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Series

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.

The Sum of a Series


Many series add up to an infinite amount. For example: "" " " " " " _
_ 8" _

"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

" " " " " # % ) "' $#

which sums to ".

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

EXAMPLE 1 Consider the series "


_ 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, " " " " " # % ) "'

EXAMPLE 2 Find the sum of the 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:

CONVERGENCE AND DIVERGENCE

We say the series ! +8 converges if its sum is a real number.

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_

2. If lim +8 !, then the series " +8 may converge, or it may diverge.


_ 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

EXAMPLE 4 Determine whether the series "


_ 8"

8 converges or diverges. #8 "

SOLUTION

Since lim

8 " !, this series diverges to _. 8_ #8 " #

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!

EXAMPLE 5 Rewrite the series $ # using summation notation.


SOLUTION

% ) "' $ * #( # of the previous term. $


8

The first term of the series is $, and each term is

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

This gives us the equation B " " B # #

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

EXAMPLE 7 Find the sum of the series: 1


SOLUTION

# % ) "' $ * #( )"

Let B be the unknown value of the sum: B 1 # % ) "' $ * #( )"

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

This gives us the equation B " # 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:

EXAMPLE 8 Express !%)%)%)%) as a fraction of integers.


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

B Solving for B yields B %) "' . ** $$

%) " B. "!! "!!

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

EXAMPLE 10 Find the value of the expression #

" " #

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 + . "<

SUM OF A GEOMETRIC SERIES If k<k ", then: " +<8


_ 8!

+ "<

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

(a) We have "


_ 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:

RULES FOR SERIES 1. " G +8 G " +8


_ _ 8" _ 8" _

(where G is a constant)
_

2. "a+8 ,8 b " +8 " ,8 3. "a+8 ,8 b " +8 " ,8


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

EXAMPLE 12 Find the sum of the series "


_ 8!

" & 8 . 8 # $

SOLUTION

We can break this series up into two geometric series: "


_ 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. $ " # $ # $ # $ #

13. Express the number !"&"&"& as a fraction of integers.

2. #

16. % * * * * 3. * # % ) "' # % ) "' 4. " $ * #( )" ) "' $ *

" # % # % " " " " #

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

" " # % ) 6. "! & & & &

#8 &8 8!

18. "
_

" 8 $ 8"
_

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

19. "
_ 8"

8# " 8

20. " a"b8


8"

21. "
_

" /#8 8!
_

22. "
_

%8" &8 8!
_

8. "! &

23. " tan" a8b


8"

24. "
8"

8$ 8a8 #b

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

25. "
_ 8"

$8 #8 '8

26. " c#a!"b8 a!#b8 d


_ 8"

10.

11. * ' %

12. "! %

) "' $# & #& "#&