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 March 8th, 2019, 09:06 PM #1 Newbie   Joined: Dec 2018 From: Amsterdam Posts: 26 Thanks: 2 How can we prove theorems about number theory? How can we prove theorems about number theory? Is there an approach for this? I want to prove multiple theorems March 9th, 2019, 09:08 AM #2 Senior Member   Joined: Sep 2015 From: USA Posts: 2,531 Thanks: 1390 what kind of answer are you looking for? March 9th, 2019, 10:06 AM   #3
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 Originally Posted by romsek what kind of answer are you looking for?
I want to formally prove some selected theorems about number theory. How is such a proof constructed and what has to be shown? March 9th, 2019, 10:17 AM   #4
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 Originally Posted by jenniferruurs I want to formally prove some selected theorems about number theory. How is such a proof constructed and what has to be shown?
a few details might help...

are these theorems that have been proven already?

If nothing else I'd start with a text on number theory and study the proofs in it. March 9th, 2019, 08:14 PM #5 Senior Member   Joined: Jun 2014 From: USA Posts: 528 Thanks: 43 A statement written in a formal language (of ‘number theory’) has a proof if it is true given the set of axioms (true statements) one chooses to accept as given to be true. For example, suppose we have an axiom that says 2 is a purple number. Further suppose we have a second axiom that says if $x$ is a purple number, $\exists y = 3x$ such that $y$ is also a purple number. Then we can prove that 18 is a purple number because 6 = 3*2 is a purple number so 18 = 3*6 must also be a purple number. Generally, in any formal system sufficient to express the natural numbers (arithmetic), there are true statements that cannot be proven within the system. More specifically, see Gödel‘s incompleteness theorem. March 9th, 2019, 08:17 PM   #6
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 Originally Posted by AplanisTophet A statement written in a formal language (of ‘number theory’) has a proof if it is true given the set of axioms (true statements) one chooses to accept as given to be true. For example, suppose we have an axiom that says 2 is a purple number. Further suppose we have a second axiom that says if $x$ is a purple number, $\exists y = 3x$ such that $y$ is also a purple number. Then we can prove that 18 is a purple number because 6 = 3*2 is a purple number so 18 = 3*6 mist also be a purple number. Generally, in any formal system sufficient to express the natural numbers (arithmetic), there are true statements that cannot be proven within the system. More specifically, see Gödel‘s incompleteness theorem.
Your response is technically true but utterly useless. Would you suggest approaching the abc conjecture or the Goldbach conjecture or (before Wiles) FLT? Do you think that if Wiles saw your advice in the late 1980s when he started work on FLT, he would have slapped his forehead and gone, "Duhhhh, why didn't I think of that!"?

Curious as to why you responded as you did, since it's so profoundly different than the way anyone, from freshman to professor, would approach a problem in number theory. It's at the completely wrong level. As if I asked you how to drive a car and you told me I should learn about the chemical engineering of petroleum refineries.

Last edited by Maschke; March 9th, 2019 at 08:24 PM. March 9th, 2019, 09:53 PM #7 Senior Member   Joined: Jun 2014 From: USA Posts: 528 Thanks: 43 Every mathematician offering a proof of a formal statement, regardless of age or experience, must follow the same basic format: that of offering a formal language in which the statement to be proved and its proof can be written along with the axiom(s) necessary to arrive at the proof. Is this not a basic explanation given the OP’s question? Sure, going from universal axioms, such as Peano’s, ZF, those that commonly describe the real numbers, etc., to a proof of something (that had yet to be proven) may involve a bit of work, but that is how all ‘universal’ proofs must be derived. Further explanation may involve noticing that today’s ‘new’ theorems are typically derived from older theorems, which in turn were derived from even older theorems, derived themselves from even older theorems, and so on, so as to ensure that all theorems are ultimately derived from the (basic and relatively universal) set of axioms. Last edited by AplanisTophet; March 9th, 2019 at 10:09 PM. Tags number, prove, theorems, theory Thread Tools Show Printable Version Email this Page Display Modes Linear Mode Switch to Hybrid Mode Switch to Threaded Mode Similar Threads Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post thanhvinh0906 Advanced Statistics 3 August 30th, 2017 04:27 PM bt359 Applied Math 1 January 13th, 2014 05:56 AM proglote Number Theory 3 October 30th, 2011 04:20 PM butabi Abstract Algebra 8 September 3rd, 2011 01:52 PM esraamajed Number Theory 2 March 8th, 2008 10:08 PM

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