Numbers today. I find the lack of exercises in the book as a departure from the style of the textbooks we are so ...
7
votes
0answers
313 views

logic lectures on youtube

Currently I am reading Logic an Structure by Dirk van Dalen (2008). As I am missing some basics I try to find related lectures on youtube. I frequently watch MIT, Stanford, and University of ...
6
votes
0answers
86 views

When a function is a dimension?

The concept of dimension is used in many different contexts. Generally a dimension is a function that has as domain some family of sets ad has value on a set that, in the most common situations, is ...
6
votes
0answers
106 views

Is it worth proving every theorem you learn?

Ever since I determined mathematics - mainly set theory and number theory - was my main passion, and I began learning mathematics formally outside of the curriculum posed within secondary schools I ...
6
votes
0answers
50 views

What is the actual significance of the lambda calculus for the formalization of math?

The Simply Typed Lambda Calculus was proposed initially as a foundational system for the formalization of mathematics. As such, I would expect that soon there would be attempts to implement most of ...
6
votes
0answers
67 views

Exponential fields as structures with three binary operations.

The exponential rings and fields are usually studied as structures with two binary operations $(+,\cdot)$ and one unary operation $\exp(x)$ defined on a set $K$. Why not consider the exponential as a ...
6
votes
0answers
90 views

Decorating eggs

I came across this question as I have been helping someone decorate styrofoam eggs by gluing wrapping paper onto it. The question is quite simple but I found myself stumped. Given an egg what is the ...
6
votes
0answers
86 views

Why is topological group not a popular topic?

In Japan, there are many universities with a formal course about topological group using the classic by Pontryagin. Yet topological group is not studied in a formal course in many other countries, ...
6
votes
0answers
60 views

Discrete analogue of Green's theorem

Following formula concerning finite differences is in a way a discrete analogue of the fundamental theorem of calculus: $$\sum_{n=a}^b \Delta f(n) = f(b+1) - f(a) $$ We can think about the Green's ...
6
votes
0answers
171 views

Is there really anything wrong with Bourbaki's Set Theory?

Recently I have started reading Bourbaki's Theory of Sets on my own. Regarding one of the explanations of a concept when I went to a Professor of our college, he asked me why I was wasting my time ...
6
votes
0answers
117 views

Legitimate papers refuting the significance of the golden ratio in art?

I'm not sure this is the right place to ask about this, but is there any legitimate peer-reviewed paper refuting the significance of the golden ratio in art? I can find numerous websites and blogs ...
6
votes
0answers
173 views

How to take limit *along a path*

So in multivariable calculus for a limit of a function to exist, the limits of the function along all possible paths must exist and equal the same value. But how does one calculate the limit along a ...
6
votes
0answers
88 views

Strategy for self-studying after M.S.

For someone who has finished their M.S. degree in pure mathematics, what is a good way to keep learning mathematics within your specialization? Would you suggest reading research articles from ...
6
votes
0answers
55 views

Surprising constructions in algebraic topology that facilitate one's understanding of underlying theory

I am recently come into the world of algebraic topology and find it a fascinating place with lots of beautiful constructions that challenge one's intuition. Also, understanding these constructions are ...
6
votes
0answers
163 views

Help needed with Masters' Thesis

My brother is at the very end of his Masters Program at a well-known University (Math, of course, hence my inclusion of this question on this site) and he is totally done with course work, but is ...
6
votes
0answers
184 views

Math Behind the Dragon Illusion!

Dragon illusion has been one of the items presented in the 3rd "Gathering for Gardner". This video shows the illusion. What does it have to do with mathematics?
6
votes
0answers
216 views

Comparing the U.S. undergraduate math education to the French “classes préparatoires”

Could anyone comment on how the math track of the "classes préparatoires" compares to the U.S. undergraduate major? I took a look at some of the French entrance exams and was rather intimidated. How ...
6
votes
0answers
200 views

The high road to learn algebraic geometry

Suppose that a student has a basic knowledge in commmutative algebra at the level of the Atiyah-MacDonald. What do you think about the following steps to learn algebraic geometry? step 1: read ...
6
votes
0answers
322 views

formulating theories in math

One of my profs mentioned that sometimes people formulate theories about some type of object, but then later realize that those objects do not exist. Can someone given me an example of such a theory? ...
6
votes
0answers
474 views

Why didn't Cartan-Eilenberg develop homological algebra on sheaf theory?

Cartan-Eilenberg created homological algebra on modules over rings. I wonder why they didn't develop it also on sheaves over ringed spaces. Grothendieck and Godement did that soon after(or almost at ...
6
votes
0answers
304 views

homology groups, physical interpretation

One can roughly interpret Betti numbers as the number of n-dimensional holes of our space. Is there a reasonable interpretation for torsion coefficients? Moreover, for 'physical' applications, are ...
5
votes
0answers
62 views

What are some arguments/counterarguments for Zeilberger's “proof certificates”?

Here is the quote I wish to ask about: "I speculate that similar developments will occur elsewhere in mathematics, and will 'trivialize' large parts of mathematics, by reducing mathematical ...
5
votes
0answers
74 views

What Constitutes a Pattern

Mathematics is often referred to as the "study of patterns." What I'm wondering is whether there is somehow a technical way to describe a pattern. For the length of this question let's assume that ...
5
votes
0answers
76 views

Algorithm for finding “fact families”

My friend's 3rd grader encountered the following question regarding "fact families" on her math homework: I was in 3rd grade sometime in the 1980s, so I don't believe I ever encountered this term ...
5
votes
0answers
64 views

Why should the open mapping theorem be expected?

Soft question alert. I want to know why to expect the open mapping theorem to be true. My thoughts: I know that one nice consequence of the OMT could be thought of as the universal property of ...