# Tagged Questions

For questions about the formulation of a proof, not about the mathematics behind it.

10k views

Are there some proofs that can only be shown by contradiction or can everything that can be shown by contradiction also be shown without contradiction? What are the advantage/disadvantages of proving ...
8k views

### Why do people use “it is easy to prove”?

Math is not generally what I am doing, but I have to read some literature and articles in dynamic systems and complexity theory. What I noticed is that authors tend to use (quite frequently) the ...
9k views

### Why are mathematical proofs that rely on computers controversial?

There are many theorems in mathematics that have been proved with the assistance of computers, take the famous four color theorem for example. Such proofs are often controversial among some ...
12k views

### Can an irrational number raised to an irrational power be rational?

Can an irrational number raised to an irrational power be rational? If it can be rational, how can one prove it?
5k views

### Formal proof for $(-1) \times (-1) = 1$

Is there a formal proof for $(-1) \times (-1) = 1$? It's a fundamental formula not only in arithmetic but also in the whole of math. Is there a proof for it or is it just assumed?
25k 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 ...
3k views

### What is a proof?

I am just a high school student, and I haven't seen much in mathematics (calculus and abstract algebra). Mathematics is a system of axioms which you choose yourself for a set of undefined entities, ...
9k views

### Is an irrational number odd or even?

My sister just asked this question to me: "Is an irrational number odd or even?" I told her that decimals are not odd or even and that does imply that not recurring and non repeating decimals will ...
3k views

### Could I be using proof by contradiction too much?

Lately, I've developed a habit of proving almost everything by contradiction. Even for theorems for which direct proofs are the clear choice, I'd just start by writing "Assume not" then prove it ...
2k views

### On a long proof

On wikipedia there is a claim that the Abel–Ruffini theorem was nearly proved by Paolo Ruffini, and that his proof spanned over $500$ pages, is this really true? I don't really know much abstract ...
2k views

### A strange integral: $\int_{-\infty}^{+\infty} {dx \over 1 + \left(x + \tan x\right)^2} = \pi.$

While browsing on Integral and Series, I found a strange integral posted by @Sangchul Lee. His post doesn't have a response for more than a month, so I decide to post it here. I hope he doesn't mind ...
6k views

### How does a non-mathematician go about publishing a proof in a way that ensures it to be up to the mathematical community's standards? [closed]

I'm a computer science student who is a maths hobbyist. I'm convinced that I've proven a major conjecture. The problem lies in that I've never published anything before and am not a mathematician by ...
2k views

### When working proof exercises from a textbook with no solutions manual, how do you know when your proof is sound/acceptable?

When working proof exercises from a textbook with no solutions manual, how do you know when your proof is sound/acceptable? Often times I "feel" as if I can write a proof to an exercise but most of ...
6k views

### How can you prove that the square root of two is irrational?

I have read a few proofs that $\sqrt{2}$ is irrational. I have never, however, been able to really grasp what they were talking about. Is there a simplified proof that $\sqrt{2}$ is irrational?
2k views

### Why do we write proofs “forward?”

I am aware that this might turn into a discussion, but I have a feeling this might have an answer (maybe something historical?) instead. I'm hoping that those with speculations keep it in the comments....
1k views

### English words in written mathematics

I recently marked over $100$ assignments for a multivariable calculus course. One question which a lot of people did poorly was proving a given set was open. Aside from issues relating to rigour and ...
4k views

1k views

### Are there any common practices in mathematics to guard against mistakes?

It occurred to me that math is somewhat like programming (or vice-versa, if you prefer) because, in both, it is easy to make mistakes or overlook them, and the smallest error or misguided assumption ...
4k views

### How do I make a student understand contradiction?

We were trying to prove that if $3p^2=q^2$ for nonnegative integers $p$ and $q$, then $3$ divides both $p$ and $q$. I finished writing the solution (using Euclid's lemma) when a student asked me "...
26k views

### How do I prove that a function is well defined?

How do you in general prove that a function is well-defined? $$f:X\to Y:x\mapsto f(x)$$ I learned that I need to prove that every point has exactly one image. Does that mean that I need to prove the ...
4k views

### LaTeX/TeX Vs. Mathematica for Typesetting [closed]

I know Mathematica like the back of my hand, but I do not know a speck of $\LaTeX$ or $\TeX$. With regard to mathematical typesetting, is there something significant I can do in $\LaTeX$/$\TeX$ that I ...
2k views

4k views

### Critiques on proof showing $\sqrt{12}$ is irrational.

My only exposure to proofs was in a math logic class I took in University. I was wondering if my attempt at proving that $\sqrt{12}$ is irrational is OK. $$\Big(\frac{m}{n}\Big)^2 = 12$$ \Big(\frac{...
2k views

### How are proofs formatted when the answer is a counterexample?

Suppose it is asked: Prove or find a counterexample: the sum of two integers is odd The fact that 1 + 1 = 2 is a counterexample that disproves that statement. What is the proper format in which ...
24k views

298 views

### $0.101001000100001000001$… is irrational. [duplicate]

How do I show that $0.101001000100001000001...$ is irrational? How do I generalize this to decimal expansions of a similar type, i.e. what is a criterion for decimal expansions with $0$'s and $1$'s ...
### Proof by induction that $n^3 + (n + 1)^3 + (n + 2)^3$ is a multiple of $9$. Please mark/grade.
What do you think about my first induction proof? Please mark/grade. Theorem The sum of the cubes of three consecutive natural numbers is a multiple of 9. Proof First, introducing a predicate $P$...