How can I convince mathematicians that this question is very important to be solved and it is worth their time. This question has practical applications, but I don't know the right procedure/forum to interact with mathematicians to explain its importance and why it needs their attention. Any comments are appreciated.

PS : let me know if its inappropriate here, so that I can move it to a right place.

  • $\begingroup$ I think that the tag (specific-question) would be suitable for this question. (Not enough rep to edit on meta, that's why I am posting comment instead.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2014 at 6:30
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    $\begingroup$ It seems like you're already off to a good start -- you wrote a highly upvoted question on MathOverflow! See if there's a mathematician at a nearby university who might be interested? Think about the problem some more yourself? Convincing everyone that what you're working on is interesting is one of a fundamental challenges of being a mathematician --- don't think you're singularly unlucky in having difficulty doing so. $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2014 at 6:42
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    $\begingroup$ You could have a section in your MO question titled Motivation where you explain its importance. Looking at your comments below your post: it seems to me that your question already has received attention (15 upvotes, 0 downvotes, 3 favorites), and now I expect it will receive more. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ I changed the title as visibly linking did not work in titles. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ Some of us remember all the lead-up questions to this one, and some of us found those opaque. Some of us also have other more pressing (perhaps less important mathematically, perhaps not) things to do with our time $\endgroup$
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @YemonChoi : the leadup questions were obstacles faced by me in my attempts to formulate and solve, they weren't really the motivations. The main motivations are in physical applications, which as suggested hope to write up somewhere in a forum or any conference/forum in signal processing, but ideally I'd like to solve this problem before I talk about it. But as that seems difficult I'll attempt to write down a case study of an application and post it somewhere or wait for a chance to present it. Thanks all for the suggestions. $\endgroup$
    – Rajesh D
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 5:00
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    $\begingroup$ Unless the solution method is more generally applicable, I think your audience would prefer a partly solved or unsolved problem with applications than a solved problem. In your writeup, if you give some good ideas for solving, you should (and often will) get credit for "pointing the way". This may not be as satisfying, but mathematics needs people pointing the way as much as travelling it. Of course, the Clay Institute doesn't give awards to signposts, but you're not doing this for love of money anyway, are you? Gerhard "In It For The Math" Paseman, 2014.05.27 $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2014 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ Added some Motivation : mathoverflow.net/q/165038/14414 $\endgroup$
    – Rajesh D
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ @GerhardPaseman : mathoverflow.net/a/175862/14414 $\endgroup$
    – Rajesh D
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddTrimble : I almost have an answer for a special but important case. But I need help in formalizing it in precise mathematical arguments. It may end up as false but I need to know why. I am not able to get any responses to my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Rajesh D
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ Why not someone feature my question on their blog as a help in getting attention! $\endgroup$
    – Rajesh D
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @RajeshD I don't know what you expect me to do about it. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddTrimble : Any ideas how to get funding for doing research in this direction. In my belief, this could revolutionize physics Applied math and signal processing! $\endgroup$
    – Rajesh D
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ Can i publish this in any leading math Journals/conferences ? $\endgroup$
    – Rajesh D
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ @RajeshD I don't think I can be of much help, but you might try taking up The Masked Avenger's suggestion. From what I can see, you don't have enough to publish in a leading journal, but you might put a preprint on the arXiv; for that you need an academic who will endorse your work. There might be an MO user who responded to one of your questions that you might send a polite email to, to get suggestions. Finally -- I don't know what standing academia.edu has exactly, but I think they accept self-publications, and you might get someone interested that way. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


How can I convince you that the following Counting factors: is this approach in the literature on multiperfect numbers? is a viable approach to showing that odd perfect numbers are sparse or nonexistent?

I can't. The best I can hope for is that you are interested, you will see the question, and then you will correspond and or collaborate with me. If number theory isn't your passion, I don't want to look for other incentives for you to try it.

If you can explain why this problem is so important to mathematicians in specialty X, write it down, post it on a web page along with your contact information, and provide a link to that page from your question. A mathematician has to motivate him/herself toward a problem, and that often occurs by reading a well-written account of that problem. The MO question is a good start: a (lengthy but well-written) motivational piece belongs outside of MathOverflow.

  • $\begingroup$ Out of idle curiosity: why did you turn that post CW? $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ To answer non-idly, there might have been a way to make the first point without engaging in self-promotion, but I could not think of it. Among other reasons, CW was a signal to others to improve upon the post if they felt the question advertisement was working against community ideals. $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2014 at 23:07

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