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

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12
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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
votes
0answers
232 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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187 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
votes
0answers
114 views

Interesting shapes using probability and discrete view of a problem

Suppose we have a circle of radius $r$, we show the distance between a point and the center of the circle by $d$. We then choose each point inside the circle with probability $\frac{d}{r}$ , and turn ...
9
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227 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 ...
9
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202 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
123 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. ...
8
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151 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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147 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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179 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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276 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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956 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 ...
6
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110 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 ...
6
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0answers
155 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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193 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?
5
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31 views

Factor the matrix (scalar $\times A$) into permutations of $A$

Here's an example of $A . B = scalar \times C$, done with magic squares. The last square does not have a consecutive range of digits. Drop the magic square requirement. In $2\times2$ matrices we ...
5
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0answers
76 views

Stacking circles

When I tried to stack 21 circles of radii $(30, 31, 32... 50)$ on top of each other in a tube (ID of $100$ wide), I thought they would reach the same height regardless of the order, however I was ...
5
votes
0answers
85 views

$f(x+1)=f(x)+f(\alpha\cdot x)$

I try to find an analytic increasing function $f_\alpha$ ($0\le\alpha\le1$) from $\mathbb R$ (or $\mathbb R^+$) to $\mathbb R$ such that for all $x$ $$f_\alpha(x+1)=f_\alpha(x)+f_\alpha(\alpha\cdot ...
5
votes
0answers
113 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
votes
0answers
67 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
97 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
141 views

Folding sheets of paper to measure distances

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 ...
5
votes
0answers
123 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
138 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 ...
5
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388 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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184 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
votes
0answers
107 views

Two formulae for $\pi$, probably known?

I stumbled upon (in the literature) two identities for $\pi$, but they were not referenced as they are probably well-known. Hoping someone could point out who found them first. Basically, the ...
4
votes
0answers
49 views

Probability of a minesweeper grid being solvable

Suppose we have an $m\times n$ minesweeper grid containing $k$ mines (for example the beginner grid is $8\times 8$ with $10$ mines). I have the following related questions: What is the probability ...
4
votes
0answers
46 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
81 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
votes
0answers
127 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
votes
0answers
103 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
120 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
215 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
votes
0answers
97 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
142 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
113 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
81 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
votes
0answers
142 views

A game problem- double or increment by 1

Its a two player game. Initially $P=1$, and there is some fixed integer $Q>1$. A valid move consists of either increasing $P$ by $1$ or doubling it iff on doing so $P$ does NOT exceed $Q$.The ...
4
votes
0answers
186 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
votes
0answers
154 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
votes
0answers
69 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
174 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
94 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
193 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
200 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
167 views
+50

How do find the numerical average of $x^x$ from $(-4,-2)$ without x-values that give a complex output?

I wanted to find the approximate average of all real points in $(x)^{x}$ from $[-4,-2]$. This means I am ignoring all real inputs that give a complex output and need average to be a real number. To ...
3
votes
0answers
66 views

Making $66$ with $1,1,1,1,1$

How can one make $66$ with only $1,1,1,1,1$? You cannot combine these two numbers to make a new number, such as this: $66=11 \times (1+1+1)!$. This was inspired a game of dice that I used to play, ...
3
votes
0answers
249 views

Evaluating $\int_{0}^{\infty} \left[\left(\frac{2015}{2015+x}+\cdots +\frac{2}{2+x}+\frac{1}{1+x}-x\right)^{2016}+1 \right] ^{-1}\mathrm{d}x$

I need to evaluate $$\int_{0}^{\infty} \left[\left(\frac{2015}{2015+x}+\cdots +\frac{2}{2+x}+\frac{1}{1+x}-x\right)^{2016}+1 \right] ^{-1}\mathrm{d}x $$ I've been told that the way forward is ...