Questions on (ordinary) differential equations. For questions specifically concerning partial differential equations, use the (pde) tag.

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55
votes
4answers
70k views

Teenager solves Newton dynamics problem - where is the paper?

From Ottawa Citizen (and all over, really): An Indian-born teenager has won a research award for solving a mathematical problem first posed by Sir Isaac Newton more than 300 years ago that has ...
41
votes
15answers
6k views

Why learn to solve differential equations when computers can do it?

I'm getting started learning engineering math. I'm really interested in physics especially quantum mechanics, and I'm coming from a strong CS background. One question is haunting me. Why do I need ...
31
votes
4answers
884 views

Does a non-trivial solution exist for $f'(x)=f(f(x))$?

Does $f'(x)=f(f(x))$ have any solutions other than $f(x)=0$? I know it can't have any polynomial solutions. If $f$ has degree $n$, then $f(f(x))$ has degree $n^2$, while $f'(x)$ has degree $n-1$. I ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are mathematician so interested to find theory for solving partial differential equations but not for integral equation?

Why are mathematician so interested to find theory for solving partial differential equations (for example Navier-Stokes equation) but not for integral equations?
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Why isn't the 3 body problem solvable?

I'm new to this "integrable system" stuff, but from what I've read, if there are as many linearly independent constants of motion that are compatible with respect to the poisson brackets as degrees of ...
21
votes
8answers
2k views

What's so special about sine? (Concerning $y'' = -y$)

In an attempt to actually grok sine, I came across the $y''= -y$ definition. This is incredibly cool, but it leads me to a whole new series of questions. Sine seems pretty prevalent ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

please solve a 2013 th derivative question?

$ f(x) = 6x^7\sin^2(x^{1000}) e^{x^2} $ Find $ f^{(2013)}(0) $ A math forum friend suggest me to use big O symbol, however have no idea what that is, so how does that helping?
20
votes
2answers
401 views

When does $(uv)'=u'v'?$ [duplicate]

In any calculus course, one of the first thing we learn is that $(uv)'=u'v+v'u$ rather than the what I've written in the title. This got me wondering: when is this dream product rule true? There are ...
20
votes
2answers
539 views

How does one parameterize the surface formed by a *real paper* Möbius strip?

Here is a picture of a Möbius strip, made out of some thick green paper: I want to know either an explicit parametrization, or a description of a process to find the shape formed by this strip, as ...
20
votes
1answer
424 views

Scalar product and uniform convergence of polynomials

Given two functions $u$ and $v$, you can compute $(u|v) = \int_0^1 (u(t)'-u(t))(v(t)'-v(t)) \,\mathrm{d}t$. It resembles the scalar product $\int_{-1}^1 u(t)v(t) \,\mathrm{d}t$, which leads to ...
19
votes
4answers
789 views

What am I doing when I separate the variables of a differential equation?

I see an equation like this: $$y\frac{\textrm{d}y}{\textrm{d}x} = e^x$$ and solve it by "separating variables" like this: $$y\textrm{d}y = e^x\textrm{d}x$$ $$\int y\textrm{d}y = \int ...
19
votes
1answer
622 views

Was Euler right?

We have a differential equation $$ y + y' = f(x) $$ and assume $f$ is infinitely differentiable. And we want to find particular solution. Then,I set $$ y_p = f(x)-f'(x)+f''(x)...., $$ i.e., ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

If $f''(x)+f(x)>0$ and $f(x)>0$ $\forall x\in(a,b)$; $f(a)=f(b)=0$; prove that $b-a>\pi$.

Please help me to solve this question: Suppose $f:[a,b] \to \Bbb R$ satisfies: $f''(x)+f(x)>0$ and $f(x)>0$ for all $x\in(a ,b)$; $f(a)=f(b)=0$. Prove that $b-a>\pi$. ...
18
votes
1answer
436 views

Ramanujan style nested differential Equation

So I was exploring some math the other day... and I came across the following neat identity: Given $y$ is a function of $x$ ($y(x)$) and $$ y = 1 + \frac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d}x} \left(1 + ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

“How long 'til we get there?” Road trip puzzle

Road trips can be fun, but they often appear to go slower the closer you get to your destination. I thought up this puzzle while on a recent trip. Thought it would be good food for thought. Curious ...
17
votes
3answers
588 views

Find $f$ where $f'(x) = f(1+x)$

Let $f \colon \mathbb{R} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ be a smooth function such that $$f'(x) = f(1+x)$$ How can we find the general form of $f$? I thought of some differential equations, but not sure how ...
17
votes
1answer
352 views

Addition formula for $f_n(x+y)$ in closed form.

$n$ is a positive integer. $$f_n(x)^n+\left(\frac{df_n(x)}{dx}\right)^n=1$$ $f_n(0)=0$, $f_n'(0)=1$ then I am looking for the addition formula for $f_n(x+y)$ in closed form. if $n=1$ then ...
16
votes
3answers
4k views

Differential equations and Fourier and Laplace transforms

Why do both the Fourier transform and the Laplace transform appear in the study of differential equations? I've never understood why there are some situations where the Fourier transform is used and ...
16
votes
1answer
666 views

When does gradient flow not converge?

I've been thinking about gradient flows in the context of Morse theory, where we take a differentiable-enough function $f$ on some space (for now let's say a compact Riemannian manifold $M$) and use ...
16
votes
0answers
84 views

Solving Special Function Equations Using Lie Symmetries

The lie group + representation theory approach to special functions & how they solve the ode's arising in physics is absolutely amazing. I've given an example of it's power below on Bessel's ...
15
votes
1answer
495 views

How to make a smart guess for this ODE

I am dealing with a strange problem currently, we have a differential equation $$y(x)^2 = \pm \sqrt{-A \cos(x) - B \cos^2(x)+y'(x)-C},$$ where $C, A$ and $B $ are parameters. (The case that either ...
15
votes
5answers
627 views

history of the double root solution of $ay''+by'+cy=0$

Motivation: It is a well-known fact that $ay''+by'+cy=0$ has solutions which are found from substituting the ansatz $y=e^{\lambda t}$ into the DEqn. It turns out that we replace the calculus problem ...
15
votes
2answers
243 views

To solve $ \dfrac {dy}{dx}=\dfrac 1{\sqrt{x^2+y^2}}$

How do we solve the differential equation $ \dfrac {dy}{dx}=\dfrac 1{\sqrt{x^2+y^2}}$ ?
15
votes
1answer
660 views

Stochastic interpretation of Einstein Equations

Einsteins theory of gravitation, general relativity, is a purely geometric theory. In a recent question I wanted to know what the relation of Brownian Motion to the Helmholtz equation is and got a ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Solving Differential Functional Equation $f(2x)=2f(x)f'(x)$

Find all functions satisfying $f(2x)=2f'(x)f(x)$ Under given condition, can't we find explicit solutions?
14
votes
8answers
3k views

Proof for exact differential equations shortcut?

Today in my math class, we learned about exact differential equations. During class, our teacher first taught us the accepted way to solve exact equations, but then, told us of a shortcut that one of ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

If $f(x)=f'(x)+f''(x)$ then show that $f(x)=0$

A real-valued function $f$ which is infinitely differentiable on $[a.b]$ has the following properties: $f(a)=f(b)=0$ $f(x)=f'(x)+f''(x)$ $\forall x \in [a,b]$ Show ...
13
votes
4answers
391 views

Find a continuous function $f$ that satisfies…

Find a continuous function $f$ that satisfies $$ f(x) = 1 + \frac{1}{x}\int_1^x f(t) \ dt $$ Note: I tried differentiating with respect to $x$ to get an ODE but you get one that contains integrals - ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Can this gravitational field differential equation be solved, or does it not show what I intended?

This is the equation I'm having trouble with: $G \frac{M m}{r^2} = m \frac{d^2 r}{dt^2}$ That's the non-vector form of the universal law of gravitation on the left and Newton's second law of motion ...
13
votes
2answers
201 views

If $f(x) + f'(x) + f''(x) \to A$ as $x \to \infty$, then show that $f(x) \to A$ as $x \to \infty$

This problem is an extension to the simpler problem which deals with $f(x) + f'(x) \to A$ as $x \to \infty$ (see problem 2 on my blog). If $f$ is twice continuously differentiable in some interval ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Solving ODEs: The Frobenius Method, worked examples

I find the Frobenius Method quite beautiful, and I would like to be able to apply it. In particular there are three questions in my text book that I have attempted. In each question my limited ...
13
votes
1answer
441 views

Hilbert's 19th problem: Why do we care?

Hilbert's 19th problem asks: Are the solutions of regular problems in the calculus of variations always necessarily analytic? This was proven to be true (through the work of Sergei Bernstein, ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Functions that are their Own nth Derivatives for Real n

Consider (non-trivial) functions that are their own nth derivatives. For instance $\frac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d}x} e^x = e^x$ $\frac{\mathrm{d}^2}{\mathrm{d}x^2} e^{-x} = e^{-x}$ ...
12
votes
3answers
639 views

When do the Freshman's dream product and quotient rules for differentiation hold?

This is motivated by looking at the calculus exams of some of my undergraduate students. A recurring mistake is assuming that the derivative of the product of functions is a product of derivatives and ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Examples of nonlinear ordinary differential equations with elementary solutions.

I am looking for nice examples of nonlinear ordinary differential equations that have simple solutions in terms of elementary functions. (But are not trivial to find, like, for example, with ...
12
votes
3answers
305 views

Differential equations that are also functional

I was toying with equations of the type $f(x+\alpha)=f'(x)$ where $f$ is a real function. For example if $\alpha=\frac{\pi}{2}$ then the solutions include the function $f_{\lambda,\mu}(x)=\lambda ...
12
votes
1answer
451 views

Tough Inverse Fourier Transform

In reference to this answer I gave the other day, I came across a very interesting function whose IFT would be nice to evaluate as part of completing the solution to the problem I answered. The ...
12
votes
2answers
810 views

Sum of derivatives of a polynomial

Let $p(x)$ be a polynomial of degree $n$ satisfying $p(x)\geq 0$ for all $x$. That is, for all $x$, $p(x) = a_n x^n + a_{n-1} x^{n-1} + \cdots + a_1 x + a_0 \geq 0$, $a_n\neq 0$. Show that ...
12
votes
1answer
203 views

Can we qualitatively predict the strategy of the German and US teams in today's World Cup soccer match?

In today's World Cup soccer match between Germany and the US, both teams only need a draw to advance to the next round. There's been speculation about possible collusion, especially given the friendly ...
12
votes
3answers
176 views

Can all points in the plane be represented like this?

Solving a task regaring affine geometry, I've come across a problem: Is it true that, for every point $(x,y)\in \mathbb{R}^2$, there exist $t\in \mathbb{R}, \alpha\in[0,2\pi]$, such that $$x = ...
12
votes
4answers
370 views

Why solutions of $y''+(w^2+b(t))y=0$ behave like solutions of $y''+w^2y=0$ at infinity

Assume $w>0$ and $b(t)$ be continuous on $[0,+\infty)$ and $\int_0^\infty |b(t)| dt <\infty$ show that $y''+(w^2+b(t))y=0$ has solution $\phi(t)$ such that $$\lim_{t\to\infty} ...
12
votes
1answer
641 views

Recursive solutions to linear ODE.

When finding the solutions to the simple ODE $$ y'- mxy= x^n \text{ ; } y(0) = 0$$ I found the following: Let $P_n$ be the particular solution for each integer exponent $n$. Then if we define ...
11
votes
8answers
4k views

how do you solve $y''+2y'-3y=0$?

I want to solve this equation: $y''+2y'-3y=0$ I did this: $y' = z$ $y'' = z\dfrac{dz}{dy}$ $z\dfrac{dz}{dy}+2z-3y=0$ $zdz+2zdy-3ydy=0$ $zdz=(3y-2z)dy$ $z=3y-2z$ ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Things I must know before taking differential equations course

I intend to take this course named "Differential Equations" and per the department followings contents will be taught ...
11
votes
4answers
351 views

How to prove that $\frac{d^n}{dx^n}(x^2-1)^n=0$ has $n$ real roots?

How do I prove that $$\frac{d^n}{dx^n}(x^2-1)^n=0$$ has $n$ real roots?
11
votes
1answer
170 views

Solving the 'easy' differential equation $(1 - \phi^2)\phi'' + \phi(\phi')^2 =0$.

I need to solve the following: $$(1 - \phi^2)\phi'' + \phi(\phi')^2 =0.$$ Is there any standard method I can use?
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Links between difference and differential equations?

Does there exist any correspondence between difference equations and differential equations? In particular, can one cast some classes of ODEs into difference equations or vice versa?
11
votes
3answers
483 views

First order differential equation involving inverse function

I am wondering if there is a way to solve a differential equation of the following form: $$\displaystyle \frac{f'(x)}{x} = \frac{1}{f^{-1}(x)} + \frac{1}{k}$$ We can assume that $f(x): [0,T] \to ...
11
votes
2answers
492 views

Algebraic interpretation of Lyapunov functions

I have recently learned the method of Lyapunov functions to rule out periodic solutions in two-dimensional nonlinear systems. My understanding is that there is some Lyapunov function for any nonlinear ...
11
votes
1answer
161 views

How find this function $f(x)$

Let $f:\mathbb{R}\to\mathbb{R}$ be continuous such that $\dfrac{f(x)}{x}=f'\left(\dfrac{x}{2}\right)$. Find $f(x)$. (2):if $f(x)$ on $x\in[a,b] $ be continuous,find all $f(x)$? I think this is an ...