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 variables.
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. . . .
Imagine two identical cylindrical pipes meeting at right angles and think about the shape of the space which belongs to both pipes. Early Chinese mathematicians call this shape the mouhefanggai.
Which of these triangular jigsaws are impossible to finish?
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.
Prove that if a is a natural number and the square root of a is rational, then it is a square number (an integer n^2 for some integer n.)
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.
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
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?
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?
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?
Prove that, given any three parallel lines, an equilateral triangle always exists with one vertex on each of the three lines.
If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and universal then you should read this article.
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.
The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.
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.
When if ever do you get the right answer if you add two fractions by adding the numerators and adding the denominators?
Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.
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.
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?
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.
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. . . .
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...
Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?
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 frame.
Find all the solutions to the this equation.
Clearly if a, b and c are the lengths of the sides of an equilateral triangle then a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = ab + bc + ca. Is the converse true?
These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?
Can you work out where the blue-and-red brick roads end?
Have a go at being mathematically negative, by negating these statements.
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.
L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?
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. . . .
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?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
An introduction to some beautiful results of Number Theory
Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive proof sorters?
Peter Zimmerman, a Year 13 student at Mill Hill County High School in Barnet, London wrote this account of modulus arithmetic.
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?
Prove that you cannot form a Magic W with a total of 12 or less or with a with a total of 18 or more.
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.
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
To find the integral of a polynomial, evaluate it at some special points and add multiples of these values.
The twelve edge totals of a standard six-sided die are distributed symmetrically. Will the same symmetry emerge with a dodecahedral die?
Explore what happens when you draw graphs of quadratic equations with coefficients based on a geometric sequence.
Take a complicated fraction with the product of five quartics top and bottom and reduce this to a whole number. This is a numerical example involving some clever algebra.