I'm not a researcher yet, I'm defending my thesis next year and would like to get acquainted with recent results and branches of representation theory Mainly groups and C*-algebras Can I ask this in this?

  • $\begingroup$ So, anyone knows? $\endgroup$ – Henrique Tyrrell Jul 18 '13 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ In the form you indicate, I think the question is too broad. Representation theory is not one big subject; and without further details about your own background, it is hard to know what you might have in mind $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Jul 18 '13 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ In the form you have stated it, the question is not appropriate. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Jul 18 '13 at 22:47
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    $\begingroup$ As the other commenters have already suggested, a request for an overview would be perceived as too broad. In general asking answerers to write something similar to a Wikipedia article is not welcomed on MO. On the other hand, of course you can ask e.g. for the present state of things with respect to a particular problem. $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Jul 18 '13 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ that's the thing, i'd like to know open problems in representation theory of locally compact groups, and C*-algebras. Any source of such problems would be welcome. But thanks, I'll formulate a better and more precise question and ask it in the boards, see you then! $\endgroup$ – Henrique Tyrrell Jul 18 '13 at 23:44

You might have a look at a list of analogous questions (questions asking for open problem lists), to see which ones were well-received and why:


For example:

open problems in Seiberg-Witten Theory on 4-Manifolds

If you keep it focussed, then a request for an open problem list makes a decent big-list question, I think.


You can ask such questions; the community will not receive them well. The major reason is that the MathOverflow forum is more for answers to specific technical questions than for philosophical discussions or broad overviews as might be found in other resources such as mathematical texts.

Here is a strategy that might work to achieve your goal. Get a list of three or four topics that are of potential interest. Ask questions on those specific topics and see who answers. Invite them into a chat room and pump them as best as you can. There are policies for chat rooms, but I imagine there will be less or no community objections to such questions asked to well placed persons in chat.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't like this strategy. One should ask questions because one cares about the answers, not as bait to catch clients. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Moskovich Jul 19 '13 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ OK. Don't network, and don't look for people who can help. (By the way, it is in the original posters' interest to ask questions he/she cares about for this strategy to be effective. Also, no one is forced to go into a chat room, as far as I know.) $\endgroup$ – The Masked Avenger Jul 19 '13 at 2:35
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    $\begingroup$ One of the main problems with broad philosophical questions is they attract people who would rather just get into a long rhetorical discussion rather than people who are really invested in outcomes. $\endgroup$ – Ryan Budney Jul 19 '13 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ The other problem, in my personal opinion, is that they attract people who are big on evangelism but less keen on correctness of details. $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Jul 19 '13 at 6:25
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    $\begingroup$ Also: networking works two ways. I can think of people I've observed on MO who I would now be less likely to welcome or support in a professional basis, at least until certain things were changed $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Jul 19 '13 at 6:27

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