College Math Teaching

November 21, 2013

I am a frigging IDIOT!!!! (aka “Math Professor FAIL”)

Filed under: basic algebra, calculus, series — Tags: , , — collegemathteaching @ 5:17 pm

The topic: power series. I was showing how to manipulate the relation \frac{1}{1-x} = \sum^{\infty}_{k=0}  x^k to get power series of various kinds, including series centered at values other than zero. For example, if one wanted the series centered at, say, x = 2 we could write \frac{1}{1-x} =  \frac{1}{1-(x-2)-2} = \frac{1}{-1-(x-2)}=\frac{-1}{1-(-1)(x-2)} = -\sum^{\infty}_{k=0} (-1)^k (x-2)^k = \sum^{\infty}_{k=0} (-1)^{k+1} (x-2)^k .

And so I said: Let’s try to find the series for \frac{1}{1-x} centered at x = 1 . And. I. Was. Not. Able. To. Do. It.

So I went on to another problem…and it hit me.

O. M. G. (slamming my head on the desk here…dying of embarrassment).

Moral: never get overconfident. 🙂

Yes, I told the class of my blunder as soon as it hit me; they laughed…with me, I think. 😉


1 Comment »

  1. Whoops … well, I’ve done at least as bad, and in an intro-to-(high school) algebra class where I couldn’t make a convincing argument about how to figure out the area of a trapezoid.

    Comment by Joseph Nebus — November 22, 2013 @ 5:30 am

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