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Wha?! 1+2+3...+N = -1/12

Update: People who know math deeply (i.e. not me) hate this video. Those people have spoken, loudly. Thx math people! Side note: Summing the number of planets in the Galaxy will never yield -1/12, so my research is safe...

Via Phil Plait on Slate.com, a little bit of mathematical hokus pokus:


Comments

EB said…
It's good for readers to see the follow up post by Phil Plait, as well as some other critiques offering more nuance to this video. It is slightly misleading now, particularly the "proof" and the ending discussion. See http://bit.ly/KCq4xG

In any sense, this result needs serious qualification. In a nutshell, 1-1+1-1+1-1+.... is not convergent, and you therefore need to discuss analytic continuation and the Riemann zeta function.

Ed Copeland offers more details in the longer video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-d9mgo8FGk&feature=youtu.be

It's slightly disappointing how this material is presented here, which is surprising, as usually Brady Haran's stuff with the faculty at Nottingham is so good. This video seems to push the "Math is cray and totz weird!!!1!" notion without providing vital caveats and explanations.

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