The Geometric Series

Posted By on December 28, 2014

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Convergence of Series
The Particular Case of Positive Series


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 see why the deal above amounts to just $2.00. Let s denote the sum of the series just considered:


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.

Let’s play the same game for a general q instead of 1/2:


multiply both sides by q


then, subtract the second line from the first:


The series


is called the geometric series. It is the most important series you will encounter!


Find the sum of the series


First, factor out the 5 from upstairs and a 2 from downstairs:


The series in the parentheses is the geometric series with tex2html_wrap_inline218 , 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?

Try it yourself!

Find the sum of the series


Convergence of Series
The Particular Case of Positive Series

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Posted by Akash Kurup

Founder and C.E.O, World4Engineers Educationist and Entrepreneur by passion. Orator and blogger by hobby