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Using the Weierstrass definition for $\Gamma(x)$ and $\Gamma\Big(x + \frac12\Big)$, how can I prove the duplication formula? This is problem $10.7.3$ in the book Irresistible Integrals, by Boros and Moll.

Any help is highly appreciated.

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The duplication formula can be written as

$$\frac{\Gamma(x)\Gamma(x+\frac1{2})}{\Gamma(2x)}= \frac{\Gamma(\frac1{2})}{2^{2x-1}}= \frac{\sqrt{\pi}}{2^{2x-1}}.$$

We want to derive this formula using the Weierstrass definition for the gamma function,

$$\frac1{\Gamma(x)}=xe^{\gamma x}\prod_{k=1}^{\infty}\left(1+\frac{x}{k}\right)e^{-x/k}.$$

We have

$$\frac{\Gamma(x)\Gamma(x+\frac1{2})}{\Gamma(2x)}=\frac{2xe^{2\gamma x}}{xe^{\gamma x}(x+\frac1{2})e^{\gamma x}e^{\gamma/2}}\frac{\prod_{k=1}^{\infty}\left(1+\frac{2x}{k}\right)e^{-2x/k}}{\prod_{k=1}^{\infty}\left(1+\frac{x}{k}\right)e^{-x/k}\prod_{k=1}^{\infty}\left(1+\frac{x}{k}+\frac{1}{2k}\right)e^{-x/k}e^{-1/2k}}\\ =\frac{1}{e^{\gamma/2}}\lim_{n \rightarrow \infty}\frac{2x\prod_{k=1}^{2n}\left(1+\frac{2x}{k}\right)}{x(x+\frac1{2})\prod_{k=1}^{n}\left(1+\frac{x}{k}\right)\prod_{k=1}^{n}\left(1+\frac{x}{k}+\frac{1}{2k}\right)}\frac{\prod_{k=1}^{2n}e^{-2x/k}}{(\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-x/k})^2\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-1/2k}}\\ =\frac{1}{e^{\gamma/2}}\lim_{n \rightarrow \infty}P_n(x)Q_n(x).$$

First simplify $P_n(x)$ as follows:

$$P_n(x)=\frac{2x\prod_{k=1}^{2n}\left(1+\frac{2x}{k}\right)}{x(x+\frac1{2})\prod_{k=1}^{n}\left(1+\frac{x}{k}\right)\prod_{k=1}^{n}\left(1+\frac{x}{k}+\frac{1}{2k}\right)}\\=\frac{(n!)^2}{(2n)!\left(x+n+\frac1{2}\right)}\frac{\prod_{k=0}^{n}\left(2x+2k\right)\prod_{k=0}^{n-1}\left(2x+2k+1\right)}{\prod_{k=0}^{n}\left(x+k\right)\prod_{k=0}^{n-1}\left(x+k+\frac1{2}\right)}\\=\frac{(n!)^22^{2n+1}}{(2n)!\left(x+n+\frac1{2}\right)}$$

Next consider $Q_n(x)$:

$$Q_n(x)=\frac{\prod_{k=1}^{2n}e^{-2x/k}}{(\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-x/k})^2\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-1/2k}}\\=\frac{n^{1/2}}{2^{2x}}\frac{(2n)^{2x}\prod_{k=1}^{2n}e^{-2x/k}}{(n^x\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-x/k})^2n^{1/2}\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-1/2k}}$$

Reassembling we get

$$\frac{\Gamma(x)\Gamma(x+\frac1{2})}{\Gamma(2x)}=\frac{1}{e^{\gamma/2}}\lim_{n \rightarrow \infty}\frac{(n!)^22^{2n+1}}{(2n)!\left(x+n+\frac1{2}\right)}\frac{n^{1/2}}{2^{2x}}\frac{(2n)^{2x}\prod_{k=1}^{2n}e^{-2x/k}}{(n^x\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-x/k})^2n^{1/2}\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-1/2k}}\\=\frac{1}{2^{2x-1}}\lim_{n \rightarrow \infty}\frac{n}{\left(x+n+\frac1{2}\right)}\frac{(n!)^22^{2n}}{(2n)!n^{1/2}}\frac{(2n)^{2x}\prod_{k=1}^{2n}e^{-2x/k}}{e^{\gamma/2}(n^x\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-x/k})^2n^{1/2}\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-1/2k}}.$$

We can evaluate the limit in three parts.

First,

$$\lim_{n \rightarrow \infty}\frac{n}{\left(x+n+\frac1{2}\right)}=1.$$

Second, using a well-known identity for the Euler-Mascheroni constant,

$$\lim_{n \rightarrow \infty}\frac{(2n)^{2x}\prod_{k=1}^{2n}e^{-2x/k}}{e^{\gamma/2}(n^x\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-x/k})^2n^{1/2}\prod_{k=1}^{n}e^{-1/2k}}=\frac{e^{-2\gamma x}}{(e^{-\gamma x})^2e^{-\gamma /2}e^{\gamma /2}}=1.$$

Third using Stirlings's asymptotic formula $n! \sim \sqrt{2\pi}n^{n+1/2}e^{-n},$

$$\lim_{n \rightarrow \infty}\frac{(n!)^22^{2n}}{(2n)!n^{1/2}}=\sqrt{\pi},$$

and finally we get

$$\frac{\Gamma(x)\Gamma(x+\frac1{2})}{\Gamma(2x)}=\frac{\sqrt{\pi}}{2^{2x-1}}.$$

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  • $\begingroup$ Why is it that $\prod_{k=1}^{\infty}\left(1+\frac{2x}{k}\right)e^{-2x/k}=\lim_{n\to\infty}\prod_{k=1}^{\bf{2n}}\left(1+\frac{2x}{k}\right)e^{-2x/k}$. Why does it matter that $k=1,2,\ldots, n$ rather than $k=1,2,\ldots, 2n$? $\endgroup$ – user225477 Feb 21 '18 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ A convergent infinite product is the limit of a sequence of partial products $P_n$. Any subsequence such as $P_{2n}$ of a convergent sequence must converge to the same limit. So it is perfectly valid. Why does it matter? Well that is the trick. Since the limit of a ratio of convergent sequences is the ratio of the limits (assuming we don't divide by zero) it reveals some hidden structure. Perhaps you've seen how switching the order of integration unravels a difficult double integral when valid. Similarly switching an integral and an infinite sum. There is a certain art to these manipulations $\endgroup$ – RRL Feb 22 '18 at 8:39

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