Linked Questions

26
votes
8answers
3k views

Statements with rare counter-examples [duplicate]

This is a soft question. I'm searching for examples of mathmatical statements (preferably in number theory, but other topics are also fine), that seem to be true, but are actually not. Statements ...
1
vote
4answers
223 views

Best basic algebra examples to show students that proof by example is not sufficient [duplicate]

Often, students will try to 'prove' a propositon by checking some examples and 'concluding' that it will be true for all $n \in N$. I'm looking for some good, non-trivial examples from highschool ...
3
votes
1answer
319 views

The largest number to break a conjecture [duplicate]

There are several conjectures in Mathematics that seem to be true but have not been proved. Of course, as computing power increased, folks have expanded their search for counterexamples ever and ever ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Are there theorems in number theory which are true for a large interval, but are known to be false for an arbitrarily large number outside that range? [duplicate]

As an example, it is certainly trivial to verify that Fermat's Last Theorem is true for all numbers up to 10^10 using a reasonably powerful computer. We now have mathematical proof of that theorem for ...
183
votes
15answers
30k views

Conjectures that have been disproved with extremely large counterexamples?

I just came back from my Number Theory course, and during the lecture there was mention of the Collatz Conjecture. I'm sure that everyone here is familiar with it; it describes an operation on a ...
137
votes
15answers
13k views

Has lack of mathematical rigour killed anybody before?

One of my friends was asking me about tertiary level mathematics as opposed to high school mathematics, and naturally the topic of rigour came up. To provide him with a brief glimpse as to the ...
58
votes
15answers
8k views

Is there such a thing as proof by example (not counter example)

Is there such a logical thing as proof by example? I know many times when I am working with algebraic manipulations, I do quick tests to see if I remembered the formula right. This works and is ...
30
votes
19answers
2k views

Accidents of small $n$

In studying mathematics, I sometimes come across examples of general facts that hold for all $n$ greater than some small number. One that comes to mind is the Abel–Ruffini theorem, which states that ...
36
votes
6answers
11k views

Percentage of primes among the natural numbers

How high is the percentage of primes in $\mathbb{N}$? ($\mathbb{N} := \lbrace { 1, 2, 3, \ldots \rbrace }$ ; a prime is only divisible by itself and 1 in $\mathbb{N}$) The percentage has to be lower ...
20
votes
6answers
1k views

A non-mathematician’s (programmer’s) question on infinity?

I apologize for my total ignorance in the sphere of mathematics and the possibly very silly question I'm about to ask. My mathematical knowledge level is quite limited (pretty much finished with some ...
73
votes
3answers
2k views

Two curious “identities” on $x^x$,$e$,and $\pi$

A numerical calculation on Mathematica shows that $$I_1=\int_0^1 x^x(1-x)^{1-x}\sin\pi x\,\mathrm dx\approx0.355822$$ and $$I_2=\int_0^1 x^{-x}(1-x)^{x-1}\sin\pi x\,\mathrm dx\approx1.15573$$ A ...
4
votes
8answers
432 views

If a property in $\mathbb{N}$ is true up to $10^{47}$ are there reasons to think it is probably true in all $\mathbb{N}$?

You have probably heard at some point statements like that the twin prime conjecture (namely that $2$ is an infinitely ocurring prime gap) is "probably" or "almost certainly" true. Same goes for a ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

Expected outcome for repeated dice rolls with dice fixing

Here is another dice roll question. The rules You start with n dice, and roll all of them. You select one or more dice and fix them, i.e. their value will not ...
7
votes
10answers
1k views

Is a pattern proof?

Let's say I want a formula that takes any number and makes it into 170, and I come up with a formula that I think does it. If I plug 1 into it, 2 into it, 3 into it, etc. up to a pretty large number ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Does “evenness” have a deeper mathematical significance than being divisible by 2?

I have read and heard many times that “2 is the only even prime number”. If I was to say “2 is the only prime number divisible by 2” it would be mere tautology; it follows inevitably from the ...

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