This function is famously confusing outside its "domain of convergence", but a certain visualization sheds light on how it extends.
There are posters for this visualization of the zeta function at http://3b1b.co/store
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Music by Vince Rubinetti: https://soundcloud.com/vincerubinetti/riemann-zeta-function
Check out some of Vince's other work here: http://www.vincentrubinetti.com/
For those who want to learn more about complex exponentiation, here are a few resources:
- My video on the topic: http://youtu.be/mvmuCPvRoWQ
- Mathologer's: https://youtu.be/-dhHrg-KbJ0
- Better Explained: https://goo.gl/z28x2R
For those who want to learn more about the relationship between 1+2+3+4+... and -1/12, I'm quite fond of this blog post by Terry Tao: https://goo.gl/XRzyTJ
Also, in a different video "What does it feel like to invent math", I give a completely different example of how adding up growing positive numbers can meaningfully give a negative number, so long as you loosen your understanding of what distance should mean for numbers: https://youtu.be/XFDM1ip5HdU
Interestingly, that vertical line where the convergent portion of the function appears to abruptly stop corresponds to numbers whose real part is Euler's constant, ~0.577. For those who know what this is, it's kind of fun to puzzle about why this is the case.
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