# Category Archives: proof

## The Natural Number Game

Hello everyone! It has been quite a while since I have written anything here—my last post was in March 2020, and since then I have been overwhelmed dealing with online and hybrid teaching, plus a newborn (who is now almost … Continue reading

Posted in challenges, computation, proof | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

## Ways to prove a bijection

You have a function and want to prove it is a bijection. What can you do? By the book A bijection is defined as a function which is both one-to-one and onto. So prove that is one-to-one, and prove that … Continue reading

Posted in logic, proof | | 7 Comments

## A simple proof of the quadratic formula

If you’re reading this blog you have probably memorized (or used to have memorized) the quadratic formula, which can be used to solve quadratic equations of the form But do you know how to derive the formula? Usually the derivation … Continue reading

Posted in algebra, proof | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

## A combinatorial proof: PIE a la mode!

Continuing from my last post in this series, we’re trying to show that , where is defined as which is what we get when we start with a sequence of consecutive th powers and repeatedly take successive differences. Recall that … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, combinatorics, proof | | Comments Off on A combinatorial proof: PIE a la mode!

## A combinatorial proof: counting bad functions

In a previous post we derived the following expression: . We are trying to show that , in order to show that starting with a sequence of consecutive th powers and repeatedly taking successive differences will always result in . … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, combinatorics, proof | | 1 Comment

## A combinatorial proof: functions and matchings

We’re trying to prove the following equality (see my previous post for a recap of the story so far): In particular we’re trying to show that the two sides of this equation correspond to two different ways to count the … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, combinatorics, proof | | 5 Comments

## A combinatorial proof: the story so far

In my last post I reintroduced this seemingly odd phenomenon: Start with consecutive integers and raise them all to the th power. Then repeatedly take pairwise differences (i.e. subtract the first from the second, and the second from the third, … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, combinatorics, proof | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

## A combinatorial proof: reboot!

More than seven years ago I wrote about a curious phenomenon, which I found out about from Patrick Vennebush: if you start with a sequence of consecutive th powers, and repeatedly take pairwise differences, you always end up with , … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, combinatorics, proof | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

## PIE: proof by counting

Recall the setup: we have a universal set and a collection of subsets , , , and so on, up to . PIE claims that we can compute the number of elements of that are in none of the (that … Continue reading

Posted in combinatorics, pattern, proof | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

## PIE: proof by algebra

In my previous post I stated a very formal, general form of the Principle of Inclusion-Exclusion, or PIE.1 In this post I am going to outline one proof of PIE. I’m not going to give a completely formal proof, because … Continue reading

Posted in combinatorics, induction, pattern, proof | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments