Suppose someone offers you the following deal: You get $1 on the first day, $0.50 the second day, $0.25 the third day, and so on. For a second, you might dream about infinite riches, but adding some of the numbers on your calculator will soon convince you that this is an offer for about $2.00, spread out over quite some time.
The process of adding infinitely many numbers is at the heart of the mathematical concept of a numerical series.
Let's multiply both sides by 1/2
and subtract the second line from the first. All terms on the right side except for the 1 will cancel out! Bingo:
We have shown that
One also says that this series converges to 2.
multiply both sides by q
then, subtract the second line from the first:
is called the geometric series. It is the most important series you will encounter!
First, factor out the 5 from upstairs and a 2 from downstairs:
The series in the parentheses is the geometric series with , but the first term, the "1" at the beginning is omitted. Thus, the series sums up to
N.B. There is a slightly slicker way to do this. Do you see how?
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