Browsing category further pure 2

A moment of neatness

Working through an FP2 question on telescoping sums (one of my favourite topics - although FP2 is full of those), we determined that $r^2 = \frac{\br{2r+1}^3-\br{2r-1}^3-2}{24}$. Adding these up for $r=1$ to $r=n$ gave the fairly neat result that $24\sum_{r=1}^{n} r^2 = \br{2n+1}^3 - 1 - 2n$. Now, there are

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Ask Uncle Colin: rearranging $\cos^3(x)$

Dear Uncle Colin, I recently came across a problem in which I had to integrate $\cos^3(x)$. Somewhere in my mind, I recall that the thing to do is to make it into something involving $\cos(3x)$, but I couldn't put the details together. Could you help? -- Not A Very Inspired

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Ask Uncle Colin: Changing the variable (FP2 Differential equations)

Dear Uncle Colin, I'm supposed to use the change of variable $z = \sin(x)$ to turn $\cos(x) \diffn{2}{y}{x} + \sin(x) \dydx - 2y \cos^3(x)= 2\cos^5(x)$ into $\diffn{2}{y}{z} - 2y = 2\left(1-z^2\right)$. Yeah but no but. No idea. Lacking, Obviously, Something Trivial Hello, LOST, Right, yes. Nasty one, this. The main

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“A little biter of a question”

This problem came via the lovely @realityminus3 and caused me no end of problems - although I got there in the end. I thought it'd be useful to look at not just the answer, but the mistakes I made on the way. Maths is usually presented as 'here's what you

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Why the Maclaurin series gives you Pascal’s Triangle

The Mathematical Ninja, some time ago, pointed out a curiosity about Pascal's Triangle and the Maclaurin1 (or Taylor2 ) series of a product: $\diffn{n}{(uv)}{x} = uv^{(n)} + n u'v^{(n-1)} + \frac{n(n-1)}{2} u'' v^{(n-2)} + ...$, where $v^{(n)}$ means the $n$th derivative of $v$ - which looks a lot like Pascal's

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A numerical curiosity

A numerical curiosity today, all to do with $\i$th powers. Euler noticed, some centuries ago, that $13({2^\i + 2^{-\i}})$ is almost exactly $20$. As you would, of course. But why? And more to the point, how do you work out an $\i$th power? It's all to do with the exponential

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Why is $\arcosh$ the positive root?

A student asks: I know the method for finding the hyperbolic arcosine1 - but I get two roots out of my quadratic formula. Why is it just the positive one? A quick refresher, in case you don't know the method Hyperbolic functions are the BEST FUNCTIONS IN THE WHOLE WIDE

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Complex mappings

Just for a change, an FP3 topic. I've been struggling to tutor complex mappings properly (mainly because I've been too lazy to look them up), but have finally seen - I think - how to solve them with minimal headache. A typical question gives you a mapping from the (complex)

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A nasty proof: angle bisectors and ellipses

This came up in class, and took me several attempts, so I thought I'd share it. The question asks about an ellipse with equation $9x^2 + 25y^2 = 225$, with foci $A$ and $B$ at $(\pm4,0)$ - the challenge is to prove that the normal to the ellipse at a

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