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Lecture Notes

A series is an infinite sum of numbers: " " " " # % ) "' The individual numbers are called the terms of the series. In the above series, the first term is "#, the second term is "%, and so on. The 8th term is "#8 : " " " " " 8 # % ) "' # We can express an infinite series using summation notation. For example, the above series would be written as follows: "

_ 8"

The " symbol means "sum". The 8 " on the bottom refers to the fact that the first term is

" #8

8 " (some series start with 8 ! or 8 #), and the _ on the top indicates that the series continues indefinitely.

Many series add up to an infinite amount. For example: "" " " " " " _

_ 8" _

8"

However, if the terms of a series become smaller and smaller, it is possible for the series to have a finite sum. The basic example is the series "

_ 8"

" #8

But what exactly does it mean to find the sum of an infinite series? Given a series " + 8 + " + # + $ ,

_ 8"

a partial sum is the result of adding together the first few terms. For example, the third partial sum is +" +# +$ , and the hundredth partial sum is +" +# +"!! . The partial sums form a sequence: =" +" =# +" +# =$ +" +# +$ =% +" +# +$ +% By definition, the sum of the series is the limit of this sequence:

DEFINITION (SUM OF A SERIES) The sum of the series " +8 is the limit of the partial sums:

_ 8"

" +8

_ 8"

8_

lim =8

8_

lim a+" +8 b

_ 8"

" #8

The first few partial sums of this series are listed below: =" " # " " # % $ % ( ) "& "'

=#

=$

=%

As you can see, the partial sums are converging to ". Therefore, according to our definition of

the sum of an infinite series, " " " " " # % ) "'

SOLUTION

Here are the first few partial sums: =" !$ !$$ !$$$ !$$$$

=# !$ !!$

=$ !$ !!$ !!!$

As you can see, the partial sums are converging to the repeating decimal !$$$$ , which is equal to "$. We use the same terminology for sums of series that we do for limits of sequences and for improper integrals:

If the sum is infinite or does not exist, then the series ! +8 diverges. sum " +8 can only be finite if lim +8 !.

_ 8" 8_

Keep in mind that a series can only converge if its terms get smaller and smaller. That is, the

DO THE TERMS APPROACH ZERO? 1. If lim +8 !, then the series " +8 diverges.

_ 8_

_ 8_ 8"

8"

EXAMPLE 3 Find the sum of the series: " # $ % & # $ % & ' Since the individual terms of the series are getting closer and closer to ", the sum of the series is infinite (for the same reason that " " " _).

SOLUTION

_ 8"

SOLUTION

Since lim

By the way, it is quite possible for the sum of a series to be infinite even if the terms get smaller and smaller. For example, even though the terms of the series " " " " " # $ % &

become smaller and smaller, the sum of this series is infinite! This series is important enough to have its own name: the harmonic series (named for the frequencies of harmonic overtones in music). You should always remember that the harmonic series diverges.

Geometric Series

A geometric series is the sum of the terms of a geometric sequence. For example, the series " " " " " # % ) "'

is geometric, with a common ratio of "# (i.e. each term is "# times the previous term). Here are several more examples: "# % " % % % $ * #( (common ratio of "$) (common ratio of #&) (common ratio or #$)

$ #

In our study of geometric sequences, we learned that the formula for the 8th term of a geometric sequence has the form +<8 , where < is the common ratio. If we start the series at 8 !, then the constant + can be interpreted as the value of the first term:

GEOMETRIC SERIES FORMULA The formula for a geometric series is " +<8 , where + is the first term and < is the common ratio.

_ 8!

SOLUTION

8

Therefore:

_ % ) "' # $ # "$ $ * #( $ 8!

Notice that the terms of a geometric series " +<8 only approach ! if the ratio < is between "

_ 8!

and ". It turns out that any such series converges: The geometric series " +<8 converges for k<k " and diverges for k<k ".

_ 8!

There is a special trick to finding the sum of a geometric series, illustrated in the next several examples:

EXAMPLE 6 Find the sum of the series: " " " " # % ) "' We already know that this sum is ", but this series is useful for illustrating the general method. Let B be the (unknown) sum of the series:

SOLUTION

If we multiply this equation by "# (the common ratio), each term of the sum is halved: " " " " " B # % ) "' $# But the sum on the right is just the later portion of the original series:

" #B

and therefore B ". We conclude that the sum of the series is ".

SOLUTION

# % ) "' $ * #( )"

If we ignore the initial ", the remaining terms of the series are simply # B: $ B 1 # % ) "' $ * #( )"

# B $

and therefore B "). We conclude that the sum of the series is ").

This trick only works for geometric series. The key idea is that a geometric series is self-similar, in the sense that the portion of the series after the first term is simply a multiple of the whole series. By the way, a similar trick can be used to convert any repeating decimal to a fraction:

SOLUTION

Let B !%)%)%)%) . Then B can be written as a sum of two parts: B !%) !!!%)%)%)

The first part is the same as %)"!!, and the second part is actually B"!!. This gives us the equation

This trick not only looks the same, it is the same. The decimal in the previous example is by itself a geometric series: !%)%)%)%)

_ %) %) %) %) " "!! "!,!!! ",!!!,!!! a "!! b8 8"

Similar reasoning can sometimes be used to evaluate infinite algebraic expressions that aren't series: EXAMPLE 9 Find the value of the expression ' ' ' ' .

SOLUTION

Observe that this expression contains itself. In particular, if we let B ' ' ' '

then

B ' B.

Squaring and solving for B yields B $ or B #. Since the square root must be positive, we conclude that B $. You can verify this for yourself on your calculator. Starting with any number, alternately add ' and take the square root. The more times you repeat these steps, the closer the result will be to $. " # #

SOLUTION

" " #

This kind of expression is known as a continued fraction. If we let B be the value of the entire expression, then B # " B

Solving for B yields B " #. Rejecting the negative solution as nonsensical, we conclude that the continued fraction above is equal to " #.

General Formula for a Geometric Series It is possible to avoid repeating this same trick over and over by doing it once in general. Given the series " +<8 + +< +<# +<$

_ 8!

let B be the unknown value of the sum: B + +< +<# +<$ Ignoring the initial +, the rest of the sum is equal to <B: B + +< +<# +<$ <B

This gives us the equation B + <B. Solving for B yields the formula B + . "<

_ 8!

+ "<

EXAMPLE 11 Find the sums of the following series: _ & * #( )" (a) " 8 (b) ) ' $ # ) $# 8!

SOLUTION

_ 8!

& $8

$ (b) The first term of this series is + ), and the ratio between terms is < . Therefore, % + ) the sum is $#. "< " $% You should be familiar with both methods for summing a geometric series (using the trick or using the formula).

_ " "& $ 8!

Combining Series

Because infinite series and integrals are two different sorts of infinite sums, they obey many of the same rules:

_ _ 8" _ 8" _

(where G is a constant)

_

_ _ _ 8" 8" 8" 8" 8" 8"

_ 8!

" & 8 . 8 # $

SOLUTION

_ 8! _ _ " & " & " " 8 8 8 # $ # $8 8! 8!

EXERCISES

16 Rewrite the given series using summation notation. 14. Express the number !"$&"$&"$& as a fraction of integers. " # % ) "' 1. & ' ( ) * & "! "( #' # ' #% "#! 1516 Find the value of the given self-similar expression.

" " " 15. $ " # $ # $ # $ #

2. #

1726 Determine whether the given series is convergent or 5. * ' % divergent. If it is convergent, find the sum. 17. "

_

#8 &8 8!

18. "

_

" 8 $ 8"

_

712 Find the sum of the given geometric series. 7. # # # # # $ * #( )" #%$ & & & # % )

19. "

_ 8"

8# " 8

8"

21. "

_

" /#8 8!

_

22. "

_

%8" &8 8!

_

8. "! &

8"

24. "

8"

8$ 8a8 #b

" " " $ * 9. ") ' # # # " " # ) #% ") #( )" ) "' $ *

25. "

_ 8"

$8 #8 '8

_ 8"

10.

11. * ' %

12. "! %

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