Challenge Countdown

Each challenge will be online for 168 hours (One Week) before we put up the solution. This is not a competition, just an opportunity to try something fun, and maybe learn a little also. 
Click here to submit answers.

Challenge: The graph $f(x)=ax^{2}+bx+c$ cuts the $y$-axis at the point $(0, 2)$ and the $x$-axis at the points $(1, 0)$ and $(2, 0)$. Find the value of $a, b, c$.

Until Next Weekly Challenge

Previous Challenges

Here is a timeline of previous challenges and their solutions.

11/11/2019

What is the second most irrational number?

The most irrational number out there is $\phi$. This is followed the second most irrational number, $\sqrt{2}$.

04/11/2019

If $ax^{2}+bx+c=0$, prove that
$x=\frac{-b\pm\sqrt{b^{2}−4ac}}{2a}$,
for all values of $x$. 

Just dervice the quadratic equation.

October 2019

28/10/2019

Find $y$ when $4y-2=2$.

$4y-2=2 \rightarrow 4y=4 \rightarrow y=1$.

21/10/2019

What are the odds of picking a picture card or an ace out of a standard deck of playing cards?

There are three picture cards and an ace per suit. That's four.
There are four suits.
That's four times four - sixteen.
There are fifty-two cards in a standard deck.
Sixteen out of fifty-two is the same as $\frac{4}{13}$.

14/10/2019

Find $p$ when $3(4p-7)=7p+9$.

$12p-21=7p+9 \rightarrow 5p=30 \rightarrow p=6$..

07/10/2019

The perimeter of a rectangle is 18cm. If it has a width $2x$cm and a length $(x+3)$cm, find the value of $x$.

$2(x+3)+2(2x)=18 \rightarrow 4x+2x+6=18 \rightarrow 6x=12 \rightarrow x=2$.

September 2019

30/09/2019

What famous mathematician worked on calculus and came up with three famous laws of motion?

Sir Isaac Newton.

23/09/2019

What palindrome represented by the arrangement $abba$ satisfies the equation $3(b-a)=\frac{3b}{2(b-a)}.

6886

16/09/2019

If a passcode has to be ten digits long, only numbers, and no number can only be repeated twice, how many possible passcodes could there be?

$20\choose10=184756$

09/09/2019

Evaluate $\lim_{x\rightarrow2}\frac{8-x^{3}}{4-x^{2}}$.

3

02/09/2019

Solve for $x=\sqrt{19-2x}+2$

$x=5$ is the only solution.

August 2019

26/08/2019

Solve for $x-11+\frac{24}{x}=0$

$x=3$ or $x=8$

19/08/2019

Solve for $x$ when $\frac{1}{27}\cdot3^{59}\cdot\frac{1}{243}\cdot27^{x}=\frac{1}{3}\cdot3^{x}$

$x=-26$

12/08/2019

How many numbers less than 1,000,000 have digits that total 3 (e.g, 12, 300, 2001)

$8\choose3$ or 56.

05/08/2019

At a certain school, the ratio of first year students to third year students is 4 to 7. The ratio of transition year students to first year students is 3 to 4. The ratio of second year students to third year students is 6 to 5. What is the ratio of transition year students to second year students?

5 to 14. Work it out if you don't believe us. To see the workings, check the M4TH5 Forums.

July 2019

29/07/2019

Solve for $3x -5 = 16$.

$3x = 16+5  =21$.
$x=\frac{21}{3}$.
$x=7$.

22/07/2019

What do 8 and -9 have in common?

They both satisfy the equation $x^{2} +x =72$. Can you explain why there are infinite relationships like this?

15/07/2019

Which mathematician's name contains "bob" and arm"?

The infamous unabomber.

08/07/2019

Divide $x^{2}+5x+6$ by $x+3$

$x+2$.

$x^{2} \div x = x, \ x\left(x+3\right) = x^{2}+3x$.

$x^{2} +5x -\left(x^{2}+3x\right)=2x$.

$\frac{x^{2}+2x}{x}=x+2$.


01/07/2019

The sum of a number and half of the number is 12. Find the number.

8.

$8+\frac{1}{2}8=12$.

June 2019

24/06/2019

Express $\frac{3}{5}-\frac{2x-1}{10}+\frac{3x-2}{4}$ as a single fraction.

$\frac{11x+4}{20}$.

17/06/2019

A contractor estimated that he could do a certain job in 1 year with 280 men. If he were asked to do the work in 10 months, how many more men would he need to employ?

56... we'll let you figure this one out.

10/06/2019

Why is 1 not a prime number?

Ultimately, a prime number can be defined as a natural number with exactly four factors.

1) Positive itself                  
2) Negative itself                
3) Positive one                    
4) Negative One                  


The number 1 only has two factors. Not four. It shares the pairs of positive factors and also the negative factors. This is why one is not a prime number.

03/06/2019

Solve the inequality:
4-3x > -5, $x \in \mathbb{Z}$

$4-3x>-5$.


$\ -3x>-5-4$ ... take 4 from each side.


$\ -3x>-9$.


$\  \  \ 3x<9$ ... multiply both sides by -1 and reverse the inequality sign.


$\  \  \ x<3$ ... divide both sides by 3.



$\therefore x = 2, 1, 0, -1, -2, \ldots$.

May 2019

27/05/2019

How many three litre bottles of water can you fill with seven two and a half beakers of six-hundred litres, each a quater filled.

$7 \times 2.5 = 17.5$.
$17.5 \times 600 = 10,500$.
$10,500 \times 0.25 = 2,625$.
$\frac{2,625}{3} = 875$.

20/05/2019

What is the most complicated way of solving 16 + 16?

Well, this can't really be answered. There is always a more complicated way.

We would approach this (while trying to save time) by splitting this down to the most simple units and adding them up individually.

16 + 16 = 8 + 8 + 8 + 8.

8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4.

4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2.

2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1.

Now if you count the number of one's, you get the answer. 32.

So 16 + 16 = 32.

Obviously there are many many more ways of proving this that are more complicated. But this is our simple yet slightly (very slightly) complicated approach to the question.

13/05/2019

What is 5 + 7?

Yes. A simple addition question. Not all of these need to be difficult you know. Some are really simple. Like this one.

5 + 7 = 12.

06/05/2019

Is it possible to square the circle?

No.

The circle has an area of $\pi \ r^{2}$.
A square has a area of $L \times W$. This means that the length of one of the squares sides equals a multiple of $\pi$. This obviously is not possible as $\pi$ is an irrational number. So, no, you cannot square the circle.

April 2019

29/04/2019

WARNING - THIS CHALLENGE INCLUDES DIVIDING BY ZERO
If, $\frac{x}{0} = x$ what does $\frac{0}{x}$ equal?

4.

Why? Well...
if $\frac{x}{0}=x$, then $x=0x$ (multiply each side by zero).
$0x=0$, so, $x=0$.

Therefore, $\frac{0}{x}= \frac{0}{0}$.
$\frac{0}{0}=4$ because when you multiply both sides by zero, you still get zero.
$0=0(4)$

Likewise, the answer is also 5, and 3, and 6, and any natural number you can think of.

Actually, $-1(0) = 0$, so it's not just natural numbers. It's intergers. Except, $2.5(0) = 0$, so it's any rational number.

Hold on, $\pi(0) = 0$, so it's any real number, and that's the answer.

But hold on,  $\sqrt{-1}(0) = 0$ also. So it's any complex number.

In fact, it is undefined. There are too many different numbers it can be that we do not consider it a number. Some may consider it as one, but that doesn't make sense algebraically. We just don't do it. It brakes math as we know it.

22/04/2019

Using three 2s and any math symbols and/or operations you choose, can you create 25?

$\sqrt{.2^{-2}}^2$. That's one way we found. We know that looks confusing though.

Here it is in a slightly less ... confusing way.

15/04/2019

Solve these systems for K.
P + Q=6 | KP + Q = 18 | P + KQ = 30

KP + Q + P + KQ = 30 + 18 ... adding the final two systems.
K(P + Q) + P + Q = 48.

And since P + Q = 6, we get K(6) + 6 = 48.
K(6) = 42.
K = $\frac{42}{6}$.
K = 7. 

08/04/2019

Derive the Quadratic Formula. By hand. Without the internet. It's easy.

01/04/2019

Prove that angle a < 90 = a right angle x (fallacy alert).

Check our the answer here.

March 2019

25/03/2019

A positive whole number is divisible by 3 and also by 5. When the number is divided by 7, the remainder is 5. What is the smallest number that could work?

If it is divisible by 3 and also 5, then it must divisible by 3x5 = 15.

Since:
15 = 7 x 2 + 1
1 is the remainder. We want a remainder 5. So let's multiply the equation by 5.

15 x 5 = 5(7 x 2 + 1)
75 = 35 x 2 + 5

So the answer is 75. 

18/03/2019

If a + b + c = x and a x b x c = x, and each of a, b and c is a positive integer less than 10, find x.

a + b + c = x = abc, so
a + b + c = abc.
c = abc - a - b.
Note: kc = 2kc - kc, where k is a constant.

Since kx = 2kx - kx
kc = 2kc - kc

The coefficent infront of c in [c = abc - a - b] is 1, so in total k equals 1, but let's prove this.


So abc = 2kc, and -a-b = -kc.
So ab = 2k and -a-c =-kc.

As above:
c = abc - a - b.
c = 2kc - kc.
Divide by c,
1 = 2k - k
1 = k


Put back into other equations.
abc = 2kc
ab = 2k
ab = 2(1)

So either a or b = 2, and the other = 1, it doesn't matter in this case.

1 + 2 + c = 2c
3 + c = 2c
3 = 2c-c
3 = c
1 + 2 + 3 =
(1)(2)(3) --> True
1 + 2 + 3 = x = 6

So x = 6.

11/03/2019

Can you create three 3x3 magic squares from these sets of numbers - {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9}, {13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21}, {34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42}?

Yes. Click here to see how.

04/03/2019

How many ways can you select twelve different seconds from your life if you'll die when you're exactly 84 years old, given you were born on Feb 1st on a leap year?

Well, first you have to figure out how many seconds you have been alive for.

Well there's 60 seconds in a minute.
60 x 60 seconds in an hour.
3600 seconds.
3600 x 24 seconds in a day.
86400 seconds.
86400 x 365 seconds in a normal year.
31536000 seconds.
31536000 + 86400 seconds in a leap year.
31622400 seconds.

Next, how many leap years have you been alive for.
84$\div$4 = 21 years.
[If 85 years old, you'd divide 85 by 4 and round down. Same for 86 and 87. Unless the result is even, you round down, not up.]

Next, how many normal years were you alive for?
84 - 21 = 63 normal years.

So the number of seconds you were alive for is: [31536000 x 63] + [31622400 x 21]
2650838400 seconds you were alive for.

The 'n Choose r' function would tell you the answer, but if you put that into a calculator, it'll be too big. Luckily, thanks to the internet, there are High Precision Calculators.

We used this one to calculate the answer below: https://keisan.casio.com/calculator.

2.513402616591275829041783946019934930247267348224179879211788934269136263836500637385643571163009606E+104

February 2019

25/02/19

If there were sixteen seconds in a minute, ten minutes in an hour, five hours a day and two hundred and sixty-one days a year, with no leap years, how far would a light year be in kilometers?


16 x 10 x 5 x 261 = (208,800) number of seconds in a year.

The speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s

299,792,458x208,800 m/year
62,596,665,230,400 m/year
Divide by 1000 to make km/year

 So a light year in this case is 62,596,665,230.4km

18/02/2019

Find the pattern [e.g. T(n)=3n+5] in 4, 15, 40, 85, 156, 259.

To find out to what degree (power) this sequence deals with, we find the common difference.

4 15 40 85 156 259
 \ / \ / \ / \ / \ /
  11 25 45 71 103
    \ / \ / \ / \ /
     14 20 26 32
        \ / \ / \ /
          6   6   6

The 3rd difference is the same, so the sequence is in the 3rd Degree. This means that the sequence is written in the form An3 + Bn2 + Cn + D. So now we can use simultanious equations to find A, B, C, D.

T(1) = 4 = A(1)3 + B(1)2 + C(1) + D
= A(1) + B(1) + C(1) + D
= A + B + C + D

T(2) = 15 = A(2)3 + B(2)2 + C(2) + D
= A(8) + B(4) + C(2) + D

T(3) = 40 = A(3)3 + B(3)2 + C(3) + D
= A(27) + B(9) + C(3) + D

From here, we can calculate, through observation that
A, B, C and D = 1. So we can conclude that the formula is:
n3 + n2 + n +1 

11/02/2019

Sketch a 3D image of a shape whose plan and elevation both are as shown here.

Click here to see the shape.

04/02/2019

How many different games can you win Connect Four in?

Out of the 4,531,985,219,092 different states of which a traditional 7x6 Connect Four game can have, there are 1,905,333,170,621 (just under two trillion) different ways of finnishing, from litterally dropping four down in a straight line, to filling the whole board and drawing. Out of this there is 1,904,587,136,600 ways to win.

It takes a long time to calculate, but computers can analyse the system to determine the figures you see above. If you have written a programme that can solve this question, Please feel free to share it with us at info@m4th5.ie.

January 2019

28/01/2019

How can $1+2+3+4+5+6+... =- \frac{1}{12}$?

Well, logically it doesn't. That's upfront obvious. If you cut off at any point in this infinite series, the result will be exponential. However, using certain maths, this can be proven in a mathematical sense.

See here.

21/01/2019

Prove that phi (1.61803398874989...) is the most irrational number.

Well, the most irrational number is the one with the most simple continuous fraction. This is:

1+(1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1...))))))
To view as an image click here.

If we make this x, we can see that after the first fraction line, x is repeated.

Therefore we can write this as:
x = 1+(1/x)
Multiply accross by x and we get:
x2 = x + 1
bringing accross [x + 1] and we get:
x2 - x - 1 = 0

Using the quadratic formula, we can simply determine that \(x = \)\(1+\sqrt{5}\over 2\) which is phi.
this is better shown here.

14/01/2019

A rectangle has a tolerance interval of 15.5 +/- 0.5 cm for the length and a tolerance of 20.3 +/- 0.5 cm for the width.
Find the percentage error for the length of the rectangle. Give your answer to 2 decimal places.

The percentage error for length is the error devided by the true value, multiplied by one hundred.
If the error = 0.5cm    
And the true value = 15.5 cm
Then:

   (0.5/15.5)x100=3.23%     

07/01/2019

The sum of four numbers is x. Suppose that each of the four numbers is now increased by 1. These four new numbers are added together and then the sum is tripled. What is the value, in terms of x, of the number thus formed?

                      a+b+c+d=x                
3(a+1+b+1+c+1+d+1)=3(a+b+c+d+4) 
                                       =3(x+4)
                                       =3x+12

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