This is just a really quick note on the equality described above.

Let $E$ be the set of all ways we can choose an even number of objects, and $O$ the number of ways we can choose an odd number of objects.

**First proof: 'Classic' proof**

This is the classic one, in which we set up a bijection between the two sets. Given $n$ (different) objects, designate one object, say $x$, as the ** special** one. The number of ways we can choose an even number of objects can be bijected to the number of ways we can choose an odd number by applying this transformation:

$\forall \space e \in \space E, \space e'= \begin{cases} e / \{x\} & x \in e \\ e \cup x & x \notin e \end{cases}$

Now the set of all $e'$ is the set of all the ways we can choose an odd number of elements. $\square$

**Second proof: My own proof**

(I think this may be an adaptation of the first proof.)

Imagine flipping a coin $n$ times (order matters). Then the number of ways I can get an even and odd total respectively is $|E|$ and $|O|$. But no matter what the total is after $n-1$ flips, the chance that I will get an even number of heads or an odd number of heads is the same! (why?) $\square$

**Third proof: Again my proof** but I bet it's already been thought of by somebody else

I hope everybody is familiar with the combinatorial method of representing Pascal's triangle, i.e the first row is $0 \choose{0}$, the second is $1 \choose 0$ $1 \choose 1$, etc. If you aren't then I'm sure somebody will explain it to you if you asked in the comments. So anyway we look at the $n^{th}$ row (where the row with just a single '$1$' is counted as the $0^{th}$ row). Of course each number is the sum of both numbers above it so we have that the sum of all the ways we can choose an even number of elements is the sum of all the numbers in the row above it (again, why?) and similarly the ways we can choose an odd number of elements is the row above it also. $\square$

Just putting it out there, if anybody can teach me how to make a LaTeX pascals triangle then if I have time I'll chuck it into this proof.

So which proof do you think is best? Do you have your own proof?

No vote yet

1 vote

Easy Math Editor

This discussion board is a place to discuss our Daily Challenges and the math and science related to those challenges. Explanations are more than just a solution — they should explain the steps and thinking strategies that you used to obtain the solution. Comments should further the discussion of math and science.

When posting on Brilliant:

`*italics*`

or`_italics_`

italics`**bold**`

or`__bold__`

boldNote: you must add a full line of space before and after lists for them to show up correctlyparagraph 1

paragraph 2

`[example link](https://brilliant.org)`

`> This is a quote`

Remember to wrap math in`\(`

...`\)`

or`\[`

...`\]`

to ensure proper formatting.`2 \times 3`

`2^{34}`

`a_{i-1}`

`\frac{2}{3}`

`\sqrt{2}`

`\sum_{i=1}^3`

`\sin \theta`

`\boxed{123}`

## Comments

There are no comments in this discussion.