Saturday, August 9, 2008

Simple Algebra, or Not?

Well, I won't be doing much explaining in this post, so if you don't understand maybe I'll post another explanation for the second part; Luoning's tag has directed me to a very nice solution for determining fractional expressions for recurring decimals - it's a method taught to me by Mrs Pauline Kan way back in JC1, and I always turn to it for some mathematical fun when dealing with young Secondary School kids during tuition.

The question goes like this, given a recurring decimal like the one below, can you determine a fraction that equals it:

Well, the trick is to recognise that you can make use of the commutative properties of algebraic manipulation as follows:

And then by equating the two equations we must concur that:

And therefore:

But of course, for those budding Mathematicians out there, you may have seen this as a simple Geometric Progression sum to infinity, and therefore the general formula follows directly for such a sum:

I'm taking for granted that all of you know what Geometric Progressions are, haha.

No comments: