Questions on the gamma function $\Gamma(z)$ of Euler extending the usual factorial $n!$ for arbitrary argument, and related functions.

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180
votes
8answers
11k views

Intuition for the definition of the Gamma function?

In these notes by Terence Tao is a proof of Stirling's formula. I really like most of it, but at a crucial step he uses the integral identity $$n! = \int_{0}^{\infty} t^n e^{-t} dt$$ coming from ...
108
votes
8answers
7k views

Why is Euler's Gamma function the “best” extension of the factorial function to the reals?

There are lots (an infinitude) of smooth functions that coincide with f(n)=n! on the integers. Is there a simple reason why Euler's Gamma function $\Gamma (z) = \int_0^\infty t^{z-1} e^t dt$ is "best"...
58
votes
1answer
2k views

Evaluating the log gamma integral $\int_{0}^{z} \log \Gamma (x) \, \mathrm dx$ in terms of the Hurwitz zeta function

One way to evaluate $ \displaystyle\int_{0}^{z} \log \Gamma(x) \, \mathrm dx $ is in terms of the Barnes G-function. $$ \int_{0}^{z} \log \Gamma(x) \, \mathrm dx = \frac{z}{2} \log (2 \pi) + \...
46
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it possible to simplify $\frac{\Gamma\left(\frac{1}{10}\right)}{\Gamma\left(\frac{2}{15}\right)\ \Gamma\left(\frac{7}{15}\right)}$?

Is it possible to simplify this expression? $$\frac{\displaystyle\Gamma\left(\frac{1}{10}\right)}{\displaystyle\Gamma\left(\frac{2}{15}\right)\ \Gamma\left(\frac{7}{15}\right)}$$ Is there a systematic ...
40
votes
5answers
873 views

Closed form for $\prod_{n=1}^\infty\sqrt[2^n]{\frac{\Gamma(2^n+\frac{1}{2})}{\Gamma(2^n)}}$

Is there a closed form for the following infinite product? $$\prod_{n=1}^\infty\sqrt[2^n]{\frac{\Gamma(2^n+\frac{1}{2})}{\Gamma(2^n)}}$$
32
votes
1answer
837 views

What is the role of mathematical intuition and common sense in questions of irrationality or transcendence of values of special functions?

I got the number $$\frac{\Gamma\left(\frac{1}{5}\right)\Gamma\left(\frac{4}{15}\right)}{\Gamma\left(\frac{1}{3}\right)\Gamma\left(\frac{2}{15}\right)}=0.824326275998351470388591998726842...$$ in the ...
32
votes
4answers
39k views

How to find the factorial of a fraction?

From what I know, the factorial function is defined as follows: $$n! = n(n-1)(n-2) \cdots(3)(2)(1)$$ And $0! = 1$. However, this page seems to be saying that you can take the factorial of a fraction,...
32
votes
2answers
748 views

Evaluating the series $\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^{3} \binom{2n}{n}} $

Wolfram MathWorld states that $$ \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^{3} \binom{2n}{n}} = \frac{ \pi \sqrt{3}}{18} \Big[ \psi_{1} \left(\frac{1}{3} \right) - \psi_{1} \left(\frac{2}{3} \right) \Big]- \...
30
votes
1answer
808 views

A series problem by Knuth

I came across the following problem, known as Knuth's Series which originally was an American Mathematical Monthly problem. Prove that $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty \left(\frac{n^n}{n!e^n}-\frac{1}{\sqrt{2\...
27
votes
1answer
715 views

Closed form for $\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{\psi(n+\frac{5}{4})}{(1+2n)(1+4n)^2}$

This question came up in the process of finding solution to another problem. Eventually, the problem was solved avoiding calculation of this sum, but it looks quite interesting on its own. Is there a ...
26
votes
2answers
566 views

Closed form for $\int_0^\infty\left(\int_0^1\frac1{\sqrt{1-y^2}\sqrt{1+x^2\,y^2}}\mathrm dy\right)^3\mathrm dx.$

I need to find a closed form for these nested definite integrals: $$I=\int_0^\infty\left(\int_0^1\frac1{\sqrt{1-y^2}\sqrt{1+x^2\,y^2}}\mathrm dy\right)^3\mathrm dx.$$ The inner integral can be ...
25
votes
1answer
1k views

How do you prove Gautschi's inequality for the gamma function?

A few answers here on math.SE have used as an intermediate step the following inequality that is due to Walter Gautschi: $$x^{1-s} < \frac{\Gamma(x+1)}{\Gamma(x+s)} < (x+1)^{1-s},\qquad x > ...
23
votes
8answers
5k views

Stirling's formula: proof?

Suppose we want to show that $$ n! \sim \sqrt{2 \pi} n^{n+(1/2)}e^{-n}$$ Instead we could show that $$\lim_{n \to \infty} \frac{n!}{n^{n+(1/2)}e^{-n}} = C$$ where $C$ is a constant. Maybe $C = \sqrt{...
22
votes
3answers
622 views

Closed form for $\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{(-1)^n n^4 H_n}{2^n}$

Please help me to find a closed form for the sum $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{(-1)^n n^4 H_n}{2^n},$$ where $H_n$ are harmonic numbers: $$H_n=\sum_{k=1}^n\frac{1}{k}=\frac{\Gamma'(n+1)}{n!}+\gamma.$$
22
votes
2answers
653 views

How to prove $\int_0^\infty J_\nu(x)^3dx\stackrel?=\frac{\Gamma(1/6)\ \Gamma(1/6+\nu/2)}{2^{5/3}\ 3^{1/2}\ \pi^{3/2}\ \Gamma(5/6+\nu/2)}$?

I am interested in finding a general formula for the following integral: $$\int_0^\infty J_\nu(x)^3dx,\tag1$$ where $J_\nu(x)$ is the Bessel function of the first kind: $$J_\nu(x)=\sum _{n=0}^\infty\...
21
votes
1answer
373 views

Is $K\left(\frac{\sqrt{2-\sqrt3}}2\right)\stackrel?=\frac{\Gamma\left(\frac16\right)\Gamma\left(\frac13\right)}{4\ \sqrt[4]3\ \sqrt\pi}$

Working on this conjecture, I found its corollary, which is also supported by numeric calculations up to at least $10^5$ decimal digits: $$K\left(\frac{\sqrt{2-\sqrt3}}2\right)\stackrel?=\frac{\Gamma\...
20
votes
3answers
850 views

Why isn't the gamma function defined so that $\Gamma(n) = n! $?

As a physics student, I have occasionally run across the gamma function $$\Gamma(n) \equiv \int_0^{\infty}t^{n-1}e^{-t} \textrm{d}t = (n-1)!$$ when we want to generalize the concept of a factorial. ...
19
votes
4answers
494 views

A closed form of $\sum_{k=0}^\infty\frac{(-1)^{k+1}}{k!}\Gamma^2\left(\frac{k}{2}\right)$

I am looking for a closed form of the following series \begin{equation} \mathcal{I}=\sum_{k=1}^\infty\frac{(-1)^{k+1}}{k!}\Gamma^2\left(\frac{k}{2}\right) \end{equation} I have no idea how to ...
19
votes
1answer
385 views

Prove $\int_{0}^\infty \frac{1}{\Gamma(x)}\, \mathrm{d}x = e + \int_0^\infty \frac{e^{-x}}{\pi^2 + \ln^2 x}\, \mathrm{d}x$

I came across this nice identity: $$\int_{0}^\infty \frac{1}{\Gamma(x)}\, \mathrm{d}x = e + \int_0^\infty \frac{e^{-x}}{\pi^2 + \ln^2 x}\, \mathrm{d}x$$ Is there an elementary proof?
18
votes
1answer
495 views

Evaluating $\prod\limits_{n=2}^{\infty}\left(1-\frac{1}{n^3}\right)$

I'm having a very hard time understanding the following evaluation of $ \displaystyle\prod_{n=2}^{\infty}\left(1-\frac{1}{n^3}\right)$. The beginning and end make sense, but I can't make much sense ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

The Gamma function and the Pi function

I have been studying differential equation, in particular special functions. Euler's Gamma function, and Gauss's Pi function are essentially the same, differing only by an offset of one unit. for $...
17
votes
3answers
303 views

Integral $\int_{-\infty}^\infty\frac{\Gamma(x)\,\sin(\pi x)}{\Gamma\left(x+a\right)}\,dx$

I would like to evaluate this integral: $$\mathcal F(a)=\int_{-\infty}^\infty\frac{\Gamma(x)\,\sin(\pi x)}{\Gamma\left(x+a\right)}\,dx,\quad a>0.\tag1$$ For all $a>0$ the integrand is a smooth ...
17
votes
1answer
292 views

Closed form for $\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{(-1)^n n^a H_n}{2^n}$

Is there a closed form for the sum $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{(-1)^n n^a H_n}{2^n},$$ where $H_n$ are harmonic numbers: $$H_n=\sum_{k=1}^n\frac{1}{k}=\frac{\Gamma'(n+1)}{n!}+\gamma.$$ This is a ...
16
votes
6answers
770 views

Show that $\int_{0}^{\infty }\frac {\ln x}{x^4+1}\ dx =-\frac{\pi^2 \sqrt{2}}{16}$

I could prove it using the residues but I'm interested to have it in a different way (for example using Gamma/Beta or any other functions) to show that $$ \int_{0}^{\infty}\frac{\ln\left(x\right)}{x^{...
16
votes
2answers
570 views

Integral $\int_0^1 \log \Gamma(x)\cos (2\pi n x)\, dx=\frac{1}{4n}$

$$ I:=\int_0^1 \log \Gamma(x)\cos (2\pi n x)\, dx=\frac{1}{4n}. $$ Thank you. The Gamma function is given by $\Gamma(n)=(n-1)!$ and its integral representation is $$ \Gamma(x)=\int_0^\infty t^{x-1} e^{...
15
votes
2answers
453 views

Continuous generalization of $\sum_{k=0}^n {n \choose k} = 2^n$?

We know that $$\sum_{k=0}^n {n \choose k} = 2^n.$$ A continuous generalization of the formula would be $$\int_0^{n+1} \frac{\Gamma(n+1)}{\Gamma(n-x+1) \Gamma(x+1)} dx = 2^n?,$$ but this is incorrect ...
15
votes
1answer
372 views

On the zeta sum $\sum_{n=1}^\infty[\zeta(5n)-1]$ and others

For p = 2, we have, $\begin{align}&\sum_{n=1}^\infty[\zeta(pn)-1] = \frac{3}{4}\end{align}$ It seems there is a general form for odd p. For example, for p = 5, define $z_5 = e^{\pi i/5}$. Then, ...
15
votes
2answers
227 views

Sum of $\Gamma(n+a) / \Gamma(n+b)$

If $a$ and $b$ are positive real numbers, such that $b > a + 1$, can we find the sum $$\sum_{n=0}^{\infty} \frac{\Gamma(n+a)}{\Gamma(n+b)}?$$ For example I have found that $$\sum_{n=0}^{\infty} \...
15
votes
1answer
497 views

A Gamma limit $\lim_{n\rightarrow+\infty}\sum_{k=1}^n \displaystyle \left( \Gamma\bigl(\frac{k}{n}\bigr)\right)^{-k}=\frac{e^\gamma}{e^\gamma-1}$

Show that $$\lim_{n\rightarrow+\infty}\sum_{k=1}^n \displaystyle \left( \Gamma\bigl(\frac{k}{n}\bigr)\right)^{-k}=\frac{e^\gamma}{e^\gamma-1}$$ where $\gamma$ is the Euler-Mascheroni Constant. ...
15
votes
2answers
967 views

Interesting Integral $\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}\frac{e^{i nx}}{\Gamma(\alpha+x) \Gamma(\beta -x)}dx$

I am asking this question out of curiosity. $$\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}\frac{e^{i nx}}{\Gamma(\alpha+x) \Gamma(\beta -x)}dx = \frac{ \left(2\cos \frac{n}{2} \right)^{\alpha +\beta-2}}{\Gamma(\alpha+\...
15
votes
1answer
328 views

Integral that arises from the derivation of Kummer's Fourier expansion of $\ln{\Gamma(x)}$

I am trying to prove that for $0<x<1$, $$\color{blue}{\ln{\Gamma(x)}=\frac{1}{2}\ln(2\pi)+\sum^\infty_{n=1}\left\{\frac{1}{2n}\cos(2\pi nx)+\frac{\gamma+\ln(2\pi n)}{n\pi}\sin(2\pi nx)\right\}}$$...
15
votes
0answers
484 views

a conjectured continued fraction for $\displaystyle\tan\left(\frac{z\pi}{4z+2n}\right)$

Given a complex number $\begin{aligned}\frac{z}{n}=x+iy\end{aligned}$ and a gamma function $\Gamma(z)$ with $x\gt0$, it is conjectured that the following continued fraction for $\displaystyle\tan\left(...
14
votes
7answers
919 views

Evaluating $\int_0^\infty \frac{dx}{1+x^4}$. [duplicate]

Can anyone give me a hint to evaluate this integral? $$\int_0^\infty \frac{dx}{1+x^4}$$ I know it will involve the gamma function, but how?
14
votes
4answers
445 views

Evaluate $\int^1_0 \log^2(1-x) \log^2(x) \, dx$

I have no idea where to even start. WolframAlpha cant compute it either. $$\int^1_0 \log^2(1-x) \log^2(x) \, dx$$ I think it can be done with series, but I am not sure, can someone help a little so ...
14
votes
1answer
355 views

Strange closed forms for hypergeometric functions

So in the process of trying to find a derivation for this answer, the following interesting equalities arose (one can check with Wolfram Alpha/Mathematica): $$\frac{8\sqrt{2}G^4}{5\pi^2} \left(\left(...
13
votes
3answers
420 views

Intuition behind $(-\frac{1}{2})! = \sqrt{\pi}$

It can be shown that using the definition of the Gamma function as: $$\Gamma(t) = \int_0^\infty x^{t-1} e^{-x} dx $$ that $$\Gamma(\tfrac{1}{2}) = \sqrt{\pi}$$ or slightly abusing notation, that $(-\...
13
votes
1answer
351 views

Closed form for $\int_1^\infty\int_0^1\frac{\mathrm dy\,\mathrm dx}{\sqrt{x^2-1}\sqrt{1-y^2}\sqrt{1-y^2+4\,x^2y^2}}$

Consider the following integral: $$\mathcal{I}=\int_1^\infty\int_0^1\frac{\mathrm dy\,\mathrm dx}{\sqrt{x^2-1}\sqrt{1-y^2}\sqrt{1-y^2+4\,x^2y^2}}.$$ It can be represented as $$\mathcal{I}=\int_1^\...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Minimum of the Gamma Function $\Gamma (x)$ for $x>0$. How to find $x_{\min}$?

The $\Gamma (x)$ function has just one minimum for $x>0$ . This result uses some properties of the gamma function: $\Gamma ^{\prime \prime }(x)>0$ and $\Gamma (x)>0$ for all $x>0$ $\Gamma (1)=\Gamma ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

Quotient of gamma functions?

I'm sorry if this is a simple question, but this page on Wolfram Research states that it follows from Stirling's formula that: $$ \frac{\Gamma(x+\beta)}{\Gamma(x)} \approx x^\beta $$ for large $x$, ...
13
votes
1answer
282 views

Showing that $2 \Gamma(a) \zeta(a) \left(1-\frac{1}{2^{a}} \right) = \int_{0}^{\infty}\left( \frac{x^{a-1}}{\sinh x} - x^{a-2} \right) \, dx$

I want to show that $$2 \Gamma(a) \zeta(a) \left(1-\frac{1}{2^{a}} \right) = \int_{0}^{\infty}\Big( \frac{x^{a-1}}{\sinh x} - x^{a-2}\Big) \, dx \ , \ {\color{red}{-1}} <\text{Re}(a) <1. \tag{1}...
12
votes
3answers
698 views

Special Gamma function integral

I'm trying to evaluate this integral $$\int_{0}^{1} \sin (\pi x)\ln (\Gamma (x)) dx$$ and I got to the point, when I need to find $\displaystyle \int_{0}^{\pi } \sin (x)\ln (\sin (x)) dx$ but ...
12
votes
3answers
571 views

Scary contour integral, but is also an integral representation for $\Gamma$-function

This problem is supposed to be from an old Acta Mathematica volume I circa 1880's, and is attributed to Bourguet. By using a parabola with its focus on the origin as a contour, show that: $$\...
12
votes
3answers
429 views

Gamma $\Gamma$ meets $\gamma$

I am looking for a proofs of the following limits: $$ \lim_{x \to \infty} \Gamma \left(1+\frac{1}{x} \right)^x = e^{-\gamma}. $$ I find this limit interesting as it relates the gamma function $\Gamma$...
12
votes
2answers
198 views

What is the exact value of $\eta(6i)$?

Let $\eta(\tau)$ be the Dedekind eta function. In his Lost Notebook, Ramanujan played around with a related function and came up with some of the nice evaluations, $$\begin{aligned} \eta(i) &= \...
12
votes
1answer
214 views

Proof that the factorial is nonelementary

Is there a proof that the factorial function $!:\mathbb N\to\mathbb N$ is nonelementary? If it were equal to an elementary function (call it $P(n)$), then it would extend the factorial function to ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

a conjectured continued-fraction for $\displaystyle\cot\left(\frac{z\pi}{4z+2n}\right)$ that leads to a new limit for $\pi$

Given a complex number $\begin{aligned}\frac{z}{n}=x+iy\end{aligned}$ and a gamma function $\Gamma(z)$ with $x\gt0$, it is conjectured that the following continued fraction for $\displaystyle\cot\left(...
12
votes
2answers
180 views

Computing a limit involving Gammaharmonic series

It's a well-known fact that $$\lim_{n\to\infty} (H_n-\log(n))=\gamma$$ Now, if I change things a bit and use the fact that $\displaystyle \Gamma \left( \displaystyle \frac{1}{ n}\right) \approx n$ ...
12
votes
1answer
272 views

Closed-form of $\int_0^1 \left(\ln \Gamma(x)\right)^3\,dx$

From the amazing result by Raabe we know that $$LG_1=\int_0^1 \ln \Gamma(x)\,dx = \frac{1}{2}\ln(2\pi) = -\zeta'(0).$$ We also know that $$LG_2 = \int_0^1 \left(\ln \Gamma(x)\right)^2\,dx = \frac{\...
11
votes
2answers
717 views

The most complete reference for identities and special values for polylogarithm and polygamma functions

I am looking for a book, paper, web site, etc. (or several ones) containing the most complete list of identities and special values for the polylogarithm $\operatorname{Li}_s(z)$ and polygamma $\psi^{(...
11
votes
1answer
248 views

The evaluation of the infinite product $\prod_{k=2}^{\infty} \frac{k^{2}-1}{k^{2}+1}$

How does one show that$$ \prod_{k=2}^{\infty}\frac{k^{2}-1}{k^{2}+1} =\frac{\pi}{\sinh \pi} ?$$ My attempt: $$ \begin{align} \prod_{k=2}^{\infty}\frac{k^{2}-1}{k^{2}+1} &= \lim_{n \to \infty} \...