Mathematical Induction

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to: navigation, search

Induction is a form of proof useful for proving equations involving non-closed expressions (i.e., expressions with terms; sequences).


Induction involves first proving that the equation is true for , then proving true for (assuming for the purpose of the proof that the equation holds true for ). Since it is true for and true for , and also true for , it is true for . It follows that it is true for all positive integers .


Proving the formula for the sum of a series[edit]

Q: Prove by mathematical induction that for all integers ,


  1. When , , so it is true for
  2. Suppose that the statement is true for . That is, suppose that . This is sometimes called the induction hypothesis.
  3. Then prove the statement for (that is, prove that :
  4. It follows from parts 1 and 2 by mathematical induction that the statement is true for all positive integers .