Archive for April, 2009

Fermat’s Two Squares Theorem

April 14, 2009

In one of my earlier blogs, I gave extracts from the book, ‘A Mathematicians Apology’ written by the great mathematician G H Hardy. Yes the same person who discovered our Ramanujan. In this book he talks about Fermat’s Two Squares Theorem, as below:


– – – “Another famous and beautiful theorem is Fermat’s ‘two square’ theorem. The primes may (if we ignore the special prime 2) be arranged in two classes; the primes

5, 13, 17, 29, 37, 41,

which leave remainder 1 when divided by 4, and the primes

3, 7, 11, 19, 23, 31,

which leave remainder 3. All the primes of the first class, and none of the second, can be expressed as the sum of two integral squares: thus


5 = 12 + 22 , 13 = 22 +  32 ,

17 = 12 + 42 , 29 = 22 + 52 ;


but 3, 7, 11, and 19 are not expressible in this way (as the reader may check by trial). This is Fermat’s theorem, which is ranked, very justly, as one of the finest of arithmetic. Unfortunately, there is no proof within the comprehension of anybody but a fairly expert mathematician.” – – –


Fermat’s Two Square Theorem looks nice and simple. But why should its proof also be nice and simple? I have given a proof here which I think is simple enough for all to appreciate.


In number theory, formal statement of Pierre de Fermat‘s theorem on sums of two squares goes as below:

An odd prime p is expressible as

p = x2 + y;  with x and y as integers, if and only if p =1 (mod 4).



Sum of two squares:


Case 1: Both numbers are odd

2m+1 and 2n+1

Sum of squares = (2m+1)2 + (2n+1)2

                        =  4m2+ 4n2+ 4m+ 4n+ 1+ 1

                        = 4(m2+ n2+ m+ n) + 2 = 4k + 2 (say)


Case 2: Both are even

2m+2 and 2n+2 ( to avoid zero)

Sum of squares = (2m+2)2 + (2n+2)2

                        =  4m2+ 4n2+ 8m+ 8n+ 4+ 4

                        = 4(m2+ n2+ 2m+ 2n + 2) = 4k + 0 (say)


Case 3: One is odd and the other is even

2m+1 and 2n+2 ( to avoid zero)

Sum of squares = (2m+1)2 + (2n+2)2

                        =  4m2+ 4n2+ 4m+ 8n+ 1+ 4

                        = 4(m2+ n2+ m+ 2n + 1) + 1 = 4k + 1 (say)


Hence any number of the form 4k + 3 can never be a sum of two squares. This includes primes also. Hence one part of Fermat’s theorem is proved.


As per the second part of the theorem, the prime numbers of the form 4k+1 will definitely qualify to be sum of squares as per case-3 above. But we have to prove that they are always of the form x2 + y2.




In this proof, I am using another theorem by Fermat known as Fermat’s Little Theorem, which is given below along with proof.


Fermat’s Little Theorem.

Let p be a prime which does not divide the integer a, then ap-1 = 1 (mod p).



Start by listing the first p-1 positive multiples of a:

a, 2a, 3a, … (p -1)a

Suppose that ra and sa are the same modulo p.

Then, (r – s)a is divisible by p

Since prime p does not divide a, (as stated above), it should divide r-s.

This means r = s, (mod p), which cannot be true.

So the p-1 multiples of a above are distinct and nonzero,

Hence, they must be congruent to 1, 2, 3, …, p-1 (mod p),  in some order.

Multiply all these congruencies together and we find,

a*.2a*.3a*.…*.(p-1)a = 1*2*.3*.…*.(p-1) (mod p)


or, a(p-1)(p-1)! = (p-1)! (mod p).



Divide both sides by (p-1)!


            a(p-1) =  1 (mod p).


Hence proved.



By Fermat’s Little Theorem, for a prime number p, and for any number a not divisible by p,


a ** (p-1) = 1 (mod p),



If p=1 (mod 4), then p must be of the form p = 4k + 1


Hence we may write, for any prime p of the form p = 4k + 1, and for any number a not divisible by p, by Fermat’s Little Theorem,


            a ** (4k) = 1 (mod p),



a ** 2k = +1 or -1 (mod p), depending on the value of a. [Note: -1 (mod p) = p-1]


Now let us take one value of a, for which, (a ** 2k) = -1 (mod p)

(The proof for existence of such a value for ‘a’ is given in the end)

So, (a**2k + 1) is divisible by p, = f*p, say.

(i.e.) (a**k + j1)(a**k – j1) = f*p


Let us say p is a prime in complex domain also. Then p divides at least on of the complex numbers on the left hand side. Then it should divide its conjugate also. Then it should divide the difference also. i.e. p divides ‘j2’, which cannot be true. Hence p is not a prime in complex domain. This means p has complex factors though it is a prime in real numbers domain.


(p + j0) = (x +jy) (r+ js)

= (xr-ys) + j(yr+xs)

i.e. (yr+xs)= 0

i.e. yr = -xs, and s = -yr/x

and p = xr – ys = xr + y2r/x = (r/x)(x2 + y2) 


Since p is prime, r/x =1 and p = (x2 + y2) 


Hence proved





a. Consider p =13 = 4*k + 1, k=3

2 ** 2k = 2**6 = 64 = -1|mod p

(2**2k + 1) = divisible by p = 5 * 13

(2**3 + j1)(2**3 – j1) = 5 * 13

Substituting, 5 = (2-j1)(2+j1) and 13 = (3+j2)(3-j2)

We get, (8 + j1) (8 – j1)= (2 – j1)[(3+j2)(3-j2)] (2 + j1)



b. Consider p=17 = 4*k + 1, k = 4

3**2k = 3**8 = 6561 = -1|mod p

3**2k + 1 = divisible by p = 386 * 17

i.e. (3**4 + j1)(3**4 – j1) = (19+j5) [(4-j1)(4+j1)] (19 – j5)


Proof for existence of a value for ‘a’ such that (a ** 2k) = -1 (mod p)


Consider a taking values a = 1 to p-1, none of them divisible by p.

Consider the sum,

4k                           4k

∑ (a+1)**(n+1) = ∑  a**(n+1)  +  (4k+1)**(n+1)

a=0                       a=1  



We can write,


          = a**(n+1) + (n+1)C1 a**n +  (n+1)C2 a**(n-1) + ……+  (n+1)Cn a + 1


So, the above summation may be re-written as


∑[(n+1)C1 a**n +  (n+1)C2 a**(n-1) + ……+  (n+1)Cn a] + (4k+1)


                                                                                    = (4k+1)**(n+1)

Realising that p = 4k+1, we get,


∑[(n+1)C1 a**n +  (n+1)C2 a**(n-1) + ……+  (n+1)Cn a] = p**(n+1) – p = 0|mod p


In short we may write,            Sum(n) = p**(n+1) – p = 0|mod p


The above equation is true for all values of n, n = 1 to n.



Sum(1) = ∑ 04k 2C1 a = p**2 – p = p(p-1) = 0|mod p;

                                     i.e  04k  a = p(p-1)/2 = 4k(4k+1)/2: a known result.



Sum(2) = ∑ 04k [ 3C2 a**2 + 3C1 a] = p**3 – p = p(p**2 – 1) = 0|mod p

                        Using the above result for Sum(1), we get 04k  a**2 = 0|mod p



Sum(3)=∑ 04k  [4C3 a**3+ 4C2 a**2 + 4C1 a] = p**4 – p = p(p**3 – 1) = 0|mod p

                        Using above Sum(1) and Sum(2), we get 04k  a**3 = 0|mod p


And so on . . . . . .


The particular case of interest to us is, when n = 2k.

Using same successive logic as above, we get,

                        a=0 4k  a**2k = 0|mod p  – – – – – – – – – –  A


As stated at the start, by Fermat’s Little Theorem,

            a ** (4k) = 1 (mod p),



a ** 2k = +1 or -1 (mod p), depending on the value of a.

Equation A above means, (a ** 2k)|mod p, equally assumes

both values of +1 and -1, for ‘a’ varying from 1 to 4k.


Thus proved




Ma Ganga

April 5, 2009

Please see below  a write-up on the condition of our holy Ganga.


Ganga River

Extracted From:

          Today, over 29 cities, 70 towns, and thousands of villages extend along the Ganges’ banks. Nearly all of their sewage – over 1.3 billion liters per day – goes directly into the river, along with thousands of animal carcasses, mainly cattle. Another 260 million liters of industrial waste are added to this by hundreds of factories along the river’s banks.  Municipal sewage constitutes 80 per cent by volume of the total waste dumped into the Ganges, and industries contribute about 15 percent. The majority of the Ganges pollution is organic waste, sewage, trash, food, and human and animal remains. Over the past century, city populations along the Ganges have grown at a tremendous rate, while waste-control infrastructure has remained relatively unchanged. Recent water samples collected in Varanasi revealed fecal-coliform counts of about 50,000 bacteria per 100 milliliters of water, 10,000% higher than the government standard for safe river bathing. The result of this pollution is an array of water-borne diseases including cholera, hepatitis, typhoid and amoebic dysentery. An estimated 80% of all health problems and one-third of deaths in India are attributable to water-borne diseases.

            The sacred practice of depositing human remains in the Ganges also poses health threats because of the unsustainable rate at which partially cremated cadavers are dumped. In Varanasi, some 40,000 cremations are performed each year, most on wood pyres that do not completely consume the body. Along with the remains of these traditional funerals, there are thousands more who cannot afford cremation and whose bodies are simply thrown into the Ganges. In addition, the carcasses of thousands of dead cattle, which are sacred to Hindus, go into the river each year. An inadequate cremation procedure contributes to a large number of partially burnt or unburnt corpses floating down the Ganga.

            The industrial pollutants also a major source of contamination in the Ganges. A total of 146 industries are reported to be located along the river Ganga between Rishikesh and Prayagraj. 144 of these are in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) and 2 in Uttrakhand. The major polluting industries on the Ganga are the leather industries, especially near Kanpur, which use large amounts of Chromium and other toxic chemical waste, and much of it finds its way into the meagre flow of the Ganga.  From the plains to the sea, pharmaceutical companies, electronics plants, textile and paper industries, tanneries, fertilizer manufacturers and oil refineries discharge effluents into the river. This hazardous waste includes hydrochloric acid, mercury and other heavy metals, bleaches and dyes, pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls highly toxic compounds that accumulate in animal and human tissue.

            However, industry is not the only source of pollution. Sheer volume of waste – estimated at nearly 1 billion litres per day – of mostly untreated raw sewage – is a significant factor.  Runoff from farms in the Ganges basin adds chemical fertilizers and pesticides such as DDT, which is banned in the United States because of its toxic and carcinogenic effects on humans and wildlife. Damming the river or diverting its water, mainly for irrigation purposes, also adds to the pollution crisis.


I was very disturbed to read the above report. If this is the condition with Ganga, the holiest of our rivers, what about other rivers?

Please read my poem on rivers by clicking on the link below


Please read my blog

L V Nagarajan/ 5th April 2009