Product Always an Even Number?
Date: 03/17/2002 at 09:46:05 From: Tian Subject: Algebraic equation Doctor Math, The letters a1, a2, a3, a4, a5, a6, a7 represent seven positive whole numbers. The letters b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, b7 represent the same numbers but in a different order. Will the value of the product (a1 - b1)(a2 - b2)(a3 - b3)(a4 - b4)(a5 - b5)(a6 - b6)(a7 - b7) always be an even number?
Date: 03/17/2002 at 10:07:35 From: Doctor Jubal Subject: Re: Algebraic equation Hi Tian, Thanks for writing Dr. Math. Let's look at it this way. We want to know whether a product of several numbers is even or odd. The product of two even numbers is even. The product of an even and an odd number is even. The product of two odd numbers is odd. Therefore, the product of the seven differences (a1 - b1)...(a7 - b7) will be odd only if all seven differences are odd. So, we need to know whether these differences are even or odd. The difference of two even numbers is even. The difference of two odd numbers is even. The difference of an even and an odd number is odd. Therefore, in order for the final product to be odd, every one of the differences (a1-b1)...(a7-b7) has to be the difference of an even and an odd number. Can you tell me why this is impossible? Write back if you'd like to talk about this some more, or if you have any other questions. - Doctor Jubal, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Date: 03/17/2002 at 10:54:26 From: Tian Subject: Algebraic equation Dr. Math, I have figured out that the difference between the 2 numbers has to be odd because the product of 7 odd numbers will be odd. Can you please tell me why it is impossible or possible. Thanks.
Date: 03/17/2002 at 12:52:32 From: Doctor Jubal Subject: Re: Algebraic equation Hi Tian, In order for the product to be odd, all seven differences must be odd. In order for all seven differences to be odd, each one must be the difference between an odd number and an even one. This requires seven even and seven odd numbers. However, the numbers a1...a7 are the same numbers as b1...b7, just in a different order. That means each number in the differences appears twice. But if we have seven odd and seven odd numbers, there's no way each one could appear twice, because seven is an odd number. Therefore, at least one of the difference must contain either two even or two odd numbers, and so be even. If there's even one even number in the product, it will be even. Therefore, it is impossible for the product to be odd. Does this help? Write back if you'd like to talk about this some more, or if you have any other questions. - Doctor Jubal, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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