Linear, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, rational, and trigonometric functions, conic sections, binomial, surds, graphs and transformations of graphs, equation- and system-solving, and other symbolic-manipulation topics.

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28
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is ${x^{\frac{1}{2}}}$ the same as $\sqrt x $?

Why is ${x^{\frac{1}{2}}}$ the same as $\sqrt x $? I'm currently studying indices/exponents, and this is a law that I was told to accept without much proof or explanation, could someone explain ...
34
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there any geometric way to characterize $e$?

Let me explain it better: after this question, I've been looking for a way to put famous constants in the real line in a geometrical way -- just for fun. Putting $\sqrt2$ is really easy: constructing ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Show that the $\max{ \{ x,y \} }= \dfrac{x+y+|x-y|}{2}$.

Show that the $\max{ \{ x,y \} }= \dfrac{x+y+|x-y|}{2}$. I do not understand how to go about completing this problem or even where to start.
8
votes
3answers
448 views

Simplifying $\sqrt[4]{161-72 \sqrt{5}}$

$$\sqrt[4]{161-72 \sqrt{5}}$$ I tried to solve this as follows: the resultant will be in the form of $a+b\sqrt{5}$ since 5 is a prime and has no other factors other than 1 and itself. Taking this ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Factorize the polynomial $x^3+y^3+z^3-3xyz$

I want to factorize the polynomial $x^3+y^3+z^3-3xyz$. Using Mathematica I find that it equals $(x+y+z)(x^2+y^2+z^2-xy-yz-zx)$. But how can I factorize it by hand?
7
votes
2answers
273 views

Compositeness of $n^4+4^n$ [duplicate]

My coach said that for all positive integers $n$, $n^4+4^n$ is never a prime number. So we memorized this for future use in math competition. But I don't understand why is it?
5
votes
5answers
4k views

Simple Proof by induction: “9 divides $n^3 + (n+1)^3 + (n+2)^3$”

I'm trying to prove using induction that 9 divides $n^3 + (n+1)^3 + (n+2)^3$ whenever $n$ is a non-negative integer. So far, I have: Base case: P(1) = (1) + (8) + (27) = 36, 36 can be divided by 9 ...
4
votes
3answers
285 views

I need some advice for $ \; “ \; 3xy+y-6x-2=0 \;”\, $

PS: I edited the title again and I think, it's better now... :) Actually, almost the whole solving way is wrong but, I understood why... :D :) You can check that or add some more useful links about ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

Proving the geometric sum formula by induction

$$\sum_{k=0}^nq^k = \frac{1-q^{n+1}}{1-q}$$ I want to prove this by induction. Here's what I have. $$\frac{1-q^{n+1}}{1-q} + q^{n+1} = \frac{1-q^{n+1}+q^{n+1}(1-q)}{1-q}$$ I wanted to factor a ...
63
votes
14answers
4k views

Why rationalize the denominator?

In grade school we learn to rationalize denominators of fractions when possible. We are taught that $\frac{\sqrt{2}}{2}$ is simpler than $\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}$. An answer on this site says that "there ...
25
votes
8answers
2k views

Is there a name for this strange solution to a quadratic equation involving a square root?

Here's an elementary question on solving the following quadratic equation (well, it's not a quadratic until the square root is eliminated): $$\sqrt{x+5} + 1 = x$$ Upon solving the above equation ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

Strategies to denest nested radicals.

I have recently read some passage about nested radicals, I'm deeply impressed by them. Simple nested radicals $\sqrt{2+\sqrt{2}}$,$\sqrt{3-2\sqrt{2}}$ which the later can be denested into ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

Is there any formula for the series $1 + \frac12 + \frac13 + \cdots + \frac 1 n = ?$

Is there any formula for this series? $$1 + \frac12 + \frac13 + \cdots + \frac 1 n .$$
8
votes
6answers
642 views

Is it wrong to say $ \sqrt{x} \times \sqrt{x} =\pm x,\forall x \in \mathbb{R}$?

Is it wrong to say $$ \sqrt{x} \times \sqrt{x} =\sqrt{x^2}= \pm x$$ I am quite sure that $\sqrt{(x)^2} = \pm(x)$ But, does $\sqrt{x } \times \sqrt{x} =- (x)$ doesn't holds in $\mathbb{R}$ but if we ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

Solve trigonometric equation: $1 = m \; \text{cos}(\alpha) + \text{sin}(\alpha)$

Dealing with a physics Problem I get the following equation to solve for $\alpha$ $1 = m \; \text{cos}(\alpha) + \text{sin}(\alpha)$ Putting this in Mathematica gives the result: $a==2 ...
14
votes
3answers
564 views

Is there any “superlogarithm” or something to solve $x^x$? [duplicate]

Is there any "superlogarithm" or something to solve an equation like this: $$x^x = 10?$$
2
votes
4answers
2k views

How to factor the quadratic polynomial $2x^2-5xy-y^2$?

How do I factor this polynomial: $2x^2-5xy-y^2$ ?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Geometric mean never exceeds arithmetic mean

This was a mathematical induction question proposed in a textbook, and I've exhausted multiple approaches (proving RHS - LHS > 0, splitting the fraction, fractional exponents, etc.) The geometric ...
248
votes
33answers
33k views

Pedagogy: How to cure students of the “law of universal linearity”?

One of the commonest mistakes made by students, appearing at every level of maths education up to about early undergraduate, is the so-called “Law of Universal Linearity”: $$ \frac{1}{a+b} ...
46
votes
10answers
3k views

What is exponentiation?

Is there an intuitive definition of exponentiation? In elementary school, we learned that $$ a^b = a \cdot a \cdot a \cdot a \cdots (b\ \textrm{ times}) $$ where $b$ is an integer. Then later on ...
67
votes
15answers
4k views

math fallacy problem: $-1= (-1)^3 = (-1)^{6/2} = \sqrt{(-1)^6}= 1$?

I know there is something wrong with this but I don't know where. It's some kind of a math fallacy and it is driving me crazy. Here it is: $$-1= (-1)^3 = (-1)^{6/2} = \sqrt{(-1)^6}= 1?$$
21
votes
5answers
933 views

How does one actually show from associativity that one can drop parentheses?

I've always heard this reasoning, and it makes obvious sense, but how do you actually show it for some arbitrary product? Would it be something like this? ...
8
votes
2answers
373 views

Question Regarding Cardano's Formula

In Cardano's derivation of a root of the cubic polynomial $f(X)=X^3+bX+c$ he splits the variable $X$ into two variables $u$ and $v$ together with the relationship that $u+v=X$. From this he finds that ...
7
votes
7answers
571 views

What is the result of $\lim\limits_{x \to 0}(1/x - 1/\sin x)$?

Find the limit: $$\lim_{x \rightarrow 0}\left(\frac1x - \frac1{\sin x}\right)$$ I am not able to find it because I don't know how to prove or disprove $0$ is the answer.
6
votes
3answers
598 views

Evaluation of $\int\frac{\sqrt{\cos 2x}}{\sin x}dx$

Evaluation of $$\displaystyle \int\frac{\sqrt{\cos 2x}}{\sin x}dx$$ $\bf{My\; Try::}$ Let $\displaystyle I = \int\frac{\sqrt{\cos 2x}}{\sin x}dx = \int\frac{\cos 2x}{\sin^2 x\sqrt{\cos 2x}}\sin xdx ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

How to prove $(f \circ\ g) ^{-1} = g^{-1} \circ\ f^{-1}$?

I'm doing exercise on discrete mathematics and I'm stuck with question: If $f:Y\to Z$ is an invertible function, and $g:X\to Y$ is an invertible function, then the inverse of the composition $(f ...
7
votes
12answers
15k views

Derivation of the formula for the vertex of a Parabola

I'm taking a course on Basic Conic Sections, and one of the ones we are discussing is of a parabola of the form $y = a x^2 + b x + c$ My teacher gave me the formula: $x = -\frac{b}{2a}$ as the $x$ ...
5
votes
2answers
490 views

Polynomial $p(a) = 1$, why does it have at most 2 integer roots?

The question that I am trying to answer is : Suppose is $p(x)$ is a polynomial with integer coefficients. Show that if $p(a) = 1$ for some integer a then $p(x)$ has at most two integer roots. I have ...
3
votes
2answers
139 views

find extreme values of $\frac{2x}{x²+4}$

I am doing my homework like a good little boy. I know that when I want to find the extreme values of a function I have to put the derivative equal to zero so I can find the x values. I've done it ...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

How to simplify $\sum_{i=1}^{k}\binom{n + i - 1}{i}$? [duplicate]

How to simplify $\sum_{i=1}^{k}\binom{n + i - 1}{i}$? I tried reducing the sum to $\binom{n}{1}, \binom{n}{2}, \binom{n}{3}$ and so on but couldn't get a pattern.
1
vote
1answer
307 views

Establishing formula from recurrence

Can anyone tell me how do we establish a formula from a given recurrence relation? Take the example of $f(n) = 2f(n-1) + 1$, $n \in \mathbb{Z^+}$, $f(1) = 1$ When I write out the first few values, it ...
9
votes
5answers
708 views

Algorithms for “solving” $\sqrt{2}$

The very first words out of my mouth need to be this... "Solving" is the wrong term since I am speaking about irrational numbers. I just don't know which word is the correct word... So that can be ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Find an equation of the plane

I have come across a difficult problem in my textbook. The problem ask: Find an equation of the plane that passes through the line of intersection of the planes $x-z=1$ and $y+2z=3$ and is ...
40
votes
6answers
2k views

Is $\sqrt[3]{p+q\sqrt{3}}+\sqrt[3]{p-q\sqrt{3}}=n$, $(p,q,n)\in\mathbb{N} ^3$ solvable?

In this recent answer to this question by Eesu, Vladimir Reshetnikov proved that $$ \begin{equation} \left( 26+15\sqrt{3}\right) ^{1/3}+\left( 26-15\sqrt{3}\right) ^{1/3}=4.\tag{1} \end{equation} $$ ...
29
votes
11answers
5k views

How do you define functions for non-mathematicians?

I'm teaching a College Algebra class in the upcoming semester, and only a small portion of the students will be moving on to further mathematics. The class is built around functions, so I need to ...
8
votes
4answers
794 views

How does partial fraction decomposition avoid division by zero?

This may be an incredibly stupid question, but why does partial fraction decomposition avoid division by zero? Let me give an example: $$\frac{3x+2}{x(x+1)}=\frac{A}{x}+\frac{B}{x+1}$$ Multiplying ...
5
votes
2answers
441 views

$\text{Let }y=\sqrt{5+\sqrt{5-\sqrt{5+\sqrt{5-…}}}} $, what is the nearest value of $y^2 - y$?

I found this question somewhere and have been unable to solve it. It is a modification of a very common algebra question. $\text{Let }y=\sqrt{5+\sqrt{5-\sqrt{5+\sqrt{5-...}}}} $, what is the ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Can a finite sum of square roots be an integer?

Can a sum of a finite number of square roots of integers be an integer? If yes can a sum of two square roots of integers be an integer? The square roots need to be irrational.
8
votes
4answers
730 views

How to detect when continued fractions period terminates

I'm doing continued fractions arithmetic. Is there a method to detect when a continued fractions period terminates? Let me give you an example: $\sqrt{2} = [1; \overline{2}]$, $\sqrt{7} = [2; ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Create polynomial coefficients from its roots

Given some roots : $r_1,r_2,\ldots,r_n$, how can we reconstruct polynomial coefficients? I know the Horner scheme and that we can just go backwards receiving those coefficients. But I'm curious if ...
3
votes
2answers
236 views

simplify $(a_1 + a_2 +a_3+… +a_n)^m$

How to simplify this best $(a_1 + a_2 +a_3+... +a_n)^m$ for $m=n, m<n, m>n$ I could only get $\sum_{i=0}^{m}\binom{m}{i}a_i^i\sum_{j=0}^{m-i}\binom{m-i}{j}a_j ... $
8
votes
2answers
990 views

Finding roots of polynomials with rational coefficients

I'm looking for a general approach (or approaches) for finding the roots of polynomials with rational coefficients of higher degrees than $4$. The problem is that I need to find the exact roots and ...
10
votes
1answer
463 views

Indefinite Integral $\int\sqrt[3]{\tan(x)}dx$

For calculating $\int\sqrt{\tan(x)}dx$, I used this easy method ...
5
votes
5answers
189 views

If $\frac{\sin^4 x}{a}+\frac{\cos^4 x}{b}=\frac{1}{a+b}$, then show that $\frac{\sin^6 x}{a^2}+\frac{\cos^6 x}{b^2}=\frac{1}{(a+b)^2}$

If $\frac{\sin^4 x}{a}+\frac{\cos^4 x}{b}=\frac{1}{a+b}$, then show that $\frac{\sin^6 x}{a^2}+\frac{\cos^6 x}{b^2}=\frac{1}{(a+b)^2}$ My work: $(\frac{\sin^4 x}{a}+\frac{\cos^4 ...
3
votes
4answers
797 views

Formula for calculating $\sum_{n=0}^{m}nr^n$

I want to know the general formula for $\sum_{n=0}^{m}nr^n$ for some constant r and how it is derived. For example, when r = 2, the formula is given by: $\sum_{n=0}^{m}n2^n = 2(m2^m - 2^m +1)$ ...
3
votes
4answers
809 views

$x=\frac{-b\pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac}}{2a}$ show that $x=-c/b$ when $a=0$

OK, this one has me stumped. Given that the solution for $ax^2+bx+c =0$ $$x=\frac{-b\pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac}}{2a}\qquad(*)$$ How would you show using $(*)$ that $x=-c/b$ when $a=0$ (Please dont use $a=0$ ...
0
votes
3answers
186 views

Finding the range of $f(x) = 1/((x-1)(x-2))$

I want to find the range of the following function $$f(x) = \frac{1}{(x-1)(x-2)} $$ Is there any way to find the range of the above function? I have found one idea. But that is too critical. Please ...
9
votes
3answers
519 views

How to prove $a^2 + b^2 + c^2 \ge ab + bc + ca$?

How can the following inequation be proven? $$a^2 + b^2 + c^2 \ge ab + bc + ca$$
6
votes
3answers
877 views

Three-variable system of simultaneous equations

$x + y + z = 4$ $x^2 + y^2 + z^2 = 4$ $x^3 + y^3 + z^3 = 4$ Any ideas on how to solve for $(x,y,z)$ satisfying the three simultaneous equations, provided there can be both real and complex ...
4
votes
4answers
123 views

Finding range of $\frac{x}{(1-x)^2}$

I'm working though some exercises. One of them is asking to find the range of $f(x) = \frac{x}{(1-x)^2}$. The chapter this exercise belongs to is after the one where the differentiation power rule is ...