In this paper, we give two infinite families of explicit exact formulas that generalize Jacobi’s (1829) 4 and 8 squares identities to 4n2 or 4n(n + 1) squares, respectively, without using cusp forms. Our 24 squares identity leads to a different formula for Ramanujan’s tau function τ(n), when n is odd. These results arise in the setting of Jacobi elliptic functions, Jacobi continued fractions, Hankel or Turánian determinants, Fourier series, Lambert series, inclusion/exclusion, Laplace expansion formula for determinants, and Schur functions. We have also obtained many additional infinite families of identities in this same setting that are analogous to the η-function identities in appendix I of Macdonald’s work [Macdonald, I. G. (1972) Invent. Math. 15, 91–143]. A special case of our methods yields a proof of the two conjectured [Kac, V. G. and Wakimoto, M. (1994) in Progress in Mathematics, eds. Brylinski, J.-L., Brylinski, R., Guillemin, V. & Kac, V. (Birkhäuser Boston, Boston, MA), Vol. 123, pp. 415–456] identities involving representing a positive integer by sums of 4n2 or 4n(n + 1) triangular numbers, respectively. Our 16 and 24 squares identities were originally obtained via multiple basic hypergeometric series, Gustafson’s Cℓ nonterminating 6φ5 summation theorem, and Andrews’ basic hypergeometric series proof of Jacobi’s 4 and 8 squares identities. We have (elsewhere) applied symmetry and Schur function techniques to this original approach to prove the existence of similar infinite families of sums of squares identities for n2 or n(n + 1) squares, respectively. Our sums of more than 8 squares identities are not the same as the formulas of Mathews (1895), Glaisher (1907), Ramanujan (1916), Mordell (1917, 1919), Hardy (1918, 1920), Kac and Wakimoto, and many others
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