Questions tagged [special-functions]

This tag is for questions on special functions, useful functions that frequently appear in pure and applied mathematics (usually not including "elementary" functions).

Special functions are particular mathematical functions which have more or less established names and notations due to their importance in mathematical analysis, functional analysis, physics, or other applications.

Higher transcendental functions are frequently termed special functions. These functions were studied extensively in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries-by Gauss, Euler, Abel, Jacobi, Weierstrass, Riemann, Hermite, Poincare, and other leading mathematicians of the day. Although many of the functions that they treated were quite recondite and are no longer of much interest today, others (such as the Riemann zeta function, the gamma function, and elliptic functions) are still intensively studied.

Before asking, please make sure that you define your notation very precisely, as
1. not everybody is familiar with the notation for special functions; and
2. a lot of special functions have different notational conventions, depending on the paper/book.

You might want to first check if the special function you are considering is discussed in Abramowitz and Stegun, the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions, or the Wolfram Functions site.


"Special Functions and Their Applications" by R. Silverman

4227 questions
1 answer

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 and became famous since its first discovery in 2002.…
Sangchul Lee
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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 the "best"? In particular, I'm looking for…
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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 $p_0 > 0$ and $p_{k+1} > p_k$ for all $k$. In…
1 answer

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 equation. Kaufman's article describes algebraic methods…
4 answers

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…
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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 here. The gist of the theory is as follows: The…
1 answer

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_\mu(x)=\sum…
Vladimir Reshetnikov
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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 $$ \Gamma\left(\frac{1}{2}\right)=\sqrt{\pi}\text{ ?} $$ (I'll post my own…
Michael Hardy
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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 the positive root of the polynomial…
3 answers

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) + \frac{z(1-z)}{2} + z \log \Gamma(z) - \log…
1 answer

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 way to check ratios of Gamma-functions like this…
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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 calculated by using the chain rule. However, there…
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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 to express it in terms of Euler Sums. Let $I$ denote…
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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 functions. The problem I got from this is what is an…
5 answers

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

Let $\operatorname{erfc}x$ be the complementary error function. I successfully evaluated these integrals: $$\int_0^\infty\operatorname{erfc}x\ \mathrm dx=\frac1{\sqrt\pi}\tag1$$ $$\int_0^\infty\operatorname{erfc}^2x\ \mathrm…
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