Questions on special functions, useful functions that frequently appear in pure and applied mathematics (usually not including "elementary" functions).

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116
votes
1answer
4k views

Identification of a curious function

During computation of some Shapley values (details below), I encountered the following function: $$ f\left(\sum_{k \geq 0} 2^{-p_k}\right) = \sum_{k \geq 0} \frac{1}{(p_k+1)\binom{p_k}{k}}, $$ where $...
107
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"...
101
votes
0answers
3k views

Generalizing $\int_{0}^{1} \frac{\arctan\sqrt{x^{2} + 2}}{\sqrt{x^{2} + 2}} \, \frac{\operatorname dx}{x^{2}+1} = \frac{5\pi^{2}}{96}$

The following integral \begin{align*} \int_{0}^{1} \frac{\arctan\sqrt{x^{2} + 2}}{\sqrt{x^{2} + 2}} \, \frac{dx}{x^{2}+1} = \frac{5\pi^{2}}{96} \tag{1} \end{align*} is called the Ahmed's integral ...
73
votes
0answers
833 views

Solving Special Function Equations Using Lie Symmetries

The Lie group and representation theory approach to special functions, and how they solve the ODEs arising in physics is absolutely amazing. I've given an example of its power below on Bessel's ...
66
votes
4answers
6k views

An integral involving Airy functions $\int_0^\infty\frac{x^p}{\operatorname{Ai}^2 x + \operatorname{Bi}^2 x}\mathrm dx$

I need your help with this integral: $$\mathcal{K}(p)=\int_0^\infty\frac{x^p}{\operatorname{Ai}^2 x + \operatorname{Bi}^2 x}\mathrm dx,$$ where $\operatorname{Ai}$, $\operatorname{Bi}$ are Airy ...
64
votes
1answer
1k views

Closed form for $\int_0^\infty\ln\frac{J_\mu(x)^2+Y_\mu(x)^2}{J_\nu(x)^2+Y_\nu(x)^2}\mathrm dx$

Consider the following integral: $$\mathcal{I}(\mu,\nu)=\int_0^\infty\ln\frac{J_\mu(x)^2+Y_\mu(x)^2}{J_\nu(x)^2+Y_\nu(x)^2}\mathrm dx,$$ where $J_\mu(x)$ is the Bessel function of the first kind: $$J_\...
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) + \...
56
votes
2answers
668 views

Conjecture $_2F_1\left(\frac14,\frac34;\,\frac23;\,\frac13\right)=\frac1{\sqrt{\sqrt{\frac4{\sqrt{2-\sqrt[3]4}}+\sqrt[3]{4}+4}-\sqrt{2-\sqrt[3]4}-2}}$

Using a numerical search on my computer I discovered the following inequality: $$\left|\,{_2F_1}\left(\frac14,\frac34;\,\frac23;\,\frac13\right)-\rho\,\right|<10^{-20000},\tag1$$ where $\rho$ is ...
51
votes
6answers
5k views

Is there a function whose antiderivative can be found but whose derivative cannot?

Does a function, $f(x)$, exist such that $\int f(x) dx $ can be found but $f' (x)$ cannot be found in terms of elementary functions. For example, if $f(x)=e^{x^2}$, then the derivative is easily ...
48
votes
0answers
551 views

Geometric & Intuitive Meaning of $SL(2,R)$, $SU(2)$, etc… & Representation Theory of Special Functions

Many special functions of mathematical physics can be understood from the point of view of the representation theory of lie groups. An example of the power of this viewpoint is given in my question ...
47
votes
4answers
3k views

Why can't we define more elementary functions?

$\newcommand{\lax}{\operatorname{lax}}$ Liouville's theorem is well known and it asserts that: The antiderivatives of certain elementary functions cannot themselves be expressed as elementary ...
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 ...
43
votes
9answers
18k views

Why is $\Gamma\left(\frac{1}{2}\right)=\sqrt{\pi}$ ?

It seems as if no one has asked this here before, unless I don't know how to search. The Gamma function is $$ \Gamma(\alpha)=\int_0^\infty x^{\alpha-1} e^{-x}\,dx. $$ Why is $$ \Gamma\left(\frac{1}{2}...
43
votes
1answer
1k views

Extending the result $\int_{0}^{\infty} \left( ( 1 - 2C(x))^{2} + (1-2S(x))^{2} \right) \, dx = \frac{4}{\pi} $

While generalizing this result, I succeeded in proving that for $\alpha > 0$, $\beta < 1$ and $1 < 2\alpha + \beta < 3$, we have \begin{align*} &\int_{0}^{\infty} \left[ \left( \int_{...
40
votes
1answer
1k views

A Challenging Logarithmic Integral $\int_0^1 \frac{\log(x)\log(1-x)\log^2(1+x)}{x}dx$

How can we prove that: $$\int_0^1 \frac{\log(x)\log(1-x)\log^2(1+x)}{x}dx=\frac{7\pi^2}{48}\zeta(3)-\frac{25}{16}\zeta(5)$$ where $\zeta(z)$ is the Riemann Zeta Function. The best I could do was ...
37
votes
3answers
1k views

An integral involving Fresnel integrals $\int_0^\infty \left(\left(2\ S(x)-1\right)^2+\left(2\ C(x)-1\right)^2\right)^2 x\ \mathrm dx,$

I need to calculate the following integral: $$\int_0^\infty \left(\left(2\ S(x)-1\right)^2+\left(2\ C(x)-1\right)^2\right)^2 x\ \mathrm dx,$$ where $$S(x)=\int_0^x\sin\frac{\pi z^2}{2}\mathrm dz,$$ $$...
35
votes
2answers
8k views

Why is the error function defined as it is?

$\newcommand{\erf}{\operatorname{erf}}$ This may be a very naïve question, but here goes. The error function $\erf$ is defined by $$\erf(x) = \frac{2}{\sqrt{\pi}} \int_0^x e^{-t^2}dt.$$ Of ...
34
votes
3answers
828 views

How to evaluate $\int_0^\infty\operatorname{erfc}^n x\ \mathrm dx$?

I successfully evaluated these integrals: $$\int_0^\infty\operatorname{erfc}x\ \mathrm dx=\frac1{\sqrt\pi},\tag1$$ $$\int_0^\infty\operatorname{erfc}^2x\ \mathrm dx=\frac{2-\sqrt2}{\sqrt\pi}\tag2,$$ ...
32
votes
2answers
2k views

Proof that $\sum\limits_{k=1}^\infty\frac{a_1a_2\cdots a_{k-1}}{(x+a_1)\cdots(x+a_k)}=\frac{1}{x}$ regarding $\zeta(3)$ and Apéry's proof

I recently printed a paper that asks to prove the "amazing" claim that for all $a_1,a_2,\dots$ $$\sum_{k=1}^\infty\frac{a_1a_2\cdots a_{k-1}}{(x+a_1)\cdots(x+a_k)}=\frac{1}{x}$$ and thus (probably) ...
32
votes
1answer
829 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
3answers
762 views

A closed form for $\int_0^1{_2F_1}\left(-\frac{1}{4},\frac{5}{4};\,1;\,\frac{x}{2}\right)^2dx$

Is it possible to evaluate in a closed form integrals containing a squared hypergeometric function, like in this example? $$\begin{align}S&=\int_0^1{_2F_1}\left(-\frac{1}{4},\frac{5}{4};\,1;\,\...
32
votes
2answers
724 views

Evaluating $\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]- \...
31
votes
1answer
505 views

Are elementary and generalized hypergeometric functions sufficient to express all algebraic numbers?

Are (integers) plus (elementary functions) plus (generalized hypergeometric functions) sufficient to represent any algebraic number? For example, the real algebraic number $\alpha\in(-1,0)$ ...
30
votes
1answer
678 views

$\int_0^1\arctan\,_4F_3\left(\frac{1}{5},\frac{2}{5},\frac{3}{5},\frac{4}{5};\frac{1}{2},\frac{3}{4},\frac{5}{4};\frac{x}{64}\right)\,\mathrm dx$

I need help with calculating this integral: $$\int_0^1\arctan\,_4F_3\left(\frac{1}{5},\frac{2}{5},\frac{3}{5},\frac{4}{5};\frac{1}{2},\frac{3}{4},\frac{5}{4};\frac{x}{64}\right)\,\mathrm dx,$$ where $...
30
votes
3answers
895 views

$\int_0^\pi\frac{3\cos x+\sqrt{8+\cos^2 x}}{\sin x}x\ \mathrm dx$

Please help me to solve this integral: $$\int_0^\pi\frac{3\cos x+\sqrt{8+\cos^2 x}}{\sin x}x\ \mathrm dx.$$ I managed to calculate an indefinite integral of the left part: $$\int\frac{\cos x}{\sin x}...
30
votes
2answers
777 views

On Shanks' quartic approximation $\pi \approx \frac{6}{\sqrt{3502}}\ln(2u)$

In Mathworld's "Pi Approximations", (line 58), Weisstein mentions one by the mathematician Daniel Shanks that differs by a mere $10^{-82}$, $$\pi \approx \frac{6}{\sqrt{3502}}\ln(2u)\color{blue}{+10^{...
30
votes
6answers
769 views

Other interesting consequences of $d=163$?

Question: Any other interesting consequences of $d=163$ having class number $h(-d)=1$ aside from the list below? Let $\tau = \tfrac{1+\sqrt{-163}}{2}$. We have (see notes at end of list), $$e^{\pi\...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this function decreasing on $(0,1)$?

While doing some research I got stuck trying to prove that the following function is decreasing $$f(k):= k K(k) \sinh \left(\frac{\pi}{2} \frac{K(\sqrt{1-k^2})}{K(k)}\right)$$ for $k \in (0,1)$. ...
30
votes
1answer
789 views

Weber-type integral

In connection with this answer, I came across the following integral: $$\int_{0}^{\infty} \frac{du}{u} \: \,e^{-t u^2} \frac{J_0(u) Y_0(r u)-J_0(r u) Y_0(u)}{J_0^2(u)+Y_0^2(u)}$$ where $r \gt 1$. I ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

Proving a known zero of the Riemann Zeta has real part exactly 1/2

Much effort has been expended on a famous unsolved problem about the Riemann Zeta function $\zeta(s)$. Not surprisingly, it's called the Riemann hypothesis, which asserts: $$ \zeta(s) = 0 \...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Possibility to simplify $\sum\limits_{k = - \infty }^\infty {\frac{{{{\left( { - 1} \right)}^k}}}{{a + k}} = \frac{\pi }{{\sin \pi a}}} $

Is there any way to show that $$\sum\limits_{k = - \infty }^\infty {\frac{{{{\left( { - 1} \right)}^k}}}{{a + k}} = \frac{1}{a} + \sum\limits_{k = 1}^\infty {{{\left( { - 1} \right)}^k}\left( {\...
27
votes
7answers
2k views

Prove: $\binom{n}{k}^{-1}=(n+1)\int_{0}^{1}x^{k}(1-x)^{n-k}dx$ for $0 \leq k \leq n$

I would like your help with proving that for every $0 \leq k \leq n$, $$\binom{n}{k}^{-1}=(n+1)\int_{0}^{1}x^{k}(1-x)^{n-k}dx . $$ I tried to integration by parts and to get a pattern or to ...
27
votes
2answers
991 views

Interesting log sine integrals $\int_0^{\pi/3} \log^2 \left(2\sin \frac{x}{2} \right)dx= \frac{7\pi^3}{108}$

Show that $$\begin{aligned} \int_0^{\pi/3} \log^2 \left(2\sin \frac{x}{2} \right)dx &= \frac{7\pi^3}{108} \\ \int_0^{\pi/3}x\log^2 \left(2\sin\frac{x}{2} \right)dx &= \frac{17\pi^4}{6480}\...
27
votes
1answer
711 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 ...
27
votes
1answer
325 views

What is a closed form of $\int_0^1\ln(-\ln x)\ \text{li}\ x\ dx$

Let $\operatorname{li} x$ denote the logarithmic integral: $$\operatorname{li} x=\int_0^x\frac{dt}{\ln t}.$$ Is it possible to find a closed form of the following integral? $$\int_0^1\ln(-\ln x) \...
27
votes
1answer
902 views

elliptic functions on the 17 wallpaper groups

In doubly periodic functions as tessellations (other than parallelograms), we learned about the Dixonian elliptic functions. There are 17 wallpaper groups -- are there elliptic function analogues for ...
26
votes
4answers
3k views

When is an elliptic integral expressible in terms of elementary functions?

After seeing this recent question asking how to calculate the following integral $$ \int \frac{1 + x^2}{(1 - x^2) \sqrt{1 + x^4}} \, dx $$ and some of the comments that suggested that it was an ...
26
votes
1answer
587 views

Integral $\int_0^\infty{_1F_2}\left(\begin{array}{c}\tfrac12\\1,\tfrac32\end{array}\middle|-x\right)\frac{dx}{1+4\,x}$

I need to evaluate this integral to a high precision: $$\large I=\int_0^\infty{_1F_2}\left(\begin{array}{c}\tfrac12\\1,\tfrac32\end{array}\middle|-x\right)\frac{dx}{1+4\,x}$$ Symbolic integration in ...
26
votes
2answers
655 views

Prove $_2F_1\left(\frac13,\frac13;\frac56;-27\right)\stackrel{\color{#808080}?}=\frac47$

I discovered the following conjecture numerically, but have not been able to prove it yet: $$_2F_1\left(\frac13,\frac13;\frac56;-27\right)\stackrel{\color{#808080}?}=\frac47.\tag1$$ The equality holds ...
25
votes
4answers
1k views

Fractional Calculus: Motivation and Foundations.

If this is too broad, I apologise; let's keep it focused on the basics if necessary. What's the motivation and the rigorous foundations behind fractional calculus? It seems very weird & ...
25
votes
2answers
559 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
512 views

The positive root of the transcendental equation $\ln x-\sqrt{x-1}+1=0$

I numerically solved the transcendental equation $$\ln x-\sqrt{x-1}+1=0$$ and obtained an approximate value of its positive real root $$x \approx 14.498719188878466465738532142574796767250306535...$$ ...
25
votes
1answer
535 views

Non-trivial values of error function $\operatorname{erf}(x)$?

The so called error function $\operatorname{erf}(x)$ is defined as $$\operatorname{erf}(x)=\frac{2}{\sqrt{\pi}}\int_0^x e^{-t^2}dt,$$ and it is well known that $\operatorname{erf}(\infty)=1$. Are ...
23
votes
4answers
768 views

Polygamma function series: $\displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{\infty }\left(\Psi^{(1)}(k)\right)^2$

Applying the Copson's inequality, I found: $$S=\displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{\infty }\left(\Psi^{(1)}(k)\right)^2\lt\dfrac{2}{3}\pi^2$$ where $\Psi^{(1)}(k)$ is the polygamma function. Is it known any ...
23
votes
3answers
459 views

How to solve $\int_0^\infty J_0(x)\ \text{sinc}(\pi\,x)\ e^{-x}\,\mathrm dx$?

I need some help with solving this integral involving Bessel function: $\hspace{2in}\displaystyle\int_0^\infty$$J_0(x)\ $$\text{sinc}(\pi\,x)\ $$e^{-x}\,\mathrm dx.$
23
votes
4answers
1k views

Evaluation of $\sum\limits_{n=0}^\infty \left(\operatorname{Si}(n)-\frac{\pi}{2}\right)$?

I would like to evaluate the sum $$ \sum\limits_{n=0}^\infty \left(\operatorname{Si}(n)-\frac{\pi}{2}\right) $$ Where $\operatorname{Si}$ is the sine integral, defined as: $$\operatorname{Si}(x) := ...
23
votes
2answers
317 views

A closed form for $\int_0^1\frac{\ln(-\ln x)\ \operatorname{li}^2x}{x}dx$

Let $\operatorname{li}x$ denote the logarithmic integral $^{[1]}$$^{[2]}$$^{[3]}$: $$\operatorname{li}x=\int_0^x\frac{dt}{\ln t}$$ and $$I=\int_0^1\frac{\ln(-\ln x)\ \operatorname{li}^2x}{x}dx\approx-...
23
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
3answers
742 views

Prove ${\large\int}_{-1}^1\frac{dx}{\sqrt[3]{9+4\sqrt5\,x}\ \left(1-x^2\right)^{2/3}}=\frac{3^{3/2}}{2^{4/3}5^{5/6}\pi }\Gamma^3\left(\frac13\right)$

Here is one more conjecture I discovered numerically: $${\large\int}_{-1}^1\frac{dx}{\sqrt[3]{9+4\sqrt5\,x}\ \left(1-x^2\right)^{\small2/3}}\stackrel{\color{#808080}?}=\frac{3^{\small3/2}}{2^{\small4/...
23
votes
1answer
629 views

Feeding real or even complex numbers to the integer partition function $p(n)$?

Like most people, when I first encountered $n!$ in grade school, I graphed it, then connected the dots with a smooth curve and reasoned that there must be some meaning to $\left(\frac43\right)!$ — and,...