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There are three groups of people who know the sigma symbol:

1Greek people
2People in sororities and fraternities
3Math geeks

 

So...  If you aren't in groups  1  or  2 ... You KNOW what this means.  It's time you face it.

Our series adds five terms:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5

Here's the official notation and don't worry -- I'll explain each part:

the summation of k as k goes from 1 to 5

 

the summation of k as k goes from 1 to 5 ... sigma for summation, k is the formula for the nth term, k is the index (it's like a counter. some books use i.) , 1 is the term we start with , and 5 is the term we end with

* Notice that we're using a k instead of the n... 
This is important and will make something easier later.