Questions on more advanced topics of number theory, such as quadratic residues, primitive roots, prime numbers, non-linear Diophantine equations, etc. Consider first if (elementary-number-theory) might be a more appropriate tag before adding this tag.

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320
votes
25answers
33k views

Different methods to compute $\sum\limits_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^2}$

As I have heard people did not trust Euler when he first discovered the formula (solution of the Basel problem) $$\zeta(2)=\sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^2}=\frac{\pi^2}{6}.$$ However, Euler was Euler ...
66
votes
11answers
11k views

$\sqrt a$ is either an integer or an irrational number.

I got this interesting question in my mind: How do we prove that if $a \in \mathbb N$, then $\sqrt a$ is an integer or an irrational number? Can we extend this result? That is, can it be shown ...
52
votes
2answers
6k views

The square roots of different primes are linearly independent over the field of rationals

I need to find a way of proving that the square roots of a finite set of different primes are linearly independent over the field of rationals. I've tried to solve the problem using ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

If $a \mid m$ and $(a + 1) \mid m$, prove $a(a + 1) | m$.

Can anyone help me out here? Can't seem to find the right rules of divisibility to show this: If $a \mid m$ and $(a + 1) \mid m$, then $a(a + 1) \mid m$.
50
votes
6answers
4k views

$x^y = y^x$ for integers $x$ and $y$

We know that $2^4 = 4^2$ and $(-2)^{-4} = (-4)^{-2}$. Is there another pair of integers $x, y$ ($x\neq y$) which satisfies the equality $x^y = y^x$?
89
votes
8answers
9k views

Is there an elementary proof that $\sum \limits_{k=1}^n \frac1k$ is never an integer?

If $n>1$ is an integer, then $\sum \limits_{k=1}^n \frac1k$ is not an integer. If you know Bertrand's Postulate, then you know there must be a prime $p$ between $n/2$ and $n$, so $\frac 1p$ ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Solutions to $ax^2 + by^2 = cz^2$

The integer solutions to the equation $x^2 + y^2 = z^2$ are very well studied. I'm wondering if there's any literature about the integer solutions to the equation $ax^2 + by^2 = cz^2$ where a,b,c are ...
318
votes
12answers
89k views

Does Pi contain all possible number combinations?

I came across the following image, which states: $\pi$ Pi Pi is an infinite, nonrepeating (sic) decimal - meaning that every possible number combination exists somewhere in pi. Converted ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

Reed Solomon Polynomial Generator

I am developing a sample program to generate a 2D Barcode. And i am using reed solomon error correction code. By Going through this article i am developing the program. But i couldn't understand how ...
23
votes
9answers
6k views

Is there possibly a largest prime number?

Prime numbers are numbers with no factors other than one and itself. Factors of a number are always lower or equal to than a given number; so, the larger the number is, the larger the pool of ...
110
votes
29answers
38k views

Best book ever on Number Theory

Which is the single best book for Number Theory that everyone who loves Mathematics should read?
32
votes
3answers
4k views

Alternative proof that $(a^2+b^2)/(ab+1)$ is a square when it's an integer

Let $a,b$ be positive integers. When $$k = \frac{a^2 + b^2}{ab+1}$$ is an integer, it is a square. Proof 1: (Ngô Bảo Châu): Rearrange to get $a^2-akb+b^2-k=0$, as a quadratic in $a$ this has two ...
17
votes
4answers
10k views

Simple explanation and examples of the Miller-Rabin Primality Test

Coming from an understanding of Fermat's primality test, I'm looking for a clear explanation of the Miller-Rabin primality test. Specifically: I understand that for some reason, having non-trivial ...
49
votes
8answers
9k views

Nice proofs of $\zeta(4) = \pi^4/90$?

I know some nice ways to prove that $\zeta(2) = \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^2} = \pi^2/6$. For example, see Robin Chapman's list or the answers to the question "Different methods to compute ...
30
votes
1answer
1k views

How does $ \sum_{p<x} p^{-s} $ grow asymptotically for $ \text{Re}(s) < 1 $?

Note the $ p < x $ in the sum stands for all primes less than $ x $. I know that for $ s=1 $, $$ \sum_{p<x} \frac{1}{p} \sim \ln \ln x , $$ and for $ \mathrm{Re}(s) > 1 $, the partial sums ...
10
votes
5answers
324 views

Show that $\gcd\left(\frac{a^n-b^n}{a-b},a-b\right)=\gcd(n d^{n-1},a-b)$

How to show that $$ \gcd\bigg( {a^n-b^n \over a-b} ,a-b\bigg )=\gcd(n d^{n-1},a-b ) $$ $a,b\in \mathbb Z$ where $d=\gcd(a,b)$? Note $\ $ Some of the answers below were merged from this ...
2
votes
1answer
607 views

If the order divides a prime P then the order is P (or 1)

I've just come up with this question as I'm studying for a number theory midterm. If $p$ and $q$ are different prime numbers, and it's known that $2^p \equiv 1 \bmod{q}$, then $q\equiv 1 \bmod{p}$. ...
3
votes
3answers
122 views

Show $GCD(a_1, a_2, a_3, \ldots , a_n)$ is the least positive integer that can be expressed in the form $a_1x_1+a_2x_2+ \ldots +a_nx_n$

Given $a_1, a_2, a_3, \ldots , a_n$ not all zero, show $GCD(a_1, a_2, a_3, \ldots , a_n)$ is the least positive integer that can be expressed in the form $a_1x_1+a_2x_2+ \ldots +a_nx_n$. Also deduce ...
58
votes
17answers
9k views

Different ways to prove there are infinitely many primes?

This is just a curiosity. I have come across multiple proofs of the fact that there are infinitely many primes, some of them were quite trivial, but some others were really, really fancy. I'll show ...
23
votes
6answers
5k views

Efficiently finding two squares which sum to a prime

The web is littered with any number of pages (example) giving an existence and uniqueness proof that a pair of squares can be found summing to primes congruent to 1 mod 4 (and also that there are no ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the Euler phi function bounded below?

I am working on a question for my number theory class that asks: Prove that for every integer $n \geq 1$, $\phi(n) \geq \frac{\sqrt{n}}{\sqrt{2}}$. However, I was searching around Google, and on ...
9
votes
5answers
461 views

factorial as difference of powers: $\sum_{r=0}^{n}\binom{n}{r}(-1)^r(l-r)^n=n!$?

The successive difference of powers of integers leads to factorial of that power. I think this is the formula $\sum_{r=0}^{n}\binom{n}{r}(-1)^r(l-r)^n=n!$ But I found no proof on internet. Please ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there an intuitionist (i.e., constructive) proof of the infinitude of primes?

This question relates to a discussion on another message board. Euclid's proof of the infinitude of primes is an indirect proof (a.k.a. proof by contradiction, reductio ad absurdum, modus tollens). My ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

A natural number multiplied by some integer results in a number with only ones and zeros

I recently solved a problem, which says that, A positive integer can be multiplied with another integer resulting in a positive integer that is composed only of one and zero as digits. How can ...
27
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I count the subsets of a set whose number of elements is divisible by 3? 4?

Let $S$ be a set of size $n$. There is an easy way to count the number of subsets with an even number of elements. Algebraically, it comes from the fact that $\displaystyle \sum_{k=0}^{n} {n ...
21
votes
6answers
7k views

prove that $(2n)!/(n!)^2$ is even if $n$ is a positive integer

Prove that $(2n)!/(n!)^2$ is even if $n$ is a positive integer. For clarity: the denominator is the only part being squared. My thought process: The numerator is the product of the first n even ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I prove that all rational numbers are either terminally real or repeating real numbers?

I am trying to figure out how to prove that all rational numbers are either terminally real or repeating real numbers, but I am having a great difficulty in doing so. Any help will be greatly ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

Undergraduate/High-School-Olympiad Level Introductory Number Theory Books For Self-Learning

I don't know whether the books metioned in Best ever book on Number Theory are beyond undergraduate/high-school-olympiad level. Please recommend your favourite.
7
votes
4answers
5k views

Modular exponentiation using Euler’s theorem

How can I calculate $27^{41}\ \mathrm{mod}\ 77$ as simple as possible? I already know that $27^{60}\ \mathrm{mod}\ 77 = 1$ because of Euler’s theorem: $$ a^{\phi(n)}\ \mathrm{mod}\ n = 1 $$ and $$ ...
45
votes
14answers
12k views

For any prime $p > 3$, why is $p^2-1$ always divisible by 24?

I know this is very basic and old hat to many, but I love this question and I am interested in seeing whether there are any proofs beyond the two I already know.
29
votes
3answers
34k views

Finding a primitive root of a prime number

How would you find a primitive root of a prime number such as 761? How do you pick the primitive roots to test? Randomly? Thanks
25
votes
5answers
16k views

Is there a known mathematical equation to find the nth prime?

I've solved for it making a computer program, but was wondering there was a mathematical equation that you could use to solve for the nth prime?
3
votes
2answers
253 views

Proving $p\nmid \dbinom{p^rm}{p^r}$ where $p\nmid m$

A question from Advanced Modern Algebra by Joseph J.Rotman. Let $n=(p^r)m $ such that the prime $p\nmid m$.Prove that $p\nmid \dbinom{n}{p^r}$.HINT: Assume otherwise,cross multiply and apply ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Why doesn't $0$ being a prime ideal in $\mathbb Z$ imply that $0$ is a prime number?

I know that $1$ is not a prime number because $1\cdot\mathbb Z=\mathbb Z$ is, by convention, not a prime ideal in the ring $\mathbb Z$. However, since $\mathbb Z$ is a domain, $0\cdot\mathbb Z=0$ is ...
13
votes
5answers
958 views

Integral solutions of $x^2+y^2+1=z^2$

I am interested in integral solutions of $$x^2+y^2+1=z^2.$$ Is there a complete theory comparable to the one for $x^2+y^2=z^2?$
8
votes
4answers
5k views

Continued fraction of a square root

If I want to find the continued fraction of $\sqrt{n}$ how do I know which number to use for $a_0$? Is there a way to do it without using a calculator or anything like that? What's the general ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Show that $3p^2=q^2$ implies $3|p$ and $3|q$

This is a problem from "Introduction to Mathematics - Algebra and Number Systems" (specifically, exercise set 2 #9), which is one of my math texts. Please note that this isn't homework, but I would ...
5
votes
3answers
898 views

Erdös-Straus conjecture

I'm reading a lot about the Erdös-Straus Conjecture (ESC), a conjecture that states that for every natural number $p \geq 2$, there exists a set of natural numbers $a, b, c$ , such that the following ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

calculating $a^b \!\mod c$

What is the fastest way (general method) to calculate the quantity $a^b \!\mod c$? For example $a=2205$, $b=23$, $c=4891$.
0
votes
4answers
245 views

Curves triangular numbers.

Sometimes you have to deal with this equation: $X^2+aX+Y^2+bY=Z^2+cZ$ $a,b,c$ - integer coefficients. I wrote below - to start a particular solution of Diophantine equations. To do this, use the ...
82
votes
4answers
3k views

Least prime of the form $38^n+31$

I search the least n such that $$38^n+31$$ is prime. I checked the $n$ upto $3000$ and found none, so the least prime of that form must have more than $4000$ digits. I am content with a probable ...
123
votes
3answers
5k views

How to show $e^{e^{e^{79}}}$ is not an integer

In this question, I needed to assume in my answer that $e^{e^{e^{79}}}$ is not an integer. Is there some standard result in number theory that applies to situations like this? Much later addendum: ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Every even integer can be expressed as the difference of two primes?

Every even integer can be expressed as the difference of two primes? If so, is there any elementary proof?
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Fermat numbers are coprime

So today in my final for number theory I had to prove that the Fermat numbers ($F_n=2^{2^n}+1$) are coprime. I know that the standard proof uses the following: $F_n=F_1...F_{n-1}+2$ and then the ...
14
votes
3answers
623 views

Can $\sqrt{n} + \sqrt{m}$ be rational if neither $n,m$ are perfect squares?

Can the expression $\sqrt{n} + \sqrt{m}$ be rational if neither $n,m \in \mathbb{N}$ are perfect squares? I doesn't seem likely, the only way that could happen is if for example $\sqrt{m} = ...
99
votes
8answers
23k views

What is the importance of the Collatz conjecture?

I have been fascinated by this problem since I first heard about it in high school. From the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collatz_problem: Take any natural number $n$. If $n$ is ...
51
votes
6answers
5k views

Is the notorious $n^2 + n + 41$ prime generator the last of its type?

The polynomial $n^2+n+41$ famously takes prime values for all $0\le n\lt 40$. I have read that this is closely related to the fact that 163 is a Heegner number, although I don't understand the ...
12
votes
2answers
631 views

Write down the sum of sum of sum of digits of $4444^{4444}$

Let $A = 4444^{4444}$; Then sum of digits of $A = B$; Then sum of digits of $B = C$; Then sum of digits of $C = D$; Find $D$. What should be the approach here?
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Proving ${n \choose p} \equiv \Bigl[\frac{n}{p}\Bigr] \ (\text{mod} \ p)$

This is an exercise from Apostol, which i have been struggling for a while. Given a prime $p$, how does one show that $${n \choose p} \equiv \biggl[\frac{n}{p}\biggr] \ (\text{mod} \ p)$$ Note that ...
8
votes
5answers
847 views

How many rationals of the form $\large \frac{2^n+1}{n^2}$ are integers?

This was Problem 3 (first day) of the 1990 IMO. A full solution can be found here. How many rationals of the form $\large \frac{2^n+1}{n^2},$ $(n \in \mathbb{N} )$ are integers? The possible ...