# Is $1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \dots + \frac{1}{x} < \log_2 x$

If $$x \ge 5$$, is $$1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \dots + \frac{1}{x} < \log_2 x$$

I believe the answer is yes.

Here is my thinking:

(1) $$\log_2{5} > 2.32 > 2.284 > 1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{5}$$

(2) Assume up to $$x$$ that $$\log_2 x > \sum\limits_{i \le x}\frac{1}{i}$$

(3) $$(x+1)^{x+1} > {{x+1}\choose{x+1}}x^{x+1} + {{x+1}\choose{x}}x^x = x^{x+1} + (x+1)x^x = 2x^{x+1} + x^x > 2(x^{x+1})$$

(4) $$(x+1)\log_2\left(\frac{x+1}{x}\right) > 1$$

(5) $$\log_2(x+1) - \log_2(x) > \frac{1}{x+1}$$

(6) $$\log_2(x+1) - \log_2(x) + \log_2(x) = \log_2(x+1) > \sum\limits_{i \le x+1}\frac{1}{i}$$

• See this Wikipedia article, then consider $\ln x= \ln 2\cdot \log_2 x$ – Arthur Nov 23 '18 at 7:59
• Thanks, Arthur but I'm not clear if you are saying it is true or false. $\ln 2 < 0.694$ so that $\ln 2 < \log_2 x$. The article shows that $\ln x < 1 + 1/2 + \dots + 1/x$. I am not clear what that says about my question. – Larry Freeman Nov 23 '18 at 8:07
• It also shows that $1+\ln x\geq1+1/2+\cdots$. – Arthur Nov 23 '18 at 8:10
• ok. Now I get it. You are saying it is true because for $x > 11, \log_2 x > (\ln x)\frac{10}{7} > \ln x + 1$ Thanks. – Larry Freeman Nov 23 '18 at 8:17
• And then you can check by hand which cases $x\leq 11$ it is true for as well. Exactly. – Arthur Nov 23 '18 at 8:23

We have that

$$1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \dots + \frac{1}{x} < \log_2 x \iff 1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \dots + \frac{1}{x} < \frac{\ln x}{\ln 2}$$

$$\ln 2\left(1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \dots + \frac{1}{x} \right)< \ln x$$

then recall that by harmonic series

$$\sum_{k=1}^x \frac1k \sim\ln x+\gamma+\frac1{2x}$$

then

$$\ln 2\left(1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \dots + \frac{1}{x} \right) \sim \ln 2\ln x+\gamma\ln 2+\frac{\ln 2}{2x}\stackrel{?}<\ln x$$

$$(1-\ln 2)\ln x> \gamma\ln 2+\frac{\ln 2}{2x}$$

which is true for $$x$$ sufficiently large.

• After "harmonic series" your summation has an error (the summand should be $1/k$) – YiFan Nov 23 '18 at 9:29
• @YiFan Opssss...yes of course I fix the typo. Thanks! – gimusi Nov 23 '18 at 9:45

We can use induction as well. If we assume that it's true for $$n$$: $$1+\frac{1}{2}+...+\frac{1}{n}+\frac{1}{n+1}<\log_2(n)+\frac{1}{n+1}$$ So we need to prove that $$\log_2(n)+\frac{1}{n+1} < \log_2(n+1)$$ $$\frac{1}{n+1}< \log_2\left(1+\frac{1}{n}\right)$$ $$2^{\frac{1}{n+1}}<1+\frac{1}{n}$$ $$2<\left(1+\frac{1}{n}\right)^{n+1}$$ $$2<\left(1+\frac{1}{n}\right) \left(1+\frac{1}{n}\right)^n$$ And it's true, because $$1+\frac{1}{n}>1$$ And by Bernoulli's inequality: $$\left(1+\frac{1}{n}\right)^n \geq 1+n \frac{1}{n}=2$$ So we just need to find a good starting $$n$$. Let's check it for $$n=6$$: $$1+\frac{1}{2}+\frac{1}{3}+\frac{1}{4}+\frac{1}{5}+\frac{1}{6}<\log_2(6)$$ $$\frac{9}{20}<\log_2({6/4})$$ $$2^{\frac{9}{20}}<\frac{6}{4}$$ And by Bernoulli's inequality, $$2^{\frac{9}{20}}<1+\frac{9}{20}<1+\frac{10}{20}=\frac{6}{4}$$ So it's true $$\forall n\geq 6 \land n \in \mathbb{N}$$ (it's true for $$n=5$$ as well, but Bernoulli is not helping in that case).

Yes because $$H_n-\log n$$ is bounded by $$1$$ and $$\log_2n$$ is a multiple of $$\log n$$.