Browsing category ask uncle colin

Ask Uncle Colin: An Infinite Product

Dear Uncle Colin, I have to show that $\Pi_1^\infty \frac{(2n+1)^2 - 1}{(2n+1)^2} > \frac{3}{4}$. How would you do that? Partial Results Obtained Don’t Undeniably Create Truth Hi, PRODUCT, and thanks for your message! That’s a messy one. I can see two reasonable approaches: one is to take the whole thing

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Ask Uncle Colin: Why is $e$ not 1?

Dear Uncle Colin, If $e = \left( 1+ \frac{1}{n} \right)^n$ when $n = \infty$, how come it isn’t 1? Surely $1 + \frac{1}{\infty}$ is just 1? - I’m Not Finding It Natural, It’s Terribly Yucky Hi, INFINITY, and thanks for your message. You have fallen into one of maths’s classic

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Ask Uncle Colin: Curved Surface Areas

Dear Uncle Colin, I’ve been struggling with this: “If the surface area of a sphere to cylinder is in the ratio 4:3 and the sphere has a radius of 3a, calculate the radius of the cylinder if the radius if the cylinder is equal to its height.” Can you help?

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Ask Uncle Colin: A problem of squares and powers

Dear Uncle Colin, I have to solve $615 + x^2 = 2^y$ for integers $x$ and $y$. I’ve solved it by inspection using Desmos ($x=59$ and $y=12$ is the only solution), but I’d prefer a more analytical solution! Getting Exponent Right Makes An Interesting Noise Hi, GERMAIN, and thanks for

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Ask Uncle Colin: A Binary Fraction

Dear Uncle Colin, How would you write $\frac{1}{10}$ in binary? Binary Is Totally Stupid Hi, BITS, and thanks for your message! I have two ways to deal with this: the standard, long-division sort of method, and a much nicer geometric series approach. Long division-esque While I can do the long

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Ask Uncle Colin: Round-Robin Progress

Dear Uncle Colin, I lost the first game of my Big Internet Math-Off tournament - can I still win the group and qualify for the semi-finals? - Surely Combinations Of Talent, Luck And Nous Deliver? Hi, SCOTLAND, and thanks for your message! Because the tie-break rules aren’t currently clear, I

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Ask Uncle Colin: Some Symmetric Algebra

Dear Uncle Colin, If I know that $a+b+c = 0$, how can I show that $(2a-b)^3 + (2b-c)^3 + (2c-a)^3 = 3(2a-b)(2b-c)(2c-a)$? - Something You Might Merrily Explain? Thanks! Regards! Yippee! Hi, SYMMETRY, and thanks for your message! As usual, there are myriad ways to attack this, of which I

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Ask Uncle Colin: A Cosine Proof

Dear Uncle Colin How would you prove that $\cos(2x) > 1 - 2x^2$ for $x > 0$? - Can’t Obviously See It, Need Explanation Hi, COSINE, and thanks for your message! I’d start by noting that as soon as $x > 1$, the right hand side is smaller than -1,

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Ask Uncle Colin: A Modest Inheritance

Dear Uncle Colin, My six siblings and I have inherited a fortune of £$10^{10} + 10^{(10^2)} + \dots 10^{(10^{10})}$, to be divided evenly between us. However, we’re a very squabbly family, so we want to know how much money will be left over once it’s divided up. Can you help?

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Ask Uncle Colin: Consecutiveness

Dear Uncle Colin, Can there be two or more consecutive irrational numbers? - Between A Number And Consecutive… Huh? Hi, BANACH, and thanks for your message! We… have a problem here. When you’re dealing with integers, consecutive is really neatly defined: every number has a single successor, a number that’s

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