Maximized Box Problem

This problem is from Colin Hughes’s Maths Challenge website (mathschallenge.net).

“Four corners measuring x by x are removed from a sheet of material that measures a by a to make a square based open-top box.  Prove that the volume of the box is maximised iff the area of the base is equal to the area of the four sides.”

See the Maximized Box Problem

Fireworks Rocket

This is another physics-based problem from Colin Hughes’s Maths Challenge website (mathschallenge.net) that may take a bit more thought.

“A firework rocket is fired vertically upwards with a constant acceleration of 4 m/s2 until the chemical fuel expires. Its ascent is then slowed by gravity until it reaches a maximum height of 138 metres.

Assuming no air resistance and taking g = 9.8 m/s2, how long does it take to reach its maximum height?”

I can never remember the formulas relating acceleration, velocity, and distance, so I always derive them via integration.

See the Fireworks Rocket for solutions.

Falling Sound Problem

This math problem from Colin Hughes’s Maths Challenge website (mathschallenge.net) hearkens back to basic physics.

“A boy drops a stone down a well and hears the splash from the bottom after three seconds.  Given that sound travels at a constant speed of 300 m/s and the acceleration of the stone due to gravity is 10 m/s2, how deep is the well?”

See the Falling Sound Problem for solutions.

15 Degree Triangle Puzzle

This math problem from Colin Hughes’s Maths Challenge website (mathschallenge.net) is a bit more challenging.

“In the diagram, AB represents the diameter, C lies on the circumference of the circle, and you are given that

(Area of Circle) / (Area of Triangle) = 2π.

Prove that the two smaller angles in the triangle are exactly 15° and 75° respectively.”

See the 15 Degree Triangle Puzzle

The craziness of manipulating radicals strikes again.  This 2006 four-star problem from Colin Hughes at Maths Challenge is really astonishing, though it takes the right key to unlock it.

“Problem Consider the following sequence:

For which values of [positive integer] n is S(n) rational?”

See Amazing Radical Sum for a solution.

Pairwise Products

This 2005 four-star problem from Colin Hughes at Maths Challenge is also a bit challenging.

Problem
For any set of real numbers, R = {x, y, z}, let sum of pairwise products,
________________S = xy + xz + yz.
Given that x + y + z = 1, prove that S ≤ 1/3.”

Again, I took a different approach from Maths Challenge, whose solution began with an unexplained premise.

See the Pairwise Products

Circular Rendezvous Mystery

Here is yet another surprising result from Colin Hughes at Maths Challenge.

Problem
It can be shown that a unique circle passes through three given points. In triangle ABC three points A’, B’, and C’ lie on the edges opposite A, B, and C respectively. Given that the circle AB’C’ intersects circle BA’C’ inside the triangle at point P, prove that circle CA’B’ will be concurrent with P.”

I have to admit it took me a while to arrive at the final version of my proof. My original approach had some complicated expressions using various angles, and then I realized I had not used one of my assumptions. Once I did, all the complications faded away and the result became clear.

Consecutive Product Square

This problem from Colin Hughes at Maths Challenge is a most surprising result that takes a bit of tinkering to solve.

Problem
We can see that 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 = 360 = 19² – 1. Prove that the product of four consecutive integers is always one less than a perfect square.”

The result is so mysterious at first that you begin to understand why the ancient Pythagoreans had a mystical relationship with mathematics.

See the Consecutive Product Square.

(Update 11/12/2020) Generalization and Visual Proof