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Assume $\{a_k\}_{k\ge1}$ is a real sequence such that $u(x) = \sum_{k\ge 1}a_k\sin(kx)$ is a smooth function, and for every $x \in [-\pi, \pi]$ $$\left(\sum_{k\ge 1}\frac{a_k}{k}\sin(kx)\right)\left(\sum_{k\ge1}a_k\cdot k\cos(kx)\right) = \left(\sum_{k\ge1}a_k\sin(kx)\right)\left(\sum_{k\ge1}a_k\cos(kx)\right).$$ What can we say about $\{a_k\}$? Can we show that there exists at most one term of $a_k$ that is nonzero?

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  • $\begingroup$ Your sums should be surrounded by parentheses, right? (I initially read them as nested sums, which doesn't make much sense.) $\endgroup$ – LSpice Feb 13 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, this says that $fg'=gf'$ (defining $f,g$ as the two series with the sines), so $(f/g)'=0$ and thus also $a_k/k=ca_k$, so $a_k=0$ for $k>1$. (There are probably other ways of doing it too.) $\endgroup$ – Christian Remling Feb 13 at 4:32
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your comment, Christian. This is the first intuition to this question, but the problem is that $g$ may have strange zero sets even the function is smooth. The fraction $f/g$ is not always defined. So we cannot use this to prove the argument rigorously. $\endgroup$ – Cohen Lu Feb 13 at 4:56
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    $\begingroup$ I think we need to be careful about whether $f/g$ is defined. For example, let $f = x\exp(-\frac{1}{x^2})$. Define the function $g$ as $g = f$when $x\ge 0$, $g = -f$ when $x < 0$. One can check that both $f$ and $g$ are smooth and $f'g = fg'$. But $f/g$ is not a constant in this situation. The problem is that $x = 0$ is a zero point of infinite order. Thus if $g$ has weird zero set, $f/g$ may have strange behaviour. $\endgroup$ – Cohen Lu Feb 13 at 6:30
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, you are right, if both $f$ and $g$ are analytic, then everything should be ok. The question is what happens if we only assume smoothness of $f$ and $g$. I think I should modify the question to make it more clear. $\endgroup$ – Cohen Lu Feb 14 at 3:18

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