Questions tagged [divisibility]

This tag is for questions about divisibility, that is, determining when one thing is a multiple of another thing.

If $a$ and $b$ are integers, $a$ divides $b$ if $b=ca$ for some integer $c$. This is denoted $a\mid b$. It is usually studied in introductory courses in number theory, so add if appropriate.

A common notation used for the phrase "$a$ divides $b$" is $a|b$. It is also common to negate the notation by adding a slash like this: "$c$ does not divide $d$" written as $c\nmid d$. Note that the order is important: for example, $2|4$ but "$4\nmid 2$".

This notion can be generalized to any ring. The definition is the same: For two elements $a$ and $b$ of a commutative ring $R$, $a$ divides $b$ if $ac=b$ for some $c$ in $R$.

Divisibility in commutative rings corresponds exactly to containment the poset of principal ideals. That is, $a$ divides $b$ if and only if $aR\subseteq bR$. For commutative rings like principal ideal rings, this means that divisibility mirrors exactly the poset of all ideals of the ring.

The topics appropriate for this tag include, for example:

  • Questions about the relation $\mid$.
  • Questions about the GCD and LCM.

There are divisibility rule that is a shorthand way of determining whether a given integer is divisible by a fixed divisor without performing the division, usually by examining its digits.

5776 questions
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Why do some divisibility rules work only in base 10?

Aside from the zero rule (a number ending with zero means it is divisible by the base number and its factors), why is it that other rules cannot apply in different bases? In particular for 3 one can just sum all digits and see if it is divisible.…
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If $n\ne 4$ is composite, then $n$ divides $(n-1)!$.

I have a proof and need some feedback. It seems really obvious that the statement is true but it is always the obvious ones that are a little trickier to prove. So I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you! Here is what I am asked to prove: If $n$…
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Elementary proof of Zsigmondy's theorem

I've been writing a not-so-short introduction to elementary number theory, supplying proofs for all theorems. When coming across Zsigmondy's theorem, it seemed difficult to find a proof available on the internet. I've been searching through MSE's…
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Given a positive integer $t$ does there always exist a natural number $k$ such that $(k!)^2$ is a factor of $(2k-t)!$?

For all natural numbers $k$ the ratio $$ \frac{(2k)!}{(k!)^2}=\binom{2k}k $$ is an integer. From staring at the Pascal triangle long and hard, we know that these ratios grow rather quickly as $k$ increases. It is therefore natural to think that may…
Jyrki Lahtonen
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If $a^2$ divides $b^2$, then $a$ divides $b$

Let $a$ and $b$ be positive integers. Prove that: If $a^2$ divides $b^2$, then $a$ divides $b$. Context: the lecturer wrote this up in my notes without proving it, but I can't seem to figure out why it's true. Would appreciate a solution.
confused
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Prove that $(mn)!$ is divisible by $(n!)\cdot(m!)^n$

Let $m$ be a positive integer and $n$ a nonnegative integer. Prove that $$(n!)\cdot(m!)^n|(mn)!$$ I can prove it using Legendre's Formula, but I have to use the lemma that $$…
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Fibonacci divisibilty properties $ F_n\mid F_{kn},\,$ $\, \gcd(F_n,F_m) = F_{\gcd(n,m)}$

Can any one give a generalization of the following properties in a single proof? I have checked the results, which I have given below by trial and error method. I am looking for a general proof, which will cover the all my results below: Every…
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When is $\binom{n}{k}$ divisible by $n$?

Is there any way of determining if $\binom{n}{k} \equiv 0\pmod{n}$. Note that I am aware of the case when $n =p$ a prime. Other than that there does not seem to be any sort of pattern (I checked up to $n=50$). Are there any known special cases…
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How can I prove that $n^7 - n$ is divisible by $42$ for any integer $n$?

I can see that this works for any integer $n$, but I can't figure out why this works, or why the number $42$ has this property.
Katie Barosie
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If $a \mid m$ and $(a + 1) \mid m$, prove $a(a + 1) | m$.

Can anyone help me out here? Can't seem to find the right rules of divisibility to show this: If $a \mid m$ and $(a + 1) \mid m$, then $a(a + 1) \mid m$.
KaliKelly
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A spiralling sequence based on integer divisors. Has anyone noticed this before?

Firstly, please excuse the informal style of my explanation, as I am not a mathematician, although I am aware that this can be explained in more formal terms. I have mapped integers to points on a circle on the complex plane in the following…
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Is division of matrices possible?

Is it possible to divide a matrix by another? If yes, What will be the result of $\dfrac AB$ if $$ A = \begin{pmatrix} a & b \\ c & d \\ \end{pmatrix}, B = \begin{pmatrix} w & x \\ y & z \\ …
Pranit Bauva
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Can Mickey Mouse divide by $7$?

In the figure displayed in the image below : To find the remainder on dividing a number by $7$, start at node $0$, for each digit $D$ of the number, move along $D$ black arrows (for digit $0$ do not move at all), and as you pass from one digit to…
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Have I discovered an analytic function allowing quick factorization?

So I have this apparently smooth, parametrized function: The function has a single parameter $ m $ and approaches infinity at every $x$ that divides $m$. It is then defined for real $x$ apart from a finite set of arguments. The animation above…
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Prove $\gcd(a+b, a-b) = 1$ or $2\,$ if $\,\gcd(a,b) = 1$

I want to show that for $\gcd(a,b) = 1$ $a,b \in Z$ $\gcd(a+b, a-b) = 1$ or $\gcd(a+b, a-b) = 2$ holds. I think the first step should look something like this: $d = \gcd(a+b, a-b) = \gcd(2a, a-b)$ From here I tried to proceed with two cases. 1:…
Woltan
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