NUC 5: Triangular numbers
A triangular number is created by laying down gaming pieces in the shape of an equilateral triangle. The number of pieces in such a triangle with n rows equates to the nth triangular number Δ
. Thisconstruction of a triangle equates to the sum of the rst n numbers, so the triangular number can alsobe dened by: The sum of the rst n natural numbers is called nth
.It can be calculated with . This formula can be traced back to Carl
Friedrich Gauss who was a schoolboy when he realised that it was the easiestsolution for adding the numbers 1 to 100. The triangular numbers begin with 1,3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, 36 …
One of the rst to examine triangular numbers was Pythagoras. He regarded the number 10 as a holynumber because it equates to 1+2+3+4 and can be laid down as an equilateral triangle. Pythagorascalled it Tekraktys and used it as a form of invocation that his pupils had to recite:
“Oh holy, holy Tetractys, thou that containest the root and source of the eternally flowing creation!”
Triangular numbers are well researched and are suitable as an introduction into arithmetic or numbertheory due to their demonstrability. Even in daily life, they turn up insports or educational games for children. In bowling, the 10 pins areplaced according to Δ
and in billiards, the starting positioncorresponds to Δ
. Furthermore, thereare numerous arithmetical correlationsincluding triangular numbers which canbe proven my amateurs.What we do know:
The sum of two consecutive triangular numbers is a square number.
Squares of triangular numbers are also triangular numbers.
Apart from Δ
= 3 triangular numbers are not prime.
The sum of the rst n cubic numbers equates to the square of the nth triangular number.
The sum of the reciprocals of all triangular numbers is 2.
5…5… is always a triangular number when … stands for a sequence of zeros, e.g. 500500.
are triangular numbers andNumber Palindromes, while the indicesareRepunits.