Questions about numbers expressible as the quotient of two integers. For questions on determining whether a number is rational, use the (rationality-testing) tag instead.

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18
votes
8answers
7k views

Proof that every repeating decimal is rational

Wikipedia claims that every repeating decimal represents a rational number. According to the following definition, how can we prove that fact? Definition: A number is rational if it can be written ...
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
368 views

Double limit of $\cos^{2n}(m! \pi x)$ at rationals and irrationals

I stumbled upon this "relation" (is the name correct?): $$ \lim_{m \to \infty} \lim_{n \to \infty} \cos^{2n}(m! \pi x) = \begin{cases} 1,&x\text{ is rational}\\ 0,&x\text{ is ...
6
votes
3answers
727 views

Why (directly!) does every number divide 9, 99, 999, … or 10, 100, 1000, …, or their product?

A curiosity that's been bugging me. More precisely: Given any integers $b\geq 1$ and $n\geq 2$, there exist integers $0\leq k, l\leq b-1$ such that $b$ divides $n^l(n^k - 1)$ exactly. The ...
61
votes
14answers
3k 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
3answers
2k views

GCD of rationals

Disclaimer: I'm an engineer, not a mathematician Somebody claimed that $\gcd$ only is applicable for integers, but it seems I'm perfectly able to apply it to rationals also: $$ ...
20
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
805 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
1k 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?
23
votes
4answers
762 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 ...
30
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. ...
36
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 ...
15
votes
4answers
8k views

Is there a rational number between any two irrationals?

Suppose $i_1$ and $i_2$ are distinct irrational numbers with $i_1 < i_2$. Is it necessarily the case that there is a rational number $r$ in the interval $[i_1, i_2]$? How would you construct such ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

How to prove this is a rational number

I'm not sure how to prove this is a rational number $\frac{q}{m}$, can some one show me? $$\frac{q}{m}=\frac{(\frac{1+\sqrt5}{2})^n - (\frac{1-\sqrt5}{2})^n}{\sqrt5}$$
6
votes
1answer
490 views

System of linear equations having a real solution has also a rational solution.

I saw this question Let $A ∈ M_{m\times n}(\mathbb{Q})$ and $b ∈ \mathbb{Q}^m$. Suppose that the system of linear equations $Ax = b$ has a solution in $\mathbb{R}^n$. Does it necessarily have ...
1
vote
1answer
187 views

Properties of homomorphisms of the additive group of rationals

Let $f : (\mathbb{Q},+) \longrightarrow (\mathbb{Q},+)$ be a non-zero homomorphism. Can we conclude that $f$ is bijective (or, if that fails, that $f$ is injective or surjective)? Context The ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

Infinite number of rationals between any two reals.

Let $a$ and $b$ be reals with $a<b$. Show that there are infinitely many rationals $x$ such that $a<x<b$. My plan of action was to assume that $x$ is the smallest such rational and find ...
1
vote
2answers
159 views

Show that $X = \{ (x,y) \in\mathbb{R}^2\mid x \in \mathbb{Q}\text{ or }y \in \mathbb{Q}\}$ is path connected. [duplicate]

How do I show that $X = \left\{ (x,y) \in \mathbb{R}^2 \mid x \in \mathbb{Q}\text{ or }y \in \mathbb{Q}\right\}$ is path connected? Note that $X$ is a topological space with subspace topology ...
237
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 ...
61
votes
5answers
16k views

Why is 987654321/123456789 = 8.0000000729?

Many years ago, I noticed that $987654321/123456789 = 8.0000000729\ldots$. I sent it in to Martin Gardner at Scientific American and he published it in his column!!! My life has gone downhill since ...
44
votes
1answer
872 views

Representing every positive rational number in the form of $(a^n+b^n)/(c^n+d^n)$

About a month ago, I got the following : For every positive rational number $r$, there exists a set of four positive integers $(a,b,c,d)$ such that ...
39
votes
1answer
875 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
650 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.
10
votes
4answers
492 views

Additive group of rationals has no minimal generating set

In a comment to Arturo Magidin's answer to this question, Jack Schmidt says that the additive group of the rationals has no minimal generating set. Why does $(\mathbb{Q},+)$ have no minimal ...
8
votes
1answer
325 views

Predicting the number of decimal digits needed to express a rational number

The number $1/6$ can be expressed with only two digits (and a repeat sign denoted as $^\overline{}$), $$ \frac{1}{6} = \,.1\overline{6}$$ Meanwhile, it takes 49 digits to express the number $1/221$, ...
4
votes
2answers
398 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
291 views

Equality of positive rational numbers.

I am reading the second article Rational Numbers of the book "A Treatise on Advanced Calculus" by Philip Franklin. I have mainly 3 questions regarding this article. I am writing all these $3$ ...
4
votes
3answers
427 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
231 views

Compute the period of a decimal number a priori [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Upper bound/exact length of decimal expansion of simple fraction I noticed that WolframAlpha given an operation like $\frac{n}{m},\;n,m \in N$ that result in a periodic ...
8
votes
2answers
270 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
209 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?
6
votes
1answer
890 views

Deciding whether $2^{\sqrt2}$ is irrational/transcendental

Is $2^\sqrt{2}$ irrational? Is it transcendental?
2
votes
8answers
444 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
935 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
1answer
87 views

About the continuity of $f(x) = \underset{q_k \leq x}{\sum_{k \in \mathbb{N}}} 2^{-k}$

Let $q: \mathbb{N} \to \mathbb{Q}$ be a bijection and denote the image of $k \in \mathbb{N}$ by $q_k$. Let $f: \mathbb{R} \to (0,1)$, $$ f(x) = \underset{q_k \leq x}{\sum_{k \in \mathbb{N}}} 2^{-k} ...
0
votes
5answers
158 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).
0
votes
4answers
294 views

How can I explain $0.999\ldots=1$? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Does .99999… = 1? I have to explain $0.999\ldots=1$ to people who don't know limit. How can I explain $0.999\ldots=1$? The common procedure is as follows ...
73
votes
24answers
13k views

Why do we still do symbolic math?

I just read that most practical problems (algebraic equations, differential equations) do not have a symbolic solution, but only a numerical one. Numerical computations, to my understanding, never ...
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 ...
17
votes
7answers
8k views

What rational numbers have rational square roots?

All rational numbers have the fraction form $$\frac a b,$$ where a and b are integers($b\neq0$). My question is: for what $a$ and $b$ does the fraction have rational square root? The simple answer ...
17
votes
4answers
530 views

What do the cosets of $\mathbb{R} / \mathbb{Q}$ look like?

$\newcommand{\R}{\Bbb R}\newcommand{\Q}{\Bbb Q}$ Looking at the group of real numbers under addition $(\R, +)$ it contains the (normal) subgroup of rational numbers $(\Q, +)$. I am wondering how to ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Alternate proof for “$\log_{10}{2}$ is irrational”

I need to prove that $\log_{10}{2}$ is irrational. I understand the way this proof was done using contradiction to show that the even LHS does not equal the odd RHS, but I did it a different way and ...
5
votes
4answers
569 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
480 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Is sin(x) necessarily irrational where x is rational?

My friend and I were discussing this and we couldn't figure out how to prove it one way or another. The only rational values I can figure out for $\sin(x)$ (or $\cos(x)$, etc...) come about when $x$ ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

Is a non-repeating and non-terminating decimal always an irrational?

We can build $\frac{1}{33}$ like this, $.030303$ $\cdots$ ($03$ repeats). $.0303$ $\cdots$ tends to $\frac{1}{33}$. So,I was wondering this: In the decimal representation, if we start writing the ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Prove that - for every positive $x \in \mathbb{Q}$, there exists positive $y \in \mathbb{Q}$ for which $y \lt x$

First my apologies if this question has been asked before. Exposition I'm new at learning how to prove theorems and among the given exercises from my reference material it is asked to prove the ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

In every interval there is a rational and an irrational number.

When the interval is between two rational numbers it is easy. But things get complicated when the interval is between two irrational numbers. I couldn't prove that.