The 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad — Problem 5

The final round of the South African Mathematics Olympiad will be taking place on Thursday, 28 July 2019. I have been writing about some of the problems from the senior paper from 2018. A list of all of the problems can be found here.

Today we will look at the fifth problem from the 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad:

Determine all sequences a_1, a_2, a_3, \ldots of nonnegative integers such that a_1 < a_2 < a_3 < \ldots, and a_n divides a_{n - 1} + n for all n \geq 2.

Since the sequence a_1, a_2, \ldots is strictly increasing, we know that a_n \geq n - 1 for all positive integers n. (We could prove this rigorously by induction.) This means that a_{n - 1} + n \leq (a_n - 1) + (a_n + 1) = 2a_n for all n, and so we know that a_{n - 1} + n is equal to either a_n, or to 2a_n for all positive integers n. Perhaps we should try to figure out exactly when it is equal to a_n, and when it is equal to 2a_n. If we knew, for example, that we always have that a_{n - 1} + n = a_n, then we have reduced the problem to solving this recurrence relation.…

By | July 21st, 2019|Competition, English|0 Comments

The 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad — Problem 4

The final round of the South African Mathematics Olympiad will be taking place on Thursday, 28 July 2019. In the week leading up to the contest, I plan to take a look at some of the problems from the senior paper from 2018. A list of all of the posts can be found here.

Today we will look at the fourth problem from the 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad:

Let ABC be a triangle with circumradius R, and let \ell_A, \ell_B, \ell_C be the altitudes through A, B, C respectively. The altitudes meet at H. Let P be an arbitrary point in the same plane as ABC. The feet of the perpendicular lines through P onto \ell_A, \ell_B, \ell_C are D, E, F respectively. Prove that the areas of DEF and ABC satisfy the following equation:

\displaystyle \text{area}(DEF) = \frac{{PH}^2}{4R^2} \cdot \text{area}(ABC).

Once again, we begin by creating a diagram. Again, since I already know how the solution plays out, I’ve drawn in the circle that passes through P, E, D, H, and F. We do know yet that these points are concylic, however, as it is not given directly in the problem statement.…

By | July 19th, 2019|Competition|1 Comment

The 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad — Problem 3

The final round of the South African Mathematics Olympiad will be taking place on Thursday, 28 July 2019. In the week leading up to the contest, I plan to take a look at some of the problems from the senior paper from 2018. A list of all the posts can be found here.

Today we will look at the third problem from the 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad:

Determine the smallest positive integer n whose prime factors are all greater than 18, and that can be expressed as n = a^3 + b^3 with positive integers a and b.

In many number theory problems, it helps to consider the prime factors of the numbers involved, and in this problem we are in fact forced to do so because the question itself is about the prime factors of a number. When dealing with factors of a number or an expression representing some number, it of course helps to consider whether we can factorise the given expression.…

By | July 17th, 2019|Competition|1 Comment

The 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad — Problem 2

The final round of the South African Mathematics Olympiad will be taking place on Thursday, 28 July 2019. In the week and half leading up the the contest, I plan to take a look at some of the problems from the senior paper in 2018, and have already written about the first problem

The second problem from the 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad was

In triangle ABC, AB = AC, and D is on BC. A point E is chosen on AC, and a point F is chosen on AB, such that DE = DC and DF = DB. It is given that \frac{DC}{BD} = 2 and \frac{AF}{AE} = 5. Determine the value of \frac{AB}{BC}.

The first step of solving any geometry problem should always be to draw a sketch. This helps you to understand how different parts of the figure relate to each other, and an accurate sketch may help you to form conjectures. Sometimes having a deliberately inaccurate sketch on hand is also helpful as it may help to avoid circular reasoning.…

By | July 15th, 2019|Competition|1 Comment

The 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad — Problem 1

The final round of the South African Mathematics Olympiad will be taking place on Thursday, 28 July 2019. In the two weeks leading up to the contest, I plan to take a look at some of the problems from the senior paper from 2018.

The first problem from the 2018 South African Mathematics Olympiad was

One hundred empty glasses are arranged in a 10 \times 10 array. Now we pick a of the rows and pour blue liquid into all glasses in these rows, so that they are half full. The remaining rows are filled halfway with yellow liquid. Afterwards, we pick b of the columns and fill them up with blue liquid. The remaining columns are filled with yellow liquid. The mixture of blue and yellow liquid turns green. If both halves have the same colour, then that colour remains as is.

  1. Determine all possible combinations of values for a and b so that exactly half of the glasses contain green liquid at the end.
By | July 13th, 2019|Competition|1 Comment

The South African Mathematics Olympiad

The South African Mathematics Olympiad is an annual mathematics competition for high-school students in South Africa. The competition is organised by the South African Mathematics Foundation, and comprises three rounds which increase in difficulty. The final round of the 2019 South African Mathematics Olympiad will take place on Thursday, 25 July, and the top ten junior (Grade 8 and 9) and senior (Grades 10—12) competitors will be invited to a prize-giving evening taking place on 14 September 2019. At the same time, the problem selection committee will meet to start setting the 2020 papers.

According to the SAMF, nearly 100000 students participated in the 2017 edition of the competition. The numbers for the 2019 competition are likely to be similar. These students all write the first round of the competition, which learners write at their individual schools in March every year. The papers are marked at the school, and any student with more than 50% is invited to participate in the second round of the competition.…

By | July 11th, 2019|Competition, English, Event, News|7 Comments

Proof by induction for a non-mathematician – a competition: Vote for the winner!

I set a voluntary assignment for my course a few weeks back. Students had just learned about proof by induction, and I tend to find that this is a subject which many get confused by. I think that one of the best ways to really understand a topic is to try and teach it to someone else, so I set up an exercise which was to write an explanation of Proof by Induction for a young high school student. We had around 100 entries, which took a while to read through! Of these 100 entries there were four which stood out (and many which were also very good). We (myself, and two senior tutors) have been unable to come up with an outright winner. That’s where you come in!

 

Please take a look at the following entries, and vote for the one that you think is best at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9K3P8BJ.…

By | April 12th, 2016|Competition, Courses, First year, MAM1000, Undergraduate|2 Comments

The 2016 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest

If you’re into astrophotography, take a look at this contest.

How clear is this post?
By | March 31st, 2016|Advertising, Competition|0 Comments

Create a MathLapse animation and win prizes from the IMAGINARY conference 2016

The following is taken from the IMAGINARY website.

A “MathLapse” (ML) is a new educational and artistic format, which highlights the link between mathematics and real-world phenomena. The name MathLapse is inspired by the timelapse-technique in physics: By re-scaling time, phenomena are visualized which we cannot directly observe.

A ML is short, simple, self-contained, creative and illustrates a single mathematical idea through true or virtual animated images. The content of ML is diverse. For example it can be a geometrical animation or a time-lapse, which go along with mathematical equations and concise explanations.

Everybody is invited to submit a MathLapse on the IMAGINARY platform. The jury will review all submissions and give prizes to the best MathLapses.

A first MathLapse-Festival will be organized at IC16, where the winners will be announced and their MathLapse movies will be screened. It is not necessary to participate at the IC16 conference.

Here is the trailer for the competition

Katzengold:

Primelapse:

See what you can come up with!…

By | January 12th, 2016|Competition|0 Comments