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The sum of rational numbers

  1. Sep 12, 2007 #1
    if two rational numbers added together is still rational then wouldn't an infinite sume of rational numbers that converge also be rational and if that is the case then an irrational number is therefore rational which makes no sense though. i don't see where the flaw in this lies because it is logically inconsistent.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2007 #2


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    If you take a partial sum of an infinite series that converge to an irrational number then you would get a rational number. However, the point is that you never stop adding, so it tends to an irrational.
  4. Sep 12, 2007 #3


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    Why would you think that?
  5. Sep 12, 2007 #4
    no this can easily be seen by looking at .101001000100001... this number is actually transcendental but it’s power series representation has nothing but rational terms i.e.

    1/10 + 1/10^3 + 1/10^6 + 1/10^10 + 1/10^15…

    Just because something intuitively seems it should be a certain way in math doesn’t mean it is. Math is about what you can deduce logically, not what you feel something should be like.
  6. Sep 12, 2007 #5


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    Every real number, rational or irrational, is the sum of an infinite number of termiinating decimals. That is, the sum of an infinite set of rational numbers.

    For example, [itex]\pi[/itex]= 3+ 0.1+ 0.04+ 0.001+ 0.0005+ 0.00009+ 0.000002+ ...

    Why would you think that what is true for a finite sum is necessairly true for an infinite sum?
  7. Sep 12, 2007 #6
    the "limit" if the series is irrational, not the actual sum

    infinite sum is just a simple notation of writing sum to n where n -> inf.
  8. Sep 12, 2007 #7
    thanks for all your help i just wanted to clarify that for myself
  9. Sep 13, 2007 #8


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    For an infinite series, the limit of the partial sums is the "actual sum".
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