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86
votes
5answers
10k views

How were 'old-school' mathematics graphics created?

I really enjoy the style of technical diagrams in many mathematics books published in the mid-to-late 20th century. For example, and as a starting point, here is a picture that I just saw today: ...
82
votes
20answers
15k views

Visually deceptive “proofs” which are mathematically wrong

Related: Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain Beside the wonderful examples above, there should also be counterexamples, where visually intuitive demonstrations are actually ...
66
votes
17answers
4k views

Proving the identity $\sum\limits_{k=1}^n {k^3} = {\Large(}\sum\limits_{k=1}^n k{\Large)}^2$ without induction

I recently proved that $$ \sum_{k=1}^n k^3 = \left(\sum_{k=1}^n k \right)^2 $$ Using mathematical induction. I'm interested if there's an intuitive explanation, or even a combinatorial ...
46
votes
4answers
2k views

Algebra: Best mental images

I'm curious how people think of Algebras (in the universal sense, i.e., monoids, groups, rings, etc.). Cayley diagrams of groups with few generators are useful for thinking about group actions on ...
42
votes
13answers
7k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Visual explanation of the following statement:

Can somebody fill me in on a visual explanation for the following: If there exist integers $x, y$ such that $x^2 + y^2 = c$, then there also exist integers $w, z$ such that $w^2 + z^2 = 2c$ I know ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Interesting implicit surfaces in $\mathbb{R}^3$

I have just written a small program in C++ and OpenGl to plot implicit surfaces in $\mathbb{R}^3$ for a Graphical Computing class and now I'm in need of more interesting surfaces to implement! Some ...
16
votes
10answers
2k views

Visualizing the square root of 2

A junior high school student I am tutoring asked me a question that stumped me - I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on it here. We were talking about how the square root of 2 is an ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Cutting a Möbius strip down the middle

Why does the result of cutting a Möbius strip down the middle lengthwise have two full twists in it? I can account for one full twist--the identification of the top left corner with the bottom right ...
13
votes
6answers
421 views

$\pi$ from the unit circle, $\sqrt 2$ from the unit square but what about $e$? [duplicate]

If one wants to introduce $\pi$ to a not mathematically savvy person, the unit circle would be a good choice. The unit square would be the way to go for $\sqrt 2$. But what about $e$? I've reviewed ...
13
votes
3answers
316 views

What can be gleaned from looking at a domain-colored graph of a complex function?

Functions from $\mathbb{C} \rightarrow \mathbb{C}$ are hard to visualize because of their 4-dimensional nature. One nice way of looking at them is by what's called domain coloring. An example from the ...
12
votes
1answer
150 views

Handbook of mathematical drawing?

My drawing skills are pretty awful, and although I haven't yet had to teach multivariable calculus, someday I will. (And next semester in calculus II we're already doing some volumes by integrating ...
11
votes
6answers
591 views

Visualizations of some of the abstractions of algebraic geometry

Where, or do there exist, good visualizations of sheaves, stalks, stacks, and/or schemes? I'm a better visual thinker than I am a symbolic thinker, and it would be easier for me to follow some of the ...
11
votes
2answers
923 views

What are all these “visualizations” of the 3-sphere?

a 2-sphere is a normal sphere. A 3-sphere is $$ x^2 + y^2 + z^2 + w^2 = 1 $$ My first question is, why isn't the w coordinate just time? I can plot a 4-d sphere in a symbolic math program and ...
11
votes
4answers
295 views

Which Cross Product for the Desired Orientation of a Sphere ? [Stewart P1091 16.7.23]

P1086: For a closed surface, the positive orientation is the one for which the normal vectors point outward from the surface, and inward-pointing normals give the negative orientation. P1087: ...
10
votes
0answers
295 views

Visualizing a Calabi Yau

I would like to understand how I can visualize the quintic threefold $$ z_1^5 + z_2^5 + z_3^5 + z_4^5 +z_5^5 - 5\psi z_1z_2z_3z_4z_5 = 0$$ For a similar problem, Hanson proposes the following: ...
9
votes
2answers
829 views

How to Visualize points on a high dimensional (>3) Manifold?

Are there any ways to visualize(plot/draw) points on a high dimensional (ex: dimension = 5) manifold?
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Intuitive Way To Understand Principal Component Analysis

I know that this is meant to explain variance butthe description on Wikpiedia stinks and it is not clear how you can explain variance using this technique Can anyone explain it in a simple way?
9
votes
1answer
119 views

Intuition & Proof of rank(AB) $\le$ min{rank(A), rank(B)} (without inverses or maps) [Poole P217 3.6.59, 60]

I'm aware of analogous threads; I hope that mine is specific enough not to be esteemed one. $\mathbf{a^i}$ is a row vector. $A, B$ are matrices. Prove: $1$. $\mathbf{a^i}B$ is a linear ...
9
votes
0answers
210 views

Visualizing the Partition numbers (suggestions for visualization techniques)

So Ken Ono says that the partition numbers behave like fractals, in which case I'd like to try to find an appropriately illuminating way of visualizing them. But I'm sort of stuck at the moment, so ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

This quotient space is homeomorphic to the Möbius strip?

Let $G:\mathbb R \times [-1,1]\to \mathbb R \times [-1,1]$ be a map defined by $G(x,y)=(x+1,-y)$ This space $Q=\mathbb R\times [-1,1]/\sim$, where $(x_1,y_1)\sim (x_2,y_2)$ if and only if there is ...
8
votes
5answers
410 views

Cayley table group visualization

how can I make graphics like this? random colors. I got a script in GAP that prints rows of numbers but I want it colored just random colors ...
8
votes
3answers
909 views

Is there a geometric interpretation of the exponential function of real numbers?

I can visualize the exponential function with the graph $y = e^x$, but I can do that for almost any function. In addition to its graph, the function $f(x) = x^n$ can be visualized as the volume of a ...
8
votes
3answers
344 views

Three-dimensional art galleries

The well-known art gallery problem starts with an "art gallery" (a simple polygon in the plane, not necessarily convex) and asks for the minimum number of "guards" (points on the polygon) required to ...
8
votes
0answers
250 views

Kakeya Needle problem video

I'm intruiged by the Kakeya Needle problem, described here on Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a nice animation of a needle turning through a hypo-cycloid: What I'm searching for is a visualisation of the ...
7
votes
3answers
94 views

What does the vector space $\mathbb{R}^{\mathbb{R}}$ look like?

I can imagine $\mathbb{R}^{\mathbb{N}}$. For instance, the set of real series is part of this space, as is any infinite (but discrete numbered) tuple of reals. But how can I imagine ...
7
votes
4answers
391 views

Visualising finite fields

I'm interested in finding visual and/or physical approaches to understanding finite fields. I know of a few: V. I. Arnold has a few pictures of 'finite circles' and 'finite tori' in his book Dynamics, ...
7
votes
2answers
127 views

Visualize Fundamental Homomorphism Theorem for $\phi: A_4 \rightarrow C_3$

Question 1. How do you see $\ker\phi = V_4 $ = Klein 4 group ? Book doesn't give formula for $\phi$? Question 2. What's $H$ in $i(aH) = \phi(a)$? I think $H = \ker\phi$ ? Question 3. Why is $i: ...
7
votes
1answer
125 views

Visualising a specific orbifold

Let $1 < k \in \mathbb N$ and $M = \{(z_1, z_2) \in \mathbb C^2 : k|z_1|^2 + |z_2|^2 = 1\}$. Let $S^1$ act on $M$ via $e^{i\theta}(z_1,z_2) = (e^{ik\theta} z_1, e^{i\theta} z_2)$. Then I am told ...
7
votes
2answers
150 views

An example of a Lie group

I have a trouble learning Lie groups --- I have no canonical example to imagine while thinking of a Lie group. When I imagine a manifold it is usually some kind of a 2D blanket or a circle/curve or a ...
7
votes
3answers
417 views

Reconciling 'intersecting planes' and 'linear transformation' interpretations of matrices

I've learned in linear algebra class that an $n \times m$ augmented matrix can be thought of as a collection of n planes in $\mathbb {R}^m$ . If the matrix is invertible, the planes all intersect at a ...
7
votes
1answer
315 views

Visualizing Exterior Derivative

How do you visualize the exterior derivative of differential forms? I imagine differential forms to be some sort of (oriented) line segments, areas, volumes etc. That is if I imagine a two-form, I ...
7
votes
0answers
112 views

Infer distance from a point to a line, from the distance from a point to a plane [Stewart P793 12.4.44]

I'm able to prove $44$, but how would one deduce $43$ from it without further industry, forthwith? $43$ seems like a reduced, 2D version of $44$? I'm not enquiring about individual proofs. $44.$ ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Factorial of 1,e+80

Recently I started being very fascinated in logistics, and out of the blue came the question into my head, what is the factorial of the amount of atoms in the observeable universe, which is said to be ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Visualizing quotient groups: $\mathbb{R/Q}$

I was wondering about this. I know it is possible to visualize the quotient group $\mathbb{R}/\mathbb{Z}$ as a circle, and if you consider these as "topological groups", then this group (not ...
6
votes
3answers
315 views

Proofs without words of some well-known historical values of $\pi$?

Two of the earliest known documented approximations of the value of $\pi$ are $\pi_B=\frac{25}{8}=3.125$ and $\pi_E=\left(\frac{16}{9}\right)^2$, from Babylonian and Egyptian sources respectively. ...
6
votes
3answers
394 views

Favourite proofs with a visualization

As a fan of 'visual' proofs, I love the book Visual Complex Analysis by Tristan Needham. For example, this picture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pythagoras_algebraic2.svg leads quickly to ...
6
votes
1answer
249 views

Visualize operator algebras?

It seems to me that to study mathematics is to convert the abstract language into diagrams, graphs and images. It does depend on the subject how much this technique can ease the struggle yet most of ...
6
votes
1answer
239 views

Animations or Pictures of Group of Rigid Motions (or Rotations) of the Cube

Consider a cube that exactly fills a certain cubical box. As in Examples 8.7 and 8.10, the ways in which the cube can be placed into the box corresponds to a certain group of permutations of the ...
6
votes
1answer
304 views

Ways to visualize the real numbers?

I was just wondering if there are any diagrams for visualizing subsets of the real numbers, or totally 'radically' different ways of looking at them as a real line? The model of the line relies on ...
6
votes
1answer
178 views

A subgroup has the same number of left and right cosets - Tricks - Fraleigh p. 103 10.32, 35

(32.) Let $H \le$ group G and let $a, b \in G.$ Prove or disprove. If ${aH= bH},$ then $Ha^{-1} = Hb^{-1}.$ $\color{blue}{Ha^{−1}} = \{\color{magenta}ha^{−1} | h ∈ H\} = ...
6
votes
2answers
675 views

How to draw a complex line bundle?

The most basic example of a topologically non-trivial real line bundle is the well-known Möbius strip. Everyone who learns about vector bundles will be confronted by it, if only because it has the ...
6
votes
2answers
87 views

Intuition - Fundamental Homomorphism Theorem - Fraleigh p. 139, 136

Let $\phi: G \to H$ be a group homomorphism with $K = \ker\phi$. Then $G/K \simeq \phi[G]. $ The hinge to the proof is to define $\Phi: G/K \to \phi[G]$ given by $\Phi(gK) = \phi(g)$. Then we must ...
6
votes
1answer
52 views

Visualize cosets of $\left<(0,1)\right>$ partition $C_3 \times C_3$

Page 105 says - A careful look at Figure 6.9 reveals that the cosets of $\left< \, (0,1) \,\right>$ partition $C_3 \times C_3$. How is this true? The picture shows $gH = left picture = ...
6
votes
0answers
94 views

Visual Proofs of Series Summations

I'd like to put together a compilation of visually geometric proofs of series summations. I have three famous 2D examples to clarify what I mean below, but other "visually geometric" proofs of an ...
5
votes
4answers
133 views

Visualization of a set

How can I imagine the set $$ M:=\left\{(x,y,z)\in\mathbb{R}^3:z=xy\right\}? $$ Is there a program that can visualize that?
5
votes
1answer
373 views

Intuition about the size of $\aleph_k$ with $k>1$

Assuming CH for simplicity, I know of some more or less intuitive way to think about difference in sizes of $\aleph_0$ and $\aleph_1$. The most straightforward is the distinction of natural/rational ...
5
votes
2answers
468 views

continuum between linear and logarithmic

A friend and I are working on a heatmap representing some population numbers. Initially we used a linear color scale by default. Then, because the numbers covered a wide range, I tried using a log ...
5
votes
2answers
188 views

linearly arranging the group tables of groups of order 128

I'm planning to make a video that shows color coded group tables for all 2328 groups of order 128 -- at 128$\times$128 pixels at 24 frames a second I think I get 97 seconds of video. Is there some ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

Can something like $\text{Hom}(V,K)$ be visualised?

I have no trouble visualising vector spaces like $\Bbb R^3$ and (e.g.) a subspace of dimension $2$, which would just be a plane through the origin of a $3$-D space, but I'm having trouble visualising ...