On this website there are a lot of people who are good at algebra and things like that and I see only 3 or 4 people answering analysis questions. I'm referring mainly to PDE and functional analysis. This is a problem in Mathoverflow as well. Why is that??? I think analysis departments are in general the biggest in most math departments.

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More of discussion than feature-request. According to this, PDE also lacks experts and is under-appreciated. I also have the same feeling for stochastic processes and probability theory. –  Tim Dec 31 '12 at 15:48
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@Tim Yes I put PDE under analysis too. –  hopo2 Dec 31 '12 at 15:51
    
In math departments, are there many faculty and students researching and studying PDE too? –  Tim Dec 31 '12 at 15:53
    
@Tim I might be wrong but I thought the bigger the PDE department the more students they have. Maybe PDE is not the biggest department in math these days? I think stochastics is getting more popular. –  hopo2 Dec 31 '12 at 16:05
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We have more specific tags, such as "real-analysis". I don't think there are that few analysts here. –  Michael Greinecker Dec 31 '12 at 16:39
    
@MichaelGreinecker: True. –  Tim Dec 31 '12 at 16:51
    
Please define analysis questions. You don't include calculus? –  Makoto Kato Dec 31 '12 at 16:56
    
@MakotoKato No, I mean functional analysis/PDE. –  hopo2 Dec 31 '12 at 17:32
    
So you don't include complex analysis, either. Then please edit your question to clarify it. –  Makoto Kato Dec 31 '12 at 17:37
    
@MichaelGreinecker True but I meant more PDE type. AFAIK there is Mr. Willie Wong and only a few others who are big in this region. –  hopo2 Dec 31 '12 at 17:45
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If there are a lot of interesting questions, experts will have more reasons to join the site. In fact it is possible that experts will "grow out" of this site if there are plenty of questions. –  Asaf Karagila Dec 31 '12 at 17:48
    
Because they are indeed very awesome. There is only a limited amount of awesome possible. Perhaps adding more assholes can keep the balance somewhat. –  Jonas Teuwen Jan 4 '13 at 8:32

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

My feeling is that Math.SE is doing okay in the applied, variational, functional, and harmonic branches of analysis, and doing quite well in the classical real/complex areas. Yes, it could use more people working in nonlinear PDE / geometric analysis. Then again, there aren't that many questions here that would be of real interest to them.

I like this answer given by one of the most active analysts on MathOverflow (source).

Would I like to see more analysts on MO? Yes, but there is absolutely nothing you can do with the software, reputation points, etc. to attract them like there was absolutely nothing you could do with such things to attract me in the first place. It is the content of the site and the general atmosphere plus my personal attitudes and preferences that matter for my decision whether to enter or not and whether to stay or not, and no single person, be he a moderator, a system administrator, or a user can change them. [...]

The only people who can correct the "underrepresentation" of analysts on MO are analysts themselves and they can do it not by telling horror stories like how terrible it is that nobody in their field is here, or how topologists and algebraic geometers dismiss analysis questions as not suitable for the site, or how the typical number of points for a good answer to an analysis question is far below that for a question about categorification of something, but by entering one at a time and starting doing some real work here.

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I was going to say that analysis is a recessive gene, like red hair or blue eyes. Your version seems better. –  Will Jagy Dec 31 '12 at 20:41
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@WillJagy I hear it's related to the gene that determines the way of eating corn. On the basis of this test, a couple of algebraists I know was dismayed to find that their 5-year old is an analyst. Recessive gene, indeed. –  user53153 Dec 31 '12 at 23:39
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Analysts mostly deal with inequalities while algebraists mostly deal with equalities. –  Makoto Kato Jan 1 '13 at 0:13
    
@PavelM "I hear it's related to the gene that determines the way of eating corn." I wonder what about geometers. –  Makoto Kato Jan 1 '13 at 0:15
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Not really competent to judge, but it seems that things like PDE take a lot more effort to figure out. Classic (soft) real analysis questions can often be answered instantly or by staring at the screen. No need to get out pen and paper and get dirty. That might make answering easier. –  Michael Greinecker Jan 1 '13 at 10:16
    
@MichaelGreinecker: (1) Agree. For me, analysis is a branch that is the most difficult to understand in math, because it involves many other math branches as well. I have to firstly identify concepts and methods from other branches, learn them there, and then come back to analysis to understand how they interact here. So it takes me more efforts, and sometimes I even allow myself hanging out in those different areas too long. (2) I am not sure why analysis is not as respectful as other branches. Maybe because it is less pure and less systematic? –  Tim Jan 1 '13 at 15:53
    
@PavelM: Very interesting link. Life habit does affect one's career choice. That couple is ... ahem ... in some sense judgemental. –  Tim Jan 1 '13 at 16:18
    
@MakotoKato: Geometers are closer to analysts than to algebraists, I think. –  Tim Jan 1 '13 at 16:23
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@MakotoKato Geometers ought to eat corn along a curve of nonzero (constant) curvature and torsion, i.e., a helic. –  user53153 Jan 1 '13 at 18:18
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+1 @MichaelGreinecker That's basically why I have not been answering the simple undergraduate PDE questions on the site. If I have to spend effort answering a question, I prefer it to be one that would lead to some slightly deeper insight instead of one that is just long because of computations. –  Willie Wong Jan 3 '13 at 8:28
    
@WillieWong Welcome back; there's a bounty question asking for a deeper insight. –  user53153 Jan 3 '13 at 8:38

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