Questions tagged [sequences-and-series]

For questions concerning sequences and series. Typical questions concern, but are not limited to: recurrence relations, convergence tests, identifying sequences, identifying terms. For questions on finite sums, use the (summation) tag instead.

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679
votes
43answers
98k 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 ...
418
votes
10answers
27k 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, ...
383
votes
19answers
33k 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 ...
203
votes
9answers
17k 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 W|A, i may guess that the limit is $\frac{1}{2}$ that is a pretty interesting and nice result. I ...
184
votes
10answers
28k 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 $\frac 1p$ ...
155
votes
25answers
12k 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 ...
153
votes
9answers
15k 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 ...
146
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
141
votes
14answers
17k 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 ...
141
votes
6answers
5k 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)=\...
141
votes
6answers
45k 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 \...
131
votes
1answer
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 $...
130
votes
25answers
9k 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?...
127
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
118
votes
31answers
60k 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 ...
115
votes
11answers
8k 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. ...
114
votes
5answers
29k 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 \sum_{n=0}^{\...
102
votes
15answers
39k 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_{...
101
votes
5answers
5k 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} ...
95
votes
4answers
21k 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 ...
92
votes
2answers
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 ...
91
votes
13answers
5k 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 $...
91
votes
2answers
5k 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.
90
votes
14answers
37k 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 ...
89
votes
30answers
182k views

Proof for formula for sum of sequence $1+2+3+\ldots+n$?

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 ...
89
votes
6answers
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. ...
89
votes
3answers
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}=\...
88
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
87
votes
6answers
11k views

Why is a geometric progression called so?

Just curious about why geometric progression is called so. Is it related to geometry?
85
votes
8answers
14k 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 ...
84
votes
6answers
2k views

Contest problem about convergent series [closed]

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 \...
78
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
78
votes
2answers
25k 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 ...
76
votes
2answers
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 ...
76
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
75
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
72
votes
0answers
2k views

Sorting of prime gaps

Let $g_i $ be the $i^{th}$ prime gap $p_{i+1}-p_i.$ If we re-arrange the sequence $ (g_{n,i})_{i=1}^n$ so that for any finite $n$ the gaps are arranged from smallest to largest we have a new sequence ...
71
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
69
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
67
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
66
votes
7answers
22k views

$\infty = -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 \...
66
votes
14answers
24k views

Series converges implies $\lim{n a_n} = 0$

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 \...
66
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
66
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
65
votes
3answers
7k views

Review of my T-shirt design [closed]

I'm a graphics guy and a wanna-be mathematician. Is the T-shirt design below okay? Or if there's a bone headed error, I'd appreciate a heads up. `
64
votes
18answers
8k views

Is there a simple function that generates the series; $1,1,2,1,1,2,1,1,2…$ or $-1,-1,1,-1,-1,1…$ [closed]

I'm thinking about this question in the sense that we often have a term $(-1)^n$ for an integer $n$, so that we get a sequence $1,-1,1,-1...$ but I'm trying to find an expression that only gives every ...
64
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the average rational number?

Let $Q=\mathbb Q \cap(0,1)= \{r_1,r_2,\ldots\}$ be the rational numbers in $(0,1)$ listed out so we can count them. Define $x_n=\frac{1}{n}\sum_{k=1}^nr_n$ to be the average of the first $n$ rational ...
64
votes
1answer
889 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 ...
62
votes
26answers
8k views

What are some mathematically interesting computations involving matrices?

I am helping designing a course module that teaches basic python programming to applied math undergraduates. As a result, I'm looking for examples of mathematically interesting computations involving ...
62
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...