Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How to tell the difference in series

  1. Nov 18, 2015 #1
    Hey all! I am in Calculus 2, and we are starting to get into series. This may seem like an odd question, but on quizzes I seem to have difficulty identifying the type of series in order to be able to properly work it, and I'd like to have this down before I get to the test. Does anybody have a good way of identify whether a series is arithmetic? Geometric? P-series? Harmonic? Professor hasn't really given any suggestions other than to just kind of eyeball it, and that only works to a certain degree. Thanks in advance for any replies!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Moved from HW section as this is not specifically a homework question. @Kendall Pecere, if you post a question in the homework section, you must use the homework template.
  4. Nov 18, 2015 #3

    Ray Vickson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    What is the definition of an arithmetic series? Does your given series (if you have one) satisfy that definition? Same questions for "geometric" or "p-series". I am not sure what definition your instructor uses for "harmonic series", but as far as I know there really is only one such series, up to a multiplicative constant, maybe.
  5. Nov 18, 2015 #4
    If you are starting on series, I think it is more likely you get questions regarding convergence-divergence rather than computing the sum of converging series which often require knowledge on power series and Fourier series. Maybe you can be asked to evaluate the sum of geometric and telescopic series, as well as Cauchy products, and double series in easy cases.

    I'd say that for a first test, you need to be solid on convergence.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook