The power of mathematics is undeniable. From the stars to the tiniest of particles, mathematics is the language of the universe. At Kvanta, a Ukrainian maths and coding club founded by the brothers Arsenii and Andrew Nikolaiev, the power of mathematics is explored and celebrated.

Earlier today, Arsenii Nikolaiev set us five intriguing puzzles, each one testing our problem-solving skills and mathematical knowledge. From matchsticks and nine-digit equations to robot swaps and family relations, these puzzles were challenging, yet enjoyable. Let’s take a look at each one, and the solutions Arsenii provided.

The first puzzle involved matchsticks. We were asked to remove a single match from its position in the equation and place it in another position so that the equation is correct. Arsenii’s solution was to move the match from the ‘+’ sign to the ‘2’, so that it reads ‘2=5’.

The second puzzle was to place the arithmetical symbols ‘+’ and ‘x’ between eight 9s in such a way that the total value of the expression is 9999. Arsenii’s solution was to use either (999 x 9) + 999+9 or (99 x 99) + 99 + 993.

The third puzzle was a robot swap. We were asked to come up with a program that is made up from only four commands – up, down, right and left – such that when we run the program simultaneously on both the robots, the robots change places. Arsenii’s solution was to use the commands up, right, right, down, left, left, up.

The fourth puzzle was a family relations problem. We were asked to calculate how much older the daughter will be in the future than she is now. Arsenii’s solution was that the daughter will be twice her current age.

The fifth and final puzzle was a mystery symbols problem. We were asked to make an expression using symbols Ⰰ, ב, and ௩ and the arithmetic operations +, x and – so that the value of the expression is definitely equal to 1. Arsenii’s solution was to use the expression a + b + c + a + b + c – ((a x b) + (a x c) + (b x c)).

Today’s puzzles were a great way to test our problem-solving skills and mathematical knowledge. We are thankful to Arsenii Nikolaiev for providing us with such intriguing puzzles. If you’re interested in finding out more about his Ukrainian outreach maths club Kvanta, click here.