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Questions tagged [fractions]

Questions on fractions, i.e. expressions (not values) of the form $\frac ab$, including arithmetic with fractions. Not to be confused with the tag (rational-numbers): fractions denote rational numbers, but the same rational number may be written in different ways as a fraction.

334
votes
18answers
36k views

Find five positive integers whose reciprocals sum to $1$

Find a positive integer solution $(x,y,z,a,b)$ for which $$\frac{1}{x}+ \frac{1}{y} + \frac{1}{z} + \frac{1}{a} + \frac{1}{b} = 1\;.$$ Is your answer the only solution? If so, show why. I was ...
128
votes
7answers
5k views

Apparently sometimes $1/2 < 1/4$?

My son brought this home today from his 3rd-grade class. It is from an official Montgomery County, Maryland mathematics assessment test: True or false? $1/2$ is always greater than $1/4$. Official ...
118
votes
12answers
19k views

Can you be 1/12th Cherokee?

I was watching an old Daily Show clip and someone self-identified as "one twelfth Cherokee". It sounded peculiar, as people usually state they're "1/16th", or generally $1/2^n, n \in \mathbb{N}$. ...
94
votes
4answers
33k views

Can you raise a number to an irrational exponent?

The way that I was taught it in 8th grade algebra, a number raised to a fractional exponent, i.e. $a^\frac x y$ is equivalent to the denominatorth root of the number raised to the numerator, i.e. $\...
88
votes
15answers
21k views

Why rationalize the denominator?

In grade school we learn to rationalize denominators of fractions when possible. We are taught that $\frac{\sqrt{2}}{2}$ is simpler than $\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}$. An answer on this site says that "there ...
67
votes
29answers
17k views

How to explain for my daughter that $\frac {2}{3}$ is greater than $\frac {3}{5}$?

I was really upset while I was trying to explain for my daughter that $\frac 23$ is greater than $\frac 35$ and she always claimed that $(3$ is greater than $2$ and $5$ is greater than $3)$ then $\...
64
votes
14answers
14k views

Express 99 2/3% as a fraction? No calculator

My 9-year-old daughter is stuck on this question and normally I can help her, but I am also stuck on this! I have looked everywhere to find out how to do this but to no avail so any help/guidance is ...
58
votes
3answers
9k views

Why do we miss 8 in the decimal expansion of 1/81, and 98 in the decimal expansion of 1/9801?

Why do we miss $8$ in the decimal expansion of $1/81$, and $98$ in the decimal expansion of $1/9801$? I've seen this happen that when you divide in a fraction using the square of any number with only ...
47
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does this ratio of sums of square roots equal $1+\sqrt2+\sqrt{4+2\sqrt2}=\cot\frac\pi{16}$ for any natural number $n$?

Why is the following function $f(n)$ constant for any natural number $n$? $$f(n)=\frac{\sum_{k=1}^{n^2+2n}\sqrt{\sqrt{2n+2}+{\sqrt{n+1+\sqrt k}}}}{\sum_{k=1}^{n^2+2n}\sqrt{\sqrt{2n+2}-{\sqrt{n+1+\...
44
votes
7answers
2k views

Bad Fraction Reduction That Actually Works

$$\frac{16}{64}=\frac{1\rlap{/}6}{\rlap{/}64}=\frac{1}{4}$$ This is certainly not a correct technique for reducing fractions to lowest terms, but it happens to work in this case, and I believe there ...
42
votes
6answers
3k views

What is $\cdots ((((1/2)/(3/4))/((5/6)/(7/8)))/(((9/10)/(11/12))/((13/14)/(15/16))))/\cdots$? [duplicate]

What does this number equal if it goes on forever? $$\frac{\frac{\frac{\frac{\frac{1}{2}}{\frac{3}{4}}}{\frac{\frac56}{\frac78}}}{\frac{\frac{\frac{9}{10}}{\frac{11}{12}}}{\frac{\frac{13}{14}}{\frac{...
41
votes
2answers
4k views

Weird large K symbol

Take a look at this symbol: $$ \pi=3 + \underset{k=1}{\overset{\infty}{\large{\mathrm K}}} \frac{(2k-1)^2} 6 $$ Does it look familiar to you? If so please help me!
41
votes
3answers
2k views

If the decimal expansion of $a/b$ contains “$7143$” then $b>1250$

I recently stumbled upon this really interesting problem: Suppose we have a fraction $\frac{a}{b}$ where $a,b \in \mathbb{N}$ and we know that the decimal fraction of $\frac{a}{b}$ has the ...
37
votes
6answers
2k views

Finite Sum $\sum\limits_{k=1}^{m-1}\frac{1}{\sin^2\frac{k\pi}{m}}$

Question : Is the following true for any $m\in\mathbb N$? $$\begin{align}\sum_{k=1}^{m-1}\frac{1}{\sin^2\frac{k\pi}{m}}=\frac{m^2-1}{3}\qquad(\star)\end{align}$$ Motivation : I reached $(\star)$ by ...
37
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is $\pi$ irrational if it is represented as $c/d$?

$\pi$ can be represented as $C/D$, and $C/D$ is a fraction, and the definition of an irrational number is that it cannot be represented as a fraction. Then why is $\pi$ an irrational number?
35
votes
12answers
3k views

How to make sense of fractions?

Can anybody explain what a fraction is in a way that makes sense. I will tell you what I find so confusing: A fraction is just a number, but this number is written as a division problem between two ...
34
votes
16answers
16k views

Logic behind dividing negative numbers

I've learnt in school that a positive number, when divided by a negative number, and vice-versa, will give us a negative number as a result.On the other hand, a negative number divided by a negative ...
29
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the decimal representation of $\frac17$ “cyclical”?

$\frac17 = 0.(142857)$... with the digits in the parentheses repeating. I understand that the reason it's a repeating fraction is because $7$ and $10$ are coprime. But this...cyclical nature is ...
26
votes
4answers
1k views

Inequality with five variables

Let $a$, $b$, $c$, $d$ and $e$ be positive numbers. Prove that: $$\frac{a}{a+b}+\frac{b}{b+c}+\frac{c}{c+d}+\frac{d}{d+e}+\frac{e}{e+a}\geq\frac{a+b+c+d+e}{a+b+c+d+e-3\sqrt[5]{abcde}}$$ Easy to show ...
24
votes
7answers
3k views

Simple proof that $8\left(\frac{9}{10}\right)^8 > 1$

This question is motivated by a step in the proof given here. $\begin{align*} 8^{n+1}-1&\gt 8(8^n-1)\gt 8n^8\\ &=(n+1)^8\left(8\left(\frac{n}{n+1}\right)^8\right)\\ &\geq (n+1)^8\left(...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are fractions the same as divisions? [duplicate]

Ever since I learned about fractions in Elementary School, I've known how to work with them. The problem is, although I remember the mathematical rules, I don't remember how I assimilated the equality ...
24
votes
1answer
860 views

Simplify $\left({\sum_{k=1}^{2499}\sqrt{10+{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}}\right)\left({\sum_{k=1}^{2499}\sqrt{10-{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}}\right)^{-1}$

Simplify $$\frac{\displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{2499}\sqrt{10+{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}}{\displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{2499}\sqrt{10-{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}}$$ I don't have any good idea. I need your help.
24
votes
1answer
787 views

Which harmonic numbers have prime numerators?

Let $$1+\frac12+\frac13+\cdots+\frac1n=\frac{q}{p}$$ with $(p,q)=1$ and $q$ is a prime number. (I) Prove or disprove that the quantity of $n$ is limited. (II) Determine all $n$ satisfying the ...
23
votes
12answers
4k views

Why is $\frac{1}{\frac{1}{X}}=X$?

Can someone help me understand in basic terms why $$\frac{1}{\frac{1}{X}} = X$$ And my book says that "to simplify the reciprocal of a fraction, invert the fraction"...I don't get this because isn't ...
23
votes
7answers
3k views

Why are we allowed to cancel fractions in limits?

For example: $$\lim_{x\to 1} \frac{x^4-1}{x-1}$$ We could expand and simplify like so: $$\lim_{x\to 1} \frac{(x-1)(x^3 + x^2 + x + 1)}{x-1} = \lim_{x\to 1} (x^3 + x^2 + x + 1) = (1^3 + 1^2 + 1^1 + ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

Confusion in fraction notation

$$a_n = n\dfrac{n^2 + 5}{4}$$ In the above fraction series, for $n=3$ I think the answer should be $26/4$, while the answer in the answer book is $21/2$ (or $42/4$). I think the difference stems from ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

If $\dfrac{a}{b} = \dfrac{c}{d}$ why does $\dfrac{a+c}{b + d} = \dfrac{a}{b} = \dfrac{c}{d}$?

Can anyone prove why adding the numerator and denominator of the same ratios result in the same ratio? For example, since $\dfrac{1}{2}=\dfrac{2}{4}$ then $\dfrac{1+2}{2+4}=0.5$.
21
votes
9answers
20k views

How to find irrational numbers between rationals. (And is my method correct?)

I have a question from an A-level revision book: Find an irrational number which lies between $\frac34$ and $\frac78$. What is the correct method for doing this? Here is my method: Square ...
18
votes
5answers
716 views

Can you prove why consecutive diagonal intersection points show decreasing fractions inside a rectangle?

When I was in third grade, I was playing with rectangles and diagonal lines, and discovered something very interesting with fractions. I've shown several math teachers and professors over the years, ...
18
votes
1answer
315 views

How can this expression be calculated? $\dfrac{1 + \dfrac{3\cdots}{4\cdots}}{2 + \dfrac{5\cdots}{6\cdots}}$

I can't see any obvious way this could be calculated. It seems to converge to a value of approximately 0.6278... $\dfrac{1 + \dfrac{3}{4}}{2 + \dfrac{5}{6}} \approx 0.6176 $ $\dfrac{1 + \dfrac{3 + \...
16
votes
11answers
3k views

How to prove that adding $n$ to the numerator and denominator will move the resultant fraction close to $1$?

Given a fraction: $$\frac{a}{b}$$ I now add a number $n$ to both numerator and denominator in the following fashion: $$\frac{a+n}{b+n}$$ The basic property is that the second fraction is suppose ...
16
votes
4answers
510 views

Show the identity $\frac{a-b}{a+b}+\frac{b-c}{b+c}+\frac{c-a}{c+a}=-\frac{a-b}{a+b}\cdot\frac{b-c}{b+c}\cdot\frac{c-a}{c+a}$

I was solving an exercise, so I realized that the one easiest way to do it is using a "weird", but nice identity below. I've tried to found out it on internet but I've founded nothingness, and I ...
16
votes
2answers
539 views

Fibonacci sequence and other metallic sequences emerged in the form of fractions

The Fibonacci sequence $P_n = P_{n-1}+P_{n-2}$ is $$1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144,233,377, 610, \cdots $$ I learnt that the fraction $1/89$ contains all the numbers in the sequence. $$\begin{align} \...
16
votes
2answers
602 views

proof of $\sum\nolimits_{i = 1}^{n } {\prod\nolimits_{\substack{j = 1\\j \ne i}}^{n } {\frac{{x_i }}{{x_i - x_j }}} } = 1$ [duplicate]

i found a equation that holds for any natural number of n and any $x_i \ne x_j$ as follows: $$\sum\limits_{i = 1}^{n } {\prod\limits_{\substack{j = 1\\j \ne i}}^{n } {\frac{{x_i }}{{x_i - x_j }}} } ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How many slices of pizza do we have?

At the beginning, we had a whole piece of pizza and two people. So we cut the pizza into two slices of the same size. But at the same time, there is another guy joined us. We had to re-cut the pizza ...
16
votes
1answer
358 views

Closed-form of infinite continued fraction involving factorials

Is there a closed form of this: $$ 1!+\dfrac{1}{2!+\dfrac{1}{3!+\dfrac{1}{4!+\ldots}}} $$
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Finding the maximum value without using derivatives

Find the maximum value of $$f(x)=2\sqrt{x}-\sqrt{x+1}-\sqrt{x-1}$$ without using derivatives. The domain of $f(x)$ is $x \in [1,\infty)$. Then, using derivatives, I can prove that the function ...
15
votes
2answers
735 views

What is the max of $n$ such that $\sum_{i=1}^n\frac{1}{a_i}=1$ where $2\le a_1\lt a_2\lt\cdots\lt a_n\le 99$?

What is the max of $n$ such that $$\sum_{i=1}^n\frac{1}{a_i}=1$$ where $a_{i}\ (i=1,2,\cdots,n)$ are integers which satisfy $2\le a_1\lt a_2\lt\cdots\lt a_n\le 99$ ? Also, I need how to prove that ...
14
votes
11answers
5k views

Dividing by 2 numbers at once, what is the answer?

Let's say i have 4/1/5. or 4 divided by 1 divided by 5. Are there any rules that i am allowed to use to stop any mistakes?, for example this has 2 solutions, 4/5 , and 20. Edit: Thanks for your ...
14
votes
6answers
24k views

Is 1 divided by 3 equal to 0.333…? [duplicate]

I have been taught that $\frac{1}{3}$ is 0.333.... However, I believe that this is not true, as 1/3 cannot actually be represented in base ten; even if you had ...
14
votes
7answers
5k views

Evaluate $\sqrt[2]{2} \cdot \sqrt[4]{4}\cdot \sqrt[8]{8}\cdot \dots$

Evaluate: $$\lim_{n\to \infty }\sqrt[2]{2}\cdot \sqrt[4]{4}\cdot \sqrt[8]{8}\cdot \dots \cdot\sqrt[2^n]{2^n}$$ My attempt:First solve when $n$ is not infinity then put infinity in. $$2^{\frac{1}{2}}\...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are numerator and denominator called so?

There are terminologies for natural numbers, whole numbers and so on. (If the meaning of the terms can be found, it becomes easier to understand. For natural numbers, the term "natural" refers to the ...
14
votes
6answers
194 views

Why is it that $\frac ab\times\frac1c=\frac a{bc}$?

I know it may sound stupid but I'm just genuinely wondering about it.... $$\frac ab\times\frac1c=\frac a{bc}$$ where $b,c\ne0$. How can we multiply numerators by numerators and denominators by ...
13
votes
2answers
398 views

Why do I get $0.098765432098765432…$ when I divide $8$ by $81$?

I got this remarkable thing when I divided $16$ by $162$, or, in a simplified version, $8$ by $81$. It's $0.098765432098765432\cdots$, or more commonly known as $0.\overline{098765432}$, with all the ...
13
votes
1answer
392 views

To how many decimals is $\sum_ {k=1}^\infty \frac{k}{\sqrt{k!}} = \frac{49850839\,\pi}{29567947}$ correct?

Consider: $$\sum_ {k=1}^\infty \frac{k}{\sqrt{k!}} = \frac{49850839\,\pi}{29567947}$$ This is, as far as I'm able to check with my software, correct to at least 167 decimals. If anyone has the ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Quick doubt on converting a decimal to a fraction

I'm trying to solve a problem that requires me to find the roots of the equation $$-x^4+10x^2-x-20=0$$ By making use of Newton's method, symbolab's equation calculator has found one root to be $x\...
12
votes
1answer
897 views

Interesting pattern in the decimal expansion of $\frac1{243}$

There appears to be an interesting pattern in the decimal expansion of $\dfrac1{243}$: $$\frac1{243}=0.\overline{004115226337448559670781893}$$ I was wondering if anyone could clarify how this ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is Cantor's diagonal argument dependent on the base used?

Applying Cantor's diagonal argument to irrational numbers represented in binary, one and only one irrational number can be generated that is not on the list. Wikipedia image: But if you change the ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

A question about neighboring fractions.

I have purchased I.M. Gelfand's Algebra for my soon-to-be high school student son, but I am embarrassed to admit that I am unable to answer seemingly simple questions myself. For example, this one: ...
12
votes
4answers
10k views

Length of period of decimal expansion of a fraction

Each rational number (fraction) can be written as a decimal periodic number. Is there a method or hint to derive the length of the period of an arbitrary fraction? For example $1/3=0.3333...=0.(3)$ ...