Difference of Square Numbers
Date: 07/18/2008 at 22:55:54 From: Nathaniel Subject: Are the differences of two squares ever the same as another? Is the differences between a^2 minus b^2 ever the same as the difference between c^2 minus d^2? In other words, can one number be represented as two distinct differences of squares? Heuristically I tend to believe that the answer is no, that the differences of squares are always unique. However, mathematically, I am not sure. I know that every square is the sum of a certain number of odd numbers. 1+3+5....= a square number. Hence, I would have to determine whether a+(a+2)+(a+4) is unique when taking the difference of square numbers.
Date: 07/18/2008 at 23:04:55 From: Doctor Tom Subject: Re: Are the differences of two squares ever the same as another? Yes, some numbers can be represented by two distinct differences of square numbers. There are lots of examples. The first one I found was: 57 = 11^2 - 8^2 or 29^2 - 28^2 - Doctor Tom, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Date: 07/19/2008 at 12:37:36 From: Doctor Garramone Subject: Re: Are the differences of two squares ever the same as another? Hi Nathaniel, Adding a little more to Dr. Tom's example, here are some general thoughts. Only prime numbers and integers not of the form 4k + 2 can be represented by the difference of two squares. In the case of the primes, the difference of squares is unique. In the case of other integers, there can be alternate ways to come up with the same difference. For example, 24 = 12*2 = [(12 + 2)/2]^2 - [(12 - 2)/2]^2 = 7^2 - 5^2 = 49 - 25 = 24 24 = 6*4 = [(6 + 4)/2]^2 - [(6 - 4))/2]^2 = 5^2 - 1^2 = 25 - 1 = 24 Using your notation for the top line let a = 7 and b = 5 [a^2 = 49, b^2 = 25] for the next line let c = 5 and d = 1 [c^2 = 25, d^2 = 1] (Reference: Burton, David M. 2007. Elementary Number Theory, 6th Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill: 269-270.) Does this help? - Doctor Garramone, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Date: 07/20/2008 at 13:28:31 From: Nathaniel Subject: Are the differences of two squares ever the same as another? Thank you to both Math Doctors who helped! Could you send the proof that prime numbers have a unique difference of squares? Thanks ever much!
Date: 07/21/2008 at 09:50:21 From: Doctor Garramone Subject: Re: Are the differences of two squares ever the same as another? Hi Nathaniel, A proof is in that same book I referred to: Burton DM. 2007. Elementary Number Theory, 6th Ed. Boston: McGraw Hill Higher Education; 270. The proof is as follows: Let p be a given prime number. Suppose that p = a^2 - b^2 = (a + b)(a - b) where a > b > 0. Because 1 and p are the only factors of p, necessarily we have a - b = 1 and a + b = p from which it may be inferred that p + 1 p - 1 a = ----- and b = ----- 2 2 Thus, any odd prime p can be written as the difference of the squares of two integers in precisely one way; namely as /p + 1\ 2 /p - 1\ 2 p = |-----| - |-----| \ 2 / \ 2 / Please write back if you have questions on the proof or any further questions on this topic. - Doctor Garramone, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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