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A Continued Fraction For

 Containing Cubes

author: Tony Foster

Consider the Nilakantha Infinite Series for   3 ; note the denominators are
Pythagorean triple areas.

Leonhard Euler devised a method of turning an infinite series with
alternating plus and minus signs into a continued fraction. Below is
Theorem 1 from his classic work, “On the Transformations of Infinite Series
to Continued Fractions”.

Using Euler’s continued fraction theorem, we insert all the denominators of
the infinite series in the appropriate places.

After solving the differences, we have the continued fraction below.

Using algebra, we solve for

 , and 3 is added to the continued fraction.

With a little bit of mathematical ingenuity, we factor out the squares in the
C.F. denominators and divide them into the C.F. numerators.

After dividing, the continued fraction has an interesting pattern. Does
anything stand out in the C.F. numerators?

Actually, the numerators are squares. After 1, the pattern reveals every other
triangular number squared.


With that in mind, it is well known in number theory that a squared
triangular number equals the sum of cubes; commonly called Nichomachus
theorem. So the final continued fraction with cubes is now apparent.
Nichomachus Theorem