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I'm working in the following excercise:

Being $2011$ prime, calculate $2009!$ divided by $2011$

By Wilson's theorem I have:

$$2010! \equiv -1 \mod 2011$$ $$2009! * 2010 \equiv -1 * 2010 \mod 2011$$ $$2009! \equiv -2010 \mod 2011 $$ $$2009! \equiv 1 \mod 2011$$

Checking the answer is correct but I'm not sure about step two, is that correct? any help will be really appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ It's perfectly correct. $\endgroup$
    – Bernard
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ No. It's not $2009*2010 = 2010! \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}$. Why did you multiply it by $2010$ when you don't know $2009! \not \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}$. $\endgroup$
    – fleablood
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:23
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    $\begingroup$ It should be noted that 2011 is prime $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 22:41
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps a lemma to wilsons thereom should be: For $p > 2$ a prime. $(p-1)! \equiv -1 \pmod p$ so $(p-2)! = -(p-2)!(-1) \equiv -(p-2)!(p-1)=-(p-1)! \equiv -(-1) \equiv 1 \pmod p$. $\endgroup$
    – fleablood
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:49

2 Answers 2

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The right side on the second line should still be $-1$ because you just split the product on the left. Now note that $2010 \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}$ so multiply both sides by $2010$ $$2009! * 2010 \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}\\2009!\cdot 2010^2\equiv -1\cdot 2010 \pmod {2011}\\ 2009!\equiv 1 \pmod {2011}$$ You also just removed a factor $2010$ from the left between the second and third lines, which canceled out the error from the first to the second.

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No. It's not. $2009*2010 = 2010! \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}$. Why did you multiply it by $2010$ when you don't know $2009! \not \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}$.

And then when you had $2009!* 2010 \equiv -2010$ you went to $2009! \equiv -2010$ by simply dropping the $2010$ out of nowhere. You dropped it in for no reason. And then you dropped it out for no reason.

That won't work. Two wrongs frequently make a right and they did in this case. But they did so for the wrong reasons.

$$\color{blue}{2010!} \equiv \color{blue}{-1}\pmod{2011}$$

$$\color{blue}{2009!*2010}\equiv \color{blue}{-1}*\color{red}{2010} \pmod{2011}$$ (This is wrong! The blue colors are all equivalent but the red $\color{red}{2010}$ came from absolutely nowhere.)

$$\color{orange}{2009!} \equiv \color{blue}{-}\color{red}{2010}\pmod{2011}$$

(This is wrong! The $\color{blue}{2009!*2010}$ simply turned into $\color{orange}{2009!}$ for no reason! What happened to the $\color{blue}{2010}$? Where did it go?)

....

Instead do:

$2010! \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}$

$2009!*2010 = 2010! \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}$.

Now notice $2010 \equiv -1 \pmod {2011}$ so

$2009!*(-1) \equiv - 1\pmod {2011}$ and

$2009!*(-1)*(-1) \equiv (-1)(-1) \pmod {2011}$ and so

$2009! \equiv 1 \pmod {2011}$.

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