Many real-life situations lead us to considering a mathematical problem dealing with finding all possible numbers \(x\) satisfying a certain formula. In most primitive cases, this formula is an equation involving basic arithmetic operations (like the one we considered in Lecture 1). As an example of a formula that does not fall in this category, consider the following one:

\(x<y^2\) for every value of \(y\) (Formula A)

In other words, the formula expresses the property that no matter what value of \(y\) we pick, we will always have \(x<y^2\). Let us write this purely symbolically as follows (so that it looks more like a formula!):

\(y\Rightarrow x<y^2\) (symbolic form of Formula A)

In general, the symbol "\(\Rightarrow\)" describes logical implication of statements. Here the implication is: if \(y\) has a specific value then \(x<y^2\). In the symbolic form above, the assumption that \(y\) has a specific value is expressed by just writing \(y\) on the LHS (left-hand-side) of the implication symbol "\(\Rightarrow\)". Since we are not giving any further detail as to which specific value does \(y\) have, the implication must not be dependent on such detail, and hence the RHS (right-hand-side), \(x<y^2\), must hold for all values of \(y\). Note however that this type of symbolic forms, where variables are allowed to be written on their own like in the LHS of the implication symbol above, is not a standard practice. We will nevertheless stick to it, as it makes understanding proofs easier.

So, what is the solution of Formula A? If \(x<y^2\) needs to hold for every value of \(y\), then in particular, it must hold for \(y=0\), giving us \(x<0^2=0\). This can be written out purely symbolically, as a proof:

- \(y\Rightarrow x<y^2\)
- \(x<0^2\)
- \(x<0\)

__if__Formula A is true

__then__\(x<0\). In order for \(x<0\) to be the solution of Formula A, we also need to prove that

__if__\(x<0\)

__then__Formula A is true. Well, since \(0\leqslant y^2\) is true for every \(y\), combining \(x<0\) with \(0\leqslant y^2\) we will get \(x<y^2\), as required in Formula A. So the proof is:

- \(x<0\)
- \(y\Rightarrow 0\leqslant y^2\)
- \(y\Rightarrow x<y^2\)

- \(y\Rightarrow x<y^2\)
- \(x<0^2\)
- \(0^2=0\)
- \(x<0\)