Can you solve the following equation?
½ = 1/x² + 1/y² +...+ 1/z²
All variables must be different, positive integers, and there must be a finite number of terms.
I set up an spreadsheet so I could enter x, y, z... values and see the difference between 0.5 and the sum of the inverses of the squares of the numbers.
I decided starting with the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 12, since I wasn't convinced that 11 coudl/would provide a solution.
After 12, I needed a number greater than or equal to 25. I tried 25, but after many experiments, couldn't make it work, so I decided to try 30 instead.
I needed a number greater than 43 now, so I first tried 45, but couldn't find a solution. Then I tried 50, and that required a number above 80  and I tried 100, which then required a new number above 134, and when I tried 150, the spreadsheet showed that 300 would finish the job!
Thus, the numbers x, y, z... are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 30, 50, 100, 150, 300.
I guess there can be many other solutions, for I wasn't methodical; I just went by trial and error, picking the numbers that looked right to me and discarding others.

Posted by e.g.
on 20040921 19:39:13 