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Fourth power

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In arithmetic and algebra, the fourth power of a number n is the result of multiplying four instances of n together. So:

n4 = n × n × n × n

Fourth powers are also formed by multiplying a number by its cube. Furthermore, they are squares of squares.

The sequence of fourth powers of integers (also known as biquadratic numbers or tesseractic numbers) is:

0, 1, 16, 81, 256, 625, 1296, 2401, 4096, 6561, 10000, 14641, 20736, 28561, 38416, 50625, 65536, 83521, 104976, 130321, 160000, 194481, 234256, 279841, 331776, 390625, 456976, 531441, 614656, 707281, 810000, ... (sequence A000583 in the OEIS)

The last two digits of a fourth power of an integer in base 10 can be easily shown (for instance, by computing the squares of possible last two digits of square numbers) to be restricted to only twelve possibilities:

  • if a number ends in 0, its fourth power ends in 00 (in fact in 0000 )
  • if a number ends in 1, 3, 7 or 9 its fourth power ends in 01 , 21 , 41 , 61 or 81
  • if a number ends in 2, 4, 6, or 8 its fourth power ends in 16 , 36 , 56 , 76 or 96
  • if a number ends in 5 its fourth power ends in 25 (in fact in 0625 )
  • These twelve possibilities can be conveniently expressed as 00, e1, o6 or 25 where o is an odd digit and e an even digit.

    Every positive integer can be expressed as the sum of at most 19 fourth powers; every sufficiently large integer can be expressed as the sum of at most 16 fourth powers (see Waring's problem).

    Euler conjectured a fourth power cannot be written as the sum of 3 smaller fourth powers, but 200 years later this was disproven (Elkies, Frye) with:

    958004 + 2175194 + 4145604 = 4224814.

    That the equation x4 + y4 = z4 has no solutions in nonzero integers (a special case of Fermat's Last Theorem), was known, see Fermat's right triangle theorem.

    Equations containing a fourth power

    Fourth degree equations, which contain a fourth degree (but no higher) polynomial are, by the Abel-Ruffini theorem, the highest degree equations solvable using radicals.

    References

    Fourth power Wikipedia


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