Puzzles, curiosities, brain teasers and other mathematics done "just for fun".

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3
votes
1answer
888 views

How can I use math to fill out my NCAA tournament bracket?

With the NCAA basketball tournament right around the corner and the conference tournaments just beginning, it's the perfect time to consider strategies to fill out an NCAA tournament bracket. How can ...
1
vote
0answers
81 views

Describing the sequence A224239.

I've been trying to describe mathematically the $n$th term $a_n$ of the sequence A224239. We get $a_n$ by counting the distinct ways to fill an $n\times n$ grid with squares of smaller integer size, ...
1
vote
1answer
632 views

Cyclic tower of hanoi problem [duplicate]

If I have 3 rods in a circle and it is allowed to move the disks only in the clockwise direction. How many moves is necessary to move n disks from first rod to the third rod?
1
vote
1answer
67 views

$[x-\frac{1}{n}, (n-1)x+\frac{1}{n}]$ contains an integer $\forall x\in \mathbb{R}$ and $\forall n\in \mathbb{N}$

For any real number x: Prove that among the numbers x,2x,...,(n-1)x ,there is one that differs from an integer by at most $\frac{1}{n}$. any hints for a pigeon solution. Non-pigeon solution ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

shorter proof of generalized mediant inequality?

Show $\frac{a_{1}+...+a_{n}}{b_{1}+...+b_{n}}$ is between the smallest and largest fraction $\frac{a_{i}}{b_{i}}$, where $b_{i}>0$. Attempt Assume the largest is $\frac{a_{n}}{b_{n}}\Rightarrow$ ...
4
votes
2answers
183 views

Evaluate $\sum_0^\infty \frac{1}{n^n}$

Courtesy of this xkcd comic I now know that $$ \sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^n} \approx \ln^e(3) $$ Echoing the views of the comic itself, if I ever find myself taking $\ln^e(x)$ then something has ...
2
votes
1answer
157 views

Guests at a table

Fifteen chairs are evenly placed around a circular table. On the table are the name cards of fifteen guests. After the guests sit down, it turns out that none of them is sitting in front of his own ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

Ping Pong players

A and B play ping pong game multiple times. The person serving first has a probability p of winning that game. A serves the first game and thereafter the loser serves first. If p(n) = pbt that A ...
10
votes
2answers
221 views

Prove $\sum_{n=1}^\infty(e-\sum_{k=0}^n\frac1{k!})=1$

This comes from the comments section of this question here, credits Lucian. The statement is $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\left(e-\sum_{k=0}^n\frac1{k!}\right)=1$$ This looks really interesting, so I was ...
2
votes
1answer
260 views

Sequences, sets and element position in the set.

I have a sequence Q with the length of N. This is the fragment of this sequence: 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 The sequence has been divided into the sets of 4 elements ...
-4
votes
3answers
902 views

Fun math riddle

In his will , a farmer left 17 horses to his 3 sons with the following instructions. 1) The eldest son is to get half of the total horses. 2) The middle son is to get one third of the total horses. ...
1
vote
4answers
245 views

What is the most awe-inspiring math equation you have come across [closed]

What is the favorite equation of your life? I know this might be a subjective question, and may be not-so-on-topic here, so if anyone decides to close this, could you link me somewhere I can ask this? ...
10
votes
2answers
946 views

Is it possible to shuffle a 3x3 Rubik's cube so that there's no more than 2 pieces of the same color in every face?

I'm not sure if this question belongs here but I see lots of Rubik Cube's questions around so here it goes: Can I take a standard 3x3 Rubik's Cube and shuffle it so that, for every face, there are no ...
4
votes
1answer
156 views

General approach to puzzles such as the “$6$ books puzzle”

Six different books $(A,B,C,D,E,F)$ of identical size are stacked as in the figure. We know $A$ and $D$ are not touching. $E$ is between two books which are both vertical or both horizontal. $C$ ...
8
votes
2answers
179 views

Mathematicly Untangeling Untangle.

I have a new addiction, I play Untangle to often, and i am wondering what is the mathematics behind it. some free games: (but be warned highly addictive) Javascript: ...
-1
votes
2answers
148 views

Proving $1 + 1 = 2$ [duplicate]

How do you break down the theory of $1 + 1 = 2$? How do you provide a proof, please be precise. This is for one of my discrete math courses and I don't know how this is relevant to the course. And ...
0
votes
1answer
147 views

Proving using squeeze principle

This problem sounds very confusing. Please help me solve this problem.
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Prove the derivative

Let $f(x) = (x^2-1)^{\frac{1}{2}}, x>1$. How do I prove that the $n$th derivative of $f(x) > 0$ for odd $n$, and the $n$th derivative of $f(x) < 0$ for even $n$?
1
vote
0answers
40 views

Convex quadrilateral

In a convex quadrilateral (the two diagonals are interior to the quadrilateral) prove that the sum lengths of the diagonals is less than the perimeter but great than one-half the perimeter.
0
votes
2answers
65 views

A question of divisibility.

Let $p$ and $q$ are relatively prime integers. Consider $S = \{\frac{p}{q}\} + \{\frac{2p}{q}\} + \{\frac{(q-1)p}{q}\}$, where $\{x\}$ is the fractional part of the real number $x$. Prove that $2S$ ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

25 coins are arranged in a 5 by 5 array.

25 coins are arranged in a 5 by 5 array. A fly lands on one and tries to hop on to every coin exactly once, at each stage moving only to an adjacent coin in the same row or column. Is this possible?
0
votes
2answers
538 views

How much the shopkeeper loses? [duplicate]

I struck with this tricky math question A girl went to a shop and bought a Rs.$200$ show piece. She gave a Rs.$1000$ note to shopkeeper. Shopkeeper didn't have any change so he went outside and ...
6
votes
4answers
183 views

A puzzle that came when I am half awake

When I am about to wake up in the morning, a puzzle crept into my mind.It is when $\sqrt{a}$ and $\sqrt{b}$ are both non-integers where $a,b$ are positive integers is it possible for $\sqrt{ab}$ to ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

Ball bouncing in a box, will it meet a vertex.

I have no idea upon how to solve this: A box 5cm by 3cm with a ball projected from a vertex at 45 degree angle, it reflexes at a 45 degree angle and keeps reflecting at a 45 degree angle. Will it ...
0
votes
3answers
500 views

How to find the planar embedding of a graph in general?

I need to find the planar embedding of a graph in general if one exists and specifically want to solve the problem for the graph in the figure below. I am acquainted with the graph algorithms but have ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

matrix row/col mapping

Many square matrices are symmetric. i.e. $a_{i,j}=a_{j,i}$ For such matrices, we can only store the upper triangle elements, i.e. any $a_{i,j}$ for which $i<=j$. Assume a 10x10 matrix. Using this ...
5
votes
1answer
89 views

Hockey Classics at Matheletics '13

I'm trying to solve a challenge from Matheletics '13: Micheal Nobbs is organizing a training camp for identifying new talents in Indian Hockey. The camp witnessed a total of ($3K+1$) players. Each of ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

BINGO Probability: Controlling average game duration

I wandered over here from StackOverflow and my understanding of advanced mathematics is limited, so bear with me... A standard, BINGO game card has 24 numbers arranged in a 5x5 format. The center of ...
10
votes
5answers
371 views

What went wrong? [One-dimensional-inverse-square-law]

Intrigued by this question, one-dimensional inverse square laws, I started to try to find an answer and came up with what follows. However, I calculated the derivatives to double check myself, and ...
6
votes
1answer
223 views

Integer coefficient polynomial - values as powers of 2

Does there exist a polynomial f with integer coefficients such that $f(0) , f(1) ... f(n) $ are all distinct powers of 2 ? I have no clue about how should i start thinking about this problem but ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Functions which satisfy $\mathrm{f}(wz) =w\,\mathrm{f}(z)+z\,\mathrm{f}(w)$

Let $\mathrm{f}$ be a complex-valued function with the following property: $$\mathrm{f}(wz) =w\,\mathrm{f}(z)+z\,\mathrm{f}(w) $$ for all $w,z \in \mathbb C$. Necessary conditions are that ...
88
votes
12answers
10k views

Logic puzzle: Which octopus is telling the truth?

King Octopus has servants with six, seven, or eight legs. The servants with seven legs always lie, but the servants with either six or eight legs always tell the truth. One day, four servants met. ...
0
votes
3answers
10k views

How do you find the altitude in a pyramid? (SAT math question)

The pyramid shown above has altitude h and a square base of side m. The four edges that meet at V, the vertex of the pyramid, each have length e. If e = m, what is the value of h in terms of m? A) ...
9
votes
0answers
213 views

Are there known pairs of simple numbers equal to huge precision, but not equal strictly?

Are there known pairs of numbers $a$ and $b$, which at first look at them seemed likely to be equal, and after checking up to $10^n$ decimal places appeared to agree, but suddenly for some $n$ they ...
1
vote
1answer
206 views

Primes created by “n + digital-root(n)” sequences

I've looked at the sequences created by repeatedly adding the digital root of a number to the number until it becomes prime. This is the pseudo-code for the program I've used:   n = 0 ...
3
votes
0answers
98 views

How much advantage would a Blackjack player gain by being able to see the underside of cards?

In the novel Spaceland by Rudy Rucker, the protagonist Joe Cube is grafted with an eyestalk that sticks vout into the fourth dimension. This lets him see under and inside three-dimensional objects ...
8
votes
3answers
472 views

Why are the surreals considered “recreational” mathematics?

One of my college math professors once remarked to me that it was interesting that John Conway's two "biggest" contributions to math were both recreational: the Game of Life and the Surreals. No one, ...
1
vote
0answers
50 views

On a certain type of card game

Suppose two players are playing a card game, which is described as follow. Each player is allowed to construct their own decks of exactly $n$ cards with an additional repeatable card, where each ...
2
votes
0answers
170 views

Inserting +/- into 123456789…

I'm looking at a generalization of the problem of inserting + and/or - into the blocks $123456789$ and $987654321$ to create a formula for $100$, like this: $$123 - 45 - 67 + 89 = 100$$ $$9 - 8 + 7 ...
2
votes
2answers
159 views

A non-trivial, non-negative, function bounded below by its derivative with $f(0)=0$?

I did not know what to search to see if this existed elsewhere. But, I could not find it. Here's the question: Does there exist a continuously differentiable function, $f: [0,1] \rightarrow [0, ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

Expected number of clusters on chessboard

N distinct squares are selected uniformly at random on an MxM chessboard, what is the expected number of clusters? A cluster is a collection of squares which are connected sideways, not cornerwise.
2
votes
1answer
264 views

Fifteen pennies lie on the table in the shape of a triangle

Fifteen pennies lie on the table in the shape of a triangle, with five pennies on each side. For some reason, the pennies are painted either black or white. Prove that there exist three pennies of ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Homotopy of a (non-spherical) cow.

I heard once that, from a topologist, that a cow and a doughnut ($\mathbb T^2$) are the same thing. It wasn't hard to believe that, since food enters by the snout and, well, goes out somewhere else. ...
3
votes
2answers
784 views

How to choose between an odd number of options with a fair coin

It is possible to choose between three equally desirable outcomes by tossing a fair coin as follows: Choose option 1 if the first head appears on an even toss Choose option 2 if the first tail ...
6
votes
1answer
102 views

Definite Integral that Evaluates to Teacher's Initials: TAA

My school's calculus teacher's birthday is in a couple of days, and our class decided to give him a surprise birthday card that has a definite integral which evaluates to his initials (TAA). So far ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Uniformed Distribution - Recap

I have divide the interval $[0,1]$ into $k$ equal sub-intervals, which I call classes, and generated $n$ observations from a uniform distribution. The number $X_{1}$ of the $n$ observations that fall ...
2
votes
2answers
239 views

Articles on matchstick puzzles

There are many ingenious puzzles involving matchsticks that are arranged as squares, rectangles or triangles, and can be moved under some restrictions (for a lot of examples see ...
5
votes
2answers
110 views

Can you incentivise competitors to handicap accurately, and also try to win?

A problem I ran into for real. A group of friends of widely differing abilities wants to hold a handicap cycling race, so that if everyone does about as well as expected, there would be a perfect dead ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

How many triangle can be drawn with those points? [duplicate]

There are 7 points on the circumference of a circle.How many acute triangle can be drawn with those points. please help me to solve this problem.
1
vote
1answer
123 views

Next term in the sequence $1, 3, 33, 55, 565, 6567, 8767, …$?

My friend was asked this question at a job interview (it was nothing math related, so I assume it was more of a "let's see how you think" kind of question, not "how well can you identify series") and, ...