Consider the equation 1/a + 1/b + 1/c = 1 where a, b and c are
natural numbers and 0 < a < b < c. Prove that there is
only one set of values which satisfy this equation.
Find some triples of whole numbers a, b and c such that a^2 + b^2 + c^2 is a multiple of 4. Is it necessarily the case that a, b and c must all be even? If so, can you explain why?
If a two digit number has its digits reversed and the smaller of the two numbers is subtracted from the larger, prove the difference can never be prime.
Make a set of numbers that use all the digits from 1 to 9, once and
once only. Add them up. The result is divisible by 9. Add each of
the digits in the new number. What is their sum? Now try some. . . .
The nth term of a sequence is given by the formula n^3 + 11n . Find
the first four terms of the sequence given by this formula and the
first term of the sequence which is bigger than one million. . . .
Find the smallest positive integer N such that N/2 is a perfect
cube, N/3 is a perfect fifth power and N/5 is a perfect seventh
There are 12 identical looking coins, one of which is a fake. The
counterfeit coin is of a different weight to the rest. What is the
minimum number of weighings needed to locate the fake coin?
Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.
Here are three 'tricks' to amaze your friends. But the really
clever trick is explaining to them why these 'tricks' are maths not
magic. Like all good magicians, you should practice by trying. . . .
Start with any whole number N, write N as a multiple of 10 plus a remainder R and produce a new whole number N'. Repeat. What happens?
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .
Can you convince me of each of the following: If a square number is
multiplied by a square number the product is ALWAYS a square
Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB
and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q
such that APCQ is a rhombus.
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers
the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
Carry out cyclic permutations of nine digit numbers containing the
digits from 1 to 9 (until you get back to the first number). Prove
that whatever number you choose, they will add to the same total.
Euler found four whole numbers such that the sum of any two of the numbers is a perfect square...
Explore the continued fraction: 2+3/(2+3/(2+3/2+...)) What do you
notice when successive terms are taken? What happens to the terms
if the fraction goes on indefinitely?
Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
How many noughts are at the end of these giant numbers?
Can you explain why a sequence of operations always gives you perfect squares?
Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.
This article extends the discussions in "Whole number dynamics I". Continuing the proof that, for all starting points, the Happy Number sequence goes into a loop or homes in on a fixed point.
Three points A, B and C lie in this order on a line, and P is any
point in the plane. Use the Cosine Rule to prove the following
Four jewellers share their stock. Can you work out the relative values of their gems?
The final of five articles which containe the proof of why the sequence introduced in article IV either reaches the fixed point 0 or the sequence enters a repeating cycle of four values.
This article looks at knight's moves on a chess board and introduces you to the idea of vectors and vector addition.
Take any whole number between 1 and 999, add the squares of the
digits to get a new number. Make some conjectures about what
happens in general.
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
In this third of five articles we prove that whatever whole number we start with for the Happy Number sequence we will always end up with some set of numbers being repeated over and over again.
Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?
Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful
inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of
knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
Find the largest integer which divides every member of the
following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.
What can you say about the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral whose vertices are on a unit circle?
I am exactly n times my daughter's age. In m years I shall be ... How old am I?
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less
than, the square of their means?
Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one.
Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is
special about your results.
It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses
but it can be done using a carpenter's square.
The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
The first of two articles on Pythagorean Triples which asks how many right angled triangles can you find with the lengths of each side exactly a whole number measurement. Try it!
If you take two tests and get a marks out of a maximum b in the first and c marks out of d in the second, does the mediant (a+c)/(b+d)lie between the results for the two tests separately.
You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest.
Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd
one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?
What fractions can you divide the diagonal of a square into by simple folding?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?