Sometimes I need to ask for suggestions on studying and researching in mathematics but am not sure if those questions are suitable for this site.

Some questions of this nature are:

  1. How many hours in average does it take to seriously finish reading a book in GTM?
  2. Does having much knowledge in Differential Equations help a topologist in his/her research?
  3. Is every mathematician suggested to be familiar with the proof of some fundamental results in mathematics, such as the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra?

If this website is not suitable, where should one ask such questions?

I am aware of Mathematics Educators Stackexchange, but it seems to be for mathematical education, not for suggestions in mathematics.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Re 1, that's just way too vague. Already as the length (page wise) of the Graduate Texts in Mathematics can vary massively. Then, the style is not that uniform either. Then, it depends on your background. Then, it depends on your general aptitude. Then, it depends on what you mean by seriously finish reading. Finally, it is not quite clear what you even want to do with that information. Start reading, and you shall see how you progress. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 26, 2017 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yet in general Q of this form are sometimes tolerated on this site (also on MathOverflow if the context is advanced). I have seen things close to 3. See, for example, math.stackexchange.com/questions/178940/… and mathoverflow.net/questions/19356/… on MO. Yet note the one is close and the other might too if asked now. Still if you want just try to make such questions as specific and non-opinion based as you can and give it a try. Yet don't get upset if it'll get closed. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 26, 2017 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ @quid, thanks for the comment! Firstly, I am not asking my question 1 but using it as an example of the questions that I was asking about. Secondly, let me be more precise about my question 1: I mean: given a GTM of average length and average difficulty, an average student who has very little knowledge of the subject but has sufficient prerequisites finishes reading all sections of the book, including finishing most, if not all exercises there. I am interested in an answer as I am planning to read a few GTMs in the next few years and would like to make plans based on this estimation. $\endgroup$
    – Zuriel
    Apr 26, 2017 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ @quid, many thanks again for your comment! It is interesting that a question receives hundreds of upvotes, but was closed. Am wondering what is the best place to discuss about those questions. $\endgroup$
    – Zuriel
    Apr 27, 2017 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ I understand you did not mean to ask 1 here; my comment should (also) be read as highlighting problems with such questions by way of example. On your second comment, two points: On the one hand, the critique made was the question is "too broad", in some sense it's not that surprising that a very, very broad question attracts the interest of many people. On the other hand, an argument can be made (I know it is not shared by all) that such threads are "completed" at some point. A "all should know" result not named during three years is arguably not all that widely perceived as such. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 27, 2017 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @quid, by this post I was not asking my Question 1 but I am interested in any comment about this particular question. Still not sure in math.stackexchange is the best place for such questions, or if I should try quora, or other places. $\endgroup$
    – Zuriel
    Apr 27, 2017 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ In my expert opinion; on average one needs 17 minutes per page. :-) Seriously, I doubt anybody can give you a serious, fact based estimate. In fact already the number of people that can claim with any authority to even understand what the average GTM would be like is pretty small. For what you want I recommend you to read the foreword of the actual books you plan to read. Some of those will contain recommendations how to actually use the book as a textbook. You can then make better guesses based on that. Or, ask about one particular book, not the average of 300+ books written over 50 years. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 27, 2017 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ $17$ minutes per page $\approx $ $150$ hours per book $\approx 2$ months per book if one is devoted to $3$ hours per day on reading $\approx$ $6$ books in a year. Thus it is not completely hopeless for me to finish reading all existing GTM's before I die, though new GTM's will be added from time to time. $\endgroup$
    – Zuriel
    Apr 27, 2017 at 23:36


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