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Monday, December 27, 2010

Five proofs for the sum-formula of 1+2+3+ ... +n

The running totals of 1,2,3 ... are called the triangular numbers. We will show that $1 + 2 + 3 + \cdots + n = \frac{n(n+1)}{2}$

Proof-1 Gauss's proof

( Gauss supposedly came up with this proof when he was 8 years old. On this page you will find more than 100 different tellings of this story. )
$s = 1 + 2 + 3 + \cdots + n$
$\underline{s = n + (n-1) + (n-2) + \cdots + 1}$
$2s = (n + 1) + ((n-1)+2) + ((n-2)+3) + \cdots + (1+n) \Leftrightarrow$
$2s = n \cdot (n + 1) \Leftrightarrow$
$s = \frac{n(n+1)}{2}$

Proof-2 By induction

Let $S=\left\{ n \in \mathbf{N} | \sum_{k=1}^{n} k = \frac{n(n+1)}{2} \right\}$
Clearly $1 \in S$
Assume, $n \in S$:
$\sum_{k=1}^{n+1} k = \frac{n(n+1)}{2} + (n+1) = \frac{(n+1)(n+2)}{2}$, or $n \in S \Rightarrow n+1 \in S$
Now, since $(S \subset \mathbf{N} \wedge 1 \in S \wedge n \in S \Rightarrow n+1 \in S ) \Rightarrow S=\mathbf{N}.$

Proof-3 With the Pascal Triangle

Because $n^k$ is in the PT for any $k \in \mathbf{N}$, sums of polynomials with integer coefficients can be read from the PT. ( $n={n \choose 1}$, $n^2={n \choose 1} + 2{n \choose 2}$, and so forth. )
$\underline{n}$
0: 1
1: 1 - 1
2: 1 - 2 - 1
3: 1 - 3 - 3 - 1
4: 1 - 4 - 6 - 4 - 1
5: 1 - 5 - 10-10 - 5 - 1
From $n$ we seek the second column, one row down or ${n+1 \choose 2}= \frac{n(n+1)}{2}$

Proof-4 Geometric

Look at the pattern
X
and
X---Y

X
X-X
and
X---Y-Y
X-X---Y

X
X-X
X-X-X
and
X---Y-Y-Y
X-X---Y-Y
X-X-X---Y

The number of X's and Y's are equal. The triangle X-pattern with base of n X's is replaced by a rectangular shape of n+1 by n X's OR Y's.

Proof-5 With Discrete Calculus

The discrete analog of solving a differential equation.
$\Delta f(n) = n+1$
$\Sigma \Delta f(n) = \Sigma (n+1)$
$f(n) = \frac{1}{2}(n+1)^{\underline{2}} + C$
$f(n) = \frac{1}{2}(n+1)n + C$
Since $f(1) = 1, C=0$
$f(n) = \frac{n(n+1)}{2}$

Welcome to The Bridge

Mathematics: is it the fabric of MEST?
This is my voyage
My continuous mission
To uncover hidden structures
To create new theorems and proofs
To boldly go where no man has gone before

(Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion, colloquially aka Raumpatrouille Orion was the first German science fiction television series. Its seven episodes were broadcast by ARD beginning September 17, 1966. The series has since acquired cult status in Germany. Broadcast six years before Star Trek first aired in West Germany (in 1972), it became a huge success.)