Finding the Fibonacci Numbers: A Similar Formula

In this series of posts about the Fibonacci sequence , a very famous sequence of numbers within mathematics, we have just concluded showing how you can take the recursive formula (which uses previous values of to compute the next values) and turn that formula into an exact formula that can skip right over the previousContinue reading “Finding the Fibonacci Numbers: A Similar Formula”

Finding the Fibonacci Numbers: The Formula

This is the third post in a series about an exact formula for the Fibonacci numbers, , which are defined by the initial values and the recurrence relation . We have made a lot of progress towards our goal. We discovered a connection between , the golden ratio , and the Fibonacci sequence by findingContinue reading “Finding the Fibonacci Numbers: The Formula”

Finding the Fibonacci Numbers: Getting Our Bearings

This is the second in a series of posts discussing a quite elegant and interesting problem in the history of mathematics. We have previously defined the Fibonacci numbers using the starting point and defining for every larger value of . This set up is often called a recursive formula, since we use the same processContinue reading “Finding the Fibonacci Numbers: Getting Our Bearings”

Finding the Fibonacci Numbers: The Problem

The 1202 mathematics textbook Liber Abaci is arguably one of the most important contributions to the development of the scientific and cultural systems we have in the world today, especially for Western society. Written by Leonardo of Pisa, known colloquially by the name Fibonacci, this text introduced to the Western world important notations and mathematicalContinue reading “Finding the Fibonacci Numbers: The Problem”

The Quadratic Formula (Solution)

Having discussed the motivation of why something like a “quadratic formula” is a useful thing to discover and understand, I’d like to work through some of the ideas that might lead one to discover a quadratic formula. Reducing the Number of Unknowns Remember that the equation we care about is , with (so that thisContinue reading “The Quadratic Formula (Solution)”

The Quadratic Formula (Problem)

This problem is something that is pretty well known from our high school education – the quadratic formula. In a follow-up post, I will present the solution through a shortened version of the process by which a mathematician might have gone about finding a solution. Equations are among the most important objects in mathematics. InContinue reading “The Quadratic Formula (Problem)”

Evaluating a Premise: Weighing Evidence with Bayes’ Theorem

When we are involved in important discussions, it is important to not take pivotal claims of others – or ourselves – merely at face value. Instead, we debate the various available ideas. That is, we bring forth evidence that we have thought about and that we believe supports our position, and we listen to theContinue reading “Evaluating a Premise: Weighing Evidence with Bayes’ Theorem”

Do “Monkey-Typewriter” Arguments Work?

There is a famous analogy that is used in discussion of highly improbable events – that of monkeys sitting at a typewriter, banging away at the keys. It is said in this parable that, given enough time, the monkey will type out Hamlet, or a Shakespeaean sonnet, or the complete works of Shakespeare, or someContinue reading “Do “Monkey-Typewriter” Arguments Work?”

Proof by Infinite Descent

We have previously discussed proof by contradiction [1]. Here, we will be describing what can be viewed as a specialized version of this method. This method, however, is sufficiently specialized that is it worth discussing separately. As a mathematician, I find this idea absolutely brilliant. Even though it isn’t terribly difficult to explain, only anContinue reading “Proof by Infinite Descent”

Proof by Contrapositive

Sometimes when you are trying to solve a problem, you realize you really don’t have a lot of information to start with. One piece of good advice in problem-solving is to try to work backwards. That is, sometimes if you know what you want your solution to look like, you can backtrack to learn somethingContinue reading “Proof by Contrapositive”