- Geometric series
In

mathematics , a**geometric series**is a series with a constant ratio between successive terms. For example, the series:$frac\{1\}\{2\}\; ,+,\; frac\{1\}\{4\}\; ,+,\; frac\{1\}\{8\}\; ,+,\; frac\{1\}\{16\}\; ,+,\; cdots$

is geometric, because each term is equal to half of the previous term. The sum of this series is 1, as illustrated in the following picture:

:

Geometric series are the simplest examples of

infinite series with finite sums. This makes them important inphilosophy , where they provide a mathematical resolution toZeno's paradoxes . Historically, geometric series played an important role in the early development ofcalculus , and they continue to be central in the study of convergence of series. Geometric series are used throughout mathematics, and they have important applications inphysics ,engineering ,biology ,economics , andfinance .**Common ratio**The terms of a geometric series form a

geometric progression , meaning that the ratio of successive terms in the series is constant. The following table shows several geometric series with different common ratios:The behavior of the terms depends on the common ratio "r"::When "r" is

**greater than one**, the terms of the series become larger and larger.:When "r" is**less than one**(and greater than zero), the terms of the series become smaller and smaller, approaching zero in the limit.:When "r" is**equal to one**, all of the terms of the series are the same.The common ratio can also be negative, which causes the sign of the terms to alternate.**um**The

sum of a geometric series is finite as long as the terms approach zero. The sum can be computed using theself-similarity of the series.**Example**Consider the sum of the following geometric series::$s\; ;=;\; 1\; ,+,\; frac\{2\}\{3\}\; ,+,\; frac\{4\}\{9\}\; ,+,\; frac\{8\}\{27\}\; ,+,\; cdots$This series has common ratio 2/3. If we multiply through by this common ratio, then the initial 1 becomes a 2/3, the 2/3 becomes a 4/9, and so on::$frac\{2\}\{3\}s\; ;=;\; frac\{2\}\{3\}\; ,+,\; frac\{4\}\{9\}\; ,+,\; frac\{8\}\{27\}\; ,+,\; frac\{16\}\{81\}\; ,+,\; cdots$This new series is the same as the original, except that the first term is missing. Subtracting the two series cancels every term but the first::$s\; ,-,\; frac\{2\}\{3\}s\; ;=;\; 1,;;;;;;;;mbox\{so\; \}s=3.$A similar technique can be used to evaluate any

self-similar expression.**Formula**The sum of the first $n$ terms of a geometric series is::$sum\_\{k=0\}^\{n-1\}\; ar^k=afrac\{1-r^n\}\{1-r\}$ ($r$ not equal to 1).where "a" is the first term of the series, and "r" is the common ratio.

As $n$ goes to infinity, the absolute value of $r$ must be less than one for the series to converge. The sum then becomes

:$s\; ;=;\; sum\_\{k=0\}^infty\; ar^k\; =\; frac\{a\}\{1-r\}.$

When nowrap|1= "a" = 1, this simplifies to:

:$1\; ,+,\; r\; ,+,\; r^2\; ,+,\; r^3\; ,+,\; cdots\; ;=;\; frac\{1\}\{1-r\},$

the left-hand side being a geometric series with common ratio "r". We can derive this formula using the method given above:

:$egin\{array\}\{l\}\; ext\{Let\; \}s\; ;=;\; 1\; ,+,\; r\; ,+,\; r^2\; ,+,\; r^3\; ,+,\; cdots.\; \backslash \; [4pt]\; ext\{Then\; \}rs\; ;=;\; r\; ,+,\; r^2\; ,+,\; r^3\; ,+,\; r^4\; ,+,\; cdots.\; \backslash \; [4pt]\; ext\{Then\; \}s\; ,-,\; rs\; ;=;\; 1,;;;;mbox\{so\; \}s,=,frac\{1\}\{1-r\}.end\{array\}$

The general formula follows if we multiply through by "a".

This formula is only valid for

convergent series (i.e. when the magnitude of "r" is less than one). For example, the sum is undefined when nowrap|1= "r" = 10, even though the formula gives nowrap|1= "s" = –1/9.This reasoning is also valid, with the same restrictions, for the complex case.

**Proof of convergence**We can prove that the geometric series converges using the sum formula for a

geometric progression ::$egin\{align\}1\; ,+,\; r\; ,+,\; r^2\; ,+,\; r^3\; ,+,\; cdots\; \backslash \; [3pt]\; =;\; lim\_\{n\; ightarrowinfty\}\; left(1\; ,+,\; r\; ,+,\; r^2\; ,+,\; cdots\; ,+,\; r^n\; ight)\; \backslash =;\; lim\_\{n\; ightarrowinfty\}\; frac\{1-r^\{n+1\{1-r\}end\{align\}$Since nowrap| "r"^{"n"+1}→ 0 for | "r" | < 1, the limit is nowrap| 1 / (1 – "r").**Applications****Repeating decimals**A repeating decimal can be thought of as a geometric series whose common ratio is a power of 1/10. For example:

:$0.7777ldots\; ;=;\; frac\{7\}\{10\}\; ,+,\; frac\{7\}\{100\}\; ,+,\; frac\{7\}\{1000\}\; ,+,\; frac\{7\}\{10,000\}\; ,+,\; cdots.$

You can use the formula for the sum of a geometric series to convert the decimal to a fraction:

:$0.7777ldots\; ;=;\; frac\{a\}\{1-r\}\; ;=;\; frac\{7/10\}\{1-1/10\}\; ;=;\; frac\{7\}\{9\}.$

**Archimedes' quadrature of the parabola**Archimedes used the sum of a geometric series to compute the area enclosed by aparabola and a straight line. His method was to dissect the area into an infinite number of triangles, as shown in the figure to the right.**Archimedes' Theorem**The total area under the parabola is 4/3 of the area of the blue triangle."Proof:" Using his extensive knowledge of

geometry , Archimedes determined that each green triangle has 1/8 the area of the blue triangle, each yellow triangle has 1/8 the area of a green triangle, and so forth.Assuming that the blue triangle has area 1, the total area is an infinite sum:

:$1\; ,+,\; 2left(frac\{1\}\{8\}\; ight)\; ,+,\; 4left(frac\{1\}\{8\}\; ight)^2\; ,+,\; 8left(frac\{1\}\{8\}\; ight)^3\; ,+,\; cdots.$

The first term represents the area of the blue triangle, the second term the areas of the two green triangles, the third term the areas of the four yellow triangles, and so on. Simplifying the fractions gives

:$1\; ,+,\; frac\{1\}\{4\}\; ,+,\; frac\{1\}\{16\}\; ,+,\; frac\{1\}\{64\}\; ,+,\; cdots.$

This is a geometric series with common ratio 1/4. The sum is

:$frac\{1\}\{1-r\};=;frac\{1\}\{1-frac\{1\}\{4;=;frac\{4\}\{3\}.$ Q.E.D.

This computation uses the

method of exhaustion , an early version of integration. In moderncalculus , the same area could be found using adefinite integral .**Fractal geometry**In the study of

fractal s, geometric series often arise as theperimeter ,area , orvolume of a self-similar figure.For example, the area inside the

Koch snowflake can be described as the union of infinitely manyequilateral triangle s (see figure). Each side of the green triangle is exactly 1/3 the size of a side of the large blue triangle, and therefore has exactly 1/9 the area. Similarly, each yellow triangle has 1/9 the area of a green triangle, and so forth. Taking the blue triangle as a unit of area, the total area of the snowflake is:$1\; ,+,\; 3left(frac\{1\}\{9\}\; ight)\; ,+,\; 12left(frac\{1\}\{9\}\; ight)^2\; ,+,\; 48left(frac\{1\}\{9\}\; ight)^3\; ,+,\; cdots.$

The first term of this series represents the area of the blue triangle, the second term the total area of the three green triangles, the third term the total area of the twelve yellow triangles, and so forth. Excluding the initial 1, this series is geometric with constant ratio "r" = 4/9. The first term of the geometric series is "a" = 3(1/9) = 1/3, so the sum is

:$1,+,frac\{a\}\{1-r\};=;1,+,frac\{frac\{1\}\{3\{1-frac\{4\}\{9;=;frac\{8\}\{5\}.$

Thus the Koch snowflake has 8/5 of the area of the base triangle.

**Zeno's paradoxes**Understanding the convergence of a geometric series allows to resolve many of Zeno's paradoxes as it reveals that a sum of an infinite set can remain finite for | "r" | < 1. For example Zeno's dichotomy paradox attains that movement is impossible, as one can divide any path into steps of one half of the distance remaining, thus an infinite number of steps is needed to cross any finite distance. The hidden assumption is that a sum of infinite number of finite steps can not be finite. This is of course not true as evident by the convergence of the geometrical series with r=1/2 illustrated at the picture at the introduction section of this article.

**Euclid**[

*http://aleph0.clarku.edu/~djoyce/java/elements/bookIX/propIX35.html Book IX, Proposition 35*] ofEuclid's Elements expresses the partial sum of a geometric series in terms of members of the series. It is equivalent to the modern formula.**Economics**In

economics , geometric series are used to represent thepresent value of anannuity (a sum of money to be paid in regular intervals).For example, suppose that you expect to receive a payment of $100 once per year in

perpetuity . Receiving $100 a year from now is worth less to you than an immediate $100, because you cannot invest the money until you receive it. In particular, the present value of a $100 one year in the future is $100 / (1 + "i"), where "i" is the yearly interest rate.Similarly, a payment of $100 two years in the future has a present value of $100 / (1 + "i")

^{2}(squared because it would have received the yearly interest twice). Therefore, the present value of receiving $100 per year in perpetuity can be expressed as an infinite series::$frac\{\$\; 100\}\{1+i\}\; ,+,\; frac\{\$\; 100\}\{(1+i)^2\}\; ,+,\; frac\{\$\; 100\}\{(1+i)^3\}\; ,+,\; frac\{\$\; 100\}\{(1+i)^4\}\; ,+,\; cdots.$

This is a geometric series with common ratio 1 / (1 + "i"). The sum is

:$frac\{a\}\{1-r\}\; ;=;\; frac\{\$\; 100/(1+i)\}\{1\; -\; 1/(1+i)\}\; ;=;\; frac\{\$\; 100\}\{i\}.$

For example, if the yearly interest rate is 10% ("i" = 0.10), then the entire annuity has a present value of $1000.

This sort of calculation is used to compute the APR of a loan (such as a

mortgage ). It can also be used to estimate the present value of expected stock dividends, or theterminal value of a security.**Geometric power series****ee also***

series (mathematics)

*geometric progression

*ratio test

*root test

*divergent geometric series

*Neumann series **pecific geometric series***

Grandi's series

*1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + · · ·

*1 − 2 + 4 − 8 + · · ·

*1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + · · ·

*1/2 − 1/4 + 1/8 − 1/16 + · · ·

*1/4 + 1/16 + 1/64 + 1/256 + · · · **References*** James Stewart (2002). "Calculus", 5th ed., Brooks Cole. ISBN 978-0534393397

* Larson, Hostetler, and Edwards (2005). "Calculus with Analytic Geometry", 8th ed., Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 978-0618502981

* Roger B. Nelson (1997). "Proofs without Words: Exercises in Visual Thinking", The Mathematical Association of America. ISBN 978-0883857007

***History and philosophy*** C. H. Edwards, Jr. (1994). "The Historical Development of the Calculus", 3rd ed., Springer. ISBN 978-0387943138.

*

* Eli Maor (1991). "To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite", Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691025117

* Morr Lazerowitz (2000). "The Structure of Metaphysics (International Library of Philosophy)", Routledge. ISBN 978-0415225267**Economics*** Carl P. Simon and Lawrence Blume (1994). "Mathematics for Economists", W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0393957334

* Mike Rosser (2003). "Basic Mathematics for Economists", 2nd ed., Routledge. ISBN 978-0415267847**Biology*** Edward Batschelet (1992). "Introduction to Mathematics for Life Scientists", 3rd ed., Springer. ISBN 978-0387096483

* Richard F. Burton (1998). "Biology by Numbers: An Encouragement to Quantitative Thinking", Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521576987**Computer science*** John Rast Hubbard (2000). "Schaum's Outline of Theory and Problems of Data Structures With Java", McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0071378703

**External links***

*

*

*

* [*http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/GeometricSeries/ "Geometric Series"*] by Michael Schreiber,The Wolfram Demonstrations Project , 2007.

*Wikimedia Foundation.
2010.*

### Look at other dictionaries:

**geometric series**— noun a geometric progression written as a sum • Hypernyms: ↑series * * * geoˌmetric proˈgression [geometric progression] (also geoˌmetric ˈseries) … Useful english dictionary**geometric series**— noun Date: circa 1909 a series (as 1 + x + x2 + x3 +…) whose terms form a geometric progression … New Collegiate Dictionary**geometric series**— Math. 1. an infinite series of the form, c + cx + cx2 + cx3 + ..., where c and x are real numbers. 2. See geometric progression. [1830 40] * * * … Universalium**geometric series**— noun Infinite series whose terms are in a geometric progression … Wiktionary**geometric series**— ge′omet′ric se′ries n. 1) math. an infinite series of the form, c+cx+cx2+cx3+…, where c and x are real numbers 2) math. geometric progression … From formal English to slang**geometric series**— /dʒiəˌmɛtrɪk ˈsɪəriz/ (say jeeuh.metrik searreez) noun an infinite series of the form c + cx + cx2 + cx3… where both c and x are real or complex numbers … Australian English dictionary**Divergent geometric series**— In mathematics, an infinite geometric series of the form is divergent if and only if | r | ≥ 1. Methods for summation of divergent series are sometimes useful, and usually evaluate divergent geometric series to a sum that… … Wikipedia**geometric progression**— (also geometric series) ► NOUN ▪ a sequence of numbers with a constant ratio between each number and the one before (e.g. 1, 3, 9, 27, 81) … English terms dictionary**Geometric progression**— In mathematics, a geometric progression, also known as a geometric sequence, is a sequence of numbers where each term after the first is found by multiplying the previous one by a fixed non zero number called the common ratio . For example, the… … Wikipedia**Series (mathematics)**— A series is the sum of the terms of a sequence. Finite sequences and series have defined first and last terms, whereas infinite sequences and series continue indefinitely.[1] In mathematics, given an infinite sequence of numbers { an } … Wikipedia