Questions on fractions, which are expressions (not values) of the form $\frac pq$.

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65
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 ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the decimal representation of $\frac17$ “cyclical”?

$\frac17 = 0.(142857)$... with the digits in the parentheses repeating. I understand that the reason it's a repeating fraction is because $7$ and $10$ are coprime. But this...cyclical nature is ...
25
votes
4answers
814 views

Is $\sum_{k=1}^{m-1}\frac{1}{\sin^2\frac{k\pi}{m}}=\frac{m^2-1}{3}$ true for $m\in\mathbb N$?

Question : Is the following true for any $m\in\mathbb N$? $$\begin{align}\sum_{k=1}^{m-1}\frac{1}{\sin^2\frac{k\pi}{m}}=\frac{m^2-1}{3}\qquad(\star)\end{align}$$ Motivation : I reached ...
8
votes
1answer
815 views

Prove that any rational can be expressed in the form $\sum\limits_{k=1}^n{\frac{1}{a_k}}$, $a_k\in\mathbb N^*$

Let $x\in\mathbb{Q}$ with $x>0$. Prove that we can find $n\in\mathbb{N}^*$ and distinct $a_1,...,a_n \in \mathbb{N}^*$ such that $$x=\sum_{k=1}^n{\frac{1}{a_k}}$$
23
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is $\pi$ irrational if it is represented as $c/d$?

$\pi$ can be represented as $C/D$, and $C/D$ is a fraction, and the definition of an irrational number is that it cannot be represented as a fraction. Then why is $\pi$ an irrational number?
32
votes
3answers
8k views

Can you raise a number to an irrational exponent?

The way that I was taught it in 8th grade algebra, a number raised to a fractional exponent, i.e. $a^\frac x y$ is equivalent to the denominatorth root of the number raised to the numerator, i.e. ...
37
votes
7answers
1k views

Bad Fraction Reduction That Actually Works

$$\frac{16}{64}=\frac{1\rlap{/}6}{\rlap{/}64}=\frac{1}{4}$$ This is certainly not a correct technique for reducing fractions to lowest terms, but it happens to work in this case, and I believe there ...
242
votes
13answers
29k views

Find five positive integers whose reciprocals sum to $1$

Find a positive integer solution $(x,y,z,a,b)$ for which $$\frac{1}{x}+ \frac{1}{y} + \frac{1}{z} + \frac{1}{a} + \frac{1}{b} = 1\;.$$ Is your answer the only solution? If so, show why. I was ...
3
votes
4answers
500 views

How do we find a fraction with whose decimal expansion has a given repeating pattern?

We know $\frac{1}{81}$ gives us $0.\overline{0123456790}$ How do we create a recurrent decimal with the property of repeating: $0.\overline{0123456789}$ a) Is there a method to construct such a ...
39
votes
1answer
890 views

Why does this ratio of sums of square roots equal $1+\sqrt2+\sqrt{4+2\sqrt2}=\cot\frac\pi{16}$ for any natural number $n$?

Why is the following function $f(n)$ constant for any natural number $n$? $$f(n)=\frac{\sum_{k=1}^{n^2+2n}\sqrt{\sqrt{2n+2}+{\sqrt{n+1+\sqrt ...
22
votes
1answer
663 views

Simplify $\left({\sum_{k=1}^{2499}\sqrt{10+{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}}\right)\left({\sum_{k=1}^{2499}\sqrt{10-{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}}\right)^{-1}$

Simplify $$\frac{\displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{2499}\sqrt{10+{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}}{\displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{2499}\sqrt{10-{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}}$$ I don't have any good idea. I need your help.
4
votes
2answers
419 views

Approximation of irrationals by fractions

If $\alpha$ is an irrational, and I'm trying to judge the suitability of of a rational $p/q$ as its approximation by the error $\Delta = |\alpha - p/q|$. For a given denominator $q$, I am finding a ...
4
votes
3answers
445 views

Constructing Farey sequences inductively

Objective: I'd like to prove that $F_{n+1}$ (the Farey sequence of order $n+1$) is obtained form the Farey sequence $F_n$ of order $n$ by adding all fractions of the form $\frac{a+c}{b+d}$ when ...
8
votes
9answers
3k views

Are all integers fractions?

In a college class I was asked this question on a quiz in regards to sets: All integers are fractions. T/F. I answered False because if an integer is written in fraction notation it is then ...
8
votes
2answers
271 views

Writing $1$ in form of $\frac{1}{t_1}+\cdots+\frac{1}{t_n}$ [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Prove that any rational can be expressed in the form $\sum\limits_{k=1}^n{\frac{1}{a_k}}$, $a_k\in\mathbb N^*$ Can anyone help me with this problem? It's a little ...
7
votes
1answer
210 views

Number to the exponent divided by exponent value

Can someone explain including working out how to solve this? $$\dfrac{5^x}{x} = 79.85957$$ I know that the answer is $x = 3.5$, but how does one normalise the equation so that the x is on one side?
2
votes
8answers
450 views

Why Not Define $0/0$ To Be $0$?

For every number $x$, $x\times 0=0$, hence $\dfrac{0}{0}$ can be any number! So $\dfrac{0}{0}$ "is knows as indeterminate" [1]. But what if we define it to be $0$? I already have an answer, but ...
1
vote
6answers
1k views

Proof of dividing fractional expressions

For dividing two fractional expressions, how does the division sign turns into multiplication? Is there a step by step proof which proves $$\frac{a}{b} \div \frac{c}{d} = \frac{a}{b} \cdot ...
0
votes
5answers
173 views

largest fraction less than 1 [duplicate]

What is the mathematically rigorous way to answer the question: "what is the largest fraction less than 1"? (or to explain why it cannot be answered in the manner worded).
24
votes
8answers
2k views

How to make sense of fractions?

Can anybody explain what a fraction is in a way that makes sense. I will tell you what I find so confusing: A fraction is just a number, but this number is written as a division problem between two ...
19
votes
11answers
3k views

Why is $\frac{1}{\frac{1}{X}}=X$?

Can someone help me understand in basic terms why $$\frac{1}{\frac{1}{X}} = X$$ And my book says that "to simplify the reciprocal of a fraction, invert the fraction"...I don't get this because isn't ...
5
votes
4answers
576 views

What is the non-trivial, general solution of these equal ratios? [closed]

Provide non-trivial solution of the following: $$\frac{a}{b+c}=\frac{b}{c+a}=\frac{c}{a+b}$$ $a=?, b=?, c=?$ The solution should be general.
4
votes
4answers
143 views

Deeply confused about $\sqrt[5]{a^5}=(a^5)^{1/5}$

So is this correct? $\sqrt[5]{a^5} = \left(a^5\right)^{\frac{1}{5}}$ I need proof why $\left(a^5\right)^\frac{1}{5}$ can or cannot just be $a^\frac{5}{5}$ or just $a$? I think of that rule of ...
8
votes
2answers
118 views

Does the sum of the reciprocals of composites that are $ \le $ 1

The sum itself: $$ \frac{1}{4}+\frac{1}{6}+\frac{1}{8}+\frac{1}{9}+\frac{1}{10}+\frac{1}{12}+\frac{1}{14}+ \frac{1}{15}+ \frac{1}{39}... \le 1 $$ These are all sums of reciprocals of composites that ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Can we ever get an irrational number by dividing two rational numbers?

If we try to divide any two random arbitrarily long rational numbers like 103850.2387209375029375092730958297836958623986868349693868398659825528365... and ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

What is the chances of a duplicate in this equation

I'm not very good at math; However I have a scenario where I'm trying to find the chance of duplicate for randomly generated data. In a nuttshell I have a "bag" with 62 different items, lets say a ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

How to simplify $\frac{\sqrt{4+h}-2}{h}$

The following expression: $$\frac{\sqrt{4+h}-2}{h}$$ should be simplified to: $$\frac{1}{\sqrt{4+h}+2}$$ (even if I don't agree that this second is more simple than the first). The problem is ...
5
votes
1answer
222 views

When is the $lcm$ of a fraction sum the actual denominator.

Consider a sum $$\frac{a}{b}+\frac{c}{d} = \frac{x}{y}$$ where each fraction is reduced. Alternatively using the familiar process of lowest common denominators, we have $$\frac{a}{b}+\frac{c}{d} = ...
3
votes
2answers
365 views

How do you calculate how many decimal places there are before the repeating digits, given a fraction that expands to a repeating decimal?

If you have a fraction such as $$\frac{7}{26}=0.269230\overline{769230}$$ where there are a number of digits prior to the repeating section, how can you tell how many digits there will be given just ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I go about simplifying this complex radical?

I'm having a difficult time trying to simplify the radical below. When I type the radical to the left into my calculator, I arrive at the correct answer to the right. But I cannot seem to figure out ...
2
votes
1answer
423 views

Upper bound/exact length of decimal expansion of simple fraction

E.g. 1/8=0.125 has three decimals when written out in base 10, but what is a good example of a simple fraction where the decimal sequence terminates but is very large? Is there some sort of rule ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Solving a literal equation containing fractions.

I know this might seem very simple, but I can't seem to isolate x. $$\frac{1}{x} = \frac{1}{a} + \frac{1}{b} $$ Please show me the steps to solving it.
0
votes
5answers
509 views

Is this a weighted average/percentage problem?

Let's say a Marketing company has a total turnover of 10000 \$ There are 3 salesmen A,B,C with the following turnovers A = 2000 $ B = 3000 $ C = 5000 $ Now, ...
40
votes
3answers
2k views

If the decimal expansion of $a/b$ contains “$7143$” then $b>1250$

I recently stumbled upon this really interesting problem: Suppose we have a fraction $\frac{a}{b}$ where $a,b \in \mathbb{N}$ and we know that the decimal fraction of $\frac{a}{b}$ has the ...
47
votes
3answers
5k views

Why do we miss 8 in 0.012345679…, 98 in 0.0001020304050607080910111213…, and so on in fractions like 1/81, 1/9801, and so on?

I've seen this happen that when you divide by a fraction using the square of any set of nines in the denominator depending on how many there are like ${1\over 99^2}={1\over 9,801}$, you get ...
12
votes
3answers
232 views

Any 'odd fraction' can be represented as the finite sum of different 'odd unit fractions'?

Let us call a fraction whose denominator is odd 'odd fraction'. Also, let us call an odd fraction whose numerator is $1$ 'odd unit fraction'. Then, here is my question. Question : Is the ...
15
votes
2answers
607 views

What is the max of $n$ such that $\sum_{i=1}^n\frac{1}{a_i}=1$ where $2\le a_1\lt a_2\lt\cdots\lt a_n\le 99$?

What is the max of $n$ such that $$\sum_{i=1}^n\frac{1}{a_i}=1$$ where $a_{i}\ (i=1,2,\cdots,n)$ are integers which satisfy $2\le a_1\lt a_2\lt\cdots\lt a_n\le 99$ ? Also, I need how to prove that ...
13
votes
11answers
5k views

Dividing by 2 numbers at once, what is the answer?

Let's say i have 4/1/5. or 4 divided by 1 divided by 5. Are there any rules that i am allowed to use to stop any mistakes?, for example this has 2 solutions, 4/5 , and 20. Edit: Thanks for your ...
5
votes
6answers
183 views

How $\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}$ can be equal to $\frac{\sqrt{2}}{2}$?

How $\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}$ can be equal to $\frac{\sqrt{2}}{2}$? I got answer $\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}$, but the real answer is $\frac{\sqrt{2}}{2}$. Anyway, calculator for both answers return same numbers. ...
4
votes
2answers
272 views

Bound on lcm of denominators of rational numbers that sum to 1.

This is related to the question If a finite set of rational numbers sums to one, does one of the rationals have a denominator equal to the LCM of all the denominators? Suppose $1 = ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

Existence of a simultaneous rational approximation of real numbers in (0,1)

I have a simple question the rational approximation of real vectors. Dirichlet's simultaneous approximation theorem states: Given any $d$ real numbers $\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_d$ and for every ...
14
votes
2answers
496 views

proof of $\sum\nolimits_{i = 1}^{n } {\prod\nolimits_{\substack{j = 1\\j \ne i}}^{n } {\frac{{x_i }}{{x_i - x_j }}} } = 1$ [duplicate]

i found a equation that holds for any natural number of n and any $x_i \ne x_j$ as follows: $$\sum\limits_{i = 1}^{n } {\prod\limits_{\substack{j = 1\\j \ne i}}^{n } {\frac{{x_i }}{{x_i - x_j }}} } ...
11
votes
8answers
5k views

Is 1 divided by 3 equal to 0.333…?

I have been taught that $\frac{1}{3}$ is 0.333.... However, I believe that this is not true, as 1/3 cannot actually be represented in base ten; even if you had ...
11
votes
1answer
781 views

Interesting pattern in the decimal expansion of $\frac1{243}$

There appears to be an interesting pattern in the decimal expansion of $\dfrac1{243}$: $$\frac1{243}=0.\overline{004115226337448559670781893}$$ I was wondering if anyone could clarify how this ...
8
votes
1answer
106 views

Distribution of the sum reciprocal of primes $\le 1$

$$\frac{1}{2}+\frac{1}{3}+\frac{1}{7}+\frac{1}{43}+\cdots \le 1 $$ This is an interesting infinite summation. This is very closely resembling my other problem with has to do with the distribution of ...
8
votes
4answers
200 views

Primary/Elementary Pedagogy: What is the rationale for the absent '+' in mixed fractions?

Why are elementary students taught to represent one and a half as 1 1/2 rather than 1 + 1/2? This mode of expression seems standard throughout at least North America. I think it is bad pedagogy for a ...
8
votes
4answers
213 views

What is the 'physical' explanation of a division by a fraction?

For example, dividing by 2, means we cut something in two. But dividing by 0.5, can only be explained with multiplying something by 2. So, is there a "physical" explanation of dividing by 0.5? Is it ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

Assuming there exist infinite prime twins does $\prod_i (1+\frac{1}{p_i})$ diverge?

Assume there are an infinite amount of prime twins. Let $p_i$ be the smallest of the $i$ th prime twin. Does that imply that $\prod_i (1+\frac{1}{p_i})$ diverges ?
3
votes
3answers
753 views

How to find a “simple” fraction between two other fractions?

If we have two fractions $a = { a_1 \over a_2} $ and $c = {c_1 \over c_2}$ with $a<c$, how to find the fraction $b = { b_1 \over b_2 }$ , $a < b < c$ for which some measure of ...
3
votes
2answers
406 views

Adding a different constant to numerator and denominator

Suppose that $a$ is less than $b$ , $c$ is less than $d$. What is the relation between $\dfrac{a}{b}$ and $\dfrac{a+c}{b+d}$? Is $\dfrac{a}{b}$ less than, greater than or equal to ...