Fractional calculus is a generalisation of ordinary calculus where you can differentiate n times when n is not a whole number.

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.

Given that u>0 and v>0 find the smallest possible value of 1/u + 1/v given that u + v = 5 by different methods.

Generalise the sum of a GP by using derivatives to make the coefficients into powers of the natural numbers.

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?

If x + y = -1 find the largest value of xy by coordinate geometry, by calculus and by algebra.

Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive proof sorters?

Find the positive integer solutions of the equation (1+1/a)(1+1/b)(1+1/c) = 2

If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and universal then you should read this article.

Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?

By considering powers of (1+x), show that the sum of the squares of the binomial coefficients from 0 to n is 2nCn

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .

Make and prove a conjecture about the value of the product of the Fibonacci numbers $F_{n+1}F_{n-1}$.

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?

Take any pair of two digit numbers x=ab and y=cd where, without loss of generality, ab > cd . Form two 4 digit numbers r=abcd and s=cdab and calculate: {r^2 - s^2} /{x^2 - y^2}.

Can the pdfs and cdfs of an exponential distribution intersect?

Can you find the value of this function involving algebraic fractions for x=2000?

Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.

Given any two polynomials in a single variable it is always possible to eliminate the variable and obtain a formula showing the relationship between the two polynomials. Try this one.

The sum of any two of the numbers 2, 34 and 47 is a perfect square. Choose three square numbers and find sets of three integers with this property. Generalise to four integers.

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. . . .

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.

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.

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

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.

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.

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. . . .

Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.

This article looks at knight's moves on a chess board and introduces you to the idea of vectors and vector addition.

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?

When if ever do you get the right answer if you add two fractions by adding the numerators and adding the denominators?

Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?

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.

To find the integral of a polynomial, evaluate it at some special points and add multiples of these values.

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 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?

Investigate the sequences obtained by starting with any positive 2 digit number (10a+b) and repeatedly using the rule 10a+b maps to 10b-a to get the next number in the sequence.

Which of these triangular jigsaws are impossible to finish?

Sort these mathematical propositions into a series of 8 correct statements.

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.

Prove that in every tetrahedron there is a vertex such that the three edges meeting there have lengths which could be the sides of a triangle.

The twelve edge totals of a standard six-sided die are distributed symmetrically. Will the same symmetry emerge with a dodecahedral die?

An introduction to some beautiful results of Number Theory (a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers and integer-valued functions)

Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.