Questions on the factorial function, $n!=n\times(n-1)\times\cdots\times1$. Consider using the tag (gamma-function) if dealing with noninteger arguments.

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48
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is $i! = 0.498015668 - 0.154949828i$?

While moving my laptop the other day, I ended up mashing the keyboard a little, and by pure chance managed to do a google search for i!. Curiously, Google's ...
41
votes
3answers
2k views

How come the number $N!$ can terminate in exactly $1,2,3,4,$ or $6$ zeroes but never $5$ zeroes? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Highest power of a prime $p$ dividing $N!$ How come the number $N!$ can terminate in exactly $1,2,3,4,$ or $6$ zeroes but never $5$ zeroes?
35
votes
3answers
3k views

Is $n! + 1$ often a prime?

Related to this question, I wonder how often $n!+1$ is a prime? There is a related OEIS sequence A002981, however, nothing is said if the sequence is finite or not... or anything in that sense...
32
votes
14answers
4k views

Which is larger? $20!$ or $2^{40}$?

Someone asked me this question, and it bothers the hell out of me that I can't prove either way. I've sort of come to the conclusion that 20! must be larger, because it has 36 prime factors, some of ...
32
votes
1answer
2k views

$n!$ is never a perfect square if $n\geq2$. Is there a proof of this that doesn't use Chebyshev's theorem?

If $n\geq2$, then $n!$ is not a perfect square. The proof of this follows easily from Chebyshev's theorem, which states that for any positive integer $n$ there exists a prime strictly between $n$ and ...
31
votes
11answers
12k views

Do factorials really grow faster than exponential functions?

Having trouble understanding this. Is there anyway to prove it?
30
votes
3answers
467 views

Constructing $\mathbb N$ from the set of factorials

Let S be the set $\{0!, 1!, 2!, \ldots\}$. Is it possible to construct any positive integer using only addition, subtraction and multiplication, and using any element in S at most once? For example: ...
28
votes
1answer
648 views

A series problem by Knuth

I came across the following problem, known as Knuth's Series which originally was an American Mathematical Monthly problem. Prove that $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty ...
25
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6answers
1k views

$m!n! < (m+n)!$ Proof?

Prove that if $m$ and $n$ are positive integers then $m!n! < (m+n)!$ Given hint: $m!= 1\times 2\times 3\times\cdots\times m$ and $1<m+1, 2<m+2, \ldots , n<m+n$ It looks simple but ...
25
votes
2answers
4k views

$\sum k! = 1! +2! +3! + \cdots + n!$ ,is there a generic formula for this?

I came across a question where I needed to find the sum of the factorials of the first $n$ numbers. So I was wondering if there is any generic formula for this? Like there is a generic formula for ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

How many zeroes are in 100!

One common math puzzle I've seen around asks for how many zeros are in the product of "100!" Usually, the solution everyone gives goes something like try to match pairs of 5s and 2s that factor out ...
22
votes
4answers
918 views

Solutions for x!/y!=(y+1)!

I was watching a video recently, and I saw how 10*9*8*7 was equal to 7*6*5*4*3*2*1, or to make it clearer, 10!/6!=7!. I was wondering if there were any other solutions, so I checked the web, to find ...
22
votes
5answers
454 views

How to find $\lim_{n\to\infty}\frac{1!+2!+\cdots+n!}{n!}$?

How to evaluate the following limit? $$\lim_{n\to\infty}\dfrac{1!+2!+\cdots+n!}{n!}$$ For this problem I have two methods. But I'd like to know if there are better methods. My solution 1: Using ...
22
votes
1answer
757 views

Repeated Factorials and Repeated Square Rooting

I was talking with friends about silly questions involving what numbers you can get using only a single digit "3" and unary operations. We eventually conjectured that using only factorials and square ...
21
votes
9answers
3k views

What is the purpose of Stirling's approximation to a factorial?

Stirling approximation to a factorial is $$ n! \sim \sqrt{2 \pi n} \left(\frac{n}{e}\right)^n. $$ I wonder what benefit can be got from it? From computational perspective (I admit I don't ...
21
votes
1answer
641 views

are all $n!$ ($n>3$) the difference of two squares?

For the small values of n I have been able to check, it seems that for $n>3$, there exist whole numbers $x,y$ s.t. $n! = x^2 - y^2$. For example .. $4! = 5^2 - 1^2$ $5! = 11^2 - 1^2$ $6! = 27^2 ...
20
votes
6answers
5k views

prove that $(2n)!/(n!)^2$ is even if $n$ is a positive integer

Prove that $(2n)!/(n!)^2$ is even if $n$ is a positive integer. For clarity: the denominator is the only part being squared. My thought process: The numerator is the product of the first n even ...
20
votes
9answers
4k views

Prove that $\lim \limits_{n \to \infty} \frac{x^n}{n!} = 0$, $x \in \Bbb R$.

Why is $$\lim_{n \to \infty} \frac{2^n}{n!}=0\text{ ?}$$ Can we generalize it to any exponent $x \in \Bbb R$? This is to say, is $$\lim_{n \to \infty} \frac{x^n}{n!}=0\text{ ?}$$ This is ...
19
votes
1answer
475 views

Integer solutions of $x! = y! + z!$

There was an interesting problem asked about triples $(x,y,z)$ which are solutions of $$x! = y! + z!.$$ Here $(2,1,1)$ is a solution because $2! = 1! + 1!$, as are $(2,1,0)$ and $(2,0,1)$. Now I ...
19
votes
4answers
593 views

Limit of series involving ratio of two factorials

$$ \sum^{\infty}_{j=0} \frac{(j!)^2}{(2j)!} = \frac{2 \pi \sqrt{3}}{27}+\frac{4}{3} $$ The above series is in a homework sheet. We're not expected to find the limit, just prove its convergence. ...
17
votes
2answers
10k views

How to find the factorial of a fraction?

From what I know, the factorial function is defined as follows: $$n! = n(n-1)(n-2) \cdots(3)(2)(1)$$ And $0! = 1$. However, this page seems to be saying that you can take the factorial of a ...
17
votes
3answers
397 views

Making $121$ with five $0$s

So I say this puzzle online a few days ago and found it quite interesting. The original question was Make $120$ using only five $0$s. Well, I said to myself, this is utterly trivial. Note that ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

Stirling's formula: proof?

Suppose we want to show that $$ n! \sim \sqrt{2 \pi} n^{n+(1/2)}e^{-n}$$ Instead we could show that $$\lim_{n \to \infty} \frac{n!}{n^{n+(1/2)}e^{-n}} = C$$ where $C$ is a constant. Maybe $C = ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

How best to explain the $\sqrt{2\pi n}$ term in Stirling's?

I recently showed my Algorithms class how to bound $\ln n! = \sum \ln n$ by integrals, thereby obtaining the simple factorial approximation $$ e \left(\frac{n}{e}\right)^{n} \leq n! \leq ...
16
votes
3answers
268 views

Approximating $100!$

I participated in an Estimathon (a speed contest of Fermi problems) not long ago. It works as follows. Contestants are given questions and they must give a closed range $[a,b]$ which should contain ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

Highest power of a prime $p$ dividing $N!$

How does one find the highest power of a prime $p$ that divides $N!$ and other related products? Related question: How many zeros are there at the end of $N!$? This is being done to reduce ...
15
votes
3answers
204 views

Proving that $\frac{(k!)!}{k!^{(k-1)!}}$ is an integer

I have to prove that: $$\frac{(k!)!}{k!^{(k-1)!}} \in \Bbb Z$$ for any $k \geq 1, k \in \Bbb N$ Tried doing $t = k!$ which would give $$\frac{t!}{t^{t/k}}$$ But I think I just made it harder, and ...
14
votes
12answers
2k views

Can the factorial function be written as a sum?

I know of the sum of the natural logarithms of the factors of n! , but would like to know if any others exist.
14
votes
2answers
354 views

On the Limit of Stirling's Approximation

I have recently proven the following curious identity: For real $x \geqslant 1$, \begin{align} \lfloor x \rfloor! = x^{\lfloor x \rfloor} e^{1-x} e^{\int_{1}^{x} \text{frac}(t)/t \ dt} \end{align} ...
13
votes
14answers
2k views

Prove $0! = 1$ from first principles

How can I prove from first principles that $0!$ is equal to $1$?
13
votes
6answers
1k views

Why $0!$ is equal to $1$? [duplicate]

Many counting formulas involving factorials can make sense for the case $n= 0$ if we define $0!=1 $; e.g., Catalan number and the number of trees with a given number of vetrices. Now here is my ...
13
votes
6answers
768 views

A question on the Stirling approximation, and $\log(n!)$

In the analysis of an algorithm this statement has come up:$$\sum_{k = 1}^n\log(k) \in \Theta(n\log(n))$$ and I am having trouble justifying it. I wrote $$\sum_{k = 1}^n\log(k) = \log(n!), \ \ ...
12
votes
8answers
3k views

How to prove that $\lim\limits_{n \to \infty} \frac{k^n}{n!} = 0$

It recently came to my mind, how to prove that the factorial grows faster than the exponential, or that the linear grows faster than the logarithmic, etc... I thought about writing: $$ a(n) = ...
12
votes
1answer
324 views

Yet another $\sum = \pi$. Need to prove.

How could one prove that $$\sum_{k=0}^\infty \frac{2^{1-k} (3-25 k)(2 k)!\,k!}{(3 k)!} = -\pi$$ I've seen similar series, but none like this one... It seems irreducible in current form, and I have ...
12
votes
1answer
139 views

Solving $n!+m!+k^2=n!m!$ for positive integers $n,m,k$

I have been running in circles with this for a while now. It seems that the only solution is $(n,m,k)=(2,3,2)$ but I don't know how to prove it. Things I have noticed: WLOG $n\geq m$ we see that ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Solve by induction: $n!>(n/e)^n$

To Prove : $n! > (n/e)^n$ The question seems easy but it ain't; anyone up for it ?
11
votes
3answers
711 views

History of notation: “!”

Does anyone know where the factorial "!" symbol came from? I can't decide if it is my favorite or least favorite notation in mathematics...
11
votes
3answers
143 views

$1!+2!+\ldots+n!$ cannot be the square of a positive integer

I have to prove that $1!+2!+\ldots+n!$ cannot be the square of a positive integer, $\forall n\geq4$. I've tried to do this with induction, but I don't seem to reach any satisfactory conclusion. Any ...
11
votes
2answers
420 views

Given $n! = c$, how to find $n$?

I'm dealing with a time-complexity problem in which I know the running time of an algorithm: $$t = 1000 \mathrm{ms} .$$ I also know that the algorithm is upper bounded by $O(n!)$. I want to know ...
11
votes
1answer
629 views

Factorial canceling on expansion of binomial coefficients on Concrete Mathematics

On Concrete Mathematics section 5.5, which is teaching the hypergeometric functions, generalized factorials is defined as: \[ \frac 1 {z!} = \lim_{n \to \infty} \binom{n+z}{n}n^{-z} \] where \[ ...
10
votes
3answers
507 views

Which is greater, $300 !$ or $(300^{300})^\frac {1}{2}$?

Which is greater among $300 !$ and $\sqrt {300^{300}}$ ? The answer is $300 !$ (my textbook's answer). I do not know how to solve problems involving such large numbers.
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Proof that $\frac{(2n)!}{2^n}$ is integer

I am trying to prove that $\dfrac{(2n)!}{2^n}$ is integer. So I have tried it by induction, I have took $n=1$, for which we would have $2/2=1$ is integer. So for $n=k$ it is true, so now comes time ...
10
votes
4answers
849 views

If $n = 51! +1$, Then find no of primes among $n+1,n+2,\ldots, n+50$

If $n = 51! +1$, Then find no of primes among $n+1,n+2,\ldots, n+50$ Really speaking, I don't have any clue ...
10
votes
2answers
312 views

Finding all the numbers that fit $x! + y! = z!$

I have the formula $x! + y! = z!$ and I'm looking for positive integers that make it true. Upon inspection it seems that x = y = 1 and z = 2 is the only solution. The problem is how to show it. ...
10
votes
4answers
354 views

How to prove $\left(\frac{n}{n+1}\right)^{n+1}<\sqrt[n+1]{(n+1)!}-\sqrt[n]{n!}<\left(\frac{n}{n+1}\right)^n$

Show that: $$\left(\dfrac{n}{n+1}\right)^{n+1}<\sqrt[n+1]{(n+1)!}-\sqrt[n]{n!}<\left(\dfrac{n}{n+1}\right)^n$$ where $n\in \Bbb N^{+}.$ If this inequality can be proved, then we have ...
10
votes
1answer
139 views

Can this product be written so that symmetry is manifest?

Let $i,$ $j,$ $k$ be nonnegative integers such that $i+j+k$ is even. The expression $$(-1)^{j+k}\binom{i+j+k}{i,j,k}\prod_{\ell=0}^{k-1} \frac{i-j+k-2\ell-1}{i+j+k-2\ell-1}$$ apparently computes the ...
10
votes
2answers
252 views

Prove quotient of factorials is integral

If $n$ is an integer $\gt 0$, prove $$\frac{(30n)!n!}{(15n)!(10n)!(6n)!}$$ is also an integer. I understand that a general approach is proving that the power of any prime factor is greater in the ...
10
votes
1answer
340 views

How to solve $x!=5^x$?

Or, more generally, $$\Gamma (x+1)=\int_0^{\infty}t^{x}e^{-t}dt=p^x$$ with $p \in \mathbb{Z}^+$ and $x \in \mathbb{C}$. Perhaps begin with $\large p^x=p^x \lim_{n \rightarrow ...
9
votes
5answers
774 views

How to prove that $\lim \frac{1}{n} \sqrt[n]{(n+1)(n+2)… 2n} = \frac{4}{e}$

I'd like a hint to show that: $$\lim \frac{1}{n} \sqrt[n]{(n+1)(n+2) \cdots 2n} = \frac{4}{e} .$$ Thanks.
9
votes
4answers
295 views

Is $10^{8}!$ greater than $10^{10^9}$?

My question is: $10^8! > 10^{10^9}$ ? I know that factorial is greater than exponential, but I am not sure about this specific case. Thanks,