# Questions tagged [real-analysis]

Real-valued functions of real variable, analytic properties of functions and sequences, limits, continuity, smoothness of these.

2,703
questions

**187**

votes

**10**answers

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### If $f$ is infinitely differentiable then $f$ coincides with a polynomial

Let $f$ be an infinitely differentiable function on $[0,1]$ and suppose that for each $x \in [0,1]$ there is an integer $n \in \mathbb{N}$ such that $f^{(n)}(x)=0$. Then does $f$ coincide on $[0,1]$ ...

**186**

votes

**11**answers

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### Have any long-suspected irrational numbers turned out to be rational?

The history of proving numbers irrational is full of interesting stories, from the ancient proofs for $\sqrt{2}$, to Lambert's irrationality proof for $\pi$, to Roger Apéry's surprise demonstration ...

**120**

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/...

**114**

votes

**3**answers

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### Does there exist a bijection of $\mathbb{R}^n$ to itself such that the forward map is connected but the inverse is not?

Let $(X,\tau), (Y,\sigma)$ be two topological spaces. We say that a map $f: \mathcal{P}(X)\to \mathcal{P}(Y)$ between their power sets is connected if for every $S\subset X$ connected, $f(S)\subset Y$ ...

**95**

votes

**5**answers

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### integral of a “sin-omial” coefficients=binomial

I find the following averaged-integral amusing and intriguing, to say the least. Is there any proof?
For any pair of integers $n\geq k\geq0$, we have
$$\frac1{\pi}\int_0^{\pi}\frac{\sin^n(x)}{\...

**90**

votes

**9**answers

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### solving $f(f(x))=g(x)$

This question is of course inspired by the question How to solve f(f(x))=cosx
and Joel David Hamkins' answer, which somehow gives a formal trick for solving equations of the form $f(f(x))=g(x)$ on a ...

**89**

votes

**32**answers

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### Why do we teach calculus students the derivative as a limit?

I'm not teaching calculus right now, but I talk to someone who does, and the question that came up is why emphasize the $h \to 0$ definition of a derivative to calculus students?
Something a teacher ...

**81**

votes

**4**answers

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### Is the series $\sum_n|\sin n|^n/n$ convergent?

Problem. Is the series $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{|\sin(n)|^n}n$$convergent?
(The problem was posed on 22.06.2017 by Ph D students of H.Steinhaus Center of Wroclaw Polytechnica. The promised prize for ...

**77**

votes

**7**answers

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### If I exchange infinitely many digits of $\pi$ and $e$, are the two resulting numbers transcendental?

If I swap the digits of $\pi$ and $e$ in infinitely many places, I get two new numbers. Are these two numbers transcendental?

**75**

votes

**20**answers

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### Proofs of the uncountability of the reals.

Recently, I learnt in my analysis class the proof of the uncountability of the reals via the Nested Interval Theorem. At first, I was excited to see a variant proof (as it did not use the diagonal ...

**73**

votes

**8**answers

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### Why is Lebesgue integration taught using positive and negative parts of functions?

Background: When I first took measure theory/integration, I was bothered by the idea that the integral of a real-valued function w.r.t. a measure was defined first for nonnegative functions and only ...

**69**

votes

**5**answers

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### Does pointwise convergence imply uniform convergence on a large subset?

Suppose $f_n$ is a sequence of real valued functions on $[0,1]$ which converges pointwise to zero.
Is there an uncountable subset $A$ of $[0,1]$ so that $f_n$ converges uniformly on $A$?
Is there a ...

**64**

votes

**15**answers

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### f(f(x))=exp(x)-1 and other functions “just in the middle” between linear and exponential

The question is about the function f(x) so that f(f(x))=exp (x)-1.
The question is open ended and it was discussed quite recently in the comment thread in Aaronson's blog here http://scottaaronson....

**64**

votes

**2**answers

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### Continuous maps which send intervals of $\mathbb{R}$ to convex subsets of $\mathbb{R}^2$

Let $f : \mathbb{R} \longrightarrow \mathbb{R}^2$ be a continuous map which sends any interval $I \subseteq \mathbb{R}$ to a convex subset $f(I)$ of $\mathbb{R}^2$. Is it true that there must be a ...

**62**

votes

**9**answers

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### 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?

**60**

votes

**9**answers

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### 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 ...

**55**

votes

**1**answer

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### 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 ...

**52**

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} $.

**50**

votes

**3**answers

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### Does every real function have this weak continuity property?

In my research I came across the following question :
Is it true that for every real function $f:\mathbb{R}\to\mathbb{R}$, there exists a real sequence $(x_n)_n$, taking infinitely many values, ...

**50**

votes

**4**answers

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### When has the Borel-Cantelli heuristic been wrong?

The Borel-Cantelli lemma is very frequently used to give a heuristic for whether or not certain statements in number theory are true.
For example, it gives some evidence that there are finitely many ...

**50**

votes

**6**answers

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### 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 ...

**48**

votes

**2**answers

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### 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

**6**answers

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### Why isn't integral defined as the area under the graph of function?

In order to define Lebesgue integral, we have to develop some measure theory. This takes some effort in the classroom, after which we need additional effort of defining Lebesgue integral (which also ...

**45**

votes

**4**answers

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### Why could Mertens not prove the prime number theorem?

We know that
$$
\sum_{n \le x}\frac{1}{n\ln n} = \ln\ln x + c_1 + O(1/x)
$$
where $c_1$ is a constant. Again Mertens' theorem says that the primes $p$ satisfy
$$
\sum_{p \le x}\frac{1}{p} = \ln\ln ...

**44**

votes

**7**answers

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### 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)=\...

**43**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### Two (probably) equal real numbers which are not proved to be equal?

Can someone give me a nice example of two computable real numbers which are believed but not proved to be equal?
I never really understood the assertion that "the reals do not have decidable equality"...

**43**

votes

**2**answers

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### “Closed-form” functions with half-exponential growth

Let's call a function f:N→N half-exponential if there exist constants 1<c<d such that for all sufficiently large n,
cn < f(f(n)) < dn.
Then my question is this: can we prove that no ...

**42**

votes

**7**answers

3k 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 ...

**42**

votes

**4**answers

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### Smooth functions for which $f(x)$ is rational if and only if $x$ is rational

A friend of mine introduced me to the following question: Does there exist a smooth function $f: \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$, ($f \in C^\infty$), such that $f$ maps rationals to rationals and ...

**41**

votes

**2**answers

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### Is the following identity true?

Calculation suggests the following identity:
$$
\lim_{n\to \infty}\sum_{k=1}^{n}\frac{(-1)^k}{k}\sum_{j=1}^k\frac{1}{2j-1}=\frac{1-\sqrt{5}}{2}.
$$
I have verified this identity for $n$ up to $5000$ ...

**40**

votes

**7**answers

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### Are some numbers more irrational than others?

Some irrational numbers are transcendental, which makes them in some sense "more irrational" than algebraic numbers. There are also numbers, such as the golden ratio $\varphi$, which are poorly ...

**40**

votes

**3**answers

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### The Hardy Z-function and failure of the Riemann hypothesis

David Feldman asked whether it would be reasonable for the Riemann hypothesis to be false, but for the Riemann zeta function to only have finitely many zeros off the critical line. I very rashly ...

**39**

votes

**6**answers

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### “Long-standing conjectures in analysis … often turn out to be false”

The title is a quote from a Jim Holt article entitled, "The Riemann zeta conjecture and the laughter of the primes" (p. 47).1
His example of a "long-standing conjecture" is the Riemann hypothesis,...

**39**

votes

**2**answers

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### Everywhere differentiable function that is nowhere monotonic

It is well known that there are functions $f \colon \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$ that are everywhere continuous but nowhere monotonic (i.e. the restriction of $f$ to any non-trivial interval $[a,b]$ is ...

**38**

votes

**4**answers

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### Integrability of derivatives

Is there a (preferably simple) example of a function $f:(a,b)\to \mathbb{R}$ which is everywhere differentiable, such that $f'$ is not Riemann integrable?
I ask for pedagogical reasons. Results in ...

**36**

votes

**9**answers

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### Is square of Delta function defined somewhere?

Hello, every one. I am wondering whether any one knows that whether the square of Dirac Delta function is defined some where?
In the beginning, this question might look strange. But by restricting ...

**36**

votes

**2**answers

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### Square root of a positive $C^\infty$ function.

Suppose $f$ is a $C^\infty$ function from the reals to the reals that is never negative. Does it have a $C^\infty$ square root? Clearly the only problem points are those at which $f$ vanishes.

**35**

votes

**8**answers

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### Can Cantor set be the zero set of a continuous function?

More generally, can the zero set $V(f)$ of a continuous function $f : \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$ be nowhere dense and uncountable? What if $f$ is smooth?
Some days ago I discovered that in this proof ...

**35**

votes

**12**answers

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### Examples where existence is harder than evaluation

In expressions involving an infinite process (infinite sum, infinite sequence of nested radicals), sometimes the hardest part is proving the existence of a well-defined value. Consider, for example, ...

**35**

votes

**4**answers

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### Binomial again, and again

Let $\lceil a\rceil=$ the smallest integer $\geq a$, otherwise known as the ceiling function. When the arguments are real, interpret $\binom{a}b$ using the Euler's gamma function, $\Gamma$.
Recently, ...

**34**

votes

**19**answers

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### Interesting applications (in pure mathematics) of first-year calculus

What interesting applications are there for theorems or other results studied in first-year calculus courses?
A good example for such an application would be using a calculus theorem to prove a ...

**34**

votes

**4**answers

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### Function satisfying $f^{-1} =f'$

How many functions are there which are differentiable on $(0,\infty)$ and that satisfy the relation $f^{-1}=f'$?

**33**

votes

**1**answer

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### Is $π$ definable in $(\Bbb R,0,1,+,×,<,\exp)$?

(This question is originally from Math.SE, where it didn't receive any answers.)
Is there a first-order formula $\phi(x) $ with exactly one free variable $ x $ in the language of ordered fields ...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

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### Is $\sum_{k=1}^{n} \sin(k^2)$ bounded by a constant $M$?

I know $\sum_{k=1}^{n} \sin(k)$ is bounded by a constant. How about $\sum_{k=1}^{n} \sin(k^2)$?

**32**

votes

**11**answers

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### Continuous relations?

What might it mean for a relation $R\subset X\times Y$ to be continuous, where $X$ and $Y$ are topological spaces? In topology, category theory or in analysis? Is it possible, canonical, useful?
I ...

**32**

votes

**1**answer

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### For which maps $S^1\to S^1$ is the winding number defined?

There are two classes of maps $S^1\to S^1$ for which I know how to define the winding number:
• Continuous maps:
Using the unique path lifting property of the universal covering map $\mathbb R\to S^...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

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### An Entropy Inequality

Let $X,Y$ be probability measures on $\{1,2,\dots,n\}$, and set $K=\sum_i\sqrt{X(i)Y(i)}$ so that $Z:=\frac{1}{K}\sqrt{XY}$ is also a probability measure on $\{1,2,\dots,n\}$. How can we prove the ...

**32**

votes

**5**answers

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### Differentiable functions with discontinuous derivatives

For years I've taught my honors calculus students about functions like (the continuous extension of) $x^2 \sin 1/x$, and for just as many years I've told them that they won't encounter functions like ...

**31**

votes

**1**answer

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### Prove that there exists $n\in\mathbb{N}$ such that $f^{(n)}$ has at least n+1 zeros on $(-1,1)$

Let $f\in C^{\infty}(\mathbb{R},\mathbb{R})$ such that $f(x)=0$ on $\mathbb{R}\setminus (-1,1)$. Prove that there exists $n\in\mathbb{N}$ such that $f^{(n)}$ has at least $n+1$ zeros on $(-1,1)$
I ...

**30**

votes

**1**answer

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### What did Rolle prove when he proved Rolle's theorem?

Rolle published what we today call Rolle's theorem about 150 years before the arithmetization of the reals. Unfortunately this proof seems to have been buried in a long book [Rolle 1691] that I can't ...