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

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13
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110 views

Penrose's remark on impossible figures

I'd like to think that I understand symmetry groups. I know what the elements of a symmetry group are - they are transformations that preserve an object or its relevant features - and I know what the ...
11
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0answers
1k views

This should be a piece of cake… right?

You probably know the following problem: We have two circular cakes of the same height but unknown and potentially different radii, and we want to cut them into two equal shares. Each cut can only ...
10
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212 views

What turmite runs the longest before becoming predictable?

When looking at 2D Turing machines, many of them eventually become predictable. For example, Langton's Ant, the champion 2-color 1-state turmite, develops a highway after 10,000 steps. Predictable ...
10
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175 views

Number of circles in configuration

Consider the $n^2$ lattice points $(i, j)$, where $1 \leq i, j \leq n$. Let the number of circles that pass through at least 3 points of this set be $C(n)$. What is a good way to count this? Is there ...
9
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237 views

Mathematical properties of two dimensional projection of three dimensional rotated object

Please be gentle as I do not have any degree in maths. By using a compass/straighedge method to construct Metatron's cube, a regular dodecahedron can be inferred from intersecting points. I'm looking ...
9
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193 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 ...
8
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0answers
184 views

Mathematics of the Ice Bucket Challenge

I've been considering the mathematics of the now global ice bucket challenge. Simple model In the simplest incarnation, there is one original seed, who then nominates 3 others, each of which take ...
8
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0answers
148 views

Take an m x n grid, and in each box pick two opposite corners at random to connect. What can be said about the resulting pattern?

Inspired by the upcoming book 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 by Nick Montfort et al., whose title derives from this particular example of emergent behavior. Here's an example: (Note that ...
7
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125 views

Name of a certain set

I want to know if there is any already-standard way to refer to the sets described as follows. For a set $X$, let $-X = \{-x: x \in X \}$; call it the negative of $X$. Take the set of all primes in ...
7
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155 views

Knight's metric: ellipse and parabola.

Knight's metric is a metric on $\mathbb{Z}^2$ as the minimum number of moves a chess knight would take to travel from $x$ to $y\in\mathbb{Z}^2$. What does a parabola (or an ellipse) became with this ...
7
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264 views

Prime factor of $2 \uparrow \uparrow 4 + 3\uparrow \uparrow 4$

I checked the prime factors of $$2 \uparrow \uparrow 4 + 3\uparrow \uparrow 4 = 2^{2^{2^2}} + 3^{3^{3^3}}$$ with trial division and found non below $8*10^9$ Nevertheless, the given number has still ...
7
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772 views

Solution manual to Larson's “Problem Solving through Problems”

I am working through Larson's "Problem Solving through Problems" (http://math.la.asu.edu/~ifulman/mat194/problem-solving.pdf) but many of the problems have neither solutions nor sources included. Does ...
7
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0answers
117 views

Generalization of Gray codes

A friend of mine asked me if it was possible - physical difficulties aside - to generate all 32 combinations of raised/lowered fingers by changing status of a fixed number of fingers at every step. ...
6
votes
0answers
140 views

Olympic number theory problem: is this solution fine and sufficiently well written?

Determine all the positive integers $m$ such that both the ratios $$ \frac{2(5^m+5)}{3^m+1}, \frac{9^m+1}{5^m+5}$$ are integers. Attempt to a solution: If the ratios are both integers, than their ...
6
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184 views

Math Behind the Dragon Illusion!

Dragon illusion has been one of the items presented in the 3rd "Gathering for Gardner". This video shows the illusion. What does it have to do with mathematics?
6
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98 views

Conway's Game of Life

Is there a mathematical way to directly calculate iteration n from the first iteration skipping calculating the iterations in between in Conway's Game of Life? I would assume, if it is possible, it ...
6
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0answers
171 views

Card passing game, maximum length

Quoting from this question: There are 25 people sitting around a table and each person has two cards. One of the numbers 1,2,..., 25 is written on each card, and each number occurs on exactly two ...
5
votes
0answers
102 views

Approximating $\pi$ by an expression of the form $\sqrt{\sqrt{ \cdots \sqrt{ n!! \cdots !}}}$

Here is a problem that appeared as a prize challenge in a periodical for science students, back when I was a student: Find an approximation of $\pi$ formed of the numbers $0$ through $9$, each used ...
5
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0answers
75 views

Algorithm for finding “fact families”

My friend's 3rd grader encountered the following question regarding "fact families" on her math homework: I was in 3rd grade sometime in the 1980s, so I don't believe I ever encountered this term ...
5
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0answers
102 views

Binomial triplets

Solutions to the equation $$\dbinom{a}{n}+\dbinom{b}{n}=\dbinom{c}{n}$$ I will refer to as 'Binomial triplets of order $n$'. These triplets describe simplicial $n$-polytopic numbers that can be ...
5
votes
0answers
337 views

Paul Erdős Joke.

I was watching the great documentary "$N$ is a Number" and in it Erdős tells a joke where he writes: PGOM LD AD LD CD Which means poor great old man, living dead, archeological discovery, legally ...
5
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0answers
90 views

Integer weights used to cover all numbers from 1 to N with redundancies in case of breakage

Bachet's Problem (arxiv) is a famous problem where we have to find the smallest set of positive integers such that they measure every number between 1 and 40. This can be generalized to every integer ...
5
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0answers
181 views

$2, 5, 13, 17, 29, 421, 401, 53, 281,…,\rightarrow \infty$? $a_{n+1}=\operatorname{ GPF}(qa_n+p)$

I denote by $\operatorname{ GPF}(n)$ the greatest prime factor of $n$, eg. $\operatorname{ GPF}(17)=17$, $\operatorname{ GPF}(18)=3$. Is there a way to prove that the sequence $a_{n+1}=\operatorname{ ...
4
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0answers
50 views

Are all powers of 5 Friedman numbers?

Powers of 5 seem to have a quite interesting property. Not only do the all seem to be Friedman numbers in base 10, it also seems that they don't require digit concatenation and they their 'Friedman ...
4
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78 views

Puzzles and topology

I like problem solving. In fact, that is the reason I wanted to study mathematics; This is a field where I could learn the underlying logic of the results rather than just learning ideas even the ...
4
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37 views

How many ways I can put $k$ bishops on $n\times n$ chessboard?

Is there a formula how to count in how many ways I can put $k$ bishops on $n\times n$ chessboard such that no two bishops threaten each other?
4
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0answers
99 views

StackEgg optimal algorithm

What is the minimum number of days that is needed to complete the StackEgg game? (It's on the right if anyone didn't notice.) There are four markers (Questions, Answers, Users, Quality) I believe each ...
4
votes
0answers
56 views

Conway's Game OF Life maximum periods on a set x by x game board.

I have taken interest in Conway's Game of Life and want to know if you guys can help me with a mathematical problem :) That is what this website is for right? You need to be familiar with the rules ...
4
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0answers
105 views

Axioms as recreational mathematics

Before modern group theory, mathematicians studied concrete permutation groups: algebraically closed subsets of the set of all bijections on a set $X$ in which all inverses was included. This was the ...
4
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0answers
116 views

Quantifying infinitely large sums such as $\sum_{x\in\mathbb{R}^+} x$

I thought of this as a student in calculus years ago, and it may be a silly kind of question. I wondered if there were notions of different sizes of infinity a series might sum to, which then lead me ...
4
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0answers
94 views

Can -9 to 9 be placed in 41 lines of zero?

The cubic curve $2x^3-4x^2y+2xy^2-8x+y^3-y$ can be used to get lattice points allowing the placement of the numbers $-8$ to $8$ so that all 32 triplets that sum to 0 will be a straight line of three. ...
4
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0answers
131 views

Folding sheets of paper

You have $n\in\mathbb{N}^*$ sheets of paper with dimensions $a,b\in\mathbb{R}_+^*$ that can be folded as many times as needed. What is the set of lengths in $\left]0,\sqrt{a^2+b^2}\right]$ one can ...
4
votes
0answers
139 views

$Z_n \backslash \{0\}$ splits into octets

Let $n=8m+1, m\in\mathbb{N}$. Does the set of nonzero elements of $\mathbb{Z}_n$ split into disjoint octets of the form $8_k=\{\pm a_k,\pm b_k,\pm a_k\pm b_k\}$? The computer tells me it is possible ...
4
votes
0answers
105 views

A game on a smaller graph

In this question Alice and Bob play a game on $K_{2014}$, Alice directing one edge, Bob directing $1$ to $1000$ edges with Alice trying to make a cycle. The proof that Alice can win depended on the ...
4
votes
0answers
127 views

Interesting Number Game

Let's say you are given some random positive integer. Next, assume you are given the following sequence of integers: $$[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].$$ Now, assume you are allowed to use the following ...
4
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0answers
68 views

Derangements and the “other” secretary problem

I just found out that the name "Secretary problem" is given to two different problems. The first one talks about a secretary who mixes letters and envelopes, and ask for the probability that no letter ...
4
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0answers
180 views

Measuring how change in input variables contributes to output in non linear equation.

How do we measure how a variable contributes to an output as its value increases, and how it relates to other input variables? Let's say we're playing a video game, where you can buy items to augment ...
4
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0answers
139 views

Card game probability

Suppose the following solitaire with a standard deck. I turn four cards visible on the board and on each turn, I remove those suits that appears more than once in the board. Then I fill the board such ...
4
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0answers
67 views

Finding every $n$ such that $n\times$ ('reverse' number of $n)=m^2$ such as $1584\times 4851={2772}^2$

Let $r(n)$ be the 'reverse' number of $n$ in the decimal system. For example, $r(1234)=4321$. Then, here is my question. Question : Can we find every $n(\in\mathbb N)$, which is not a square ...
4
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0answers
388 views

MRB constant proofs wanted

This article has been edited for a bounty. $C$ MRB, the MRB constant, is defined at http://mathworld.wolfram.com/MRBConstant.html . There is an excellent 56 page paper whose author has passed away. ...
4
votes
0answers
168 views

Can we get a 'good' approximate value of $\sqrt 2$ by an equation which uses each of $1,2,\cdots,9$ once such as $12653\div 8947\approx1.414217$?

I've been interested in representing $\sqrt 2\approx 1.414213562373095$ by an equation which uses each of $1,2,\cdots,9$ once. Suppose that the following conditions must be satisfied. Then, can we get ...
4
votes
0answers
81 views

Arbitrary ratio sequences on a partition of $\mathbb{R}$ (Partition regularity of fixed ratio sequences)

Background: This question arose purely recreationally and doesn't really fit into any context that I know of. Let $A \sqcup B = \mathbb{R}$ be a partition of the ...
4
votes
0answers
935 views

How many different chess-board situations can occur?

If you play a standard chess game on a normal $8 \cdot 8$ chess board with the usual rules: How many different "board representations" can exist? Upper bound: Well, you have 16+16 = 32 chess pieces ...
4
votes
0answers
189 views

Which chapters of Euclid's elements would be helpful for drawing a grid?

I am drawing a $19 \times 19$ grid on my desk. For aesthetic purposes, I don't want to use a ruler. Rather, I want to use Euclidean theorems to 'prove' to myself that such and such line meets at a ...
4
votes
0answers
180 views

Is the maximal temperature of the curlicue fractal acheived by $e\times\gamma$?

The Curlicue Fractal is defined as follows: Choose an irrational number $s$ and a horizontal unit segment with angle $\phi_0 = 0$. Define $\theta_{n+1} = \theta_{n} + 2 \pi s \pmod{2 \pi}$, with ...
3
votes
0answers
125 views

The mathematics of a drinking game called Spoon

This question is about the drinking game Spoon. It was asked on reddit.com/r/math : http://www.reddit.com/r/math/comments/3i9790/drinking_game_turned_mathematical/ The question is whether the person ...
3
votes
0answers
61 views

Trajectories on a circular billiards table

This question is related to The case of Captain America's shield: a variation of Alhazen's Billard problem, but more focused. Let the unit disc in the plane be our billiards table, and let $C$ ...
3
votes
0answers
34 views

Is there a heuristic reason behind this numerical coincidence?

Write $N(m, n; c)$ for the number of $m\times n$ zero-one matrices where each zero is adjacent to precisely $c$ others, where by "adjacent" I mean up/down/left/right but not diagonally. (Notice that ...
3
votes
0answers
52 views

Examples of calculus on “strange” spaces

I am interested in examples of calculus on "strange" spaces. For example, you can take the derivative of a regular expression[1][2]. Also the concept extends past regular languages, to more general ...
3
votes
0answers
81 views

Is this proof of a mathematical olympiad problem correct?

I'm quite sure about the exactness of my proof, but I'd like to hear (constructive) criticism about my writing. This is the problem: Every non-negative integer is coloured white or red, so that: 1) ...