# 1964 IMO Problems/Problem 1

## Problem

(a) Find all positive integers $n$ for which $2^n-1$ is divisible by $7$.

(b) Prove that there is no positive integer $n$ for which $2^n+1$ is divisible by $7$.

## Solution 1

We see that $2^n$ is equivalent to $2, 4,$ and $1$ $\pmod{7}$ for $n$ congruent to $1$, $2$, and $0$ $\pmod{3}$, respectively.

(a) From the statement above, only $n$ divisible by $3$ work.

(b) Again from the statement above, $2^n$ can never be congruent to $-1$ $\pmod{7}$, so there are no solutions for $n$.

== Solution 1.1 ==: The solution is clearer and easier to understand.

(1) Since we know that $2^n-1$ is congruent to 0 (mod 7), we know that $2^n$ is congruent to 8 mod 7, which means $2^n$ is congruent to 1 mod 7.

Experimenting with the residue of $2^n$ mod 7: $n$=1: 2 $n$=2: 4 $n$=3: 1 (this is because when $2^n$ is doubled to $2*2^n$, the residue doubles too, but $4*2=8$ is congruent to 1 (mod 7). $n$=4: 2 $n$=5: 4 $n$=6: 1

Through induction, we easy show that this is true since the residue doubles every time you double $2^n$.

So, the residue of $2^n$ mod 7 cycles in 2, 4, 1. Therefore, $n$ must be a multiple of 3. Proved.

(2) According to part (1), the residue of $2^n$ cycles in 2, 4, 1.

If $2^n+1$ is congruent to 0 mod 7, then $2^n$ must be congruent to 6 mod 7, but this is not possible due to how $2^n$ mod 7 cycles. Therefore, there is no solution. Proved.

~hastapasta