We all know from basic maths that when you add a positive number to another positive number we get a bigger positive number, right? We also know that the more positive numbers we add together, the bigger the resulting positive number gets, yes? So ,surely, if you continue on adding an infinite amount of positive numbers you’d result in a massive number that tends towards infinity?
Ha! Shows what we know. If you add together all natural numbers (1+2+3+4… all the way to infinity) you don’t get a near infinite number.
You get negative one twelfth.
No, I don’t get it either. Luckily, the wonderful people at Numberphile have a simple proof to show you how it works.
The way he does the proof makes sense, but intuitively it seems crazy. It amazes me that people can comprehend this, let alone prove it in such a straightforward fashion. I’m certainly not looking forward to when my physics course incorporates this kind of maths, it’s a bit beyond me at the moment.
To those crazy braniacs doing maths degrees, I salute you.
Check out more of these awesome maths videos at Numberphile’s YouTube page here
Header image is from Wikipedia