Use this tag when you want to determine the thinking that is needed to solve a certain type of problem, as opposed to looking for a specific answer to a question.

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12
votes
4answers
2k views

How to solve this sequence $165,195,255,285,345,x$

This is a question appeared in a competitive exam. The question is: Find the unknown term in $165,195,255,285,345,x$ 1)375 $\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ $ 2)420 3)435 $\ \ \ \ \ \ \ ...
8
votes
5answers
834 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
736 views

Maps - question about $f(A \cup B)=f(A) \cup f(B)$ and $ f(A \cap B)=f(A) \cap f(B)$

I am struggling to prove this map statement on sets. The statement is: Let $f:X \rightarrow Y$ be a map. i) $\forall_{A,B \subset X}: f(A \cup B)=f(A) \cup f(B)$ ii) $\forall_{A,B \subset X}: ...
5
votes
2answers
411 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
116 views

What should I do if I don't know where to start?

Sometimes getting started on a problem seems to be the hardest part. Once you find something to sink your teeth into, everything goes smoothly. What are some good things to try when you're staring at ...
3
votes
1answer
349 views

Evaluating the time average over energy

For more info see the article equations 37 Edit: The $\varepsilon ^3 $ has vanished due to time average. But how to get the 4th order? Let us define some function for scalar field $$\phi= ...
3
votes
2answers
415 views

how to prove $f^{-1}(B_1 \cap B_2) = f^{-1}(B_1) \cap f^{-1}(B_2)$

I am given this equation: $f^{-1}(B_1 \cap B_2) = f^{-1}(B_1) \cap f^{-1}(B_2)$ I want to prove it: what i did is I take any $a \in f^{-1}(B_1 \cap B_2)$, then there is $b \in (B_1 \cap B_2)$ so ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Missing dollar problem

This sounds silly but I saw this and I couldn't figure it out so I thought you could help. The below is what I saw. You see a top you want to buy for $\$97$, but you don't have any money so you ...
2
votes
3answers
267 views

Where is the lost dollar?

Somebody explained me this problem, but I am not sure to understand what is wrong. ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Smallest multiple whose digits are only ones and zeros [duplicate]

I have a collection of typewritten pages that formed the basis of a third year problem solving course offered about 25 years ago at U. Waterloo. I've been slowly working through the problems and have ...
1
vote
2answers
93 views

How can I solve this problem without having to do it by hand?

I'm dealing with the following problem in computational programming. I'm trying to find a way to build an algorithm that can quickly resolve the following problem statement without forcing me to do it ...
75
votes
11answers
3k views

Problems that become easier in a more general form

When solving a problem, we often look at some special cases first, then try to work our way up to the general case. It would be interesting to see some counterexamples to this mental process, i.e. ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

List of problem books in undergraduate and graduate mathematics

I would like to know some good problem books in various branches of undergraduate and graduate mathematics like group theory, galois theory, commutative algebra, real analysis, complex analysis, ...
25
votes
13answers
685 views

Examples where it is easier to prove more than less

Especially (but not only) in the case of induction proofs, it happens that a stronger claim $B$ is easier to prove than the intended claim $A$ (e.g. since the induction hypothesis gives you more ...
16
votes
3answers
793 views

prove $\sqrt{a_n b_n}$ and $\frac{1}{2}(a_n+b_n)$ have same limit

i am given this problem: let $a\ge0$,$b\ge0$, and the sequences $a_n$ and $b_n$ are defined in this way: $a_0:=a$, $b_0:=b$ and $a_{n+1}:= \sqrt{a_nb_n}$ and $b_{n+1}:=\frac{1}{2}(a_n+b_n)$ for all ...
3
votes
6answers
591 views

Solving $\sqrt{7x-4}-\sqrt{7x-5}=\sqrt{4x-1}-\sqrt{4x-2}$

Where do I start to solve a equation for x like the one below? $$\sqrt{7x-4}-\sqrt{7x-5}=\sqrt{4x-1}-\sqrt{4x-2}$$ After squaring it, it's too complicated; but there's nothing to factor or to ...
6
votes
3answers
743 views

When chessboards meet dominoes

You probably have heard about the following brainteaser : Consider a 8×8 chessboard. Remove two extreme squares (top-left and bottom-right e.g.). Can you fill the remaining chessboard with 1×2 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Induction Proof: Formula for Sum of n Fibonacci Numbers

I am stuck though on the way to prove this statement of fibonacci numbers by induction : my steps: definition: $F_{0}:=0, F_{1}:=1 $ and $F_{n}:=F_{n-1}+F_{n-2}$ The Hypothesis is: $\sum_{i=0}^{n} ...
3
votes
2answers
140 views

Evaluating decay rate with trigonometric explanation

According to the equation 4, $$\phi(0,t)= \frac{A_0}{(1+\frac{2t^2}{R^4})^{3/4}}\cos \left(\sqrt2 t+ \frac{3}{2}\tan^{-1}\left[\frac{\sqrt2 t}{R^2}\right]\right)\tag{1}$$ what conditions makes, ...
11
votes
0answers
271 views

Pólya and Szegő, Part I, Ch. 4, 174.

The following is a problem proposed in Pólya and Szegő's book "Problems and Theorems in Analysis" Assume that $0<f(x)<x$ and $$f(x)=x-ax^k+bx^\ell+x^\ell \varepsilon(x),\,\;\;\;\lim_{x\to ...
4
votes
4answers
377 views

Proof of $n^2 \leq 2^n$.

I am trying to prove that $n^2 \leq 2^n$ for all natural $n$ with $n \ne 3$. My steps are: induction base case: $n=0:$ $0² \leq 2⁰$ which is okay. inductive step: $n \rightarrow n+1:$ ...
190
votes
4answers
12k views

The Mathematics of Tetris

I am a big fan of the oldschool games and I once noticed that there is a sort parity associated to one and only one Tetris piece, the $\color{purple}{\text{T}}$ piece. This parity is found with no ...
23
votes
11answers
2k views

Puzzles or short exercises illustrating mathematical problem solving to freshman students

At high school, the solution method to almost all mathematical exercises is to apply some technique or algorithm you have learned before. At the university, the situation is fundamentally different. ...
18
votes
5answers
7k views

How to Improve Mathematical Thinking and General Problem Solving Skills?

I'm a sophomore in university and seriously feel that I'm bad at solving mathematical and algorithmic problems (be it discrete math, calculus or just puzzles). I noticed that I'm only good at solving ...
6
votes
5answers
396 views

For $(x+\sqrt{x^2+3})(y+\sqrt{y^2+3})=3$, compute $x+y$ .

If $(x+\sqrt{x^2+3})(y+\sqrt{y^2+3})=3$, compute $x+y$.
5
votes
1answer
151 views

Prove Divisibility In Fibonacci Sequence Over A Prime Number

In The Fibonacci sequence which is defined as: Lets say we have the number $p$ which is an odd prime. Prove that: $F_{p-1} + F_{p+1} -1$ Is divisible by $p$. Prove that for any given $n$ real ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Prove that $\sqrt{n} \le \sum_{k=1}^n \frac{1}{\sqrt{k}} \le 2 \sqrt{n} - 1$ is true for $n \in \mathbb{N}^{\ge 1}$

I'm trying to solve these induction exercises proposed by the department of mathematics of Oxford University. I don't know how to give a valid proof for the third one which says the following: ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

In how many different ways can we place $8$ identical rooks on a chess board so that no two of them attack each other?

In how many different ways can we place $8$ identical rooks on a chess board so that no two of them attack each other? I tried to draw diagrams onto a $8\times8$ square but I'm only getting $16$ ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

Expected Ratio of Coin Flips

If you flip a coin until you decide to stop and you want to maximize the ratio of heads to total flips, what is that expected ratio? Assuming that you want to maximize the ratio, meaning ...
3
votes
1answer
415 views

Mathematics of Tetris 2.0

Based on the question The Mathematics of Tetris, I was wondering if it is possible to have a series of tetris blocks that is impossible to clear. For example, getting the string TTTSS.. forces the ...
5
votes
2answers
153 views

If $abc=1$, then $\frac{a^{n+2}}{a^n+(n-1)b^n}+\frac{b^{n+2}}{b^n+(n-1)c^n}+\frac{c^{n+2}}{c^n+(n-1)a^n} \geq \frac{3}{n} $

Let $a$, $b$ and $c$ be positive real numbers with $abc=1$. Prove that $$ \frac{a^{n+2}}{a^n+(n-1)b^n}+\frac{b^{n+2}}{b^n+(n-1)c^n}+\frac{c^{n+2}}{c^n+(n-1)a^n} \geq \frac{3}{n} $$ for each ...
3
votes
2answers
450 views

Permutation of 1…9 with no ascending or descending subsequence of length 4

Arrange the numbers $1,2,...,9$ in such an order that no four of them appear (adjacently or otherwise) in ascending or descending order. Show that there is no arrangement of the numbers $1,2,...,10$ ...
1
vote
2answers
131 views

Not able to solve $({\frac{1}{2}})^p + ({\frac{1}{3}})^p + ({\frac{1}{7}})^p - 1 = 0.$

I'm not able to solve $$({\frac{1}{2}})^p + ({\frac{1}{3}})^p + ({\frac{1}{7}})^p - 1 = 0.$$ If you put values of $p$ (like $\frac{1}{2}$ or 2) back in the equation it doesn't satisfy! So please ...
0
votes
2answers
603 views

In △ ABC, D is the midpoint of AB, while E lies on BC satisfying BE = 2EC. If m∠ADC=m∠BAE, what is the measure of ∠BAC in degrees?

In △ABC, D is the midpoint of AB, while E lies on BC satisfying BE = 2EC. If m∠ADC=m∠BAE, what is the measure of ∠BAC in degrees? I know already that angle A and angle D are congruent because ...
11
votes
3answers
545 views

Penguin Brainteaser : 321-avoiding permutations

There are $k$ penguins, $k\ge 3$. They are all different heights. How many ways are there to order the penguins in a line, left to right, so that we cannot find any three that are arranged tallest to ...
1
vote
0answers
199 views

Vieta jumping with non-monic polynomials

I have recently discovered Vieta jumping as a problem-solving technique. In order to teach myself about it, I have located most (all of?) the standard references, both here on MSE and "out there" (via ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

Second Order Partial Differentiation

I don't have a clue on how to start this question. I have a feeling I will need to use the Clairaut's theorem: $f_xy=f_yx$ Can anyone advise?
0
votes
2answers
113 views

Nonexistence of Limit of Sum of Prime Factors

In trying to prove the following problem, I find great difficulty in proceeding to generalizing some results: Let $s(n)$ be the sum of prime factors of an integer $n$. Prove that $\lim_{n \to \infty} ...
0
votes
1answer
528 views

Exact area using limits and Riemann sum

the i need to find the exact area under tha curve of the function $f(x)=4+3x-x^2$ on the interval $[-1,3]$ using limits and a Riemann Sum. I have nothing started, because I am confused on where to ...
0
votes
2answers
426 views

How to solve the irrational inequality?

Solve the inequality $$\dfrac{2x^4+2x^2}{\sqrt{x+1}}+(x+2)\sqrt{x+1}>x ^3 + 2x^2 + 5x.$$ I tried. By putting $t = \sqrt{x+1}$, we have $$2t^8-t^7-8t^6+t^5+15t^4-4t^3-11t^2+4t+4>0.$$ Using Maple, ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Confusion regarding probability of microbe producing everlasting colony.

My question is about the given solution to problem 4 in Newman's book 'A Problem Seminar'. Note that the book is available online at Springer. Problem 4 A microbe either splits into two perfect ...
41
votes
16answers
14k views

Interview riddle

On the Mathematics chat we were recently talking about the following problem @Chris'ssis had to solve during an interview : $$3\times 4=8$$ $$4\times 5=50$$ $$5\times 6=30$$ $$6\times 7=49$$ ...
35
votes
13answers
3k views

Examples of famous problems resolved easily

Have there been examples of seemingly long standing hard problems, answered quite easily possibly with tools existing at the time the problems were made? More modern examples would be nice. An example ...
47
votes
3answers
1k views

Laplace, Legendre, Fourier, Hankel, Mellin, Hilbert, Borel, Z…: unified treatment of transforms?

I understand "transform methods" as recipes, but beyond this they are a big mystery to me. There are two aspects of them I find bewildering. One is the sheer multiplicity of such transforms. Is ...
48
votes
5answers
2k views

Finding the value of $\sqrt{1+2\sqrt{2+3\sqrt{3+4\sqrt{4+5\sqrt{5+\dots}}}}}$

Is it possible to find the value of $$\sqrt{1+2\sqrt{2+3\sqrt{3+4\sqrt{4+5\sqrt{5+\dots}}}}}$$ Does it help if I set it equal to $x$? Or I mean what can I possibly do? ...
24
votes
7answers
783 views

“Here's a cool problem”: a collection of short questions with clever solutions

This game will be familiar to many mathematicians, and it is always good fun to play. I am looking to find a list of good questions with short, when-you-see-it solutions. The kind of question one ...
20
votes
1answer
483 views

Is $\sum_{k=1}^{n} k^k / \sum_{k=1}^{n} k \in \mathbb{N}$ for some $n > 1$?

Let $ A = \sum_{k=1}^{n} k^k $ and $ B = \sum_{k=1}^{n} k$, where $n >1 $ is a positive integer. Is $A/B$ ever an integer?
34
votes
1answer
682 views

Proving that $x$ is an integer, if the differences between any two of $x^{1919}$, $x^{1960}$, and $x^{2100}$ are integers

For a specific real number $x$, the difference between any two of $x^{1919}$, $x^{1960}$ , and $x^{2100}$ is always an integer. How would one prove that $x$ is an integer?
16
votes
4answers
501 views

How to calculate $I=\frac{1}{2}\int_{0}^{\frac{\pi }{2}}\frac{\ln(\sin y)\ln(\cos y)}{\sin y\cos y}dy$?

How do I integrate this guy? I've been stuck on this for hours.. $$I=\frac{1}{2}\int_{0}^{\frac{\pi }{2}}\frac{\ln(\sin y)\ln(\cos y)}{\sin y\cos y}dy$$
23
votes
7answers
1k views

Sum of the sum of the sum of the first $n$ natural numbers

I have here another problem of mine, which I couldn't manage to solve. Given that: $$x_n = 1 + 2 + \dots + n \\ y_n = x_1 + x_2 + \dots + x_n \\ z_n = y_1 + y_2 + \dots + y_n $$ Find ...