I have reached a point in my mathematical journey where I feel the need to learn how to make sound arguments for the validity of a mathematical claim. Or in other words, I want to learn more on how to prove things.

The path I took through the Danish educational system has never dealt much with mathematical proofs, but rather on how to apply the mathematics we have learned. I have developed an intuition for mathematics in some areas. But I lack mathematical rigour, so I often time have to resolve to hand waving instead.

The usual approach to learning proving techniques is through a taught topic where you are presented with some proofs. Through that you will expand your toolbox and learn how to do proofs. However, I would through a series of blog posts dabble into how to prove mathematical things and study different techniques.

Ben Tilly pointed me through his blog – random observations – to a document he wrote on how to do proofs. It has a flow chart which you can also see to the below, which I think is a very thorough way to ensure that you get through the proof. It doesn’t say anything about how to actually make your arguments, but it helps you break down the problem.

Let me spend the rest of this blog post to go through the flow chart and interpret it. Continue reading →