Infinity is a very special idea. We know we can"t reach it, yet we have the right to still shot to work out the worth of attributes that have actually infinity in them.

You are watching: (-1)^infinity

One split By Infinity

Let"s begin with an interesting example.

Why don"t we know?

The simplest reason is the Infinity is no a number, the is one idea.

So 1 is a little like speak 1beauty or 1tall.

Maybe we can say the 1= 0, ... However that is a problem too, due to the fact that if we divide 1 into boundless pieces and also they end up 0 each, what taken place to the 1?

In truth 1 is known to it is in undefined.

But us Can method It!

So instead of trying to work it the end for infinity (because us can"t get a sensible answer), let"s shot larger and larger values of x:



Now we can see that together x it s okay larger, 1x has tendency towards 0

We are now challenged with an amazing situation:

We can"t speak what happens as soon as x gets to infinityBut we can see that 1x is going towards 0

We desire to offer the price "0" however can"t, so rather mathematicians say specifically what is walk on by using the one-of-a-kind word "limit"

The limit of 1x together x philosophies Infinity is 0

And create it choose this:

limx→∞ (1x) = 0

In various other words:

As x philosophies infinity, climate 1x philosophies 0

When you watch "limit", think "approaching"

It is a mathematical means of saying "we space not talking about when x=∞, but we recognize as x it s okay bigger, the answer it s okay closer and also closer come 0".


So, periodically Infinity cannot be supplied directly, yet we can use a limit.

What wake up at ∞ is undefined ...1
... Yet we do understand that 1/x philosophies 0as x viewpoints infinity
limx→∞ (1x) = 0

Limits draw close Infinity

What is the border of this role as x viewpoints infinity?

y = 2x

Obviously as "x" gets larger, therefore does "2x":


So together "x" ideologies infinity, climate "2x" also approaches infinity. We create this:

limx→∞ 2x = ∞

yet don"t it is in fooled through the "=". We cannot in reality get come infinity, however in "limit" language the limit is infinity (which is really saying the role is limitless).

Infinity and also Degree

We have seen two examples, one went to 0, the various other went to infinity.

In fact many infinite borders are actually fairly easy to work out, as soon as we number out "which method it is going", choose this:

Functions favor 1/x method 0 together x approaches infinity. This is likewise true because that 1/x2 etc

A function such together x will strategy infinity, and 2x, or x/9 and so on. Similarly functions v x2 or x3 etc will additionally approach infinity.

But it is in careful, a duty like "−x" will strategy "−infinity", therefore we have to look at the indicators of x.

Example: 2x2−5x

2x2 will head in the direction of +infinity−5x will certainly head in the direction of -infinityBut x2 grows more rapidly than x, so 2x2−5x will certainly head in the direction of +infinity

In fact, once we look at the degree of the role (the highest exponent in the function) we can tell what is going to happen:

When the level of the duty is:

greater than 0, the border is infinity (or −infinity)less than 0, the border is 0

But if the Degree is 0 or unknown climate we must work a bit harder to uncover a limit.

Rational Functions

A Rational duty is one that is the ratio of two polynomials:
f(x) = P(x)Q(x)
For example, right here P(x) = x3 + 2x − 1, and Q(x) = 6x2:
x3 + 2x − 16x2

Following on from our idea the the degree of the Equation, the first step to discover the border is come ...

Compare the Degree that P(x) to the Degree that Q(x):

If the degree of p is much less than the degree of Q ...

... The border is 0.

If the degree of P and also Q are the same ...

... Division the coefficients of the terms through the largest exponent, favor this:


(note the the biggest exponents room equal, together the level is equal)

If the degree of p is higher than the level of Q ...

... Then the limit is positive infinity ...

... Or maybe an unfavorable infinity. We should look in ~ the signs!

We deserve to work the end the sign (positive or negative) by looking in ~ the signs of the terms v the largest exponent, just like how we found the coefficients above:

x3 + 2x − 16x2

For example this will certainly go to positive infinity, because both ...

x3 (the term v the largest exponent in the top) and6x2 (the term with the largest exponent in the bottom) ... Room positive.

−2x2 + x5x − 3
But this will certainly head for an adverse infinity, because −2/5 is negative.

A more difficult Example: functioning Out "e"

This formula it s okay closer to the worth of e (Euler"s number) together n increases:

(1 + 1n)n

At infinity:

(1 + 1 )∞ = ???

We don"t know!

So instead of do the efforts to work it the end for infinity (because we can"t gain a judicious answer), let"s try larger and larger values of n:


n(1 + 1/n)n

Yes, that is heading towards the value 2.71828... i m sorry is e (Euler"s Number)

So again we have actually an strange situation:

We don"t understand what the worth is as soon as n=infinityBut we deserve to see the it settles towards 2.71828...

So us use borders to compose the answer like this:

limn→∞ (1 + 1n)n = e

It is a mathematical means of saying "we space not talking around when n=∞, yet we understand as n gets bigger, the answer gets closer and closer come the worth of e".

Don"t execute It The Wrong method ... !

If we shot to usage infinity as a "very huge real number" (it isn"t!) we get:

(1 + 1)∞ = (1+0)∞ = 1∞ = 1 (Wrong!)

So don"t try using Infinity together a actual number: girlfriend can get wrong answers!

Limits room the right way to go.

Evaluating Limits

I have actually taken a gentle method to boundaries so far, and also shown tables and graphs to highlight the points.

See more: How To Fix Rosetta Stone Fatal Application Error: #1141, How To Fix Rosetta Stone Error 2120

But to "evaluate" (in various other words calculate) the worth of a limit deserve to take a bit much more effort. Find out an ext at analyzing Limits.

6780, 6781, 6782, 6783, 6784, 6785, 6786, 6787, 6788, 6789
limits (An Introduction) Calculus Index