Category Archives: solutions

The birthday candle problem: solution

Recall the birthday candle problem I wrote about in a previous post: A birthday cake has lit candles. At each step you pick a number uniformly at random and blow out candles. If any candles remain lit, the process repeats … Continue reading

Posted in combinatorics, probability, solutions | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Steinhaus-Johnson-Trotter algorithm

In a previous post I posed the question: is there a way to list the permutations of in such a way that any two adjacent permutations are related by just a single swap of adjacent numbers? (Just for fun, let’s … Continue reading

Posted in combinatorics, pattern, solutions | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Fun with repunit divisors: more solutions

In Fun with repunit divisors I posed the following challenge: Prove that every prime other than 2 or 5 is a divisor of some repunit. In other words, if you make a list of the prime factorizations of repunits, every … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, iteration, modular arithmetic, number theory, primes, programming, proof, solutions | Tagged

Cassini’s identity

My previous post asked you to take any Fibonacci number, square it, and also multiply the two adjacent Fibonacci numbers, and see if a pattern emerged. Here’s a table I made for the first 6 Fibonacci numbers: (Hmm, the numbers … Continue reading

Posted in algebra, fibonacci, induction, pattern, proof, solutions | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Area paradox unmasked

In my last post I presented a paradox, where a set of four pieces forming an 8×8 square could apparently be rearranged to form a 5×13 rectangle, summoning an extra unit of area out of thin air. Quite a few … Continue reading

Posted in geometry, pictures, puzzles, solutions | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Triangular number equations via pictures: solutions

Here are some solutions to my previous post. However, they are almost certainly not the only solutions! If you have other cool ways to visualize any of these (or any other triangular number equations) feel free to post in the … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, pattern, pictures, proof, solutions | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

The broken weight problem: solutions and further exploration

First of all, let me say to all my readers how fantastic it felt to post a puzzle, after not posting anything for two months, and get eighteen thoughtful, insightful comments in just three days; it’s every blogger’s dream. You … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, challenges, number theory, solutions | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments