Category Archives: proof

A simple proof of the quadratic formula

If you’re reading this blog you have probably memorized (or used to have memorized) the quadratic formula, which can be used to solve quadratic equations of the form But do you know how to derive the formula? Usually the derivation … Continue reading

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A combinatorial proof: PIE a la mode!

Continuing from my last post in this series, we’re trying to show that , where is defined as which is what we get when we start with a sequence of consecutive th powers and repeatedly take successive differences. Recall that … Continue reading

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A combinatorial proof: counting bad functions

In a previous post we derived the following expression: . We are trying to show that , in order to show that starting with a sequence of consecutive th powers and repeatedly taking successive differences will always result in . … Continue reading

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A combinatorial proof: functions and matchings

We’re trying to prove the following equality (see my previous post for a recap of the story so far): In particular we’re trying to show that the two sides of this equation correspond to two different ways to count the … Continue reading

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A combinatorial proof: the story so far

In my last post I reintroduced this seemingly odd phenomenon: Start with consecutive integers and raise them all to the th power. Then repeatedly take pairwise differences (i.e. subtract the first from the second, and the second from the third, … Continue reading

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A combinatorial proof: reboot!

More than seven years ago I wrote about a curious phenomenon, which I found out about from Patrick Vennebush: if you start with a sequence of consecutive th powers, and repeatedly take pairwise differences, you always end up with , … Continue reading

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PIE: proof by counting

Recall the setup: we have a universal set and a collection of subsets , , , and so on, up to . PIE claims that we can compute the number of elements of that are in none of the (that … Continue reading

Posted in combinatorics, pattern, proof | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment