For questions about approaches and techniques for discovering a proof, as opposed to writing it down clearly (which involves (proof-writing)). Should not be used unless the focus is on the technique of the proof instead of the solution.

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43
votes
20answers
11k views

Proof that $\sum\limits_{k=1}^nk^2 = \frac{n(n+1)(2n+1)}{6}$?

I am just starting into calculus and I have a question about the following statement I encountered while learning about definite integrals: $$\sum_{k=1}^n k^2 = \frac{n(n+1)(2n+1)}{6}$$ I really ...
25
votes
12answers
8k views

Prove that $\lim \limits_{n \to \infty} \frac{x^n}{n!} = 0$, $x \in \Bbb R$.

Why is $$\lim_{n \to \infty} \frac{2^n}{n!}=0\text{ ?}$$ Can we generalize it to any exponent $x \in \Bbb R$? This is to say, is $$\lim_{n \to \infty} \frac{x^n}{n!}=0\text{ ?}$$ This is ...
49
votes
1answer
2k views

Is Lagrange's theorem the most basic result in finite group theory?

Motivated by this question, can one prove that the order of an element in a finite group divides the order of the group without using Lagrange's theorem? (Or, equivalently, that the order of the group ...
70
votes
1answer
5k views

How to determine with certainty that a function has no elementary antiderivative?

Given an expression such as $f(x) = x^x$, is it possible to provide a thorough and rigorous proof that there is no function $F(x)$ (expressible in terms of known algebraic and transcendental ...
2
votes
2answers
119 views

Let $a$ and $b$ be non-zero integers, and $c$ be an integer. Let $d = hcf(a, b)$. Prove that if $a|c$ and $b|c$ then $ab|cd$.

Proofs homework question. We know that if $a|c$ and $b|c$ then $a\cdot b\cdot s=c$ (for some positive integer $s$). $(ab|c)$ Then doesn't $ab|dc$ since $ab|c$? I feel like I'm misunderstanding my ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Proof of a formula involving Euler's totient function.

The third formula on the wikipedia page for the Totient function states that $$\varphi (mn) = \varphi (m) \varphi (n) \cdot \dfrac{d}{\varphi (d)} $$ where $d = \gcd(m,n)$. How is this claim ...
3
votes
3answers
627 views

Finding the error in a proof

I have a "proof" that has an error in it and my goal is to figure out what this error is. The proof: If x = y, then $$ \begin{eqnarray} x^2 &=& xy \nonumber \\ x^2 - y^2 &=& xy - ...
4
votes
3answers
602 views

How to prove that $z\cdot\text{gcd}(a,b)=\text{gcd}(za,zb)$

I need to prove that $z \cdot \text{gcd}(a,b)=\text{gcd}(za,zb)$. I tried a lot, for example, looking at set of common divisors of the two sides, but I can't conclude anything from that. Can you ...
31
votes
4answers
7k views

Prove that $i^i$ is a real number

According to WolframAlpha, $i^i=e^{-\pi/2}$ but I don't know how I can prove it.
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Prove that $\mathcal{P}(A)⊆ \mathcal{P}(B)$ if and only if $A⊆B$. [duplicate]

Here is my proof, I would appreciate it if someone could critique it for me: To prove this statement true, we must proof that the two conditional statements ("If $\mathcal{P}(A)⊆ \mathcal{P}(B)$, ...
60
votes
7answers
11k views

Lesser-known integration tricks

I am currently studying for the GRE math subject test, which heavily tests calculus. I've reviewed most of the basic calculus techniques (integration by parts, trig substitutions, etc.) I am now ...
21
votes
7answers
5k views

how to be good at proving?

I'm starting my Discrete Math class, and I was taught proving techniques such as proof by contradiction, contrapositive proof, proof by construction, direct proof, equivalence proof etc. I know how ...
49
votes
7answers
8k views

Prove every odd integer is the difference of two squares

I know that I should use the definition of an odd integer ($2k+1$), but that's about it. Thanks in advance!
5
votes
5answers
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 ...
56
votes
3answers
14k views

Proof by contradiction vs Prove the contrapositive

What is the difference between a "proof by contradiction" and "proving the contrapositive"? Intuitive, it feels like doing the exact same thing. And when I compare an exercise, one person proves by ...
12
votes
10answers
6k views

What's the proof that the Euler totient function is multiplicative?

That is, why is $\varphi (A\cdot B)=\varphi (A)\cdot \varphi (B)$, if A and B are coprime? It's not just a technical trouble—I can't see why this should be, intuitively: I bellyfeel that its ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Show that $11^{n+1}+12^{2n-1}$ is divisible by $133$.

Problem taken from a paper on mathematical induction by Gerardo Con Diaz. Although it doesn't look like anything special, I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to crack this, with no luck. ...
4
votes
4answers
448 views

Proving $f(C) \setminus f(D) \subseteq f(C \setminus D)$ and disproving equality

Let $f: A\longrightarrow B$ be a function. 1)Prove that for any two sets, $C,D\subseteq A$ , we have $f(C) \setminus f(D)\subseteq f(C\setminus D)$. 2)Give an example of a function $f$, and sets ...
8
votes
4answers
14k views

Proof of triangle inequality

I understand intuitively that this is true, but I'm embarrassed to say I'm having a hard time constructing a rigorous proof that $|a+b| \leq |a|+|b|$. Any help would be appreciated :)
2
votes
2answers
943 views

Proof for the formula of sum of arcsine functions $ \arcsin x + \arcsin y $

It is known that the following holds good: $$ \arcsin x + \arcsin y \\ \begin{align} &=\arcsin( x\sqrt{1-y^2} + y\sqrt{1-x^2}) \;\;;x^2+y^2 \le 1 \;\text{ or }\; x^2+y^2 > 1, xy< 0\\ ...
3
votes
3answers
359 views

Cauchy Sequence. What is this question actually telling me?

Let $(a_n)$ be a sequence such that $\lim\limits_{N\to\infty} \sum_{n=1}^n |a_n-a_{n+1}|<\infty$. Show that $(a_n)$ is Cauchy. So basically I am told that the sum of the difference isn't ...
48
votes
13answers
3k views

Pseudo Proofs that are intuitively reasonable

What are nice "proofs" of true facts that are not really rigorous but give the right answer and still make sense on some level? Personally, I consider them to be guilty pleasures. Here are examples ...
17
votes
2answers
385 views

How can I prove my conjecture for the coefficients in $t(x)=\log(1+\exp(x)) $?

I'm considering the transfer-function $$ t(x) = \log(1 + \exp(x)) $$ and find the beginning of the power series (simply using Pari/GP) as $$ t(x) = \log(2) + 1/2 x + 1/8 x^2 – 1/192 x^4 + 1/2880 x^6 - ...
7
votes
7answers
3k views

Easiest and most complex proof of $\gcd (a,b) \times \operatorname{lcm} (a,b) =ab.$

I'm looking for an understandable proof of this theorem, and also a complex one involving beautiful math techniques such as analytic number theory, or something else. I hope you can help me on that. ...
5
votes
2answers
212 views

Sum of Stirling numbers of both kinds

Let $a_k$ be the number of ways to partition a set of $n$ elements $orderly$,which means that order of subsets matters, but order of elements in each subset does not. My task: Prove, ...
5
votes
3answers
761 views

Proof by induction of Bernoulli's inequality: $(1 + x)^n \geq 1 + nx$

I'm asked to used induction to prove Bernoulli's Inequality: If $1+x>0$, then $(1+x)^n\geq 1+nx$ for all $n\in\mathbb{N}$. This what I have so far: Let $n=1$. Then $1+x\geq 1+x$. This is true. Now ...
5
votes
3answers
474 views

How to prove or statements

How do I prove statements of the following types: $A \text{ or } B \implies$ C $A \implies B \text{ or } C$ I don't know how to go about proving statements like this when they have "or". Can ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

Proof by induction that $ \sum_{i=1}^n 3i-2 = \frac{n(3n-1)}{2} $

I'm starting to understand how induction works (with the whole $k \to k+1$ thing), but I'm not exactly sure how summations play a role. I'm a bit confused by this question specifically: $$ ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

$\epsilon$-$\delta$ proof that $\lim\limits_{x \to 1} \frac{1}{x} = 1$.

I'm starting Spivak's Calculus and finally decided to learn how to write epsilon-delta proofs. I have been working on chapter 5, number 3(ii). The problem, in essence, asks to prove that ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Nested Radical of Ramanujan

I think I have sort of a proof of the following nested radical expression due to Ramanujan for $x\ge 0$. $$\large x+1=\sqrt{1+x\sqrt{1+(x+1)\sqrt{1+(x+2)\sqrt{1+\cdots}}}}$$ for $ x\ge -1$ I ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I prove that $\gcd(a,b)=1\implies \gcd(a^2,b^2)=1$ without using prime decomposition?

How can I prove that if $\gcd(a,b)=1$, then $\gcd(a^2,b^2)=1$, without using prime decomposition? I should only use definition of gcd, division algorithm, Euclidean algorithm and corollaries to those. ...
13
votes
8answers
5k views

How to prove that $\lim\limits_{n \to \infty} \frac{k^n}{n!} = 0$

It recently came to my mind, how to prove that the factorial grows faster than the exponential, or that the linear grows faster than the logarithmic, etc... I thought about writing: $$ a(n) = ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Lower bound for $\phi(n)$: Is $n/5 < \phi (n) < n$ for all $n > 1$?

Is it true that : $\frac {n}{5} < \phi (n) < n$ for all $n > 1$ where $\phi (n)$ is Euler's totient function . Since $\phi(n)$ has maximum value when $n$ is a prime it follows that ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Prove by Mathematical Induction: $1(1!) + 2(2!) + \cdot \cdot \cdot +n(n!) = (n+1)!-1$

Prove by Mathematical Induction . . . $1(1!) + 2(2!) + \cdot \cdot \cdot +n(n!) = (n+1)!-1$ I tried solving it, but I got stuck near the end . . . a. Basis Step: $(1)(1!) = (1+1)!-1$ $1 = ...
3
votes
9answers
286 views
9
votes
2answers
465 views

Help to understand a proof by descent?

I am trying to understand the proof in Carmichaels book Diophantine Analysis but I have got stuck at one point in the proof where $w_1$ and $w_2$ are introduced. The theorem it is proving is that the ...
8
votes
7answers
861 views

Prove the following equality: $\sum_{k=0}^n\binom {n-k }{k} = F_n$ [duplicate]

I need to prove that there is the following equality: $$ \sum\limits_{k=0}^n {n-k \choose k} = F_{n} $$ where $F_{n}$ is a n-th Fibonacci number. The problem seems easy but I can't find the way to ...
4
votes
3answers
918 views

induction proof: $\sum_{k=1}^nk^2 = \frac{n(n+1)(2n+1)}{6}$

I encountered the following induction proof on a practice exam for calculus: $$\sum_{k=1}^nk^2 = \frac{n(n+1)(2n+1)}{6}$$ I have to prove this statement with induction. Can anyone please help me ...
57
votes
5answers
7k views

Getting better at proofs

So, I don't like proofs. To me building a proof feels like constructing a steel trap out of arguments to make true what you're trying to assert. Oftentimes the proof in the book is something that I ...
31
votes
6answers
1k views

What is an efficient nesting of mathematical theorems?

Various mathematical areas of research evolved from a wide and diverse range of questions. Many are physical in nature or come from informatics/computer science, some are procedural or optimization ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Proof of a simple property of real, constant functions.

I recently came across the following theorem: $$ \forall x_1, x_2 \in \mathbb{R},\textrm{function, } f: \mathbb{R} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}, x \mapsto y; \ |f(x_1) - f(x_2)| \leq (x_1-x_2)^2 \implies ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

Inductive Proof for Vandermonde's Identity?

I am reading up on Vandermonde's Identity, and so far I have found proofs for the identity using combinatorics, sets, and other methods. However, I am trying to find a proof that utilizes mathematical ...
21
votes
3answers
618 views

A (probably trivial) induction problem: $\sum_2^nk^{-2}\lt1$

So I'm a bit stuck on the following problem I'm attempting to solve. Essentially, I'm required to prove that $\frac{1}{2^2}+\frac{1}{3^2}+\cdots+\frac{1}{n^2} < 1$ for all $n$. I've been toiling ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Any ideas on how I can prove this expression?

I don't have a lot of places to turn because i am still in high school. So please bear with me as i had to create some notation. In order to understand my notation you must observe this identity for ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

Proof for exact differential equations shortcut?

Today in my math class, we learned about exact differential equations. During class, our teacher first taught us the accepted way to solve exact equations, but then, told us of a shortcut that one of ...
14
votes
7answers
6k views

Proof of $ f(x) = (e^x-1)/x = 1 \text{ as } x\to 0$ using epsilon-delta definition of a limit

I am in calc 1 and we have just learned the epsilon-delta definition of a limit and I (on my own) wanted to try and use this methodology in order to prove $(e^x-1)/x = 1$ (one of the equivalencies), ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

$\inf A = -\sup(-A)$

Let $A$ be a nonempty subset of real numbers which is bounded below. Let $-A$ be the set of of all numbers $-x$, where $x$ is in $A$. Prove that $\inf A = -\sup(-A)$ So far this is what i have ...
8
votes
6answers
868 views

Is $x^{1-\frac{1}{n}}+ (1-x)^{1-\frac{1}{n}}$ always irrational?

Let $x$ be rational with $0<x<1$ and let $y$ be the rational defined by $y = 1 - x.$ Let $n$ be any natural number with $n>2.$ Then I want to prove that $$x^{(1-1/n)}+ y^{(1-1/n)}$$ will ...
7
votes
2answers
829 views

Prove that $\beta \rightarrow \neg \neg \beta$ is a theorem using standard axioms 1,2,3 and MP

I've proven that $\neg \neg \beta \rightarrow \beta$ is a theorem, but I can't figure out a way to do the same for $\beta \rightarrow \neg \neg \beta$. It seems the proof would use Axiom 2 and the ...
5
votes
2answers
133 views

If $\cup \mathcal{F}=A$ then $A \in \mathcal{F}$. Prove that $A$ has exactly one element.

I'm reading through How to Prove It by Velleman and I'm having trouble with this exercise in the section about Existence and Uniqueness proofs. Here is the exercise: Suppose $A$ is a set and for ...