Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Simple factorial

  1. Dec 14, 2004 #1
    Ok just a basic question. We are given 12 C 2 to evaluate. Which equals

    12! / (10!2!)

    Is there an easier way to simplify it. We are asked to do it without a calculator.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2004 #2
    Compute it. Write it all out. Lots of stuff to cancel out.

    You'll end up with 12*11/2 = 6*11 = 66
  4. Dec 14, 2004 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Cancel everything you can with the larger factorial in the denominator.

    12!/10!= 12*11 so 12!/(10!)(2!)= 12*11/2= 6*11= 66.
  5. Dec 14, 2004 #4
    This is something of an elementary question, but why is it always true that nCr where n>r would always yield a positive integer?
  6. Dec 14, 2004 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    That's a good question. The identity (n+1)Cr=nCr+nC(r-1), valid if n>=1 and 1<=r<=n, is easy enough to prove using nCr=n!/((n-r)! r!). Also, nC0=nCn=1 for all n>=0. These facts embody the construction of Pascal's triangle and let you prove by induction (on n) that nCr is always an integer since it's either 1 or it's the sum of two integers.

    You can also think of the combinatorial definition of nCr, the number of r-subsets of an n-set. This is definitely an integer. Of course then you'd have to prove that the factorial expression for nCr is correct...
  7. Dec 14, 2004 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The nCr are binomial coefficients with the property that n+1Cr = nCr-1 + nCr (think of Pascal's Triangle) with nCn = 1 = nC0. Since 0C0 = 1 it follows that all nCr are integers.
  8. Dec 14, 2004 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Shmoe beat me to it! :-)
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Simple factorial
  1. Simple paradox (Replies: 2)

  2. Simple logic (Replies: 1)