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Physics and Mathematics - what are the unsolved problems?

  1. Feb 11, 2008 #1
    Physics and Mathematics are legends that humankind has adopted. But uhh...we've only gone so far, so...I would like to know for Math, what are the unsolved problems, or situations presented without an effective solution thus far.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2008 #2
    Physics and Mathematics are legends that humankind has adopted.

    I find that a confusing statement, care to elaborate?
     
  4. Feb 11, 2008 #3
    I was just trying to find an introduction. I'm supposing you might prefer "...that humankind has created." instead?
     
  5. Feb 12, 2008 #4

    HallsofIvy

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    I am perfectly willing to accept that mankind has "invented" mathematics, in the same sense that he "invented" the hammer, but mankind has no more invented physics that it has invented biology or meteorology.

    Also, in order not to come to the conclusion that you are being condescending, I have to assume that you do not know the meaning of the word "legend".

    And may I ask why this is specifically in the "Number Theory" area rather than "General Mathematics"?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  6. Feb 12, 2008 #5

    CRGreathouse

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    Well, since you posted in the number theory section:
    • Riemann hypothesis
    • abc conjecture
    • twin prime conjecture, or more generally
    • de Polignac's conjecture on prime gaps, or more generally
    • Hardy-Littlewood prime constellation conjecture
    • infinitude of various sets (Mersenne primes, Cullen primes, Woodall primes, Wiefrich/non-Weifrich primes)
    • Goldbach conjectures (weak and strong)
    • Collatz/hailstone conjecture
    • and one of my favorites, the odd perfect conjecture
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  7. Feb 12, 2008 #6
    heh...well...I see, so these are all current subjects. Thanks. This may be kind of a stupid question, but...what exactly is number theory? Oh and HallsofIvy...I wasn't trying to be condescending...just that I couldn't come up with the right words to define the two (Physics and Mathematics); I just find it amazing that the universe can actually be modeled through the usage of these two. And the reason why this is in the number theory area is probably just because 'number theory' sounded cool so I decided to post in here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  8. Feb 12, 2008 #7
  9. Feb 21, 2008 #8
    I personally think twin primes will fall apart somewhere :P
     
  10. Feb 21, 2008 #9
    ofcourse physics was invented. a model is never the thing it models.
     
  11. Feb 21, 2008 #10

    CRGreathouse

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    You think there are a finite number of twin primes?
     
  12. Feb 24, 2008 #11

    HallsofIvy

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    I bow my head.
     
  13. Feb 24, 2008 #12

    arildno

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    Is declaring your personal incredulity the same as a valid argument for your claim?
     
  14. Feb 24, 2008 #13
    Amen to that
     
  15. Feb 25, 2008 #14

    Gib Z

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    Physics, by definition of what it means to do physics, is to model the universe. Hence it is not so amazing if it models it. In the process of doing physics we must use some mathematical tools.
     
  16. Feb 25, 2008 #15

    HallsofIvy

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    To echo Gib_Z, you are essentially saying that you find it remarkable that a tool designed to do a specific job actually does that job!

    Of course, physics models what we know of the universe- it does not model the universe perfectly.
     
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