Questions tagged [sequences-and-series]

For questions concerning sequences and series. Typical questions concern, but are not limited to: identifying sequences, identifying terms, recurrence relations, $\epsilon-N$ proofs of convergence, convergence tests, finding closed forms for sums. For questions on finite sums, use the (summation) tag instead.

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800 votes
50 answers
126k views

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

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 ...
443 votes
10 answers
29k 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, ...
  • 3,411
432 votes
23 answers
69k 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 ...
  • 4,535
253 votes
9 answers
30k views

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

I'm supposed to calculate: $$\lim_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$$ By using WolframAlpha, I might guess that the limit is $\frac{1}{2}$, which is a pretty interesting and nice ...
  • 43.3k
232 votes
10 answers
42k 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 $\frac 1p$ ...
211 votes
6 answers
68k 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 \...
  • 9,146
188 votes
8 answers
33k 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 ...
  • 2,141
182 votes
28 answers
17k 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 interpretation ...
179 votes
9 answers
30k views

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

To prove the convergence of the p-series $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac1{n^p}$$ for $p > 1$, one typically appeals to either the Integral Test or the Cauchy Condensation Test. I am wondering if ...
  • 2,674
166 votes
7 answers
8k 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: $$f(x)=\...
  • 1,795
158 votes
25 answers
29k 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 slowly?...
  • 8,699
155 votes
4 answers
10k views

Sum of random decreasing numbers between 0 and 1: does it converge??

Let's define a sequence of numbers between 0 and 1. The first term, $r_1$ will be chosen uniformly randomly from $(0, 1)$, but now we iterate this process choosing $r_2$ from $(0, r_1)$, and so on, so ...
154 votes
0 answers
4k views

Sorting of prime gaps

Let $g_i$ be the $i^{th}$ prime gap $p_{i+1}-p_i.$ If we rearrange the sequence $ (g_{n,i})_{i=1}^n$ so that for any finite $n$, if the gaps are arranged from smallest to largest, we have a new ...
  • 9,764
150 votes
14 answers
19k 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 ...
  • 1,555
144 votes
32 answers
77k views

Sum of First $n$ Squares Equals $\frac{n(n+1)(2n+1)}{6}$

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 ...
  • 1,793
143 votes
1 answer
5k 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 $...
  • 55.8k
138 votes
16 answers
11k 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. ...
  • 53.4k
131 votes
7 answers
70k views

Values of $\sum_{n=0}^\infty x^n$ and $\sum_{n=0}^N x^n$

Why does the following hold: \begin{equation*} \displaystyle \sum\limits_{n=0}^{\infty} 0.7^n=\frac{1}{1-0.7} = 10/3\quad ? \end{equation*} Can we generalize the above to $\displaystyle \sum_{n=...
130 votes
35 answers
291k views

Proof $1+2+3+4+\cdots+n = \frac{n\times(n+1)}2$

Apparently $1+2+3+4+\ldots+n = \dfrac{n\times(n+1)}2$. How? What's the proof? Or maybe it is self apparent just looking at the above? PS: This problem is known as "The sum of the first $n$ positive ...
  • 1,467
116 votes
17 answers
49k views

Nice proofs of $\zeta(4) = \frac{\pi^4}{90}$?

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 $\sum_{...
  • 53.4k
114 votes
1 answer
4k views

Convergence of $\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{\sin(n!)}{n}$

Is there a way to assess the convergence of the following series? $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{\sin(n!)}{n}$$ From numerical estimations it seems to be convergent but I don't know how to prove it.
112 votes
4 answers
29k 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 ...
  • 17.2k
110 votes
5 answers
7k 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} ...
  • 330k
107 votes
6 answers
17k views

Why is a geometric progression called so? [duplicate]

Just curious about why geometric progression is called so. Is it related to geometry?
  • 1,351
101 votes
13 answers
8k views

Limit of sequence in which each term is defined by the average of preceding two terms

We have a sequence of numbers $x_n$ determined by the equality $$x_n = \frac{x_{n-1} + x_{n-2}}{2}$$ The first and zeroth term are $x_1$ and $x_0$.The following limit must be expressed in terms of $...
101 votes
16 answers
44k views

If $(a_n)\subset[0,\infty)$ is non-increasing and $\sum_{n=1}^\infty a_n<\infty$, then $\lim_{n\to\infty}{n a_n} = 0$

I'm studying for qualifying exams and ran into this problem. Show that if $\{a_n\}$ is a nonincreasing sequence of positive real numbers such that $\sum_n a_n$ converges, then $\lim_{n \rightarrow \...
  • 4,396
101 votes
4 answers
5k views

A community project: prove (or disprove) that $\sum_{n\geq 1}\frac{\sin(2^n)}{n}$ is convergent

As the title says, I would like to launch a community project for proving that the series $$\sum_{n\geq 1}\frac{\sin(2^n)}{n}$$ is convergent. An extensive list of considerations follows. The ...
100 votes
1 answer
4k views

Arithmetic-geometric mean of 3 numbers

The arithmetic-geometric mean$^{[1]}$$\!^{[2]}$ of 2 numbers $a$ and $b$ is denoted $\operatorname{AGM}(a,b)$ and defined as follows: $$\text{Let}\quad a_0=a,\quad b_0=b,\quad a_{n+1}=\frac{a_n+b_n}2,...
97 votes
14 answers
50k 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 ...
  • 2,481
97 votes
3 answers
3k views

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

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 $$\lim_{n\to\infty}\dfrac{a_{n}}{n}=\...
96 votes
6 answers
8k views

Can the product of infinitely many elements from $\mathbb Q$ be irrational?

I know there are infinite sums of rational values, which are irrational (for example the Basel Problem). But I was wondering, whether the product of infinitely many rational numbers can be irrational. ...
  • 1,207
95 votes
2 answers
2k views

When does a sequence of rotated-and-circumscribed rectangles converge to a square?

Recently I came up with an algebra problem with a nice geometric representation. Basically, I would like to know what happens if we repeatedly circumscribe a rectangle by another rectangle which is ...
  • 753
94 votes
2 answers
6k 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.
  • 43.3k
89 votes
6 answers
3k views

Contest problem: Show $\sum_{n = 1}^\infty \frac{n^2a_n}{(a_1+\cdots+a_n)^2}<\infty$ s.t., $a_i>0$, $\sum_{n = 1}^\infty \frac{1}{a_n}<\infty$ [closed]

The following is probably a math contest problem. I have been unable to locate the original source. Suppose that $\{a_i\}$ is a sequence of positive real numbers and the series $\displaystyle\sum_{n ...
  • 38.1k
88 votes
4 answers
6k views

How to prove that $\frac{\zeta(2) }{2}+\frac{\zeta (4)}{2^3}+\frac{\zeta (6)}{2^5}+\frac{\zeta (8)}{2^7}+\cdots=1$?

How can one prove this identity? $$\frac{\zeta(2) }{2}+\frac{\zeta (4)}{2^3}+\frac{\zeta (6)}{2^5}+\frac{\zeta (8)}{2^7}+\cdots=1$$ There is a formula for $\zeta$ values at even integers, but it ...
  • 23k
88 votes
8 answers
18k 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 ...
  • 983
87 votes
2 answers
30k 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 ...
86 votes
0 answers
2k 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 ...
  • 52.2k
83 votes
5 answers
21k views

$\sqrt{c+\sqrt{c+\sqrt{c+\cdots}}}$, or the limit of the sequence $x_{n+1} = \sqrt{c+x_n}$

(Fitzpatrick Advanced Calculus 2e, Sec. 2.4 #12) For $c \gt 0$, consider the quadratic equation $x^2 - x - c = 0, x > 0$. Define the sequence $\{x_n\}$ recursively by fixing $|x_1| \lt c$ and ...
  • 975
81 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
  • 15.6k
81 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
81 votes
1 answer
2k views

Conjectured formula for the Fabius function

The Fabius function is the unique function ${\bf F}:\mathbb R\to[-1, 1]$ satisfying the following conditions: a functional–integral equation$\require{action} \require{enclose}{^{\texttip{\dagger}{a ...
80 votes
13 answers
8k views

What is an example of a sequence which "thins out" and is finite?

When I talk about my research with non-mathematicians who are, however, interested in what I do, I always start by asking them basic questions about the primes. Usually, they start getting reeled in ...
  • 1,311
79 votes
8 answers
9k views

Generalized Euler sum $\sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{H_n}{n^q}$

I found the following formula $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{H_n}{n^q}= \left(1+\frac{q}{2} \right)\zeta(q+1)-\frac{1}{2}\sum_{k=1}^{q-2}\zeta(k+1)\zeta(q-k)$$ and it is cited that Euler proved the ...
78 votes
3 answers
9k 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 ...
  • 79.8k
78 votes
5 answers
12k 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 ...
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76 votes
7 answers
9k 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 ...
  • 5,373
75 votes
4 answers
35k views

Every subsequence of $x_n$ has a further subsequence which converges to $x$. Then the sequence $x_n$ converges to $x$.

Is the following true? Let $x_n$ be a sequence with the following property: Every subsequence of $x_n$ has a further subsequence which converges to $x$. Then the sequence $x_n$ converges to $x$. I ...
  • 785
74 votes
12 answers
9k views

The limit of truncated sums of harmonic series, $\lim\limits_{k\to\infty}\sum_{n=k+1}^{2k}{\frac{1}{n}}$

What is the sum of the 'second half' of the harmonic series? $$\lim_{k\to\infty}\sum\limits_{n=k+1}^{2k}{\frac{1}{n}} =~ ?$$ More precisely, what is the limit of the above sequence of partial sums?
74 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
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