Algebra

Domain and Range of a Radical Function

(A new question of the week) We’ve looked at domain and range problems before, but some have more interesting details than others. Here is a superficially basic radical function (and the answer is extremely easy when you just use a graphing tool), which raised some interesting issues while solving it algebraically.

Fibonacci Word Problems II: Challenging

Last week we looked at several basic word problems for which the Fibonacci sequence is part of the solution. Now we’ll look at two problem that take longer to explain: a variation on the rabbit story, and an amazing reverse puzzle.

Fibonacci Word Problems I: Basic

Here and next week, we’ll look at a collection of word problems we have seen that involve the Fibonacci sequence or its relatives, sometimes on the surface, other times only deep down. The first set (here) are direct representations of Fibonacci, while the second set will be considerably deeper. A 20-foot walkway The first, from …

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A Few Inductive Fibonacci Proofs

Having studied proof by induction and met the Fibonacci sequence, it’s time to do a few proofs of facts about the sequence. We’ll see three quite different kinds of facts, and five different proofs, most of them by induction. We’ll also see repeatedly that the statement of the problem may need correction or clarification, so …

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The Golden Ratio and Fibonacci

We’re looking at the Fibonacci sequence, and have seen connections to a number called phi (φ or \(\phi\)), commonly called the Golden Ratio. I want to look at some geometrical connections and other interesting facts about this number before we get back to the Fibonacci numbers themselves and some inductive proofs involving them.

Introducing the Fibonacci Sequence

We’ve been examining inductive proof in preparation for the Fibonacci sequence, which is a playground for induction. Here we’ll introduce the sequence, and then prove the formula for the nth term using two different methods, using induction in a way we haven’t seen before.

Inductive Proofs: More Examples

Last week we looked at examples of induction proofs: some sums of series and a couple divisibility proofs. This time, I want to do a couple inequality proofs, and a couple more series, in part to show more of the variety of ways the details of an inductive proof can be handled.

Inductive Proofs: Four Examples

Last week we looked at introductory explanations of what mathematical induction is, including answers to some misunderstandings of the concept. But we only looked at one trivial example of such a proof; for a real understanding of the technique, we need some fuller examples. For that purpose, I have chosen a few questions we have …

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Disappearing Area?

We’ve been looking at dissection puzzles, where we cut an object into pieces, and rearrange them. Here we’ll examine a mystery posed by two different puzzles, each of which seems to change the area by rearranging the pieces. The answer combines the marvelous Fibonacci numbers and [spoiler alert!] how easily we misjudge areas.