Square triangular number

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Square triangular number 36 depicted as a triangular number and as a square number.

In mathematics, a square triangular number (or triangular square number) is a number which is both a triangular number and a perfect square. There are infinitely many square triangular numbers; the first few are:

0, 1, 36, 1225, 41616, 1413721, 48024900, 1631432881, 55420693056, 1882672131025 (sequence A001110 in the OEIS)

Explicit formulas[edit]

Write Nk for the kth square triangular number, and write sk and tk for the sides of the corresponding square and triangle, so that

Define the triangular root of a triangular number N = n(n + 1)/2 to be n. From this definition and the quadratic formula,

Therefore, N is triangular (n is an integer) if and only if 8N + 1 is square. Consequently, a square number M2 is also triangular if and only if 8M2 + 1 is square, that is, there are numbers x and y such that x2 − 8y2 = 1. This is an instance of the Pell equation with n = 8. All Pell equations have the trivial solution x = 1, y = 0 for any n; this is called the zeroth solution, and indexed as (x0, y0) = (1,0). If (xk, yk) denotes the kth nontrivial solution to any Pell equation for a particular n, it can be shown by the method of descent that

Hence there are an infinity of solutions to any Pell equation for which there is one non-trivial one, which holds whenever n is not a square. The first non-trivial solution when n = 8 is easy to find: it is (3,1). A solution (xk, yk) to the Pell equation for n = 8 yields a square triangular number and its square and triangular roots as follows:

Hence, the first square triangular number, derived from (3,1), is 1, and the next, derived from 6 × (3,1) − (1,0) = (17,6), is 36.

The sequences Nk, sk and tk are the OEIS sequences OEISA001110, OEISA001109, and OEISA001108 respectively.

In 1778 Leonhard Euler determined the explicit formula[1][2]:12–13

Other equivalent formulas (obtained by expanding this formula) that may be convenient include

The corresponding explicit formulas for sk and tk are:[2]:13

Pell's equation[edit]

The problem of finding square triangular numbers reduces to Pell's equation in the following way.[3]

Every triangular number is of the form t(t + 1)/2. Therefore we seek integers t, s such that

Rearranging, this becomes

and then letting x = 2t + 1 and y = 2s, we get the Diophantine equation

which is an instance of Pell's equation. This particular equation is solved by the Pell numbers Pk as[4]

and therefore all solutions are given by

There are many identities about the Pell numbers, and these translate into identities about the square triangular numbers.

Recurrence relations[edit]

There are recurrence relations for the square triangular numbers, as well as for the sides of the square and triangle involved. We have[5]:(12)

We have[1][2]:13

Other characterizations[edit]

All square triangular numbers have the form b2c2, where b/c is a convergent to the continued fraction for the 2.[6]

A. V. Sylwester gave a short proof that there are an infinity of square triangular numbers, to wit:[7]

If the nth triangular number n(n + 1)/2 is square, then so is the larger 4n(n + 1)th triangular number, since:

We know this result has to be a square, because it is a product of three squares: 4, n(n + 1)/2 (the original square triangular number), and (2n + 1)2.

The triangular roots tk are alternately simultaneously one less than a square and twice a square if k is even, and simultaneously a square and one less than twice a square if k is odd. Thus,

49 = 72 = 2 × 52 − 1,
288 = 172 − 1 = 2 × 122, and
1681 = 412 = 2 × 292 − 1.

In each case, the two square roots involved multiply to give sk: 5 × 7 = 35, 12 × 17 = 204, and 29 × 41 = 1189.[citation needed]

Additionally:

36 − 1 = 35, 1225 − 36 = 1189, and 41616 − 1225 = 40391. In other words, the difference between two consecutive square triangular numbers is the square root of another square triangular number.[citation needed]

The generating function for the square triangular numbers is:[8]

Numerical data[edit]

As k becomes larger, the ratio tk/sk approaches 2 ≈ 1.41421356, and the ratio of successive square triangular numbers approaches (1 + 2)4 = 17 + 122 ≈ 33.970562748. The table below shows values of k between 0 and 11, which comprehend all square triangular numbers up to 1016.

k Nk sk tk tk/sk Nk/Nk − 1
0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1
2 36 6 8 1.33333333 36
3 1225 35 49 1.4 34.027777778
4 41616 204 288 1.41176471 33.972244898
5 1413721 1189 1681 1.41379310 33.970612265
6 48024900 6930 9800 1.41414141 33.970564206
7 1631432881 40391 57121 1.41420118 33.970562791
8 55420693056 235416 332928 1.41421144 33.970562750
9 1882672131025 1372105 1940449 1.41421320 33.970562749
10 63955431761796 7997214 11309768 1.41421350 33.970562748
11 2172602007770041 46611179 65918161 1.41421355 33.970562748

See also[edit]

  • Cannonball problem, on numbers that are simultaneously square and square pyramidal
  • Sixth power, numbers that are simultaneously square and cubical

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dickson, Leonard Eugene (1999) [1920]. History of the Theory of Numbers. 2. Providence: American Mathematical Society. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8218-1935-7.
  2. ^ a b c Euler, Leonhard (1813). "Regula facilis problemata Diophantea per numeros integros expedite resolvendi (An easy rule for Diophantine problems which are to be resolved quickly by integral numbers)". Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences de St.-Pétersbourg (in Latin). 4: 3–17. Retrieved 2009-05-11. According to the records, it was presented to the St. Petersburg Academy on May 4, 1778.
  3. ^ Barbeau, Edward (2003). Pell's Equation. Problem Books in Mathematics. New York: Springer. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-387-95529-2. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
  4. ^ Hardy, G. H.; Wright, E. M. (1979). An Introduction to the Theory of Numbers (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 210. ISBN 0-19-853171-0. Theorem 244
  5. ^ Weisstein, Eric W. "Square Triangular Number". MathWorld.
  6. ^ Ball, W. W. Rouse; Coxeter, H. S. M. (1987). Mathematical Recreations and Essays. New York: Dover Publications. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-486-25357-2.
  7. ^ Pietenpol, J. L.; Sylwester, A. V.; Just, Erwin; Warten, R. M. (February 1962). "Elementary Problems and Solutions: E 1473, Square Triangular Numbers". American Mathematical Monthly. Mathematical Association of America. 69 (2): 168–169. doi:10.2307/2312558. ISSN 0002-9890. JSTOR 2312558.
  8. ^ Plouffe, Simon (August 1992). "1031 Generating Functions" (PDF). University of Quebec, Laboratoire de combinatoire et d'informatique mathématique. p. A.129. Retrieved 2009-05-11.

External links[edit]