Take the 2-minute tour ×
MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. It's 100% free, no registration required.

1=1^2 1+3=2^2 1+3+5=3^2 1+3+5+7=4^2

Who's is this theorem, who is the first to realyse this? Nicomah, Aristotel, Archimedes? I need to know for sure and fast plz. thanx

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Stefan Kohl, Dmitri Pavlov, Andrey Rekalo, David White, Ramiro de la Vega Nov 5 '13 at 22:56

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about research level mathematics within the scope defined in the help center." – Stefan Kohl, Dmitri Pavlov, Andrey Rekalo, David White, Ramiro de la Vega
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This is not much of a «for sure and fast plz thanx» kind of site, by the way. –  Mariano Suárez-Alvarez Mar 2 '10 at 18:45
For sure it was a greek person - you can prove it with a picture after all! $X~~=1$ $\begin{matrix}33\newline 13\end{matrix}= 1+3$ $\begin{matrix} 555\newline 335\newline 135\end{matrix}= 1+3+5$ $\begin{matrix} 7777\newline 5557\newline 3357\newline 1357\end{matrix}= 1+3+5+7$ etc. –  user22207 Mar 17 '12 at 9:02
add comment

4 Answers 4

According to L. E. Dickson's History of the theory of numbers, vol. 2, ch. 1, this goes back to Pythagoras (570-501 BC)

Later: Ah... Browsing that book is always fun. «N. Beguelin made a puerile illogical attempt to prove that every number is a sum of three triangular numbers». Poor guy: Dickson does not treat him with any kindness at all...

share|improve this answer
Does Dickson give a citation for this? I think it should be in Aristotle's discussion of gnomons, but I'd like to know exactly where. Presumably Aristotle attributes the result to Pythagoras? –  Marty Mar 3 '10 at 2:18
Dickson cites F Hoefer, Histoire des mathematiques, Paris, ed. 2, 1879, ed. 5, 1902, 96-121; W W R Ball, Math. Gazette, 8, 1915, 5-12; M. Cantor, Geschichte Math., 1, ed. 3, 1907, 160-3, 252. I haven't followed up on any of those. –  Gerry Myerson Mar 3 '10 at 2:28
add comment

I doubt this question has a definitive answer, but Fibonacci discusses this in Liber quadratorum:

I thought about the origin of all square numbers and discovered that they arose from the regular ascent of odd numbers. For unity is a square and from it is produced the first square, namely 1; adding 3 to this makes the second square, namely 4, whose root is 2; if to this sum is added a third odd number, namely 5, the third square will be produced, namely 9, whose root is 3; and so the sequence and series of square numbers always rise through the regular addition of odd numbers.

My source: http://www.gap-system.org/~history/Biographies/Fibonacci.html

share|improve this answer
add comment

The original source, attributing this theorem to the early pythagoreans is Theon of Smyrna. Eduard Hiller: Expositio Rerum Mathematicarum ad legendum Platonem utilium. Rec. Theon Smyrnaeus, reprinted by Teubner, Stuttgart, 1995.

Further Aristoteles writes, with reference to the early pythagoreans too: "the gnomons are placed round the one" explaining in a somewhat dark manner the geometric aspect of the sum of odd numbers, placed around the 1 Physics, book 3, chapter 4 as sketched in the answer by Stefan .

So there is no chance to find an individual name of the first inventor other than Pythagoras himself. But it is not clear what he really did. No documents of his are left. (Nicomachus, Aristotle, and Archimedes definitively lived too late.)

share|improve this answer
add comment

Achemides from what I recall but my citations are buried in old discrete math books.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.