The fractions are:

1/1 1/2 1/3 1/4 ... 2/1 2/2 2/2 2/3 ... 3/1 3/2 3/2 4/3 ... 4/1 4/2 4/2 3/3 ... ...and can be paired up with the natural numbers by doing the following:

- Organize them in a grid like above, where the first row consists of all the fractions with a numerator of 1, the second row with a numerator of 2, etc.
- Start from the corner (1/1) and pair it with 0
- Go down each diagonal in turn, that is, [1/2, 2/1] would be the first diagonal, [1/3, 2/2, 3/1] would be the second, etc. and pair them with the next consecutive natural number

[0:1/1, 1:2/1, 2:1/2, 3:3/1, 4:2/2, ...]

In order to find an equation which does this mapping, we first need to know in which diagonal a given natural number would be paired up in. So 0 is paired up with the corner (the diagonal 0), 1 is paired up with 1/2 which is in the second diagonal (diagonal 1), 2 is with 2/1 which is in the second (diagonal 1), 3 with 3/1 in the third (diagonal 2), etc. This will let us know what the nth fraction in the diagonal is.

Let's start by determining which natural number would be paired up with the first fraction in each diagonal. First fraction in diagonal 0 is paired up with 0, the first fraction in diagonal 1 is paired up with 1, in diagonal 2 with 3, in diagonal 3 with 6, etc. Notice that, since the size of each diagonal increases by 1 each time, the sequence of numbers just mentioned (0, 1, 3, 6, ...) is an arithmetic series. This means that the first fraction in diagonal 0 is paired up with 0, diagonal 1 with 0+1, diagonal 2 with 0+1+2, diagonal 3 with 0+1+2+3, etc. So in order to find which natural number n will be paired up with the first fraction in diagonal d, we use:

n = d(d+1)/2

d = 0 => n = 0 d = 1 => n = 1 d = 2 => n = 3 d = 3 => n = 6 d = 4 => n = 10

We can use this equation to find the diagonal d in which natural number n is paired up. This is done by making d subject of the formula using the completing the square method: d = -0.5 ± sqrt(2n + 1/4)

This new equation gives the following:

d = 0 => n = 0, -1 d = 1 => n = 1, -2 d = 2 => n = 1.56, -2.56 d = 3 => n = 2, -3 d = 4 => n = 2.37, -3.37 d = 5 => n = 2.7, -3.7 d = 6 => n = 3, -4 d = 7 => n = 3.27, -4.27 d = 8 => n = 3.53, -4.53 d = 9 => n = 3.77, -4.77 d = 10 => n = 4, -5

As you can see, the answer that comes out when using the minus sign is non-nonsensical, whilst the whole number part of the answer that comes out when using the plus sign is the diagonal position in which natural number y belongs. The plus part is what we want and we can extract the whole number part by using the floor function:

d = floor(-0.5 + sqrt(2n + 1/4))

or

d = floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2)

This gives us:

n = 0 => d = 0 n = 1 => d = 1 n = 2 => d = 1 n = 3 => d = 2 n = 4 => d = 2 n = 5 => d = 2 n = 6 => d = 3 n = 7 => d = 3 n = 8 => d = 3 n = 9 => d = 3 n = 10 => d = 4

So natural number 0 will be paired up with a fraction in diagonal 0, 1 will be paired up with a fraction in diagonal 1, 2 in diagonal 1, 3 in diagonal 2, 4 in diagonal 2, etc.

Since the largest numerator and denominator in a given diagonal is 1 more than the position of the diagonal (diagonal 2 has a largest numerator, as well as a largest denominator, of 3, etc.), we now also know that the largest numerator and denominator in the diagonal in which the natural number n belongs is floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2)+1. So the first fraction in that diagonal will be 1/(floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2)+1) whilst the last fraction will be (floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2)+1)/1.

Since we also know which natural number is paired up with the first fraction in a given diagonal, we can know which natural number is paired up with the first fraction in the diagonal in which n is paired.

- The natural number n which is paired up with the first fraction in diagonal d is: n = d(d+1)/2
- The diagonal d in which natural number n is paired up is: d = floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2)
- So the natural number n which is paired up with the first fraction in the diagonal which natural number m is paired up is: n = floor((sqrt(8m + 1) - 1)/2)(floor((sqrt(8m + 1) - 1)/2) + 1)/2

This gives us:

m = 0 => n = 0 m = 1 => n = 1 m = 2 => n = 1 m = 3 => n = 3 m = 4 => n = 3 m = 5 => n = 3 m = 6 => n = 6 m = 7 => n = 6 m = 8 => n = 6 m = 9 => n = 6 m = 10 => n = 10

Observe that in a given diagonal such as [1/4, 2/3, 3/2, 4/1], you can find what any of the other fractions will be by knowing which is the first fraction and how far the fraction you want to find is from it (the numerator increases whilst the denominator decreases). For example, the 0th fraction in the diagonal is (1+0)/(4-0), the 1th fraction is (1+1)/(4-1), the 2th fraction is (1+2)/(4-2), etc.

We know how far m is from the first natural number n in the diagonal in which m resides:

m - floor((sqrt(8m + 1) - 1)/2)(floor((sqrt(8m + 1) - 1)/2) + 1)/2

And we know the first fraction in the diagonal in which m resides:

1/(floor((sqrt(8m + 1) - 1)/2)+1)

So the fraction which will be paired up with natural number n is:

numerator: 1 + (n - floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2)(floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2) + 1)/2)

denominator: floor((sqrt(8m + 1) - 1)/2)+1 - (n - floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2)(floor((sqrt(8n + 1) - 1)/2) + 1)/2)

which I'm too lazy to simplify.

The equation in Python 3 is as follows:

for n in range(20): print(n, ":", int(1 + (n - math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2)*(math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2) + 1)/2)), "/", int(math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2)+1 - (n - math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2)*(math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2) + 1)/2)))

And here is the output:

0 : 1 / 1 1 : 1 / 2 2 : 2 / 1 3 : 1 / 3 4 : 2 / 2 5 : 3 / 1 6 : 1 / 4 7 : 2 / 3 8 : 3 / 2 9 : 4 / 1 10 : 1 / 5 11 : 2 / 4 12 : 3 / 3 13 : 4 / 2 14 : 5 / 1 15 : 1 / 6 16 : 2 / 5 17 : 3 / 4 18 : 4 / 3 19 : 5 / 2

So using this enumeration method, the fraction 100/173 will be paired with:

def findNat(num, den): while int(1 + (n - math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2)*(math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2) + 1)/2)) != num and int(math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2)+1 - (n - math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2)*(math.floor((math.sqrt(8*n + 1) - 1)/2) + 1)/2)) != den: n += 1 return n print(findNat(100, 173))

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