Binomial coefficients appeal mostly in probability, combinatorics number theory etc so we were surprised when we observed something that appeared to belong more to physics than pure mathematics. This question arose out of a problem that we were working on Mathematics Stack Exchange and we observed things that looked like the propagation of a wave with fixed amplitude and decreasing frequency. So we are posting this question in the Physics community asking if there is something similar to this in Physics.


Let $s_{n,a}$ be the sum of the squares of the multiple of the squares of binomial coefficients as defined below. $$ s_{n,a} = \sum_{1\leq \lfloor ak^2 \rfloor\leq n}{n\choose \lfloor ak^2 \rfloor}= {n\choose \lfloor 1^2 a \rfloor} + {n\choose \lfloor 2^2 a \rfloor} + \cdots + {n\choose \lfloor r^2 a \rfloor}. $$

We obtained a series of expansion $$ \frac{S_{n,a}\sqrt{2an}}{2^n}=1+\sum_{k=1}^{\infty}2 e^{-\frac{\pi^2}{4a} k^2} \cos2\pi k x_n+O\left(\frac{\log^3 n}{\sqrt n}\right), $$ where $x_n$ is defined in the above link.


The graph of $\dfrac{S_{n,a}\sqrt{n}}{2^n}$ has the shape as shown below

enter image description here


The graph looks like a wave with fixed amplitude and decreasing frequency, somewhat like frequency modulation where you are only allowed to decrease the frequency but never increase it back. Mathematically, this is due to the $\cos$ term in the series expansion.

  1. Where in physics do we observe something like this with fixed amplitude and decreasing frequency? Maybe something like Doppler shift?
  2. What is the equation of a wave with such characteristics?
  • $\begingroup$ Consider to make post self-contained and define $x_n$ directly. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Jul 25, 2019 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ Chirp signal, for radars. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2023 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


first, it is not a wave, wich implies Space and time, it is an oscillation, and you are right, it would come from Doppelereffekt. The frequency yo would hier from a sound source moving away from you and acellarating, would give something like your picture, or a little different if you move accelerating away from a surge with a single frequency. the frequency you hear in the first case ist f=f_0/(1-c/v) c=velocity of sound, v=velocity of car, if now v=at with a acceleration the frequency decreases in time, if v is negativ. the curve would be Asin(f_0*t/(1-at/c)) in the second case f=f_o(1+v/c) again with v=-at but with at

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I am aware of the math and the physics of Dopper Shift but I can't see how your answer addresses the two questions asked in the post? $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2019 at 12:25

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