LABS: Simple Math Problems No One Knows How To Solve. Yet. - Institute for Educational Advancement
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LABS: Simple Math Problems No One Knows How To Solve. Yet.

September 22, 2018 @ 10:30 AM - 1:00 PM


Pick a number. (A positive integer, to be precise.) If your number is even, divide it by 2; if your number is odd, multiply it by 3 and then add 1. Let’s say you started with the number 7. That’s odd, so we do 3*7+1 to get 22. Now we keep going. Because 22 is even, we divide by 2 to get 11. From 11 we get 34. Then 17. Then 52, 26, 13, 40, 20, 10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1 . . . at this point the numbers 4, 2, 1 repeat forever. Instead of starting with 7, try starting with some other number. I bet you will eventually wind up in the same place, with a repeating 4, 2, 1 pattern. Now, does that always happen, no matter what number you start with? The answer is: No one knows. Yet. A common misconception about mathematics is that we know all the answers and can find them via a set of established techniques. In fact, there is a multitude of problems like the one above that are extremely simple to state but that so far remain unsolved. In this workshop we will explore several of these easy-to-state, not-yet-solved math questions. No mathematical background beyond Algebra I will be required. This event is for students in grades 7-12.



September 22, 2018
10:30 AM - 1:00 PM
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IEA Learning Center
540 South Marengo Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101 United States
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