Binet's Formula

Revision as of 18:55, 19 May 2023 by Peelybonehead (talk | contribs) (Proof using Recursion)

Binet's formula is an explicit formula used to find the $n$th term of the Fibonacci sequence. It is so named because it was derived by mathematician Jacques Philippe Marie Binet, though it was already known by Abraham de Moivre.


If $F_n$ is the $n$th Fibonacci number, then \[F_n=\frac{1}{\sqrt{5}}\left(\left(\frac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2}\right)^n-\left(\frac{1-\sqrt{5}}{2}\right)^n\right)\].


To derive a general formula for the Fibonacci numbers, we can look at the interesting quadratic\[x^2-x-1=0.\]Begin by noting that the roots of this quadratic are $\frac{1\pm\sqrt{5}}{2}$ according to the quadratic formula. This quadratic can also be written as\[x^2=x+1.\] From this, we can write expressions for all $x^n$: \begin{align*} x&= x\\ x^2 &= x+1\\ x^3 &= x\cdot x^2\\ &= x\cdot (x+1)\\ &= x^2+x\\ &= (x+1) + x\\ &= 2x+1\\ x^4 &= x \cdot x^3\\ &= x\cdot (2x+1)\\ &= 2x^2+x\\ &=2(x+1)+x\\ &=3x+2\\ x^5 &= 5x+3\\ x^6 &= 8x+5\\ &\dots \end{align*} We note that\[x^n=F_nx+F_{n-1}.\]Let the roots of our original quadratic be $\sigma=\frac{1+\sqrt 5}{2}$ and $\tau=\frac{1-\sqrt 5}{2}.$ Since both $\sigma$ and $\tau$ are roots of the quadratic, they must both satisfy $x^n=F_nx+F_{n-1}.$ So\[\sigma^n=F_n\sigma+F_{n-1}\]and\[\tau^n=F_n\tau+F_{n-1}.\]Subtracting the second equation from the first equation yields\begin{align*}\sigma^n-\tau^n=F_n(\sigma-\tau)+F_{n-1}-F_{n-1} \\ \left(\frac{1+\sqrt 5}{2}\right)^n - \left(\frac{1-\sqrt 5}{2}\right)^n = F_n \left(\frac{1+\sqrt 5}{2} - \frac{1-\sqrt 5}{2}\right)\end{align*} This yields the general form for the nth Fibonacci number:\[\boxed{F_n = \frac{\left(\frac{1+\sqrt 5}{2}\right)^n - \left(\frac{1-\sqrt 5}{2}\right)^n}{\sqrt 5}}\]

Proof using Recursion

The Fibonacci recursive relation is $F_n = F_{n-1} + F_{n-2}.$ This is a constant coefficient linear homogenous recurrence relation. We also know that $F_0 = 0$ and $F_1 = 1.$ Thus, it’s characteristic equation is $x^2-x-1=0$ which has solutions \[\frac{1\pm\sqrt{5}}{2}.\]Let $v= \frac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2}$ and $p= \frac{1-\sqrt{5}}{2}.$ We get that \[F_n = \lambda_1 v^n + \lambda_2 p^n.\]Plugging in our initial conditions, we get

\[0 = \lambda_1 + \lambda_2\] \[1= \lambda_1 v + \lambda_2 p\]

Since $0 = \lambda_1 + \lambda_2 \implies 0 = \lambda_1 v+ \lambda_2 v,$ subtracting $0 = \lambda_1 v+ \lambda_2 v$ from $1 = \lambda_1 v + \lambda_2 p,$ we get $1 = \lambda_2(p-v) \implies \lambda_2 = \frac{1}{p-v} = -\frac{1}{\sqrt{5}}.$ Since $\lambda_2 = -\frac{1}{\sqrt{5}}$ and $0 = \lambda_1 + \lambda_2,$ $\lambda_1 = \frac{1}{\sqrt{5}}.$ Therefore, \[F_n = \lambda_1 v^n + \lambda_2 p^n \implies F_n = \left (\frac{1}{\sqrt{5}} \right ) v^n + \left (-\frac{1}{\sqrt{5}} \right ) p^n.\]Therefore, the general form of the $n$th Fibonacci number is \[\boxed{F_n = \frac{\left(\frac{1+\sqrt 5}{2}\right)^n - \left(\frac{1-\sqrt 5}{2}\right)^n}{\sqrt 5}}\] ~peelybonehead

See Also