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.
The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .
How many tours visit each vertex of a cube once and only once? How many return to the starting point?
Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .
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.
The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!
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. . . .
Draw a 'doodle' - a closed intersecting curve drawn without taking pencil from paper. What can you prove about the intersections?
I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?
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?
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. . . .
Keep constructing triangles in the incircle of the previous triangle. What happens?
This follows up the 'magic Squares for Special Occasions' article which tells you you to create a 4by4 magicsquare with a special date on the top line using no negative numbers and no repeats.
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?
Find the positive integer solutions of the equation (1+1/a)(1+1/b)(1+1/c) = 2
How many noughts are at the end of these giant numbers?
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
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?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
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?
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
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.
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. . . .
L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?
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.
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
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.
Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.
Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.
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!
The twelve edge totals of a standard six-sided die are distributed symmetrically. Will the same symmetry emerge with a dodecahedral die?
Find all real solutions of the equation (x^2-7x+11)^(x^2-11x+30) = 1.
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
If for any triangle ABC tan(A - B) + tan(B - C) + tan(C - A) = 0 what can you say about the triangle?
To find the integral of a polynomial, evaluate it at some special points and add multiples of these values.
Learn about the link between logical arguments and electronic circuits. Investigate the logical connectives by making and testing your own circuits and fill in the blanks in truth tables to record. . . .
We only need 7 numbers for modulus (or clock) arithmetic mod 7 including working with fractions. Explore how to divide numbers and write fractions in modulus arithemtic.
It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses but it can be done using a carpenter's square.
As a quadrilateral Q is deformed (keeping the edge lengths constnt) the diagonals and the angle X between them change. Prove that the area of Q is proportional to tanX.
A point moves around inside a rectangle. What are the least and the greatest values of the sum of the squares of the distances from the vertices?
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.
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.
Tom writes about expressing numbers as the sums of three squares.
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.
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.
Generalise the sum of a GP by using derivatives to make the coefficients into powers of the natural numbers.
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?
Find a connection between the shape of a special ellipse and an infinite string of nested square roots.
Sort these mathematical propositions into a series of 8 correct statements.