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Faculty of Science University of Kragujevac Department of Mathematics and Informatics


mentor: Radmila Paunovi tajn

Nikolaj Mihaljcisin, 29/2012

Blaise Pascal was one of the greatest scientists of all time. He was the large mathematician, physicist and philosopher.He has constructed the first mechanical calculator capable of addition and subtraction. His Trait du triangle arithmtique ("Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle") of 1653 described a convenient tabular presentation for binomial coefficients, now called Pascal's triangle. Pascal's triangle is the theme of my seminar.

Pascal's Triangle
One of the most interesting Number Patterns is Pascal's Triangle (named after Blaise Pascal, a famous French Mathematician and Philosopher).The rows of Pascal's triangle are conventionally enumerated starting with row n = 0 at the top. The entries in each row are numbered from the left beginning with k = 0 and are usually staggered relative to the numbers in the adjacent rows. A simple construction of the triangle proceeds in the following manner. On row 0, write only the number 1. Then, to construct the elements of following rows, add the number directly above and to the left with the number directly above and to the right to find the new value. If either the number to the right or left is not present, substitute a zero in its place. For example, the first number in the first row is 0 + 1 = 1, whereas the numbers 1 and 3 in the third row are added to produce the number 4 in the fourth row.

The so called 'Pascal' triangle was known in China as early as 1261. In '1261 the triangle appears to a depth of six in Yang Hui and to a depth of eight in Zhu Shijiei in 1303. YangHui attributes the triangle to Jia Xian, who lived in the eleventh century'. They used it as we do, as a means of generating the binomial coefficients. It wasn't until the eleventh century that a method for solving quadratic and cubic equations was recorded, although they seemed to have existed since the first millennium. At this time Jia Xian 'generalized the square and cube root procedures to higher roots by using the array of numbers known today as the Pascal triangle and also extended and improved the method into one useable for solving polynomial equations of any degree'.

There are some proofs that this number triangle was familiar to the Arab astronomer, poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam as early as the XI century. Most probably the number triangle came to Europe from China through Arabia. The Chinese representation of the binomial coefficients, often equally called Pascal`s Triangle being found in his work published for the first time after his death ( in 1665 ) and dealing with figurate numbers, is found for the first time on the title page of the European Arithmetic written by Appianus, in 1527. Blaise Pascal was not the first man in Europe to study the binomial coefficients, and never claimed to be such; indeed, both Blaise Pascal and his father Etienne had been in correspondence with Father Marin Mersenne,

who published a book with a table of binomial coefficients in 1636. Many authors discussed the ideas with respect to expansions of binomials, answers to combinatorial problems and figurate numbers, numbers relating to figures such as triangles, squares, tetrahedrons and pyramids. In 1407 an edition of Jordanus' de Arithmetica contains the following table.


Binomial Expressions
In other words, the sum of the entries in the nth row of Pascal's triangle is the nth power of 2. During the 10th century, various Arab mathematicians developed a mathematical series for calculating the coefficients for (1 + x)n when n was a positive whole number. The English mathematician, Isaac Newton extended it to non-integer indices in the 17th century. He decided that there was an expansion for (1 + x)n that could be derived from the formula for n Cr that worked for all values of n (fractions, negatives, etc). Before we look at what fractional and negative indexes actually mean I will write down Newton's formula. (1 + x)n = 1 + nx + n(n-l)x2 / 2! + n(n-l)(n-2)x3 / 3! + ... This series is called the Binomial Series. When n is a positive whole number the series has n + 1 terms and produces the same results as before. However when n is not a positive whole number then the series goes on for ever. This is called an infinite series. There are two types of infinite series. Imagine an infinite series that goes like this: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + ... A series like this gets bigger the more terms you add. If you took it all the way to infinity, then the sum of the series would be infinite. This is called a diverging series. This kind of series is not of much use for anything. Now look at this infinite series: 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + . . . This series also is infinite, it too goes on forever. However, the more terms you take the smaller each one gets. This series never goes above 2. As you take more and more terms the sum gets closer to 2. This kind of series is said to be converging. The useful thing about converging series is that they can be used to do calculations. You take as many terms as are needed to make the calculation as accurate as you require. In the above example, taking the first five terms gives you an accuracy of 2 decimal places. In the Binomial Series, Newton discovered that for values of n that were not positive whole numbers (i.e. for fractional and negative indexes), the series converges only if the value of x is 1 or less and more than -1. In symbols, the series converges for -1 < x <= 1. For all other values of x the series diverges. In other words there are specific situations when the Binomial Series can be used for calculations of approximations. Let's do a calculation by first using Newton's Binomial formula to expand (1 + x)1/2. I will soon explain what an index of 1/2 means. (l+x)1/2 = 1 + 1/2 x + (l/2)(-l/2) x2 / 2! + (1/2)(-1/2)(-3/2) x3 / 3! + ... Doing a bit of simplifying algebra gives us: (l+x)1/2 = 1 + x / 2 - x2 / 8 + x3 / 16 - ... So what does an index of 1/2 mean? Well, without going into details, x1/2 is the square root of x (Vx). So, the formula above, the expansion of (1 + x)1/2, can be used to calculate approximate values for square roots as long as x is less than or equal to 1. If we let x = 1 then this formula will give us a value for the square root of 2, since 21/2 = (1 + 1)1/2 and this can be expanded into the series above. If we do the calculation u to and including terms with x3 then we get (1 + 1)1/2 = 1 + 1/2 - 1/8 + 1/16 - ... = 1 + 0.5 - 0.125 + 0.0625 - ... This equals 1.4375. The calculator answer is 1.4142. The more terms you use the closer th approximation gets to the real answer. Notice also how each term is smaller then the previous one. Let us do another. Find an approximation for the square root of 1.77. Start by saying 1.771/2 = (1 + 0.77)1/2 which can be expanded by using the Binomial Theorem to give:

1 + (0.77)/2 - (0.77)2/8 + (0.77)3/16 - ... = 1 + 0.385 - 0.0741 + 0.0285 - ... which gives 1.3394 (calculator 1.3304). You see this is accurate to two decimal places. This is all well and good, but what if the square root of a larger number (like 30) is wanted? You cannot write 301/2 = (1 + 29)1/2 because the Binomial Series does not converge if x >1. There is a way around that. First you express 30 in the form that includes the largest perfect square. Instead of saying 301/2 = (1 + 29)1/2 which doesn't work, we write: 301/2 = (25 + 5)1/2 25 is the largest perfect square below 30. We can take out the 25 (remembering the index) and divide everything inside the bracket by 25. This gives us the following: 301/2 = (25 + 5)1/2 = 251/2(1 + 5/25)1/2 Since 251/2 is 5 (the square root of 25), we can rewrite this expression as: 301/2 = 5(1 + 0.2)1/2 The term inside the bracket is now in the form (1 + x) with x < 1 so we can use Newton's Binomial expansion to get a value for the square root of 1.2. We then multiply this value by 5 (the number outside the bracket). This will give us the square root of 30. Doing the calculation we get: 5(1 + 0.2)1/2 = 5{1 + (0.2)/2 - (0.2)2/8 + (0.2)3/16 - ... > = 5(1 + 0.1 - 0.005 + 0.0005 -...) = 5(1.0955) = 5.4775 The calculator says 5.4772 (so we are accurate to three places!). Try it yourself. Remember the trick is to write the number as a perfect square plus or minus another number. To find the square root of 45 we would write it as (36 + 9)1/2 = 361/2(1 + (9/36))1/2. This gives 6(1 + 0.25)1/2. Cube roots can also be done this way! After all, if an index of 1/2 is a square root, it follows that an index of 1/3 is a cube root. In fact, an index of 1/n is the nth root. Expanding Newton's formula for (1 + x)1/3 gives us the formula for cube roots. (l+x)1/3 = 1 + 1/3 x + (1/3K-2/3) x2 / 2! + (l/3)(-2/3)(-5/3) x3 / 3! + which simplifies to: (l+x)1/3 = 1 + 1/3 x -1/9 x2 + 5/81 x3 - ... This can be used to find cube roots. Let us find the cube root of 30. Like previously, we need to write it as the sum of two numbers. This time one of the numbers must be a perfect cube. We can say 301/3 = (27 + 3)1/3 because 27 is a perfect cube (3x3x3 = 27). By taking out the 271/3 and using Newton's formula we can write: 301/3 = (27 + 3)1/3 = 271/3(1 + 3/27)1/3 = 3(1 + 0.11)1/3 This now expands (using the formula above) to: 3{1 + (0.11)/3 - (0.11)2/9 + 5(0.11)3/81 - ...} = 3(1 + 0.0367 - 0.0013 + 0.0001 - ) = 3(1.0355) = 3.1065 The calculator says 3.10723, so again we are correct to two decimals. As a matter of interest, Logarithms can also be used to calculate roots. I will end here with a little something for the reader to find out. If 22 = 2 x 2, 23 = 2 x 2 x 2 and 21/2 is the square root of 2, what do 21.5, 2 (not the obvious answer) and 2-1 mean?


Diagonals The first diagonal is, of course, just "1"s, and the next diagonal has the Counting Numbers (1,2,3, etc). The third diagonal has the triangular numbers (The fourth diagonal, not highlighted, has the tetrahedral numbers )

Odds and Evens If you color the Odd and Even numbers, you end up with a pattern the same as the Sierpinski Triangle

Horizontal Sums What do you notice about the horizontal sums? Is there a pattern? Isn't it amazing! It doubles each time (flowers of 2).


Heads and Tails

Pascal's Triangle can show you how many ways heads and tails can combine. This can then show you "the odds" (or probability) of any combination. For example, if you toss a coin three times, there is only one combination that will give you three heads (HHM), but there are three that will give two heads and one tail (HHT, HTH, THH), also three that give one head and two tails (HTT, THT, TTH) and one for all Tails (TTT). This is the pattern "1,3,3,1" in Pascal's Triangle.

Example: What is the probability of getting exactly two heads with 4 coin tosses? There are 1+4+6+4+1=16 (or 24-16) possible results, and 6 of them give exactly two heads. So the probability is 6/16, or 37.5%

The Chinese Knew About It This drawing is entitled "The Old Method Chart of the Seven Multiplying Squares It is from the front of Chu Shi-Chieh's book "Ssu Yuan Yii Chien" (Precious Mirror of the Four Elements), written in AD 1303 (over 700 years ago, and more than 300 years before Pascal!), and in the book it says the triangle was known about more than two centuries before that.

The Quincunx
An amazing little machine created by Sir Francis Galton is a Pascal's Triangle made out of pegs. It is called The Quincunx. Balls are dropped onto the first peg and then bounce down to the bottom of the triangle where they collect in little bins. At first it looks completely random (and it is), but then you find the balls pile up in a nice pattern: the Normal Distribution.

Theme of my seminar is not most original, but I hope that you like it.While I was writing this seminar,I understood that mathematics can be very interesting and I didn't make mistake when I enrolled this University.