Questions tagged [ca.classical-analysis-and-odes]

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

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164
votes
19answers
28k 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 ...
159
votes
33answers
60k 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 ...
129
votes
17answers
29k 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 parts/...
123
votes
6answers
11k views

Source and context of $\frac{22}{7} - \pi = \int_0^1 (x-x^2)^4 dx/(1+x^2)$?

Possibly the most striking proof of Archimedes's inequality $\pi < 22/7$ is an integral formula for the difference: $$ \frac{22}{7} - \pi = \int_0^1 (x-x^2)^4 \frac{dx}{1+x^2}, $$ where the ...
110
votes
5answers
20k 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 ...
102
votes
12answers
22k 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 ...
101
votes
1answer
8k views

Dropping three bodies

Consider the usual three-body problem with Newtonian $1/r^2$ force between masses. Let the three masses start off at rest, and not collinear. Then they will become collinear a finite time ...
97
votes
27answers
33k views

Why should one still teach Riemann integration?

In the introduction to chapter VIII of Dieudonné's Foundations of Modern Analysis (Volume 1 of his 13-volume Treatise on Analysis), he makes the following argument: Finally, the reader will ...
94
votes
4answers
24k views

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

Ten years ago, when I studied in 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 ...
94
votes
8answers
9k 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 ...
85
votes
2answers
3k views

History of $\frac d{dt}\tan^{-1}(t)=\frac 1{1+t^2}$

Let $\theta = \tan^{-1}(t)$. Nowadays it is taught: 1º that $$ \frac{d\theta}{dt} = \frac 1{dt\,/\,d\theta} = \frac 1{1+t^2}, \tag1 $$ 2º that, via the fundamental theorem of calculus, this is ...
82
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26answers
12k views

Probabilistic Proofs of Analytic Facts

What are some interesting examples of probabilistic reasoning to establish results that would traditionally be considered analysis? What I mean by "probabilistic reasoning" is that the approach should ...
81
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2answers
7k views

Is it possible to express $\int\sqrt{x+\sqrt{x+\sqrt{x+1}}}dx$ in elementary functions?

I asked a question at Math.SE last year and later offered a bounty for it, but it remains unsolved even in the simplest case. So I finally decided to repost this case here: Is it possible to express ...
79
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15answers
12k 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 ...
73
votes
4answers
6k views

Note rejected from arXiv: what to do next?

Short version: A note of mine was rejected by the arXiv moderation (something I didn't even know was possible) on account of being “unrefereeable”. The moderation process provides absolutely no ...
71
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4answers
7k views

Nonexistence of boundary between convergent and divergent series?

The following is a FAQ that I sometimes get asked, and it occurred to me that I do not have an answer that I am completely satisfied with. In Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis, following ...
71
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
68
votes
12answers
55k views

Why is the gradient normal?

This is a somewhat long discussion so please bear with me. There is a theorem that I have always been curious about from an intuitive standpoint and that has been glossed over in most textbooks I ...
63
votes
9answers
13k views

Why do functions in complex analysis behave so well? (as opposed to functions in real analysis)

Complex analytic functions show rigid behavior while real-valued smooth functions are flexible. Why is this the case?
63
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9answers
5k views

Taking “Zooming in on a point of a graph” seriously

In calculus classes it is sometimes said that the tangent line to a curve at a point is the line that we get by "zooming in" on that point with an infinitely powerful microscope. This explanation ...
62
votes
3answers
9k views

Is this differential identity known?

Recently I discovered the differential identity $$ \frac{d^{k+1}}{dx^{k+1}} (1+x^2)^{k/2} = \frac{(1 \times 3 \times \dots \times k)^2}{(1+x^2)^{(k+2)/2}}$$ valid for any odd natural number $k$; for ...
57
votes
7answers
3k views

How closed-form conjectures are made?

Recently I posted a conjecture at Math.SE: $$\int_0^\infty\ln\frac{J_\mu(x)^2+Y_\mu(x)^2}{J_\nu(x)^2+Y_\nu(x)^2}\mathrm dx\stackrel{?}{=}\frac{\pi}{2}(\mu^2-\nu^2),$$ where $J_\mu(x)$ and $Y_\mu(x)$ ...
56
votes
1answer
3k views

Every real function has a dense set on which its restriction is continuous

The title says it all: if $f\colon \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$ is any real function, there exists a dense subset $D$ of $\mathbb{R}$ such that $f|_D$ is continuous. Or so I'm told, but this leaves me ...
55
votes
2answers
8k views

Is there a category structure one can place on measure spaces so that category-theoretic products exist?

The usual category of measure spaces consists of objects $(X, \mathcal{B}_X, \mu_X)$, where $X$ is a space, $\mathcal{B}_X$ is a $\sigma$-algebra on $X$, and $\mu_X$ is a measure on $X$, and measure ...
54
votes
16answers
9k 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 ...
53
votes
1answer
3k views

Square root of dirac delta function

Is there a measurable function $ f:\mathbb{R}\to \mathbb{R}^+ $ so that $ f*f(x)=1 $ for all $ x\in \mathbb{R} $, i.e $$\int\limits_{-\infty}^{\infty} f(t)f(x-t) dt=1 $$ for all $ x\in \mathbb{R} $.
52
votes
17answers
11k views

Atiyah-Singer index theorem

Every year or so I make an attempt to "really" learn the Atiyah-Singer index theorem. I always find that I give up because my analysis background is too weak -- most of the sources spend a lot of ...
50
votes
6answers
2k views

Why does $d^n \exp(-x-x^{-1})/(dx)^n$ only have $n$ positive real zeroes?

Set $f(x) = \exp(-x-x^{-1})$. An easy induction shows that $$\frac{d^n}{(dx)^n} f(x) = \phi_n(x^{-1}) f(x)$$ for $\phi_n$ a polynomial of degree $2n$. Clearly, the roots of $\phi_n(x^{-1})$ are the ...
49
votes
22answers
16k views

Interesting Calculus Questions/Exercises

I am in the process of redesigning the calculus course that I have taught five or six times. What I would like to know is if anyone has some really good examples or exercises that I could either do ...
49
votes
15answers
16k views

What is the Implicit Function Theorem good for?

What are some applications of the Implicit Function Theorem in calculus? The only applications I can think of are: the result that the solution space of a non-degenerate system of equations ...
49
votes
13answers
64k views

Good differential equations text for undergraduates who want to become pure mathematicians

Alright, so I have been taking a while to soak in as much advanced mathematics as an undergraduate as possible, taking courses in algebra, topology, complex analysis (a less rigorous undergraduate ...
49
votes
7answers
4k views

On an example of an eventually oscillating function

For $x\in(0,1)$, put $$f(x):=\sum_{n=0}^{\infty}(-1)^{n}x^{2^{n}}.$$ This function possesses interesting properties. It grows monotonically from $0$ up to certain point. Then it starts to oscillate ...
48
votes
2answers
2k views

Is a function with nowhere vanishing derivatives analytic?

My question is the following: Let $f\in C^\infty(a,b)$, such that $f^{(n)}(x)\ne 0$, for every $n\in\mathbb N$, and every $x\in (a,b)$. Does that imply that $f$ is real analytic? EDIT. According to a ...
47
votes
8answers
24k views

Inverse gamma function?

This is an analysis question I remember thinking about in high school. Reading some of the other topics here reminded me of this, and I'd like to hear other people's solutions to this. We have the ...
46
votes
9answers
4k 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 $C_c^\infty(...
46
votes
9answers
4k views

Undergraduate ODE textbook following Rota

I imagine many people are familiar with the extremely entertaining article "Ten Lessons I Wish I Had Learned Before I Started Teaching Differential Equations" by Gian-Carlo Rota. (If you're not, do ...
45
votes
7answers
10k views

Why are there so many smooth functions?

I do understand that my question might seem a little bit ignorant, but I thought about it a lot and still can't wrap my head around it. Analycity imposes very strong conditions on a map, from ...
45
votes
8answers
6k views

Does the formal power series solution to $f(f(x))= \sin( x) $ converge?

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 ...
44
votes
7answers
3k views

The missing link: an inequality

I've been working on a project and proved a few relevant results, but got stuck on one tricky problem: Conjecture. If $2\leq n\in\mathbb{N}$ and $0<x<1$ is a real number, then $$F_n(x)=\...
44
votes
7answers
18k views

Learning roadmap for harmonic analysis

In short, I am interested to know of the various approaches one could take to learn modern harmonic analysis in depth. However, the question deserves additional details. Currently, I am reading Loukas ...
43
votes
3answers
5k views

Could the Riemann zeta function be a solution for a known differential equation?

Riemann zeta function is a function of complex variable $s$ that analytically continous the sum of Dirichlet series .defined as :$$\zeta(s)=\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\displaystyle \frac{1}{n^s} $$ for when ...
43
votes
1answer
1k views

Microwaving Cubes

First a little background. Microwaves do not heat uniformly. To help overcome this, your food is rotated, however this is not usually sufficient to produce totally uniform heating. Informally, this is ...
42
votes
11answers
19k views

Does the exponential function have a (compositional) square root?

(asked by Nathaniel Hellerstein on the Q&A board at JMM) Is there a "half-exponential" function $h(x)$ such that $h(h(x))=e^x$? Is it unique? Is it analytic? Related question: Is there an ...
42
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
42
votes
3answers
10k views

The unreasonable effectiveness of Pade approximation

I am trying to get an intuitive feel for why the Pade approximation works so well. Given a truncated Taylor/Maclaurin series it "extrapolates" it beyond the radius of convergence. But what I can't ...
42
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there a systematic method for differentiating under the integral sign?

This MO question by Tim Gowers reminded me of a question I've wondered about for some time. In the delightful book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Feynman praises the technique of differentiating ...
41
votes
3answers
3k views

On which regions can Green's theorem not be applied?

In elementary calculus texts, Green's theorem is proved for regions enclosed by piecewise smooth, simple closed curves (and by extension, finite unions of such regions), including regions that are not ...
40
votes
2answers
13k views

Irrationality of $ \pi e, \pi^{\pi}$ and $e^{\pi^2}$

What is known about irrationality of $\pi e$, $\pi^\pi$ and $e^{\pi^2}$?
40
votes
7answers
13k views

Way to memorize relations between the Sobolev spaces?

Consider the Sobolev spaces $W^{k,p}(\Omega)$ with a bounded domain $\Omega$ in n-dimensional Euclidean space. When facing the different embedding theorems for the first time, one can certainly feel ...
39
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...

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