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GITIMH3 94107 The Binomial Theorem Page 1

Pascal’s Triangle
 Pascal Triangle shows the coefficients of the binomial expanded

a  b 0  1 1
a  b 1  a  b 1 1
a  b 2  a 2  2.a.b  b 2 1 2 1
a  b 3  a 3  3.a 2 .b  3.b 2 .a  b 3 1 3 3 1

a  b 4  a 4  4.a 3 .b  6.b 2 .a 2  4.b 3 .a  b 4 1 4 6 4 1


a  b 5  a  5.a .b  10.b .a  10.b .a  5.b .a  b
5 4 3 2 2 3 4 5
1 5 10 10 5 1

From the above Expansions and Triangle, the Following


Theorems are Formed:
Theorem: Each coefficient in Pascal’s Triangle is the sum of the two closet
numbers in the line above

Theorem: The coefficients are symmetrical

Theorem: The first and last coefficients are 1

Theorem: The second and the penultimate (i.e. second last) coefficients are always
the same as the power

Theorem: There is always 1 more coefficient then the power

Theorem: The powers of the first term decrease as the powers of the second term
increase

Theorem: The sum of the powers of the terms for one coefficient is equal to the ‘n’
for (a + b)n

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GITIMH3 94107 The Binomial Theorem Page 2

The General Binomial Theorem


 The general binomial theorem is used when expanding large powers
 So for coefficients of xk in the expansion of (1 + x)n is given as nCk; thus Pascal’s
Triangle becomes:
0
C0
1 1
C0 C1
2 2 2
C0 C1 C2
3 3 3 3
C0 C1 C2 C3
4 4 4 4 4
C0 C1 C2 C3 C4
  
n n n n n n n
C0 C1 C3  Ck  C n 2 Cn  1 Cn

 1  x   n C0  n C1 .x n C 2 .x 2   nC k .x k   nC n 1 .x n 1  nC n .x n
n

Hence, the general binomial expansion is given as


a  b n  n C0 .a n  nC1 .a n 1 .b n C 2 .a n 2 .b 2   n C k .a nk .b k   nC n1 .a.b n1  nC n .b n
Therefore the this expansion can be write in sigma notation:
n
Equation: a  b n   n C k .a n k .b k
k 0

The general term equation for a binomial (a + b)n:


Equation: Tk  1  n C k .a n k .b k

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GITIMH3 94107 The Binomial Theorem Page 3

Important Results
n
Equation: C0 = 1

Proof:
From:
a  b n  n C0 .a n  nC1 .a n 1 .b n C 2 .a n 2 .b 2   n C k .a nk .b k   nC n1 .a.b n1  nC n .b n ..[1]
Let a = 1 & b = 0:
So, 1  0 n  n C0 .1n  0  0  0
 n
C0 = 1
n
Equation: Cn = 1

Proof:
From [1] let a = 0 & b = 1:
So, 0  1n  0  0    0  nC n .1n
 n
Cn = 1

Pascal Triangle Relationship:


0
C0
1
C

Equation:
n
C k  n  1 C k  1  n  1C k For, 1kn1

Proof:
n 1
RHS = C k 1  n 1C k


n  1! 
n  1!
n  1  k  1! k  1! n  1  k ! k!


n  1!  1
 
1
 
 k  1! n  k  1!   n  k  k 


n  1!  n 
 
 k  1! n  k  1!   k n  k  
n!

n  k ! k!
 nC k
 LHS

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GITIMH3 94107 The Binomial Theorem Page 4

Theorem: The sum of the coefficients = 2 n

Proof:
From [1] let a = b = 1:
So, 1  1n  n C0  nC1   nC k   nC n1  nC n
 2n = the sum of the coefficients

Tk  1 n  k  1 b
Equation:  
Tk k a

Proof:
Here, Tk + 1 = nCk.an - k.bk
Tk = nCk - 1.an – k + 1.bk – 1
Tk 1 n
C k .a n k .b k
Now,  n
Tk C k 1 .a n k 1 .b k 1
n!.a n k .b k n  k  1! k  1!
 
n  k ! k ! n!.a n  k  1 .b k 1
n  k 1
  a n k  n  k  1  .b k  k 1 
k
n  k 1 b
 
k a

E.g. Find the greatest coefficient of (x2 + 2)7

Tk 1 n  k  1 b
A Since,   where, Tk 1  Tk
Tk k a
i.e. 2(7  k + 1) > k
16  2.k > k
k > 5 1/3
So, k=5
Now the coefficient is found by nC5.25
i.e. 672

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