An Infinite Descent

What Is Infinite Descent?
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Published by mjlawler. Published May 31, Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public.

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Name required. Post to Cancel. The following is an algebraic proof along similar lines:.

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Then it could be written as. Then squaring would give.

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Because 2 is a prime number , it must also divide p , by Euclid's lemma. But this is impossible in the set of natural numbers. So two resulting products, say m' and n' , are themselves integers, which are less than m and n respectively.

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  • Fermat’s “infinite descent”.
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The following more recent proof demonstrates both of these impossibilities by proving still more broadly that a Pythagorean triangle cannot have any two of its sides each either a square or twice a square, since there is no smallest such triangle: [7]. Suppose there exists such a Pythagorean triangle. Then it can be scaled down to give a primitive i.

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In mathematics, a proof by infinite descent is a particular kind of proof by contradiction that relies on the least integer principle. One typical application is to show. In mathematics, the method of infinite descent is a proof technique that uses the fact that there are a finite number of positive integers less than any given positive integer. In other words, there is no infinite sequence of strictly decreasing non-negative integers.

The property that y and z are each odd means that neither y nor z can be twice a square. Furthermore, if x is a square or twice a square, then each of a and b is a square or twice a square.

Finite Arithmetic with Infinite Descent

There are three cases, depending on which two sides are postulated to each be a square or twice a square:. In any of these cases, one Pythagorean triangle with two sides each of which is a square or twice a square has led to a smaller one, which in turn would lead to a smaller one, etc.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. As Fermat noted in his letter, it is a method particularly suited for proving negative propositions.

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Assuming that such a triangle exists, then one can prove that there necessarily exists a second, smaller triangle with the same property and then, by applying the same arguments to that, a third, a fourth and so forth ad infinitum. But an infinite sequence of positive integers less than a given integer is impossible, from which Fermat concludes that a contradiction is established, proving that a triangle possessing the specific property does not exist a detailed description of the proof can be found here.

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Osceola today. The most important amongst these conjectures, at least from the point of view of diophantine equations, is the conjecture of Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer, which grew out of the attempt to apply to elliptic curves the quantitative local to global principles employed by Siegel in his celebrated work on quadratic forms. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Greenberg, R. Prove that has only one solution in integers, 0, 0, 0. This means that infinite descent is of a higher order than these basic axioms, and is constructed by invoking a combination of them. In mathematics , a proof by infinite descent is a particular kind of proof by contradiction that relies on the least integer principle.

In his letter to de Carcavi, Fermat describes a number of other problems that could be answered by means of his infinite descent method, including:. Though Fermat announces the infinite descent as a method of his own invention, the core idea was known since antiquity.