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ance):
Let u and v be positive real numbers. Prove that
1
8
17 ÷
2 u v
u
2
+v
2
] s
u
v
3
+
v
u
3
s (u +v) 
1
u
+
1
v
]
and find conditions under which equality holds.
My first step was simply to notice that when u = v we have
1
8
(17 ÷1) s 1 +1 s 4
2 = 2 = 2
Equality!
Now, we really only have two inequalities to prove that the leftmost expression is less than or
equal to the middle one, and that the middle one is less than or equal to the rightmost one. Then
we've proved the whole thing.
I started with the middle and right expressions. They certainly don't look very nice; before we dig
in, we can expand the product under the square root:
u
v
3
+
v
u
3
s 2 +
u
v
+
v
u
This is where the trickery comes in: noticing that
u
v
and
v
u
are the only two variable expressions, we
can make the simple substitution k =
u
v
÷
1
k
=
v
u
to make this a singlevariable inequality:
k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
s 2 +k +
1
k
]
1l2
We'll make one more substitution for convenience (getting rid of the cube roots):
n
3
= k , which gives
n +
1
n
s (2 +n
3
+n
÷3
)
1l2
n
2
+n
÷2
s n
3
+n
÷3
And now we can see the design of the problem. How are we to prove this? Notice first that in the
original inequality u and v are interchangeable and that k =
u
v
, so proving this for k Ε (0, 1) or n Ε
(0,1) is equivalent to proving it for n Ε (1, o) if one of those ends up being easier. But, the method
I used didn't need that: we first make a function f (x ) defined for x > 0 (it's even so this is all we'll
need):
f (x ) = Α
x
+Α
÷x
Taking the derivative we have
f ' (x ) = Log[x ] Α
x
÷ Log[x ] Α
÷x
= 0 when x = 0. So x = 0 is a critical point: the derivative is
positive on (0,o), an since 3>2 we have the desired result.
Now we have to prove the other side of this:
1
8
17 ÷
2 u v
u
2
+v
2
] s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
I've used k here because it turns out that was the real design of this problem, as the LHS here does
reduce to a single variable with the same change.
1
8
17 ÷
2 k v
2
v
2
1+k
2
]
 s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
1
8
17 ÷
2 k
1+k
2
] s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
17 ÷
16 n
3
1+n
6
s n +n
÷1
; Removing negative exponents and fractions and expanding we obtain
17 n +17 n
7
s 8 k
8
+8 k
6
+16 k
4
+8 k
2
+8; Factoring, we have
17 n(1 +n
6
) s 8 (n
6
+n
2
) (n
2
+1 +n
÷2
)
Since 1 +n
6
s n
6
+n
2
is clearly true for all n ± 1, we just have to show that
17 n s 8 (n
2
+1 +n
÷2
) for all n ± 1.
0 s 8 n
4
÷17 n
3
+8 n
2
+8 = f (n)
f ' (n) = 32 n
3
÷51 n
2
+16 n = 0 when
n = 0 or n =
1
2
51 ± 51
2
÷4  16  32   1.164
Checking the number line, this value of n turns out to be a relative minimum, so that the function is
increasing on (1.164,o). Since f (1.164)  6.714, we have that this is in fact true, and we have
proven the statement for all real u and v.
The following is a problem from Mathematics Magazine I found interesting (despite a nasty appear
ance):
Let u and v be positive real numbers. Prove that
1
8
17 ÷
2 u v
u
2
+v
2
] s
u
v
3
+
v
u
3
s (u +v) 
1
u
+
1
v
]
and find conditions under which equality holds.
My first step was simply to notice that when u = v we have
1
8
(17 ÷1) s 1 +1 s 4
2 = 2 = 2
Equality!
Now, we really only have two inequalities to prove that the leftmost expression is less than or
equal to the middle one, and that the middle one is less than or equal to the rightmost one. Then
we've proved the whole thing.
I started with the middle and right expressions. They certainly don't look very nice; before we dig
in, we can expand the product under the square root:
u
v
3
+
v
u
3
s 2 +
u
v
+
v
u
This is where the trickery comes in: noticing that
u
v
and
v
u
are the only two variable expressions, we
can make the simple substitution k =
u
v
÷
1
k
=
v
u
to make this a singlevariable inequality:
k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
s 2 +k +
1
k
]
1l2
We'll make one more substitution for convenience (getting rid of the cube roots):
n
3
= k , which gives
n +
1
n
s (2 +n
3
+n
÷3
)
1l2
n
2
+n
÷2
s n
3
+n
÷3
And now we can see the design of the problem. How are we to prove this? Notice first that in the
original inequality u and v are interchangeable and that k =
u
v
, so proving this for k Ε (0, 1) or n Ε
(0,1) is equivalent to proving it for n Ε (1, o) if one of those ends up being easier. But, the method
I used didn't need that: we first make a function f (x ) defined for x > 0 (it's even so this is all we'll
need):
f (x ) = Α
x
+Α
÷x
Taking the derivative we have
f ' (x ) = Log[x ] Α
x
÷ Log[x ] Α
÷x
= 0 when x = 0. So x = 0 is a critical point: the derivative is
positive on (0,o), an since 3>2 we have the desired result.
Now we have to prove the other side of this:
1
8
17 ÷
2 u v
u
2
+v
2
] s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
I've used k here because it turns out that was the real design of this problem, as the LHS here does
reduce to a single variable with the same change.
1
8
17 ÷
2 k v
2
v
2
1+k
2
]
 s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
1
8
17 ÷
2 k
1+k
2
] s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
17 ÷
16 n
3
1+n
6
s n +n
÷1
; Removing negative exponents and fractions and expanding we obtain
17 n +17 n
7
s 8 k
8
+8 k
6
+16 k
4
+8 k
2
+8; Factoring, we have
17 n(1 +n
6
) s 8 (n
6
+n
2
) (n
2
+1 +n
÷2
)
Since 1 +n
6
s n
6
+n
2
is clearly true for all n ± 1, we just have to show that
17 n s 8 (n
2
+1 +n
÷2
) for all n ± 1.
0 s 8 n
4
÷17 n
3
+8 n
2
+8 = f (n)
f ' (n) = 32 n
3
÷51 n
2
+16 n = 0 when
n = 0 or n =
1
2
51 ± 51
2
÷4  16  32   1.164
Checking the number line, this value of n turns out to be a relative minimum, so that the function is
increasing on (1.164,o). Since f (1.164)  6.714, we have that this is in fact true, and we have
proven the statement for all real u and v.
2 Mat he m at ics Magaz ine Proble m 1822. nb
The following is a problem from Mathematics Magazine I found interesting (despite a nasty appear
ance):
Let u and v be positive real numbers. Prove that
1
8
17 ÷
2 u v
u
2
+v
2
] s
u
v
3
+
v
u
3
s (u +v) 
1
u
+
1
v
]
and find conditions under which equality holds.
My first step was simply to notice that when u = v we have
1
8
(17 ÷1) s 1 +1 s 4
2 = 2 = 2
Equality!
Now, we really only have two inequalities to prove that the leftmost expression is less than or
equal to the middle one, and that the middle one is less than or equal to the rightmost one. Then
we've proved the whole thing.
I started with the middle and right expressions. They certainly don't look very nice; before we dig
in, we can expand the product under the square root:
u
v
3
+
v
u
3
s 2 +
u
v
+
v
u
This is where the trickery comes in: noticing that
u
v
and
v
u
are the only two variable expressions, we
can make the simple substitution k =
u
v
÷
1
k
=
v
u
to make this a singlevariable inequality:
k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
s 2 +k +
1
k
]
1l2
We'll make one more substitution for convenience (getting rid of the cube roots):
n
3
= k , which gives
n +
1
n
s (2 +n
3
+n
÷3
)
1l2
n
2
+n
÷2
s n
3
+n
÷3
And now we can see the design of the problem. How are we to prove this? Notice first that in the
original inequality u and v are interchangeable and that k =
u
v
, so proving this for k Ε (0, 1) or n Ε
(0,1) is equivalent to proving it for n Ε (1, o) if one of those ends up being easier. But, the method
I used didn't need that: we first make a function f (x ) defined for x > 0 (it's even so this is all we'll
need):
f (x ) = Α
x
+Α
÷x
Taking the derivative we have
f ' (x ) = Log[x ] Α
x
÷ Log[x ] Α
÷x
= 0 when x = 0. So x = 0 is a critical point: the derivative is
positive on (0,o), an since 3>2 we have the desired result.
Now we have to prove the other side of this:
1
8
17 ÷
2 u v
u
2
+v
2
] s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
I've used k here because it turns out that was the real design of this problem, as the LHS here does
reduce to a single variable with the same change.
1
8
17 ÷
2 k v
2
v
2
1+k
2
]
 s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
1
8
17 ÷
2 k
1+k
2
] s k
1l3
+k
÷1l3
17 ÷
16 n
3
1+n
6
s n +n
÷1
; Removing negative exponents and fractions and expanding we obtain
17 n +17 n
7
s 8 k
8
+8 k
6
+16 k
4
+8 k
2
+8; Factoring, we have
17 n(1 +n
6
) s 8 (n
6
+n
2
) (n
2
+1 +n
÷2
)
Since 1 +n
6
s n
6
+n
2
is clearly true for all n ± 1, we just have to show that
17 n s 8 (n
2
+1 +n
÷2
) for all n ± 1.
0 s 8 n
4
÷17 n
3
+8 n
2
+8 = f (n)
f ' (n) = 32 n
3
÷51 n
2
+16 n = 0 when
n = 0 or n =
1
2
51 ± 51
2
÷4  16  32   1.164
Checking the number line, this value of n turns out to be a relative minimum, so that the function is
increasing on (1.164,o). Since f (1.164)  6.714, we have that this is in fact true, and we have
proven the statement for all real u and v.
Mat he m at ics Magaz ine Proble m 1822. nb 3
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