1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data Let S_n = 1 + (1/2) + (1/3) + (1/4) + ... + (1/n) a) What value of n is required such that S_n > 100? b) Show how one can form a stack of identical blocks (one per row), each 1 ft long, so as to form a "wing" (I don't know what the correct word in English is, but I believe you understand) that is 50 ft long. Is it possible to form a "wing" 50 million ft long? Taken from Algebra and Trigonometry with Analytic Geometry, by Varberg and Fleming (Spanish version.) 2. Relevant equations In calculus, it is proved that ln n < 1 + (1/2) + (1/3) + (1/4) + ... + (1/n) < 1+ ln n 3. The attempt at a solution a) The first thing that I have done is plug ln n = 100. Solving for n one gets it equals e^100. But n must be an integer, so I have two options. Let f(x) denote the greatest integer less than or equal to x, and g(x) denote the smallest integer greater than or equal to x. If I plug n = f(e^100), I wouldn't know for sure whether S_n > 100. On the other hand, it is certain that n = g(e^100) satisfies the condition. b) If there is an integer n such that S_n - 1 = 50, we're done: we can put the second block in the stack so that it sticks out 1/n ft in relation to the first, the third block sticking out 1/(n-1) ft in relation to the second, and so on until we put the top block, which will stick out 1/2 ft in relation to the one that's below. If such an integer n doesn't exist, we plug n = g(e^51) (remember the function I defined in part (a):) (ln g(e^51)) - 1 < S_n - 1 < ln g(e^51) so we can multiply the expression at the center by a number that is less than one in order to get that expression to be equal to 50; that is, we multiply 1/2 , 1/3 , 1/4 , ... , 1/n by that number so as to keep the stack of blocks "harmonic". The answer to the second question in part (b) is yes, we can. The procedure is similar to the one described for the 50 ft "wing." The number n in this case will be much bigger.