# Inequality proof

1. Oct 15, 2014

### neemer

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

its the second one.
let n∈ℕ \ 0 and k∈ℕ show that
(n choose k) 1/n^k <= 1/k!

2. Relevant equations

axioms of ordered fields?

3. The attempt at a solution

i have been working on this all afternoon. I know 0<k<n since its a requirement for (n choose k). Ive tried induction, base case works but cannot figure out how to do inductive step. I dont really think induction is the correct method. Ive tried cases, n=k is easy to prove but n>k i cannot figure out. Any help getting me started in the right direction would be appreciated.

2. Oct 15, 2014

### GFauxPas

As n > 0 you can instead try proving the equivalent statement:

$$\binom n k \le \frac {n^k}{k!}$$

3. Oct 15, 2014

### RUber

$n! < n^n$
So what inequality might hold for the largest k terms of n! ?

4. Oct 15, 2014

### neemer

Thanks for the replies.

I tried playing around with these for an hour this morning. When trying to prove that equivalent statement, Its obvious that its true but I still don't know how to "prove" it. Leaves me in the same situation as before just allows me to cancel a factor of 1/k! from either side of the inequality.

RUber, that inequality holds for all n>=2 i believe. Since k has to be less than n though the only way I could write k in terms of n is n-1 and at this point i am struggling again on what to do next.

Right now I'm thinking cases is the best way to try and prove this since its easy to prove the inequality for n=k. I just need to prove that it holds for n>k and then I would be done.

5. Oct 15, 2014

### RUber

I don't think you need induction, this is a straightforward relation.
$\left( \begin{array}{c} n\\k \end{array} \right) \frac{1}{n^k} \leq \frac{1}{k!}$
Is saying:
$\frac{n!}{(n-k)!(k)!}\frac{1}{n^k} \leq \frac{1}{k!}$
Which is equivalent to (for k >0)
$\frac{\left( \prod_{i = n-k+1}^n i \right) }{(k)!}\frac{1}{n^k} \leq \frac{1}{k!}$
So as you said by cancelling out the $\frac{1}{k!}$ the relation you need to prove is :
$\frac{\left( \prod_{i = n-k+1}^n i \right) }{n^k} \leq 1$
And for k= 0 :
$\frac{n!}{(n-k)!(k)!}\frac{1}{n^k} =1 \leq \frac{1}{k!} =1$

6. Oct 15, 2014

### neemer

ok i'm able to understand most of this. Im a little confused how you changed n!/(n-k)! into that product but i can see that it makes sense. Isn't k=0 just one case though? Wouldn't i still need to prove somehow that the inequality holds for k>0 but still k<n?

7. Oct 15, 2014

### RUber

$\frac{5!}{(5-2)!}= \frac{5*4*3*2*1}{3*2*1}=\prod_{i=5-2+1}^5 i =\prod_{i=4}^5 i=4*5.$
The first relation I wrote above (with the product notation) is for any k not equal to zero, then for k=0, the relation is just 1=1.
I find it odd that it seems your definition of natural numbers includes zero. That is not what I am used to. In any case, it just adds one case to the proof.

8. Oct 16, 2014

### neemer

Ok thanks im pretty sure I got it now.

9. Oct 16, 2014

### Ray Vickson

If you insist on posting images (which is discouraged in PF) you should at least attempt to post them correctly--not sideways like you did. If you want help, don't make it difficult for us to see what you are doing.