MathOverflow Weekly Newsletter
MathOverflow Weekly Newsletter

Top new questions this week:

How did Cole factor $2^{67}-1$ in 1903

I just heard a This American Life episode which recounted the famous anecdote about Frank Nelson Cole factoring $N:=2^{67}-1$ as $193707721 \times 761838257287$. There doesn't seem to be a historical ...

nt.number-theory ho.history-overview prime-numbers factorization  
asked by David Speyer 38 votes
answered by quid 20 votes

On sentences true in all finite groups

Let $w$ be a group word with two variables $x$ and $y$. Is the sentence $(\forall x)(\exists y)w=1$ true in every group if it is true in every finite group? The same question about the sentence ... lo.logic  
asked by owb 19 votes
answered by Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen 5 votes

Differential Topology over $\mathbb{Q}$

I have a specific question in mind, but it requires some explanation and context before it can be formally stated. To summarize it in a sentence, this is it: Are every two rational manifolds of the ...

differential-topology smooth-manifolds ordered-fields  
asked by Asaf Shachar 16 votes
answered by Simon Henry 6 votes

Is every closed curve in 3D a geodesic on a genus-0 surface?

Let $\gamma$ be a smooth, closed, unknotted curve embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$. Q. Does there always exist a smooth, embedded, genus-zero surface $S \subset \mathbb{R}^3$ such that $\gamma$ is a ...

dg.differential-geometry mg.metric-geometry curves-and-surfaces geodesics  
asked by Joseph O'Rourke 15 votes
answered by Andy Putman 10 votes

When can a class in $H^1(M;\mathbb{Z})$ be represented by a fiber bundle over $S^1$

For a topological space M, It is known from homotopy theory that the elements of the first cohomology $H^1(M;\mathbb{Z})$ are in 1-1 correspondence with homotopy classes of maps $[M,S^1]$ In my case ...

at.algebraic-topology dg.differential-geometry homotopy-theory differential-topology fibre-bundles  
asked by Blade 14 votes
answered by Lee Mosher 13 votes

Bit String Bijection

I am searching for a bijection between two types of bit strings (strings of 0's and 1's) both of even length (2n). The restriction on the first type of bit string is that they must have the same ...

co.combinatorics discrete-mathematics  
asked by James 13 votes
answered by Wade Hann-Caruthers 15 votes

What is prime power of this equation of p?

Let $p$ be a prime number, I think when $p^2+p+1=q^a$, where $q$ is a prime number, then $a=1$. But I can't prove it. Is it true?

asked by darya 11 votes
answered by Geoff Robinson 18 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

Why do we teach calculus students the derivative as a limit?

I'm not teaching calculus right now, but I talk to someone who does, and the question that came up is why emphasize the $h \to 0$ definition of a derivative to calculus students? Something a teacher ...

real-analysis ho.history-overview teaching limits  
asked by Steven Sam 55 votes
answered by Deane Yang 93 votes

What is the most useful non-existing object of your field?

When many proofs by contradiction end with "we have built an object with such, such and such properties, which does not exist", it seems relevant to give this object a name, even though (in fact ...

asked by user56097 70 votes
answered by anon 53 votes

Can you answer these?

The most number of points that realize only $k$ distinct distances

For $k \ge 1$, let $f_d(k)$ be the largest possible number of points $p_i$ in $\mathbb{R}^d$ that determine at most $k$ distinct (Euclidean) distances, $||p_i-p_j||$. Example. For points in the plane ...

co.combinatorics mg.metric-geometry discrete-geometry discrete-mathematics  
asked by Joseph O'Rourke 6 votes

Sobolev space for Mixed Dirichlet - Neumann boundary condition

Consider the subset $\Omega\subset \mathbb{R}^N$ with boundary $\partial\Omega$ sufficiently regular and let $\Gamma\subset\partial\Omega$ be a $(N-1)$- dimensional submanifold of $\partial\Omega$. ...

fa.functional-analysis ap.analysis-of-pdes sobolev-spaces elliptic-pde  
asked by Gio712 5 votes

Homotopy transfer in the opposite direction

Let $X\rightleftarrows Y\circlearrowleft$ be a strong deformation retraction of chain complexes (a.k.a. contraction), i.e. $X\rightarrow Y\rightarrow X$ is the identity, $Y\rightarrow Y$ is a homotopy ...

at.algebraic-topology homotopy-theory homological-algebra model-categories operads  
asked by Fernando Muro 7 votes
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