# Perfect square all 9's

For $9, 99, 999, 9999, 99999,\dots$, except $9$, are the rest of the numbers $9$'s perfect squares? Are there other perfect squares with all $9$'s.

This problem is given for K-12 students, which I have no idea how to do it.

Thank you.

• Can you do any special cases? Oct 5, 2015 at 1:35
• 9k is a perfect square if and only if k is a perfect square, so this question is equivalent to asking whether a number that's all 1's is a perfect square, other than 1 itself. Oct 5, 2015 at 1:35
• What are special cases? To me, 9 is the only perfect square among 9, 99, 999,... I'm not sure if it's true.
– dh16
Oct 5, 2015 at 1:36
• How about when the count of 9's is even? Do you see why these cases are not squares? Oct 5, 2015 at 1:37
• To be honest, this is not my field. I can only think I can write those even count numbers like: $10^{2k} -1$, which fails to be a perfect square because suppose yes. Then $10^{2k}$ is a perfect square, which implies we have 2 perfect squares different at most 1 (a contradiction).
– dh16
Oct 5, 2015 at 1:44

Consider these numbers modulo 4.

Theorem:

A number $$n^2$$ with $$n$$ an integer satisfies either $$n^2\equiv 0(\text{mod}4)$$ or $$n^2\equiv 1(\text{mod}4)$$

Proof of theorem:

Case 1: $$n\equiv 0$$ or $$2(\text{mod}4)$$. Then $$n^2\equiv 0(\text{mod}4)$$

Case 2: $$n\equiv 1(\text{mod}4)$$. Then $$n^2\equiv 1(\text{mod}4)$$

Case 3: $$n\equiv 3(\text{mod}4)$$. Then $$n^2\equiv 1(\text{mod}4)$$

Corollary:

A number which is $$2(\text{mod}4)$$ or $$3(\text{mod}4)$$ cannot be a perfect square.

Now, look at $$9\dots 99(\text{mod}4)$$

A number modulo 4 is congruent to the final two digits modulo 4, and $$99(\text{mod}4)$$ is congruent to $$3$$, therefore is not a perfect square.

There are not a lot of tools at K-12 for this problem, so use the simplest one: take the last several digits. The last digit is a square, so look at the final two digits.

There is no perfect square ending in 99

because

any perfect square leaves a remainder of 0 or 1 when divided by 4

All integers can be written as $10n\pm k$, where $0\le k\le5$. Squaring, we have $100n^2\pm20nk+k^2$, which for $0\le k^2<10\iff0\le k\le3$ has an even tens digit, and the remaining two options do not produce a $9$ at the last position. $($In general, no “repdigit” in base $10$ can ever be a square$)$.