Special functions, orthogonal polynomials, harmonic analysis, ODE's, differential relations, calculus of variations, approximations, expansions, asymptotics.

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30
votes
2answers
5k views

Is the analysis as taught in universities in fact the analysis of definable numbers?

Ten years ago when I studied in the university I had no idea about definable numbers, but I came to this concept myself. My thoughts were as follows: All numbers are divided into two classes: those ...
83
votes
16answers
11k views

How do I make the conceptual transition from multivariable calculus to differential forms?

One way to define the algebra of differential forms $\Omega(M)$ on a smooth manifold $M$ (as explained by John Baez's week287) is as the exterior algebra of the dual of the module of derivations on ...
50
votes
8answers
11k views

How to solve f(f(x)) = cos(x) ?

I found the following interesting equation on some web page I cannot remember: $f(f(x))=\cos(x)$ Out of curiosity I tried to solve it, but realized that I do not have a clue how to approach such an ...
49
votes
15answers
6k views

What's a nice argument that shows the volume of the unit ball in $\mathbb R^n$ approaches 0?

Before you close for "homework problem", please note the tags. Last week, I gave my calculus 1 class the assignment to calculate the $n$-volume of the $n$-ball. They had finished up talking about ...
22
votes
7answers
3k views

formal power series convergence

I have spent some time using gp-pari. There is, of course, a formal power series solution to $ f(f(x)) = \sin x.$ It is displayed, below, identified by the symbol $g$ because I am not entirely sure ...
7
votes
1answer
489 views

Has anyone seen this series?

I come across the following infinite series. $$ \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{t^n}{n!\: n^{a}}, \quad\text{for $t>0$ and $a>0$}. $$ In particular, I am interested in the case where $a=1/4$. ...
6
votes
1answer
247 views

Solution of linear ODE

Let $A=A(t)$ be a smooth one parameter family of $n\times n$-matrices, $n\ge 2$. It seems that the solution of linear ODE $$\dot x= Ax$$ can not be written in a closed form using $\int$, $A$, $x(0)$ ...
1
vote
1answer
410 views

New differintegral formula: how is it related to other differintegral formulas?

Lets define new differintegral formula as $$\mathbb{D}^s_xf(x)= \sum_{m=0}^{\infty} \binom {s}m \sum_{k=0}^m\binom mk(-1)^{m-k}f^{(k)}(x)$$ or, equivalently, $$\mathbb{D}^s_xf(x)= \lim_{t\to s} ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Examples of Bivariate Analytic, Globally Continuous Functions, whose Set of Zeros are Boundaries of Polygons

Are there any known examples of analytic, globally continuous functions $f(x,y): (x,y)\in\mathbb{R}\times\mathbb{R}\rightarrow\mathbb{R}$ such that $$f(x,y)\lt 0\Leftrightarrow ...
65
votes
16answers
14k views

Why is differentiating mechanics and integration art?

It is often said that "Differentiation is mechanics, integration is art." We have more or less simple rules in one direction but not in the other (e.g. product rule/simple <-> integration by ...
72
votes
24answers
19k views

What is convolution intuitively?

If random variable $X$ has a probability distribution of $f(x)$ and random variable $Y$ has a probability distribution $g(x)$ then $(f*g)(x)$, the convolution of $f$ and $g$, is the probability ...
58
votes
4answers
7k views

Does the inverse function theorem hold for everywhere differentiable maps?

(This question was posed to me by a colleague; I was unable to answer it, so am posing it here instead.) Let $f: {\bf R}^n \to {\bf R}^n$ be an everywhere differentiable map, and suppose that at each ...
57
votes
7answers
4k views

Is $ \sum\limits_{n=0}^\infty x^n / \sqrt{n!} $ positive?

Is $$ \sum_{n=0}^\infty {x^n \over \sqrt{n!}} > 0 $$ for all real $x$? (I think it is.) If so, how would one prove this? (To confirm: This is the power series for $e^x$, except with the ...
33
votes
16answers
4k views

How helpful is non-standard analysis?

So, I can understand how non-standard analysis is better than standard analysis in that some proofs become simplified, and infinitesimals are somehow more intuitive to grasp than epsilon-delta ...
52
votes
1answer
2k views

A hard integral identity on MATH.SE

The following identity on MATH.SE $$\int_0^{1}\arctan\left(\frac{\mathrm{arctanh}\ x-\arctan{x}}{\pi+\mathrm{arctanh}\ x-\arctan{x}}\right)\frac{dx}{x}=\frac{\pi}{8}\log\frac{\pi^2}{8}$$ seems to be ...
19
votes
11answers
13k views

Why is the gradient normal?

This is a somewhat long discussion so bear with me. There is a theorem that I have always been curious about from an intuitive standpoint. This is an issue that has been glossed over in most ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Which differential equations allow for a variational formulation?

Many ODE's and PDE's arising in nature have a variational formulation. An example of what I mean is the following. Classical motions are solutions $q(t)$ to Lagrange's equation $$ ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

Which functions of one variable are derivatives ?

This is motivated by this recent MO question. Is there a complete characterization of those functions $f:(a,b)\rightarrow\mathbb R$ that are pointwise derivative of some everywhere differentiable ...
27
votes
7answers
2k views

How should an analytic number theorist look at Bessel functions?

(And a related question: Where should an analytic number theorist learn about Bessel functions?) Bessel functions occur quite frequently in analytic number theory. One example, Corollary 4.7 of ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Integral representation of higher order derivatives

I'm quite curious about the following phenomena, that still puzzle me although I have a proof, and I'd be really glad if someone may shred some light, showing an interpretation or a generalization. I ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Irrationality of pi*e, pi^pi and e^(pi^2)

What is known about irrationality of $\pi e$, $\pi^\pi$ and $e^{\pi^2}$?
25
votes
2answers
1k views

Geometric interpretation of the half-derivative?

For $f(x)=x$, the half-derivative of $f$ is $$\frac{d^{\frac{1}{2}}}{dx^{\frac{1}{2}}} x = 2 \sqrt{\frac{x}{\pi}} \;.$$ Is there some geometric interpretation of (Q1) this specific derivative, and, ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

What examples of distributions should I keep in mind?

I'm learning a bit about the theory of distributions. What examples of distributions will help me develop good intuition? Definitions: Let $U$ be an open subset of $\mathbb{R}^n$. Write ...
18
votes
0answers
2k views

Why do polytopes pop up in Lagrange inversion?

I'd be interested in hearing people's viewpoints on this. Looking for an intuitive perspective. See Wikipedia for descriptions of polytopes and the Lagrange inversion theorem/formula (LIF) for ...
18
votes
0answers
1k views

Trigonometry related to Rogers--Ramanujan identities

For integers $n\ge2$ and $k\ge2$, fix the notation $$ [m]=\sin\frac{\pi m}{nk+1} \quad\text{and}\quad [m]!=[1][2]\dots[m], \qquad m\in\mathbb Z_{>0}. $$ Consider the following trigonometric ...
7
votes
17answers
13k views

Text for an introductory Real Analysis course.

Any suggestions on a good text to use for teaching an introductory Real Analysis course? Specifically what have you found to be useful about the approach taken in specific texts?
36
votes
2answers
2k views

Alternating sum of square roots of binomial coefficients

Let $$ c_n = \sum_{r=0}^n (-1)^r \sqrt{\binom{n}{r}}. $$ It is clear that $c_n = 0$ if $n$ is odd. Remarkably, it appears that despite the huge positive and negative contributions in the sum ...
16
votes
8answers
2k views

Function with range equal to whole reals on every open set

There is an example of a function that is unbounded on every open set. Just take $f(n/m) = m$ for coprime $n$ and $m$ and $f(irrational) = 0$. I want to generalize this in a way to get a function ...
20
votes
1answer
744 views

Are the only local minima of $\angle(v, Av)$ the eigenvectors?

Let $A$ be an invertible $n \times n$ complex matrix. For $v \in \mathbb{CP}^{n-1}$, define $$d(v) = \frac{|\langle A \tilde{v}, \tilde{v} \rangle |^2}{ \langle A \tilde{v}, A \tilde{v} \rangle ...
11
votes
7answers
6k views

Does the exponential function have a square root?

(asked by Nathaniel Hellerstein on the Q&A board at JMM) Is there a "half-exponential" function h(x) such that h(h(x))=ex? Is it unique? Is it analytic? Related question: Is there an invertible ...
10
votes
5answers
794 views

Can always a family of symmetric real matrices depending smoothly on a real parameter be diagonalized by smooth similarity transformations?

This question is related to another question, but it is definitely not the same. Is it always possible to diagonalize (at least locally around each point) a family of symmetric real matrices $A(t)$ ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Do these properties characterize differentiation?

Let $L: C^\infty(\mathbb{R}) \to C^\infty(\mathbb{R})$ be a linear operator which satisfies: $L(1) = 0$ $L(x) = 1$ $L(f \cdot g) = f \cdot L(g) + g \cdot L(f)$ Is $L$ necessarily the derivative? ...
16
votes
3answers
991 views

The Bruss-Yor conjecture about an iterated integral

Is the sequence $$w_n=n! \int_0^{1/2} \int_{x_1}^{2/3} \cdots\int_{x_{n-2}}^{\frac{n-1}{n}} \int_{\frac{n}{n+1}}^1 dx_n dx_{n-1} \cdots dx_1$$ increasing for $n\ge 3$? This is a conjecture of F. ...
12
votes
11answers
2k views

Applications of Measure, Integration and Banach Spaces to Combinatorics

I'm going to be teaching a Master's level analysis course(measure theory, Lebesgue integration, Banach and Hilbert spaces, and if there's time, some spectral or PDE stuff) in the fall. My problem is ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Extensional theorems mostly used intensionally

Some theorems are stated and proved extensionally, but in practice are almost always used intensionally. Let me give an example to make this clear -- integration by parts: $$ \int_a^b f(x)g'(x)ds = ...
11
votes
2answers
503 views

Independence of Leibniz rule and locality from other properties of the derivative?

The following is meant to be an axiomatization of differential calculus of a single variable. To avoid complications, let's say that $f$, $g$, $f'$, and $g'$ are smooth functions from $\mathbb{R}$ to ...
6
votes
2answers
898 views

Existence/Uniqueness of solutions to quasi-Lipschitz ODEs

Would the Picard–Lindelöf theorem still be true if the requirement that f be Lipschitz continuous in y was replaced with the requirement that f be almost Lipschitz in y? If not, are there any moduli ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

What does the σ in σ-algebra stand for?

I was tutoring someone in analysis and realized I have no idea where this notation comes from (or analogous terms: σ-additive, σ-ring, etc). I would like to know why the letter σ was chosen. I can't ...
12
votes
1answer
938 views

Why is the functional equation of the Riemann zeta function equivalent to the Poisson summation formula?

We can derive from the Poisson summation formula the modularity of the Theta function, which results in the functional equation. In his book on the Riemann Zeta function, Patterson mentions also that ...
6
votes
9answers
3k views

Would Euler's proofs get published in a modern math Journal, especially considering his treatment of the Infinite?

I was wondering how mathematicians of today would treat, for example, Euler's proof of zeta(2). In William Dunham's book 'Journey through Genius' ( ...
14
votes
2answers
854 views

Generalization of Darboux's Theorem

Darboux's Theorem. If $f:[a,b]\to\mathbb R$ is differentiable and $f'(a)<\xi<f'(b)$, then there exists a $c\in (a,b)$, such that $\,f'(c)=\xi$. Does any of the following generalizations Let ...
14
votes
0answers
616 views

Almost everywhere differentiability for a class of functions on $\mathbb{R}^2$

A while ago, I came across the following problem, which I was not able to resolve one way or the other. Let $f,g\colon\mathbb{R}^2\to\mathbb{R}$ be continuous functions such that $f(t,x)$ and ...
8
votes
7answers
792 views

Classic applications of Baire category theorem

I've seen Baire category theorem used to prove existence of objects with certain properties. But it seems there is another class of interesting applications of Baire category theorem that I have yet ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Conditions for smooth dependence of the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of a matrix on a set of parameters

Let $A\in\mathcal M_n$ be an $n\times n$ real [symmetric] matrix which depends smoothly on a [finite] set of parameters, $A=A(\xi_1,\ldots,\xi_k)$. We can view it as a smooth function $A:\mathbb ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Geometric group theory and analysis

Geometric group theory is mainly concerned with topological and geometric properties of groups, spaces on which they act etc., so the ideas employed in GGT are mainly algebraic/geometric/topological. ...
6
votes
1answer
544 views

“Vector bundle” with non-smoothly varying transition functions

I'm working my way through Lang's Fundamentals of Differential Geometry, and when he introduces vector bundles, he states that for finite dimensional bundles, the third axiom is redundant. I'm hoping ...
4
votes
1answer
627 views

What is symmetry group of non-linear equation?

I am not very sure if this is a proper question, but I'm trying to investigate what the area of math can offer in researching the differential equation in polar coordinates: $r'^2+r^2=(kt)^2$, ...
12
votes
8answers
2k views

Evaluation of the following series… $S = 1/(2\times3) + 1/(5\times6) + 1/(7\times8) + 1/(10\times11) + … $

EDIT, Will Jagy, December 8, 2010: to anyone considering working on this, please first see http://tea.mathoverflow.net/discussion/817/could-a-few-moderators-please-remove-one-of-my-questions/#Item_9 ...
10
votes
2answers
284 views

Is it possible to have the set $f^{-1}(\lbrace x \rbrace)$ perfect for every $x$?

There are examples of functions $f \colon [0,1] \longrightarrow [0,1]$ such that for any $\alpha $, $f^{-1}(\lbrace \alpha \rbrace)$ is uncountable. My favorite example is $$f(r) = \limsup_n ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why pi-systems and Dynkin/lambda systems? On the relative merits of approaches in measure theory.

What is the point of $\pi$-systems and $\mathcal{D}$ / Dynkin / $\lambda$-systems? I am an analyst in the process of consolidating my measure theory knowledge before moving on to ...