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

Infinite Series

  1. Aug 27, 2010 #1
    I know that

    \sum_{n=-\infty}^\infty{1} = \infty

    But I don't understand why.

    It seems to me that since the constant inside the summation is not dependent upon n it can be moved outside the summation. Then there is nothing to sum.

    It seems to me that


    should equal 1.

    What am I missing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Your logic is incorrect. The sum is 1+1+1+1+.... no matter how you slice it.

    You can take the 1 outside the sum, but you still have 1 inside, not 0. 1x0=0, not =1.
  4. Aug 27, 2010 #3
    I thought the summation just vanished if there was no "argument" inside it.

    That makes a lot more sense of why the summation is a discrete analogue of an integral.

    Thank you for the help.
  5. Aug 27, 2010 #4
  6. Aug 27, 2010 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You can change
    by 'pulling out the 1'. In your infinite sum, proceeding formally, this would give you
    which shows (in a non-rigorous way) that the sum diverges.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook