Student Co-author

HMC Undergraduate

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Mathematics (HMC)

Publication Date



Chebyshev polynomials have several elegant combinatorial interpretations. Specificially, the Chebyshev polynomials of the first kind are defined by T0(x) = 1, T1(x) = x, and Tn(x) = 2x Tn-1(x) - Tn-2(x). Chebyshev polynomials of the second kind Un(x) are defined the same way, except U1(x) = 2x. Tn and Un are shown to count tilings of length n strips with squares and dominoes, where the tiles are given weights and sometimes color. Using these interpretations, many identities satisfied by Chebyshev polynomials can be given combinatorial proofs.


First published in Mathematics Magazine, vol. 82, no. 2 (April 2009), by the Mathematical Association of America.

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