With n people anywhere in a field each shoots a water pistol at the
nearest person. In general who gets wet? What difference does it
make if n is odd or even?
An article about the strategy for playing The Triangle Game which
appears on the NRICH site. It contains a simple lemma about
labelling a grid of equilateral triangles within a triangular
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
Here the diagram says it all. Can you find the diagram?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
Can you invert the logic to prove these statements?
Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?
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?
In this 7-sandwich: 7 1 3 1 6 4 3 5 7 2 4 6 2 5 there are 7 numbers between the 7s, 6 between the 6s etc. The article shows which values of n can make n-sandwiches and which cannot.
Take a number, add its digits then multiply the digits together,
then multiply these two results. If you get the same number it is
an SP number.
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.
The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.
Find all positive integers a and b for which the two equations:
x^2-ax+b = 0 and x^2-bx+a = 0 both have positive integer solutions.
Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.
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.
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?
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.
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.
An introduction to some beautiful results of Number Theory
This is an interactivity in which you have to sort the steps in the
completion of the square into the correct order to prove the
formula for the solutions of quadratic equations.
These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
This problem is a sequence of linked mini-challenges leading up to the proof of a difficult final challenge, encouraging you to think mathematically. Starting with one of the mini-challenges, how. . . .
Show that for natural numbers x and y if x/y > 1 then x/y>(x+1)/(y+1}>1. Hence prove that the product for i=1 to n of [(2i)/(2i-1)] tends to infinity as n tends to infinity.
Have a go at being mathematically negative, by negating these
A connected graph is a graph in which we can get from any vertex to any other by travelling along the edges. A tree is a connected graph with no closed circuits (or loops. Prove that every tree has. . . .
This article discusses how every Pythagorean triple (a, b, c) can be illustrated by a square and an L shape within another square. You are invited to find some triples for yourself.
Tom writes about expressing numbers as the sums of three squares.
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
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. . . .
We continue the discussion given in Euclid's Algorithm I, and here we shall discover when an equation of the form ax+by=c has no solutions, and when it has infinitely many solutions.
L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of
themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less
than, the square of their means?
By considering powers of (1+x), show that the sum of the squares of
the binomial coefficients from 0 to n is 2nCn
Solve this famous unsolved problem and win a prize. Take a positive
integer N. If even, divide by 2; if odd, multiply by 3 and add 1.
Iterate. Prove that the sequence always goes to 4,2,1,4,2,1...
Suppose A always beats B and B always beats C, then would you
expect A to beat C? Not always! What seems obvious is not always
true. Results always need to be proved in mathematics.
Peter Zimmerman, a Year 13 student at Mill Hill County High School
in Barnet, London wrote this account of modulus arithmetic.
An account of methods for finding whether or not a number can be written as the sum of two or more squares or as the sum of two or more cubes.
Given that a, b and c are natural numbers show that if sqrt a+sqrt
b is rational then it is a natural number. Extend this to 3
To find the integral of a polynomial, evaluate it at some special
points and add multiples of these values.
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
If I tell you two sides of a right-angled triangle, you can easily work out the third. But what if the angle between the two sides is not a right angle?
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!
Find all real solutions of the equation (x^2-7x+11)^(x^2-11x+30) = 1.
When if ever do you get the right answer if you add two fractions
by adding the numerators and adding the denominators?
A polite number can be written as the sum of two or more
consecutive positive integers. Find the consecutive sums giving the
polite numbers 544 and 424. What characterizes impolite numbers?
Can you work out where the blue-and-red brick roads end?