A pronic number is a number which is the product of two consecutive integers, that is, a number of the form n(n + 1). The study of these numbers dates back to Aristotle. They are also called oblong numbers, heteromecic numbers, or rectangular numbers; however, the "rectangular number" name has also been applied to the composite numbers.
The first few pronic numbers are:
- 0, 2, 6, 12, 20, 30, 42, 56, 72, 90, 110, 132, 156, 182, 210, 240, 272, 306, 342, 380, 420, 462 … (sequence A002378 in the OEIS).
As figurate numbers
The pronic numbers were studied as figurate numbers alongside the triangular numbers and square numbers in Aristotle's Metaphysics, and their discovery has been attributed much earlier to the Pythagoreans. As a kind of figurate number, the pronic numbers are sometimes called oblong because they are analogous to polygonal numbers in this way:
The nth pronic number is twice the nth triangular number and n more than the nth square number, as given by the alternative formula n2 + n for pronic numbers. The nth pronic number is also the difference between the odd square (2n + 1)2 and the (n+1)st centered hexagonal number.
Sum of reciprocals
The nth pronic number is the sum of the first n even integers. It follows that all pronic numbers are even, and that 2 is the only prime pronic number. It is also the only pronic number in the Fibonacci sequence and the only pronic Lucas number.
The fact that consecutive integers are coprime and that a pronic number is the product of two consecutive integers leads to a number of properties. Each distinct prime factor of a pronic number is present in only one of the factors n or n+1. Thus a pronic number is squarefree if and only if n and n + 1 are also squarefree. The number of distinct prime factors of a pronic number is the sum of the number of distinct prime factors of n and n + 1.
If 25 is appended to the decimal representation of any pronic number, the result is a square number e.g. 625 = 252, 1225 = 352. This is because
- Conway, J. H.; Guy, R. K. (1996), The Book of Numbers, New York: Copernicus, Figure 2.15, p. 34.
- Knorr, Wilbur Richard (1975), The evolution of the Euclidean elements, Dordrecht-Boston, Mass.: D. Reidel Publishing Co., pp. 144–150, ISBN 90-277-0509-7, MR 0472300.
- Ben-Menahem, Ari (2009), Historical Encyclopedia of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Volume 1, Springer reference, Springer-Verlag, p. 161, ISBN 9783540688310.
- Higgins, Peter Michael (2008), Number Story: From Counting to Cryptography, Copernicus Books, p. 9, ISBN 9781848000018.
- Frantz, Marc (2010), "The telescoping series in perspective", in Diefenderfer, Caren L.; Nelsen, Roger B., The Calculus Collection: A Resource for AP and Beyond, Classroom Resource Materials, Mathematical Association of America, pp. 467–468, ISBN 9780883857618.
- McDaniel, Wayne L. (1998), "Pronic Lucas numbers" (PDF), Fibonacci Quarterly, 36 (1): 60–62, MR 1605345.
- McDaniel, Wayne L. (1998), "Pronic Fibonacci numbers" (PDF), Fibonacci Quarterly, 36 (1): 56–59, MR 1605341.
- Rummel, Rudolf J. (1988), Applied Factor Analysis, Northwestern University Press, p. 319, ISBN 9780810108240.