# Questions tagged [algebra-precalculus]

For questions about algebra and precalculus topics, which include linear, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, rational and trigonometric functions, conic sections, binomial, surds, graphs and transformations of graphs, solving equations and systems of equations and other symbolic-manipulation topics.

2,585 questions
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### Why $\sqrt{-1 \times {-1}} \neq \sqrt{-1}^2$?

I know there must be something unmathematical in the following but I don't know where it is: \begin{align} \sqrt{-1} &= i \\ \\ \frac1{\sqrt{-1}} &= \frac1i \\ \\ \frac{\sqrt1}{\sqrt{-1}} &...
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### Is it true that $0.999999999\dots=1$?

I'm told by smart people that $$0.999999999\dots=1$$ and I believe them, but is there a proof that explains why this is?
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### Proof for formula for sum of sequence $1+2+3+\ldots+n$?

Apparently $1+2+3+4+\ldots+n = \dfrac{n\times(n+1)}2$. How? What's the proof? Or maybe it is self apparent just looking at the above? PS: This problem is know as "The sum of the first $n$ positive ...
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### Highest power of a prime $p$ dividing $N!$

How does one find the highest power of a prime $p$ that divides $N!$ and other related products? Related question: How many zeros are there at the end of $N!$? This is being done to reduce abstract ...
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### Division by $0$

I came up some definitions I have sort of difficulty to distinguish. In parentheses are my questions. $\dfrac {x}{0}$ is Impossible ( If it's impossible it can't have neither infinite solutions or ...
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### Proving the identity $\sum_{k=1}^n {k^3} = \big(\sum_{k=1}^n k\big)^2$ without induction

I recently proved that $$\sum_{k=1}^n k^3 = \left(\sum_{k=1}^n k \right)^2$$ using mathematical induction. I'm interested if there's an intuitive explanation, or even a combinatorial interpretation ...
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### Why is negative times negative = positive?

Someone recently asked me why a negative $\times$ a negative is positive, and why a negative $\times$ a positive is negative, etc. I went ahead and gave them a proof by contradiction like so: Assume ...
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### Prove $0! = 1$ from first principles

How can I prove from first principles that $0!$ is equal to $1$?
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### Why $\sqrt{-1 \times -1} \neq \sqrt{-1}^2$? [duplicate]

We know $$i^2=-1$$then why does this happen? $$i^2 = \sqrt{-1}\times\sqrt{-1}$$ $$=\sqrt{-1\times-1}$$ $$=\sqrt{1}$$ $$= 1$$ EDIT: I see this has been dealt with before but at least with ...
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### How to prove this binomial identity $\sum_{r=0}^n {r {n \choose r}} = n2^{n-1}$?

I am trying to prove this binomial identity $\sum_{r=0}^n {r {n \choose r}} = n2^{n-1}$ but am not able to think something except induction,which is of-course not necessary (I think) here, so I am ...
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### How to solve $x^3=-1$?

How to solve $x^3=-1$? I got following: $x^3=-1$ $x=(-1)^{\frac{1}{3}}$ $x=\frac{(-1)^{\frac{1}{2}}}{(-1)^{\frac{1}{6}}}=\frac{i}{(-1)^{\frac{1}{6}}}$...
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### Why can ALL quadratic equations be solved by the quadratic formula?

In algebra, all quadratic problems can be solved by using the quadratic formula. I read a couple of books, and they told me only HOW and WHEN to use this formula, but they don't tell me WHY I can use ...
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### Prove that $\cos (A + B)\cos (A - B) = {\cos ^2}A - {\sin ^2}B$

$$\cos (A + B)\cos (A - B) = {\cos ^2}A - {\sin ^2}B$$ I have attempted this question by expanding the left side using the cosine sum and difference formulas and then multiplying, and then ...
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### Formula for calculating $\sum_{n=0}^{m}nr^n$

I want to know the general formula for $\sum_{n=0}^{m}nr^n$ for some constant r and how it is derived. For example, when r = 2, the formula is given by: $\sum_{n=0}^{m}n2^n = 2(m2^m - 2^m +1)$ ...
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### Is there a general formula for solving 4th degree equations (quartic)?

There is a general formula for solving quadratic equations, namely the Quadratic Formula. For third degree equations of the form $ax^3+bx^2+cx+d=0$, there is a set of three equations: one for each ...
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### Algebraic Proof that $\sum\limits_{i=0}^n \binom{n}{i}=2^n$

I'm well aware of the combinatorial variant of the proof, i.e. noting that each formula is a different representation for the number of subsets of a set of $n$ elements. I'm curious if there's a ...
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### Purely “algebraic” proof of Young's Inequality

Young's inequality states that if $a, b \geq 0$, $p, q > 0$, and $\frac{1}{p} + \frac{1}{q} = 1$, then $$ab\leq \frac{a^p}{p} + \frac{b^q}{q}$$ (with equality only when $a^p = b^q$). Back when I ...
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### prove that $\frac{(2n)!}{(n!)^2}$ is even if $n$ is a positive integer

Prove that $\frac{(2n)!}{(n!)^2}$ is even if $n$ is a positive integer. For clarity: the denominator is the only part being squared. My thought process: The numerator is the product of the ...
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### Proving $p\nmid \binom{p^rm}{p^r}$ where $p\nmid m$

A question from Advanced Modern Algebra by Joseph J.Rotman. Let $n=(p^r)m$ such that the prime $p\nmid m$.Prove that $p\nmid \dbinom{n}{p^r}$.HINT: Assume otherwise, cross multiply and apply ...
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### What is the most elegant proof of the Pythagorean theorem? [closed]

The Pythagorean Theorem is one of the most popular to prove by mathematicians, and there are many proofs available (including one from James Garfield). What's the most elegant proof? My favorite ...
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### $\sqrt{7\sqrt{7\sqrt{7\sqrt{7\sqrt{7\cdots}}}}}$ approximation [closed]

Is there any trick to evaluate this or this is an approximation, I mean I am not allowed to use calculator. $$\sqrt{7\sqrt{7\sqrt{7\sqrt{7\sqrt{7\cdots}}}}}$$
### Direct Proof that $1 + 3 + 5 + \cdots+ (2n - 1) = n\cdot n$
Prove that for all integers $n$, $n \geq 1$, $$1 + 3 + 5 + \cdots + (2n - 1) = n\cdot n$$ How would I go about proving this?