# Questions about physics and math unsolved problems

Hi.I am very curious about physics and math.I am an undergraduate student in mathematics and although I want to pass my exams I want to find some unsolved questions and problems about math and science in some fields, like complex analysis, fluid mechanics, infinite series and products, riemannian geometry and others.I know some things about these fields, but I want to find some unsolved problems on these fields but not very difficult.Some websites have some problems, but I do not know what to read and how to solve them. What are the general or specific processes to solve such problems?Perhaps you read anything related to the problems and try to solve them?I think that people who try to solve these problems spend a lot of their time trying to read related things about them and solve them.It takes a lot of time I think.I would be happy if you answer to my questions.Thank you.

sysprog and Delta2

## Answers and Replies

Perhaps by reading some introductory courses or topics on the fields I will find problems that are unsolved? One of my professors told me that on scientific journals someone can find problems.Any help is welcomed on the thread.

Staff Emeritus
but I want to find some unsolved problems on these fields but not very difficult
If they were easy, they'd be solved.

jtbell, Delta2, infinitely small and 2 others
phyzguy
I think you mean problems for you to solve, not problems that have not been solved by anyone. As @Vanadium 50 said, any truly "unsolved problems" (meaning nobody knows how to solve them) are not at all easy otherwise someone would have solved them. You might try Project Euler:
https://projecteuler.net/

Delta2 and infinitely small
Ok. Thank you phyzguy and Vanadium 50. Wikipedia offers some unsolved problems, if I want perhaps fifty problems that are unsolved and difficult and I find interesting in analytic number theory and riemannian geometry,how can I find them?I hope I did not say too many.The process of solving them, not exactly what theorems to use what is it?Or I try every combination of theorems until I find the right ones?That is the way?And if there are gaps in finding the answer, I fill those gaps by questioning, making problems and answering them?I need some help, thank you.

PeroK
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2020 Award
Ok. Thank you phyzguy and Vanadium 50. Wikipedia offers some unsolved problems, if I want perhaps fifty problems that are unsolved and difficult and I find interesting in analytic number theory and riemannian geometry,how can I find them?I hope I did not say too many.The process of solving them, not exactly what theorems to use what is it?Or I try every combination of theorems until I find the right ones?That is the way?And if there are gaps in finding the answer, I fill those gaps by questioning, making problems and answering them?I need some help, thank you.
There is a million dollars on offer if you can solve any of these:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Prize_Problems

etotheipi
Gold Member
2020 Award
There is a million dollars on offer if you can solve any of these:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Prize_Problems
$$P = NP$$ $$\frac{1}{P} \times P = \frac{1}{P} \times NP \implies N=1$$ Where's my million dollars? I've gotta admit I'm slightly surprised no one has solved that before.

sysprog, Keith_McClary, LCSphysicist and 5 others
member 587159
$$P = NP$$ $$\frac{1}{P} \times P = \frac{1}{P} \times NP \implies N=1$$ Where's my million dollars? I've gotta admit I'm slightly surprised no one has solved that before.
What if ##P=0##?

etotheipi
etotheipi
Gold Member
2020 Award
What if ##P=0##?
Blast, now I'm going to need to retract my email to the Clay Institute.

DifferentialGalois and member 587159
phyzguy
@universe function , I think we are still not clear whether by "unsolved problems" you mean problems that nobody knows how to solve, or whether you just mean problems that people have posted that someone knows how to solve, but you don't. Can you clarify?

To phyzguy. I mean problems that nobody knows how to solve.Where can I find some of them?I think the general process is trial and error again and again, learn new techniques , theorems and try to solve other exercises.Still I try to solve some exercises in topology in metric spaces and then when I look at the solutions I say I tried at least.Some new elements are added as techniques for the solutions of the exercises.It is continuous learning.At least if someone puts a similar exercise I think I can solve it.

phyzguy
To phyzguy. I mean problems that nobody knows how to solve.Where can I find some of them?
And you want FIFTY? If you can solve one, it will make your career. The Millenium Prize Problems in Post #6 is a good place to start. Why don't you start with the Riemann Hypothesis? It's been around for over 150 years and is still unsolved.

lomidrevo
Delta2
Homework Helper
Gold Member
What are the general or specific processes to solve such problems?
If the problems are too hard, hard enough to be the subject of a PhD thesis, then I guess there is no generic process on solving them, other than
1. Understanding very well the theory (know and understand all the theorems and definitions that are related) behind the problem
2. Understanding what the problem asks and what the problem gives
3. Trial and error as you say of various attacks to the problem. The solution to the problem might be too hard and long (for example I think that the proof to Fermat's Last Theorem is over 100 pages). In this case there is nothing you can do other than study hard, invent various methods and attacks to the problem guided by intuition or by experience from other known solutions to similar problems. Inspiration might be the key also, if the problem is too hard. There are problems that their solution is not too long but they require some sort of specific trick or some "key" that unlocks the solution, and to find that key either you have to rely on inspiration or in experience .

infinitely small
If the problems are too hard, hard enough to be the subject of a PhD thesis, then I guess there is no generic process on solving them, other than
1. Understanding very well the theory (know and understand all the theorems and definitions that are related) behind the problem
2. Understanding what the problem asks and what the problem gives
3. Trial and error as you say of various attacks to the problem. The solution to the problem might be too hard and long (for example I think that the proof to Fermat's Last Theorem is over 100 pages). In this case there is nothing you can do other than study hard, invent various methods and attacks to the problem guided by intuition or by experience from other known solutions to similar problems. Inspiration might be the key also, if the problem is too hard. There are problems that their solution isI not too long but they require some sort of specific trick or some "key" that unlocks the solution, and to find that key either you have to rely on inspiration or in experience .
4. Spontaneous inspiration, like silently staring at a problem until the answer comes suddenly out of the blue (Feynman's technique) or seeing the solution in a dream.
Unfortunately, these techniques are not very reliable.

Problem I see in the future in science include
1. AI will we have AI soon will computer be able to make decisions and replace humans at job.This is kind of related to machine learning. Some people have done AI to make computer be able to play tetris very well. Also this is releated to moore law can we make the transistors and electrical components smaller.
2. How long can human live can we develop technology that can make humans live much longer and reverse the aging process. I think this will get a lot of interest in the future.
3. Artificial womb can humans be grown in pods filled with nutrients kind of like in the novel brave new world.
4. renewable energy sources can solar power be made more efficient.

mathwonk
Homework Helper
2020 Award
As others have said, any problem that is publicly well known and interesting, is likely to be either quickly solved by interested and knowledgable parties, or to be very difficult, having resisted efforts of such people. Thus the ticket to finding and solving problems of reasonable difficulty, is to learn to generate them oneself. For this, you want to learn as much as possible, and practice asking questions that come to mind in thinking about this new knowledge. You can start this exercise in reading standard textbooks, but once you progress beyond those to more advanced works, it will help to choose to read the work of very strong and creative people. Such works will contain not only very useful insights, but also many newly uncovered areas and questions. It is true that sometimes such a strong and creative researcher will keep somewhat quiet about some of his/her discoveries in order to give them to his/her own students, to give them a head start, but it is best if a student develops his/her own approach. In this way the problem will actually be interesting to the student.

It is also true that one should not be too concerned as to whether the problem one generates has already been solved or not. it is just as impressive to discover and solve a non trivial problem on ones own, even if it has already been solved, and indeed there is always room for a new approach even to an already solved problem. Also, if one persists in this endeavor, at some point one will usually happen on a problem that is new. When I was a grad student, I solved two or three problems that turned out to have been already solved, before finally making progress on one that was not solved. Such problems are sometimes found in the publications of good mathematicians from the past. (My thesis problem was an open question revealed on virtually the last page of a paper by Wirtinger from the 19th century.) So my advice is again, practice generating questions from all ones reading, as well as making ones own proofs of results one is learning, and definitely make it a habit to read very good mathematicians. Even the best mathematicians spent over a century essentially working out remarks of Riemann.

Another technique for solving new problems is to understand thoroughly the proof of a known theorem, and to observe that it does not use all the hypotheses that are present. Hence one can prove a similar theorem by omitting that hypothesis and using the same argument. Or, as my teacher Maurice Auslander told us, "look for a theorem whose proof proves more than it claims to". Or as Zariski himself did, and this is more difficult, read a paper but not the proofs, and try to give your own proofs of the results. Then you will sometime find that your proof proves more than the statements you are reading. Another technique, after acquiring some level of mastery: one may read old papers by good people of an earlier era, whose results are interesting, but sometimes lacking in modern clarity or rigor, and one can sometimes use better techniques than were previously known, to clarify and solidify, and possibly improve, their results.

Basically we try to build upon the work of others, and to choose those others wisely, so as to be following in the footsteps of someone as good as possible, but within reason, for our own ability. As we do this moreover, our ability increases.

Another good possibility is to work jointly with other people. Most of my work, and all of my best work, is joint with some very strong people, and the results are much better than anything I did alone. People with different strengths can compliment each other very profitably. You also learn a lot by this process of collaboration.

Last edited:
Keith_McClary
LCSphysicist
2020 Award
$$P = NP$$ $$\frac{1}{P} \times P = \frac{1}{P} \times NP \implies N=1$$ Where's my million dollars? I've gotta admit I'm slightly surprised no one has solved that before.
@Math_QED:
"i will end this man's whole career"

member 587159 and etotheipi
etotheipi
Gold Member
2020 Award
@Math_QED:
"i will end this man's whole career"
I mean I spent a solid 30 to 40 minutes formulating that proof, so it's fair to say that @Math_QED ruined my afternoon.

member 587159
I mean I spent a solid 30 to 40 minutes formulating that proof, so it's fair to say that @Math_QED ruined my afternoon.
Well, if ##P=0##, then ##N## can be anything. I think we can start writing the paper together. I'll be second author since you did most of the work :)

etotheipi
I post on this by asking how will i know if a question i am trying to answer will be accepted from others from the scientific community?What are the criteria?Could you give some examples from papers by posting them perhaps in this thread or some sample of them and saying why they were accepted?It could be on any field in math or physics?

Mark44
Mentor
I post on this by asking how will i know if a question i am trying to answer will be accepted from others from the scientific community?What are the criteria?Could you give some examples from papers by posting them perhaps in this thread or some sample of them and saying why they were accepted?It could be on any field in math or physics?
If you are an undergraduate who has trouble passing class exams in mathematics or physics, as I believe you have stated in other threads, the chances of you solving open problems in either of these fields is effectively zero.

sysprog and Vanadium 50
I post on this by asking how will i know if a question i am trying to answer will be accepted from others from the scientific community?What are the criteria?Could you give some examples from papers by posting them perhaps in this thread or some sample of them and saying why they were accepted?It could be on any field in math or physics?
You're not even posting reasonably correctly. For example, you don't put a space after a sentence-ending punctuation mark. Also, you don't bother to capitalize the letter 'i' when referring to yourself.

There is not a basket of unsolved problems each of which could be immediately solved by a person who needs only to be told of where the basket is located.

Once in a great while, some brilliant person solves a previously unsolved problem; however, the unsolved problems are unsolved because they are either unsolvable or exceedingly difficult ##-## in some cases, we're not sure which ##\dots##