The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » numeracy

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: factorial fun
Replies: 2   Last Post: Dec 22, 2002 8:55 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Mark Schwartz

Posts: 48
Registered: 12/6/04
factorial fun
Posted: Dec 18, 2002 8:55 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Hi All,

I got intrigued by the fun with the question about finding the factorial
that generates P, given P. I played some more with what I posted earlier
regarding an algebraic approach. Look at this:
n! = n(n-1)(n-2)...1 by definition.
2! = 2*1 = n(n-1)
3! = 3*2*1 = n(n-1)(n-2)
4! = 4*3*2*1 = n(n-1)(n-2)(n-3)
etc, etc.
In all cases, the last term is 1.

Notice that the polynomial that results is to the nth power. No surprise.
But for the fun of it, I generated the polynomials to n = 6. What got me -
and I hope someone can give me some insights - is the pattern of numbers
that occurs in the coefficients of the polynomials.

for 2, it's 1,-1
for 3, 1, -3, 2
for 4, 1, -6, 11, -6
for 5, 1, -10, 35, -50, 24
for 6, 1, -15, 85, -225, 274, -120

Several things: (1) the sum of the coefficients in all cases = 0 and (2)
the positive value is 1/2 the factorial of N. Anybody understand the
number theory behind this, or can point me to a reference? ... thanks ...

--- EarthLink: The #1 provider of the Real Internet.

-To unsubscribe from the Numeracy mail list send e-mail to
-In the body of the message type "unsubscribe numeracy your_address"

-If you have any questions e-mail

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.