Chapter 5

Some Introductory Examples

As the title indicates, this chapter will provide some examples where the Fibonacci numbers arise. In particular, one such example will show us how to write a Fibonacci number as a sum of binomial coefficients. In addition, even more examples will arise from some of the exercises for the chapter.

Example 5.1: Irving Kaplansky (1917-2006): For n ≥ 1, let S_{n} = {1, 2, 3, . . ., n}, and let S_{0} = ∅, the null, or empty, set. Then the number of subsets of S_{n} is 2^{n}. But now let us count the number of subsets of S_{n} with no consecutive integers. So, for n ≥ 0, we shall let a_{n} count the number of subsets of S_{n} that contain no consecutive integers. We consider the situation for n = 3, 4, and 5. In each case, we find the empty set ∅; otherwise, there would have to exist two integers in ∅ of the form x and x + 1. Either such integer contradicts the definition of the null set. So the subsets with no consecutive integers for these three cases are as follows:

Note that when we consider the case for n = 5, only two situations can occur, and they cannot occur simultaneously:

i. 5 is not in the subset: Here we can use any of the eight subsets for S_{4}—as we see from the first line of subsets for S_{5}.

ii. 5 is in the subset: Then we cannot have 4 in the subset. So we place the integer 5 in each of the five subsets for S_{3} and arrive at the five subsets in the second ...