# 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.

2,457
questions

**164**

votes

**19**answers

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### 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

**33**answers

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### 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

**17**answers

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### 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

**6**answers

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### 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

**5**answers

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### 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

**12**answers

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### 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

**1**answer

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

**27**answers

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

**4**answers

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### 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

**8**answers

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### 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

**2**answers

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### 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**

votes

**26**answers

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**

votes

**2**answers

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**

votes

**15**answers

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

**4**answers

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**

votes

**4**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**12**answers

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

**9**answers

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**

votes

**9**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**7**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**2**answers

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

**16**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**17**answers

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

**6**answers

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

**22**answers

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

**15**answers

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### 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

**13**answers

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

**7**answers

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

**2**answers

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

**8**answers

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

**9**answers

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

**9**answers

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

**7**answers

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

**8**answers

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

**7**answers

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

**7**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**1**answer

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

**11**answers

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

**2**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**3**answers

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

**2**answers

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

**7**answers

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### 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

**4**answers

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 ...