List of unsolved problems in mathematics

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Since the Renaissance, every century has seen the solution of more mathematical problems than the century before, and yet many mathematical problems, both major and minor, still remain unsolved.[1] Prizes are often awarded for the solution to a long-standing problem, and lists of unsolved problems (such as the list of Millennium Prize Problems) receive considerable attention. Unsolved problems remain in multiple domains, including physics, computer science, algebra, additive and algebraic number theories, analysis, combinatorics, algebraic, discrete and Euclidean geometries, graph, group, model, number, set and Ramsey theories, dynamical systems, partial differential equations, and miscellaneous unsolved problems.

Lists of unsolved problems in mathematics[edit]

Over the course of time, several lists of unsolved mathematical problems have appeared.

List Number of problems Proposed by Proposed in
Hilbert's problems[2] 23 David Hilbert 1900
Landau's problems[3] 4 Edmund Landau 1912
Taniyama's problems[4] 36 Yutaka Taniyama 1955
Thurston's 24 questions[5][6] 24 William Thurston 1982
Smale's problems 18 Stephen Smale 1998
Millennium Prize problems 7 Clay Mathematics Institute 2000
Unsolved Problems on Mathematics for the 21st Century[7] 22 Jair Minoro Abe, Shotaro Tanaka 2001
DARPA's math challenges[8][9] 23 DARPA 2007

Millennium Prize Problems[edit]

Of the original seven Millennium Prize Problems set by the Clay Mathematics Institute, six have yet to be solved, as of 2016:[10]

The seventh problem, the Poincaré conjecture, has been solved.[11] The smooth four-dimensional Poincaré conjecture—that is, whether a four-dimensional topological sphere can have two or more inequivalent smooth structures—is still unsolved.[12]

Unsolved problems[edit]

Algebra[edit]

Algebraic geometry[edit]

Analysis[edit]

Combinatorics[edit]

Discrete geometry[edit]

Euclidean geometry[edit]

Dynamical systems[edit]

  • Lyapunov's second method for stability – For what classes of ODEs, describing dynamical systems, does the Lyapunov’s second method formulated in the classical and canonically generalized forms define the necessary and sufficient conditions for the (asymptotical) stability of motion?
  • Furstenberg conjecture – Is every invariant and ergodic measure for the action on the circle either Lebesgue or atomic?
  • Margulis conjecture — Measure classification for diagonalizable actions in higher-rank groups
  • MLC conjecture – Is the Mandelbrot set locally connected?
  • Weinstein conjecture – Does a regular compact contact type level set of a Hamiltonian on a symplectic manifold carry at least one periodic orbit of the Hamiltonian flow?
  • Is every reversible cellular automaton in three or more dimensions locally reversible?[23]
  • Many problems concerning an outer billiard, for example show that outer billiards relative to almost every convex polygon has unbounded orbits.

Graph theory[edit]

Paths and cycles in graphs[edit]

Graph coloring and labeling[edit]

Graph drawing[edit]

Miscellaneous graph theory[edit]

Group theory[edit]

Model theory[edit]

  • Vaught's conjecture
  • The Cherlin–Zilber conjecture: A simple group whose first-order theory is stable in is a simple algebraic group over an algebraically closed field.
  • The Main Gap conjecture, e.g. for uncountable first order theories, for AECs, and for -saturated models of a countable theory.[50]
  • Determine the structure of Keisler's order[51][52]
  • The stable field conjecture: every infinite field with a stable first-order theory is separably closed.
  • Is the theory of the field of Laurent series over decidable? of the field of polynomials over ?
  • (BMTO) Is the Borel monadic theory of the real order decidable? (MTWO) Is the monadic theory of well-ordering consistently decidable?[53]
  • The Stable Forking Conjecture for simple theories[54]
  • For which number fields does Hilbert's tenth problem hold?
  • Assume K is the class of models of a countable first order theory omitting countably many types. If K has a model of cardinality does it have a model of cardinality continuum?[55]
  • Shelah's eventual Categority conjecture: For every cardinal there exists a cardinal such that If an AEC K with LS(K)<= is categorical in a cardinal above then it is categorical in all cardinals above .[50][56]
  • Shelah's categoricity conjecture for : If a sentence is categorical above the Hanf number then it is categorical in all cardinals above the Hanf number.[50]
  • Is there a logic L which satisfies both the Beth property and Δ-interpolation, is compact but does not satisfy the interpolation property?[57]
  • If the class of atomic models of a complete first order theory is categorical in the , is it categorical in every cardinal?[58][59]
  • Is every infinite, minimal field of characteristic zero algebraically closed? (minimal = no proper elementary substructure)
  • Kueker's conjecture[60]
  • Does there exist an o-minimal first order theory with a trans-exponential (rapid growth) function?
  • Lachlan's decision problem
  • Does a finitely presented homogeneous structure for a finite relational language have finitely many reducts?
  • Do the Henson graphs have the finite model property? (e.g. triangle-free graphs)
  • The universality problem for C-free graphs: For which finite sets C of graphs does the class of C-free countable graphs have a universal member under strong embeddings?[61]
  • The universality spectrum problem: Is there a first-order theory whose universality spectrum is minimum?[62]

Number theory[edit]

General[edit]

Additive number theory[edit]

Algebraic number theory[edit]

Combinatorial number theory[edit]

  • Singmaster's conjecture: Is there a finite upper bound on the number of times that a number other than 1 can appear in Pascal's triangle?

Prime numbers[edit]

Partial differential equations[edit]

Ramsey theory[edit]

Set theory[edit]

Other[edit]

Problems solved since 1995[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

Books discussing recently solved problems[needs update][edit]

Books discussing unsolved problems[edit]

  • Fan Chung; Graham, Ron (1999). Erdos on Graphs: His Legacy of Unsolved Problems. AK Peters. ISBN 1-56881-111-X. 
  • Croft, Hallard T.; Falconer, Kenneth J.; Guy, Richard K. (1994). Unsolved Problems in Geometry. Springer. ISBN 0-387-97506-3. 
  • Guy, Richard K. (2004). Unsolved Problems in Number Theory. Springer. ISBN 0-387-20860-7. 
  • Klee, Victor; Wagon, Stan (1996). Old and New Unsolved Problems in Plane Geometry and Number Theory. The Mathematical Association of America. ISBN 0-88385-315-9. 
  • Du Sautoy, Marcus (2003). The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-093558-8. 
  • Derbyshire, John (2003). Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics. Joseph Henry Press. ISBN 0-309-08549-7. 
  • Devlin, Keith (2006). The Millennium Problems – The Seven Greatest Unsolved* Mathematical Puzzles Of Our Time. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-7607-8659-8. 
  • Blondel, Vincent D.; Megrestski, Alexandre (2004). Unsolved problems in mathematical systems and control theory. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11748-9. 
  • Lizhen Ji, [various]; Yat-Sun Poon, Shing-Tung Yau (2013). Open Problems and Surveys of Contemporary Mathematics (volume 6 in the Surveys in Modern Mathematics series) (Surveys of Modern Mathematics). International Press of Boston. ISBN 1-571-46278-3. 
  • Waldschmidt, Michel (2004). "Open Diophantine Problems" (PDF). Moscow Mathematical Journal. 4 (1): 245–305. ISSN 1609-3321. Zbl 1066.11030. 
  • Mazurov, V. D.; Khukhro, E. I. (1 Jun 2015). "Unsolved Problems in Group Theory. The Kourovka Notebook. No. 18 (English version)". arXiv:1401.0300v6Freely accessible. 
  • Derbyshire, John (2003). Prime Obsession. The Joseph Henry Press. ISBN 0-309-08549-7. 

External links[edit]