For questions about recurrence relations, convergence tests, and identifying sequences. For questions on finite sums use the (summation) instead.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

396
votes
30answers
46k views

Different methods to compute $\sum\limits_{k=1}^\infty \frac{1}{k^2}$

As I have heard people did not trust Euler when he first discovered the formula (solution of the Basel problem) $$\zeta(2)=\sum_{k=1}^\infty \frac{1}{k^2}=\frac{\pi^2}{6}.$$ However, Euler was Euler ...
358
votes
11answers
23k views

My son's Sum of Some is beautiful! But what is the proof or explanation?

My youngest son is in $6$th grade. He likes to play with numbers. Today he showed me his latest finding. I call it his "Sum of Some" because he adds up some selected numbers from a series of numbers, ...
181
votes
16answers
13k views

How can I evaluate $\sum_{n=0}^\infty (n+1)x^n$

How can I evaluate $$ \sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{2n}{3^{n+1}} $$ I know the answer thanks to Wolfram Alpha, but I'm more concerned with how I can derive that answer. It cites tests to prove that it is ...
114
votes
1answer
4k views

Identification of a curious function

During computation of some Shapley values (details below), I encountered the following function: $$ f\left(\sum_{k \geq 0} 2^{-p_k}\right) = \sum_{k \geq 0} \frac{1}{(p_k+1)\binom{p_k}{k}}, $$ where ...
113
votes
13answers
15k views

Why does an argument similiar to 0.999…=1 show 999…=-1?

I accept that two numbers can have the same supremum depending on how you generate a decimal representation. So $2.4999\ldots = 2.5$ etc. Can anyone point me to resources that would explain what the ...
113
votes
9answers
12k views

Is there an elementary proof that $\sum \limits_{k=1}^n \frac1k$ is never an integer?

If $n>1$ is an integer, then $\sum \limits_{k=1}^n \frac1k$ is not an integer. If you know Bertrand's Postulate, then you know there must be a prime $p$ between $n/2$ and $n$, so $\frac 1p$ ...
102
votes
5answers
3k views

Proof of $\frac{1}{e^{\pi}+1}+\frac{3}{e^{3\pi}+1}+\frac{5}{e^{5\pi}+1}+\ldots=\frac{1}{24}$

I would like to prove that $\displaystyle\sum_{\substack{n=1\\n\text{ odd}}}^{\infty}\frac{n}{e^{n\pi}+1}=\frac1{24}$. I found a solution by myself 10 hours after I posted it, here it is: ...
100
votes
8answers
6k views

Self-Contained Proof that $\sum\limits_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac1{n^p}$ Converges for $p > 1$

To prove the convergence of $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac1{n^p}$$ for $p > 1$, one typically appeals to either the Integral Test or the Cauchy Condensation Test. I am wondering if there is a ...
99
votes
8answers
6k views

Evaluating $\lim_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum\limits_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$

I'm supposed to calculate: $$\lim_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$$ By using W|A, i may guess that the limit is $\frac{1}{2}$ that is a pretty interesting and nice result. I ...
92
votes
21answers
7k views

Proving the identity $\sum_{k=1}^n {k^3} = \big(\sum_{k=1}^n k\big)^2$ without induction

I recently proved that $$ \sum_{k=1}^n k^3 = \left(\sum_{k=1}^n k \right)^2 $$ Using mathematical induction. I'm interested if there's an intuitive explanation, or even a combinatorial ...
79
votes
13answers
15k views

How to find a general sum formula for the series: 5+55+555+5555+…?

I have a question about finding the sum formula of n-th terms. Here's the series: $5+55+555+5555$+...... What is the general formula to find the sum of n-th terms? My attempts: I think I need to ...
78
votes
6answers
4k views

Prove elementarily that $\sqrt[n+1] {(n+1)!} - \sqrt[n] {n!}$ is strictly decreasing

Prove without calculus that the sequence $$L_{n}=\sqrt[n+1] {(n+1)!} - \sqrt[n] {n!}, \space n\in \mathbb N$$ is strictly decreasing.
77
votes
6answers
2k views

Contest problem about convergent series

The following is probably a math contest problem. I have been unable to locate the original source. Suppose that $\{a_i\}$ is a set of positive real numbers and the series $$\sum_{n = 1}^\infty ...
76
votes
9answers
10k views

Is there a size of rectangle that retains its ratio when it's folded in half?

A hypothetical (and maybe practical) question has been nagging at me. If you had a piece of paper with dimensions 4 and 3 (4:3), folding it in half along the long side (once) would result in 2 inches ...
76
votes
19answers
4k views

Why does the series $\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1n$ not converge?

Can someone give a simple explanation as to why the harmonic series $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1n=\frac 1 1 + \frac 12 + \frac 13 + \cdots $$ doesn't converge, on the other hand it grows very ...
76
votes
10answers
3k views

Proving an alternating Euler sum: $\sum_{k=1}^{\infty} \frac{(-1)^{k+1} H_k}{k} = \frac{1}{2} \zeta(2) - \frac{1}{2} \log^2 2$

Let $$A(p,q) = \sum_{k=1}^{\infty} \frac{(-1)^{k+1}H^{(p)}_k}{k^q},$$ where $H^{(p)}_n = \sum_{i=1}^n i^{-p}$, the $n$th $p$-harmonic number. The $A(p,q)$'s are known as alternating Euler sums. ...
72
votes
5answers
14k views

Value of $\sum\limits_n x^n$

Why does the following hold: \begin{equation*} \displaystyle \sum\limits_{n=0}^{\infty} 0.7^n=\frac{1}{1-0.7} = 10/3 ? \end{equation*} Can we generalize the above to $\displaystyle ...
72
votes
3answers
6k views

Are there any series whose convergence is unknown?

Are there any infinite series about which we don't know whether it converges or not? Or are the convergence tests exhaustive, so that in the hands of a competent mathematician any series will ...
68
votes
3answers
2k views

How to find this limit: $A=\lim_{n\to \infty}\sqrt{1+\sqrt{\frac{1}{2}+\sqrt{\frac{1}{3}+\cdots+\sqrt{\frac{1}{n}}}}}$

Question: Show that $$A=\lim_{n\to \infty}\sqrt{1+\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{2}+\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{3}+\cdots+\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{n}}}}}$$ exists, and find the best estimate limit $A$. It is easy to show that ...
67
votes
5answers
10k views

Help me solve my father's riddle and get my book back

My father is a mathteacher and as such he regards asking tricky questions and playing mathematical pranks on me once in a while as part of his parental duty. So today before leaving home he sneaked ...
64
votes
4answers
3k views

How to sum this series for $\pi/2$ directly?

The sum of the series $$ \frac{\pi}{2}=\sum_{k=0}^\infty\frac{k!}{(2k+1)!!}\tag{1} $$ can be derived by accelerating the Gregory Series $$ \frac{\pi}{4}=\sum_{k=0}^\infty\frac{(-1)^k}{2k+1}\tag{2} ...
64
votes
4answers
8k views

Motivation for Ramanujan's mysterious $\pi$ formula

The following formula for $\pi$ was discovered by Ramanujan: $$\frac1{\pi} = \frac{2\sqrt{2}}{9801} \sum_{k=0}^\infty \frac{(4k)!(1103+26390k)}{(k!)^4 396^{4k}}\!$$ Does anyone know how it works, or ...
63
votes
6answers
4k views

Why is a geometric progression called so?

Just curious about why geometric progression is called so. Is it related to geometry?
63
votes
3answers
2k views

How prove this nice limit $\lim_{n\to\infty}\frac{a_{n}}{n}=\frac{12}{\log{432}}$

Nice problem: Let $a_{0}=1$ and $$a_{n}=a_{\left\lfloor n/2\right\rfloor}+a_{\left\lfloor n/3 \right\rfloor}+a_{\left\lfloor n/6\right\rfloor}.$$ Show that ...
60
votes
8answers
11k views

Nice proofs of $\zeta(4) = \pi^4/90$?

I know some nice ways to prove that $\zeta(2) = \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^2} = \pi^2/6$. For example, see Robin Chapman's list or the answers to the question "Different methods to compute ...
60
votes
4answers
19k views

When can you switch the order of limits?

Suppose you have a double sequence $\displaystyle a_{nm}$. What are sufficient conditions for you to be able to say that $\displaystyle \lim_{n\to \infty}\,\lim_{m\to \infty}{a_{nm}} = \lim_{m\to ...
59
votes
1answer
736 views

Regular way to fill a $1\times1$ square with $\frac{1}{n}\times\frac{1}{n+1}$ rectangles?

The series $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{1}{n(n+1)}=1$$ suggests it might be possible to tile a $1\times1$ square with nonrepeated rectangles of the form $\frac{1}{n}\times\frac{1}{n+1}$. Is there a ...
58
votes
27answers
19k views

Proof that $\sum\limits_{k=1}^nk^2 = \frac{n(n+1)(2n+1)}{6}$?

I am just starting into calculus and I have a question about the following statement I encountered while learning about definite integrals: $$\sum_{k=1}^n k^2 = \frac{n(n+1)(2n+1)}{6}$$ I really ...
56
votes
3answers
3k views

“Closed” form for $\sum \frac{1}{n^n}$

Earlier today, I was talking with my friend about some "cool" infinite series and the value they converge to like the Basel problem, Madhava-Leibniz formula for $\pi/4, \log 2$ and similar alternating ...
56
votes
2answers
18k views

Predicting Real Numbers

Here is an astounding riddle that at first seems impossible to solve. I'm certain the axiom of choice is required in any solution, and I have an outline of one possible solution, but would like to ...
56
votes
2answers
1k views

Visual proof of $\sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^4} = \frac{\pi^4}{90}$?

In his gorgeous paper "How to compute $\sum \frac{1}{n^2}$ by solving triangles", Mikael Passare offers this idea for proving $\sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^2} = \frac{\pi^2}{6}$: Proof of equality ...
54
votes
6answers
4k views

How to prove this identity $\pi=\sum\limits_{k=-\infty}^{\infty}\left(\frac{\sin(k)}{k}\right)^{2}\;$?

How to prove this identity? $$\pi=\sum_{k=-\infty}^{\infty}\left(\dfrac{\sin(k)}{k}\right)^{2}\;$$ I found the above interesting identity in the book $\bf \pi$ Unleashed. Does anyone knows how to ...
54
votes
7answers
19k views

Infinity = -1 paradox

I puzzled two high school Pre-calc math teachers today with a little proof (maybe not) I found a couple years ago that infinity is equal to -1: Let x equal the geometric series: $1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 ...
54
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the value of this Viète-style product involving the golden ratio?

One way of looking at the Viète (Viete?) product $${2\over\pi} = {\sqrt{2}\over 2}{\sqrt{2+\sqrt{2}}\over 2}{\sqrt{2+\sqrt{2+\sqrt{2}}}\over 2}\dots$$ is as the infinite product of a series of ...
53
votes
2answers
2k views

Geometry problem involving infinite number of circles

What is the sum of the areas of the grey circles? I have not made any progress so far.
51
votes
5answers
3k views

$n$th derivative of $e^{1/x}$

I am trying to find the $n$'th derivative of $f(x)=e^{1/x}$. When looking at the first few derivatives I noticed a pattern and eventually found the following formula $$\frac{\mathrm d^n}{\mathrm ...
50
votes
2answers
3k views

Convergence of $\sqrt{n}x_{n}$ where $x_{n+1} = \sin(x_{n})$

Consider the sequence defined as $x_1 = 1$ $x_{n+1} = \sin x_n$ I think I was able to show that the sequence $\sqrt{n} x_{n}$ converges to $\sqrt{3}$ by a tedious elementary method which I wasn't ...
50
votes
2answers
3k views

Does $\sum _{n=1}^{\infty } \frac{\sin(\text{ln}(n))}{n}$ converge?

Does $\sum _{n=1}^{\infty } \dfrac{\sin(\text{ln}(n))}{n}$ converge? My hypothesis is that it doesn't , but I don't know how to prove it. $ζ(1+i)$ does not converge but it doesn't solve problem here. ...
49
votes
5answers
5k views

Does every prime divide some Fibonacci number?

I am tring to show that $\forall a \in \Bbb P\; \exists n\in\Bbb N : a|F_n$, where $F$ is the fibonacci sequence defined as $\{F_n\}:F_0 = 0, F_1 = 1, F_n = F_{n-1} + F_{n-2}$ $(n=2,3,...)$. How can ...
49
votes
1answer
2k views

Does $|n^2 \cos n|$ diverge to $+\infty$?

I was recently exposed to the problem of deciding whether $$ \lim_{n \to +\infty} |n \cos n| = +\infty$$ where the limit is taken over the integers. As $|\cos n|$ oscillates throughout the interval ...
49
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the sequence $(a_n)$ defined by $a_n=\tan{a_{n-1}}$, $a_0=1$, dense in $\Bbb{R}$?

Let $a_0=1,a_n=\tan{a_{n-1}}$. Then is $\{a_n\}_{n=0}^\infty$ dense in $\Bbb{R}$? I've drawn a map of this dynamical system and it seems that the sequence is dense on $\Bbb{R}$.
49
votes
0answers
2k views

When is an infinite product of natural numbers regularizable?

I only recently heard about the concept of $\zeta$-regularization, which allows the evaluation of things like $$\infty != \prod_{k=1}^\infty k = \sqrt{2\pi}$$ and $$\infty \# = \prod_{k=1}^\infty ...
47
votes
11answers
3k views

What is the fastest/most efficient algorithm for estimating Euler's Constant $\gamma$?

What is the fastest algorithm for estimating Euler's Constant $\gamma \approx0.57721$? Using the definition: $$\lim_{n\to\infty} \sum_{x=1}^{n}\frac{1}{x}-\log n=\gamma$$ I finally get $2$ decimal ...
47
votes
3answers
1k views

Infinite Series $\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{(H_n)^2}{n^3}$

How to prove that $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{(H_n)^2}{n^3}=\frac{7}{2}\zeta(5)-\zeta(2)\zeta(3)$$ $H_n$ denotes the harmonic numbers.
47
votes
5answers
7k views

Convergence of $np(n)$ where $p(n)=\sum_{j=\lceil n/2\rceil}^{n-1} {p(j)\over j}$

Some years ago I was interested in the following Markov chain whose state space is the positive integers. The chain begins at state "1", and from state "n" the chain next jumps to a state uniformly ...
46
votes
3answers
2k views

Show that $\int_{0}^{\pi/2}\frac {\log^2\sin x\log^2\cos x}{\cos x\sin x}\mathrm{d}x=\frac14\left( 2\zeta (5)-\zeta(2)\zeta (3)\right)$

Show that : $$ \int_{0}^{\Large\frac\pi2} {\ln^{2}\left(\vphantom{\large A}\cos\left(x\right)\right) \ln^{2}\left(\vphantom{\large A}\sin\left(x\right)\right) \over ...
46
votes
4answers
1k views

Find the limit $L=\lim_{n\to \infty} \sqrt{\frac{1}{2}+\sqrt[3]{\frac{1}{3}+\cdots+\sqrt[n]{\frac{1}{n}}}}$

Find the limit following: $$L=\lim_{ _{\Large {n\to \infty}}}\:\sqrt{\frac{1}{2}+\sqrt[\Large 3]{\frac{1}{3}+\cdots+\sqrt[\Large n]{\frac{1}{n}}}}$$ P.S I tried to find the value of $\:L$, but I ...
45
votes
4answers
2k views

Double sum - Miklos Schweitzer 2010

There is a question in the Miklos Schweitzer contest last year that keeps bugging me. Here it is: Is there any sequence $(a_n)$ of nonnegative numbers for which $\displaystyle\sum_{n \geq 1}a_n^2 ...
44
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a function with the property $f(n)=f^{(n)}(0)$?

Is there a not identically zero, real-analytic function $f:\mathbb{R}\rightarrow\mathbb{R}$, which satisfies $$f(n)=f^{(n)}(0),\quad n\in\mathbb{N} \text{ or } \mathbb N^+?$$ What I got so far: Set ...
43
votes
3answers
2k views

Does the series $ \sum\limits_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^{1 + |\sin(n)|}} $ converge or diverge?

Does the following series converge or diverge? I would like to see a demonstration. $$ \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^{1 + |\sin(n)|}}. $$ I can see that: $$ \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^{1 + ...