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Proving a formula with binomial coefficient when n=-1

  1. Sep 17, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Prove that ##\binom{-1}{k}=(-1)^k##

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Using induction on ##k##,

    ##\binom{-1}{0}=1## which is true also for ##(-1)^0=1##

    Assuming ##\binom{-1}{k}=(-1)^k##, then ##\binom{-1}{k+1}=(-1)^{k+1}##

    Indeed when ##n=-1##, we can write rewrite this ##\frac{n!}{k!(n-k)!}## as ##\frac{(-1)^k(k)!}{k!}## to avoid negative factorial. Hence ##\binom{-1}{k+1}=\frac{(-1)^k(k+1)!}{(k+1)!}=(-1)^{k+1}##.

    ##\blacksquare##

    I just want to confirm if my proof by induction method is valid.

    Thank You
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2013 #2

    UltrafastPED

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  4. Sep 17, 2013 #3
    This exercise is taken from Boas Mathematical Methods in Physics Chapter 1, the readers haven't been exposed to Gamma function nor does the problem actually requires one to prove the statement. It only requires one to show but I just want to prove it if possible using simple induction.
     
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