# Monthly Archives: December 2011

## Hiatus and some holiday reading

Degree of Freedom will be on hiatus until January. In the meantime, here are links to some other sources of mathematical interest / entertainment / bewilderment: Timothy Gowers’s Mathematical Discussions page: informal introductions to and motivations of some key ideas … Continue reading

## A Russian exam problem for the winter break

This problem is taken from Tanya Khovanova’s blog. It is a problem (the last of five; I recommend all of them) from the 1976 entrance exam to the Mathematics Department of the premier USSR University, MGU (Moscow State University). It … Continue reading

## Quotation for the week: Pólya

A short piece of very sound advice this week: If there is a problem you can’t solve, then there is an easier problem you can solve: find it. George Pólya, How To Solve It (Princeton, 1945).

## Solution to the first-year puzzle

In this puzzle, we asked: suppose and . What then is ? First let us solve this by hand. Since , . So Hence it follows that But since , this means that , so if we must have or … Continue reading

## Solutions to the coin weighing problems

In an earlier post, we posed two problems to do with weighing coins. Here are the solutions…