Archive for January 20th, 2009

A Tricki issue

January 20, 2009

This is a mathematical post rather than a Tricki post, but the title comes from the fact that the issue I want to discuss has arisen because I have made a statement in a Tricki article and can’t quite justify it to my satisfaction.

The article in question is about a useful piece of advice, which is that if one is having trouble proving a theorem, it can help a lot to try to prove rigorously that one’s approach cannot work. Sometimes one realizes as a result that it can work, but sometimes this exercise helps one to discover a feature of the problem that one has been wrongly overlooking. I have a few examples written up, but one of them is giving me second thoughts. (more…)