# Infinite number of mistakes in a proof

Writing my Bachelors Thesis has opened my eyes to what seems to be a horrible paradox. I am turning my thesis in this Friday, and have been proof reading for weeks now. Every time I print my thesis, read it through with critical eyes or have someone else do it for me, I will find a number of mistakes. After fixing these mistakes, explaining things in more details and carefully rethinking the proof I print the thesis to redo the process. But the next time, about the same number of mistakes will be present.

This process does not seem to converge, and after weeks, I still find small and large mistakes in the proofs. The reason seems to be, that when I find a mistake, I try to explain more carefully what happens, introducing more details in the proof. And with these new details, I make room for more mistakes. A mistake is not necessarily something which makes the proof wrong, it is just a slightly wrong argument for a correct statement, but nevertheless, they have to go.

Maybe this is a general problem, since opening up for more details also opens up for more things to be explained, and to explain those to an extent, will open up for even more details.

Do you experience this when writing proofs?

• The proof fairy keeps visiting me too. Unlike the tooth fairy, this one doesn't leave money. Jun 22 '11 at 23:03
• That's why there are submission deadlines. Jun 22 '11 at 23:10
• Maybe when you correct the errors, you shouldn't enter in more details and commit other errors. If you keep getting errors in your proofs, then try and find a better reference book, or a clearer perspective about the subject. If you keep getting wrong proofs, then maybe the theorem is wrong. If you know that the theorem is not wrong, then there surely is a mistake free proof somwhere; try and find it. :) Jun 22 '11 at 23:15
• I.e., you're in good company! Jun 22 '11 at 23:41
• How should I choose a correct answer for such a question? Jun 25 '11 at 7:57