Category Archives: Fun with Mathematics

“It’s only teenage infatuation,” Tom declared. “I do like Bob, but he is double your age.”

“Come on, Dad, that’s nothing these days,” Cathy replied. “He doesn’t look it, and anyway three years ago the digits of my age added up to the same as the digits of his age did.”

What they call a non-sequitur? How old was she?

Reference: Entertaining Mathematical Teasers, and how to solve them by J.A.H. Hunter, Dover Publications Inc., New York, available at Amazon India.

Cheers,

Nalin Pithwa.

Fun with Math websites: MAA

https://www.maa.org/programs/students/fun-math

cheers to MAA! 🙂

Nalin Pithwa.

Frenchmen and mathematics ! :-) :-) :-)

Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you tell to them they translate in their own language and forthwith it is something entirely different. — GOETHE.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Three in a row !!!

If my first were a 4,

And, my second were a 3,

What I am would be double,

The number you’d see.

For I’m only three digits,

Just three in a row,

So what must I be?

Don’t say you don’t know!

Cheers,

Nalin Pithwa.

Three More Quickies

Reference:

“Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities”, Ian Stewart.

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1. If five dogs dig five holes in five days, how long does it take ten dogs to dig ten holes? Assume that they all dig at the same rate all the time and all holes are the same size.
2. A woman bought a parrot in a pet shop. The shop assistant, who always told the truth said, “I guarantee that this parrot will repeat every word it hears.” A week later, the woman took the parrot back, complaining that it hadn’t spoken a single word. “Did anyone talk to it?” asked the suspicious assistant. “Oh, yes.”. What is the explanation?
3. The planet Nff-Pff in the Anathema Galaxy is inhabited by precisely two sentient beings, Nff and Pff. Nff lives on a large continent, in the middle of which is an enormous lake. Pff lives on an island in the middle of the lake. Neither Nff nor Pff can swim, fly or teleport: their only form of transport is to walk on dry land. Yet, each morning, one walks to the other’s house for breakfast. Explain.

Shared by Nalin Pithwa.

The animals went in which way

The animals may have gone into Noah’s Ark two by two, but in which order did they go in? Given the following sentence (yes, sentence! — I make no apologies for the punctuation), what was the order in which the animals entered the Ark?

The monkeys went in before the sheep, swans, chickens, peacocks, geese, penguins and spiders, but went in after the horses, badgers, squirrels and tigers, the latter of which went in before the horses, the penguins, the rabbits, the pigs, the donkeys, the snakes and the mice, but the mice went before the leopards, the leopards before the squirrels, the squirrels before the chickens, the chickens before the penguins, spiders, sheep, geese and the peacocks, the peacocks before the geese and the penguins, the penguins before the spiders and after the geese and the horses, the horses before the donkeys, the chickens and the leopards, the leopards after the foxes and the ducks, the ducks before the goats, swans, doves, foxes and badgers before the chickens, horses, squirrels and swans and after the lions, tigers, foxes, squirrels and ducks, the ducks after the lions, elephants, rabbits and otters, the otters before the elephants, tigers, chickens and beavers, the beavers after the elephants, the elephants before the lions, the lions before the tigers, the sheep before the peacocks, the swans before the chickens, the pigs before the snakes, the snakes before the foxes, the pigs after the rabbits, goats, tigers and doves, the doves before the chickens, horses, goats, donkeys and snakes, the snakes after the goats, and the donkeys before the mice and the squirrels.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Nalin Pithwa.

Can anyone have fun with infinite series?

Below is list of finitely many puzzles on infinite series to keep you a bit busy !! 🙂 Note that these puzzles do have an academic flavour, especially concepts of convergence and divergence of an infinite series.

Puzzle 1: A grandmother’s vrat (fast) requires her to keep odd number of lamps of finite capacity lit in a temple at any time during 6pm to 6am the next morning. Each oil-filled lamp lasts 1 hour and it burns oil at a constant rate. She is not allowed to light any lamp after 6pm but she can light any number of lamps before 6pm and transfer oil from some to the others throughout the night while keeping odd number of lamps lit all the time. How many fully-filled oil lamps does she need to complete her vrat?

Puzzle 2: Two number theorists, bored in a chemistry lab, played a game with a large flask containing 2 liters of a colourful chemical solution and an ultra-accurate pipette. The game was that they would take turns to recall a prime number p such that $p+2$ is also a prime number. Then, the first number theorist would pipette out $\frac{1}{p}$ litres of chemical and the second $\frac{1}{(p+2)}$ litres. How many times do they have to play this game to empty the flask completely?

Puzzle 3: How farthest from the edge of a table can a deck of playing cards be stably overhung if the cards are stacked on top of one another? And, how many of them will be overhanging completely away from the edge of the table?

Puzzle 4: Imagine a tank that can be filled with infinite taps and can be emptied with infinite drains. The taps, turned on alone, can fill the empty tank to its full capacity in 1 hour, 3 hours, 5 hours, 7 hours and so on. Likewise, the drains opened alone, can drain a full tank in 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours, and so on. Assume that the taps and drains are sequentially arranged in the ascending order of their filling and emptying durations.

Now, starting with an empty tank, plumber A alternately turns on a tap for 1 hour and opens the drain for 1 hour, all operations done one at a time in a sequence. His sequence, by using $t_{i}$ for $i^{th}$ tap and $d_{j}$ for $j^{th}$ drain, can be written as follows: $\{ t_{1}, d_{1}, t_{2}, d_{2}, \ldots\}_{A}$.

When he finishes his operation, mathematically, after using all the infinite taps and drains, he notes that the tank is filled to a certain fraction, say, $n_{A}<1$.

Then, plumber B turns one tap on for 1 hour and then opens two drains for 1 hour each and repeats his sequence: $\{ (t_{1},d_{1},d_{2}), (t_{2},d_{3},d_{4}), (t_{3},d_{4},d_{5}) \ldots \}_{B}$.

At the end of his (B’s) operation, he finds that the tank is filled to a fraction that is exactly half of what plumber A had filled, that is, $0.5n_{A}$.

How is this possible even though both have turned on all taps for 1 hour and opened all drains for 1 hour, although in different sequences?

I hope u do have fun!!

-Nalin Pithwa.

Logicalympics — 100 meters!!!

Just as you go to the gym daily and increase your physical stamina, so also, you should go to the “mental gym” of solving hard math or logical puzzles daily to increase your mental stamina. You should start with a laser-like focus (or, concentrate like Shiva’s third eye, as is famous in Hindu mythology/scriptures!!) for 15-30 min daily and sustain that pace for a month at least. Give yourself a chance. Start with the following:

The logicalympics take place every year in a very quiet setting so that the competitors can concentrate on their events — not so much the events themselves, but the results. At the logicalympics every event ends in a tie so that no one goes home disappointed 🙂 There were five entries in the room, so they held five races in order that each competitor could win, and so that each competitor could also take his/her turn in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place. The final results showed that each competitor had duly taken taken their turn in finishing in each of the five positions. Given the following information, what were the results of each of the five races?

The five competitors were A, B, C, D and E. C didn’t win the fourth race. In the first race A finished before C who in turn finished after B. A finished in a better position in the fourth race than in the second race. E didn’t win the second race. E finished two places  behind C in the first race. D lost the fourth race. A finished ahead of B in the fourth race, but B finished before A and C in the third race. A had already finished before C in the second race who in turn finished after B again. B was not first in the first race and D was not last. D finished in a better position in the second race than in the first race and finished before B. A wasn’t second in the second race and also finished before B.

So, is your brain racing now to finish this puzzle?

Cheers,

Nalin Pithwa.

PS: Many of the puzzles on my blog(s) are from famous literature/books/sources, but I would not like to reveal them as I feel that students gain the most when they really try these questions on their own rather than quickly give up and ask for help or look up solutions. Students have finally to stand on their own feet! (I do not claim creating these questions or puzzles; I am only a math tutor and sometimes, a tutor on the web.) I feel that even a “wrong” attempt is a “partial” attempt; if u can see where your own reasoning has failed, that is also partial success!

Pick’s theorem to pick your brains!!

Pick’s theorem:

Consider a square lattice of unit side. A simple polygon (with non-intersecting sides) of any shape is drawn with its vertices at the lattice points. The area of the polygon can be simply obtained as $(B/2)+I-1$ square units, where B is number of lattice points on the boundary, I is number of lattice points in the interior of the polygon. Prove this theorem!

Do you like this challenge?

Nalin Pithwa.