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

28
votes
0answers
1k 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 ...
22
votes
0answers
843 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 + ...
20
votes
0answers
727 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 ...
13
votes
0answers
167 views

Errors in math research papers

Have there been cases of errors in math papers, that were undetected for so long, that they caused subsequent errors in research, citing those papers. ie: errors getting propagated along. My ...
11
votes
0answers
94 views

Sheaves of categories

I recently read an answer on this MO post explaining that one reason people are interested in higher category theory is to make reasonable sense of something like a "sheaf of categories" on a ...
11
votes
0answers
417 views

Approximating a blackboard with long-distance communication

From time to time I need to talk about mathematics with my advisor remotely. I would like to approximate writing on a blackboard together as closely as is reasonable. What are some technological ...
10
votes
0answers
172 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 ...
10
votes
0answers
168 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 ...
10
votes
0answers
176 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
72 views

Topology: reference for “Great Wheel of Compactness”

This seems to be a very informative diagram showing the relationship between four forms of compactness in a general topological space. Prior to finding this I was trying to make sense of a seemingly ...
8
votes
0answers
165 views

What is “Field with One Element”?

I was reading the Wikipedia article about The Field with One Element and I came across the following quotes: "...F1 refers to the idea that there should be a way to replace sets and operations, the ...
8
votes
0answers
279 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
216 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
195 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
154 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
189 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
327 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.
8
votes
0answers
301 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
102 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
290 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
119 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
128 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
145 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
166 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
790 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
53 views

Stiff Nonlinear Differential Equations

As far as I know, the concept of stiffness is hard to define rigorously, but there are plenty of handwavy descriptions and motivating examples in the literature when it comes to linear differential ...
6
votes
0answers
57 views

Can we express the roots of all polynomials in terms of roots of some special polynomials?

We can describe the roots of quadratic equations in terms of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and the square-root function $\sqrt a$ which computes a root of the special polynomial ...
6
votes
0answers
86 views

On the Visual Manifestation of Curves in Nature

All sorts of curves are useful in modelling and describing phenomena we observe. Trig functions, logarithms, exponentials, polynomials, hyperbolas, circles, and so forth are all very useful in this ...
6
votes
0answers
105 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
54 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
96 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
96 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
90 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
216 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
131 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
93 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
59 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
181 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
193 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
263 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
213 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
331 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
225 views

Recommendation textbooks on D-module

I am going to take part in a seminar on D-module and applications, the textbooks that will be used are : D-modules, Perverse Sheaves, and Representation Theory, and A Primer of Algebraic D-Modules ...
6
votes
0answers
517 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
308 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
29 views

Ask for some advice in proving Calculus problems

Recently, I have done some exercise about single variable calculus. Most of them are solved by theorems like Lagrange/Cauchy mean value theorem, Rolle theorem, and Taylor series. And most of the time ...
5
votes
0answers
30 views

What category of math do “theoretical” jigsaws fall into?

Imagine if like to investigate the structure of solutions made from various puzzle pieces. What area of math is this? A good analogy is how Rubix cube solutions are related to group theory.
5
votes
0answers
120 views

How does commutative and/or differential algebra think about total derivatives?

If we apply the "operator" $\frac{d}{dx}$ to the polynomial $xy$, we get the expression $y+x\frac{dy}{dx}.$ (Source: high school.) Thinking of $xy$ as an element of the polynomial ring ...
5
votes
0answers
102 views

Manifold in Milnors Morse Theory

While reading "Morse Theory" by Milnor, I noticed that certain arguments would not work, if the considered manifolds have nonempty boundary. Example: Proof of 3.5 I could not find the definition ...
5
votes
0answers
72 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 ...