Some random assorted (part A) problems in algebra for RMO and INMO training

You might want to take a serious shot at each of these. In the first stage of attack, apportion 15 minutes of time for each problem. Do whatever you can, but write down your steps in minute detail. In the last 5 minutes, check why the method or approach does not work. You can even ask — or observe, for example, that if surds are there in an equation, the equation becomes inherently tough. So, as a child we are tempted to think — how to get rid of the surds ?…and so on, thinking in math requires patience and introversion…

So, here are the exercises for your math gym today:

1) Prove that if x, y, z are non-zero real numbers with x+y+z=0, then

\frac{x^{2}+y^{2}}{x+y} + \frac{y^{2}+z^{2}}{y+z} + \frac{z^{2}+x^{2}}{x+z} = \frac{x^{3}}{yz} + \frac{y^{3}}{zx} + \frac{z^{3}}{xy}

2) Let a b, c, d be complex numbers with a+b+c+d=0. Prove that


3) Let a, b, c, d be integers. Prove that a+b+c+d divides


4) Solve in complex numbers the equation:


5) Solve in real numbers the equation:

\sqrt{x} + \sqrt{y} + 2\sqrt{z-2} + \sqrt{u} + \sqrt{v} = x+y+z+u+v

6) Find the real solutions to the equation:


7) Solve the equation:

\sqrt{x + \sqrt{4x + \sqrt{16x + \sqrt{\ldots + \sqrt{4^{n}x+3}}}}} - \sqrt{x}=1

8) Prove that if x, y, z are real numbers such that x^{3}+y^{3}+z^{3} \neq 0, then the ratio \frac{2xyz - (x+y+z)}{x^{3}+y^{3}+z^{3}} equals 2/3 if and only if x+y+z=0.

9) Solve in real numbers the equation:

\sqrt{x_{1}-1} = 2\sqrt{x_{2}-4}+ \ldots + n\sqrt{x_{n}-n^{2}}=\frac{1}{2}(x_{1}+x_{2}+ \ldots + x_{n})

10) Find the real solutions to the system of equations:

\frac{1}{x} + \frac{1}{y} = 9

(\frac{1}{\sqrt[3]{x}} + \frac{1}{\sqrt[3]{y}})(1+\frac{1}{\sqrt[3]{x}})(1+\frac{1}{\sqrt[3]{y}})=18

More later,
Nalin Pithwa

PS: if you want hints, do let me know…but you need to let me know your approach/idea first…else it is spoon-feeding…

In bubbles, she sees a mathematical universe: Abel Laureate, Prof Karen Uhlenbeck

I was just skimming the biography “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar, about the life of mathematical genius, John Nash, Economics Nobel Laureate (and later Abel Laureate)…

Some math wisdom came to my mind: Good mathematicians look for analogies between theorems but the very best of them look for analogies within analogies; I was reading the following from the biography of John Nash: …It was the great HUngarian-born polymath John von Neumann who first recognized that social behaviour could be analyzed as games. Von Neumann’s 1928 article on parlour games was the first successful attempt to derive logical and mathematical rules about rivalries. Just as Blake saw the universe in a grain of sand, great scientists have often looked for clues to vast and complex problems in the small, familiar phenomena of daily life. Isaac Newton reached insights about the heavens by juggling wooden balls. Einstein contemplated a boat paddling upriver. Von Neumann pondered the game of poker.


And, read how first woman Abel Laureate, genius mathematician Prof Karen Uhlenbeck sees a mathematical universe in bubbles…

Hats off to Prof Karen Uhlenbeck and NY Times author, Siobhan Roberts!!

What is the kind of concentration required for RMO INMO IMO and IITJEE Advanced Mathematics?

Laser like concentration is a pre-requisite to genuinely creative work in math, computer science, or any other field, like chess and music. Let me illustrate a story of John Nash Jr. (Nobel Laureate, Economics, Abel Laureate genius mathematician): (Reference: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, Chapter 5 Genius):

KAI LAI CHUNG, a mathematics instructor who had survived the horrors of the Japanese conquest of his native China, was surprised to see the door of the Professors’ Room standing ajar.  It was usually locked. Kai Lai liked to stop by on the rare occasions when it was open and nobody was about. It had the feel of an empty church, no longer imposing and intimidating as it was in the afternoons when it was crowded with mathematical luminaries, but simply a beautiful sanctuary.

The light in the west common room filtered through thick stained-glass windows inlaid with formulae: Newton’s law of gravity, Einstein’s theory of relativity, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. At the far end, like an altar, was a massive stone fireplace. On one side was a carving of a fly confronting
the paradox of the MObius band. MObius had given a strip of paper a half twist and connected the ends, creating a seemingly impossible object: a surface with only one side. Kai Lai especially liked to read the whimsical inscription over the fire-place, Einstein’s expression of faith in science, “Der Herr Gott ist raffiniert aber Boshaft ist Er nicht,” which he took to mean that “the Lord is subtle but not malicious.”

On this particular fall morning, as he reached the threshold of the half-open door, Kai Lai stopped abruptly. A few feet away, on the massive table that dominated the room, floating among a sea of papers, sprawled a beautiful dark-haired young man. He lay on his back staring up at the ceiling as if he were outside on a lawn under an elm looking up at the sky through the leaves, perfectly relaxed, motionless, obviously lost in thought, arms folded behind his head. He was whistling softly. Kai Lai recognized the distinctive profile immediately. It was the new graduate student from West Virginia. A trifle shocked and a little embarrassed,
Kai Lai backed away from the door and hurried away before Nash could see or hear him.


Nalin Pithwa

Prof. Tim Gowers’ on functions, domains, etc.

Thanks a lot Prof. Gowers! Math should be sans ambiguities as far as possible…!

I hope my students and readers can appreciate the details in this blog article of Prof. Gowers.

Nalin Pithwa