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CAMBRIDGE STUDIES IN ADVANCED MATHEMATICS 126
Editorial Board
´ 

B. 
BOLLOB AS, W. FULTON, A. KATOK, F. KIRWAN, P. SARNAK, 
B. 
SIMON, B. TOTARO 
SPECIAL FUNCTIONS
The subject of special functions is often presented as a collection of disparate results, which are rarely organized in a coherent way. This book answers the need for a different approach to the subject. The authors’ main goals are to emphasize general unifying principles and to provide clear motivation, efﬁcient proofs, and original references for all of the principal results. The book covers standard material, but also much more, including chapters on discrete orthogonal polynomials and elliptic functions. The authors show how a very large part of the subject traces back to two equations – the hypergeometric equation and the conﬂuent hypergeometric equation – and describe the various ways in which these equations are canonical and special. Each chapter closes with a summary that provides both a convenient guide to the logical development and a useful compilation of the formulas. This book serves as an ideal graduatelevel textbook as well as a convenient reference.
Richard Beals is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Yale University.
Roderick Wong is Professor of Mathematics and Vice President for Research at City University of Hong Kong.
CAMBRIDGE STUDIES IN ADVANCED MATHEMATICS
Editorial Board
B. Bollob as,´
W. Fulton, A. Katok, F. Kirwan, P. Sarnak, B. Simon, B. Totaro
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Special Functions
A Graduate Text
RICHARD BEALS Yale University
RODERICK WONG City University of Hong Kong
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo
Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK
Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
www.cambridge.org Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521197977
© R. Beals and R. Wong 2010
This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.
First published in print format
2010
ISBN13 
9780511789595 
eBook (NetLibrary) 
ISBN13 
9780521197977 
Hardback 
Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or thirdparty internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.
Contents
Preface 
page ix 
1 Orientation 
1 
1.1 Power series solutions 
2 
1.2 The gamma and beta functions 
5 
1.3 Three questions 
6 
1.4 Elliptic functions 
10 
1.5 Exercises 
11 
1.6 Summary 
14 
1.7 Remarks 
16 
2 Gamma, beta, zeta 
18 
2.1 The gamma and beta functions 
19 
2.2 Euler’s product and reﬂection formulas 
22 
2.3 Formulas of Legendre and Gauss 
26 
2.4 Two characterizations of the gamma function 
28 
2.5 Asymptotics of the gamma function 
29 
2.6 The psi function and the incomplete gamma function 
33 
2.7 The Selberg integral 
36 
2.8 The zeta function 
40 
2.9 Exercises 
43 
2.10 Summary 
50 
2.11 Remarks 
56 
3 Secondorder differential equations 
57 
3.1 Transformations, symmetry 
58 
3.2 Existence and uniqueness 
61 
3.3 Wronskians, Green’s functions, comparison 
63 
v
vi
Contents
3.4 Polynomials as eigenfunctions 
66 
3.5 Maxima, minima, estimates 
72 
3.6 Some equations of mathematical physics 
74 
3.7 Equations and transformations 
78 
3.8 Exercises 
81 
3.9 Summary 
84 
3.10 Remarks 
92 
4 Orthogonal polynomials 
93 
4.1 General orthogonal polynomials 
93 
4.2 Classical polynomials: general properties, I 
98 
4.3 Classical polynomials: general properties, II 
102 
4.4 Hermite polynomials 
107 
4.5 Laguerre polynomials 
113 
4.6 Jacobi polynomials 
116 
4.7 Legendre and Chebyshev polynomials 
120 
4.8 Expansion theorems 
125 
4.9 Functions of second kind 
131 
4.10 Exercises 
134 
4.11 Summary 
138 
4.12 Remarks 
151 
5 Discrete orthogonal polynomials 
154 
5.1 Discrete weights and difference operators 
154 
5.2 The discrete Rodrigues formula 
160 
5.3 Charlier polynomials 
164 
5.4 Krawtchouk polynomials 
167 
5.5 Meixner polynomials 
170 
5.6 Chebyshev–Hahn polynomials 
173 
5.7 Exercises 
177 
5.8 Summary 
179 
5.9 Remarks 
188 
6 Conﬂuent hypergeometric functions 
189 
6.1 Kummer functions 
190 
6.2 Kummer functions of the second kind 
193 
6.3 Solutions when c is an integer 
196 
6.4 Special cases 
198 
6.5 Contiguous functions 
199 
6.6 Parabolic cylinder functions 
202 
6.7
Whittaker functions
205
Contents
vii
6.8 Exercises 
209 
6.9 Summary 
211 
6.10 Remarks 
220 
7 Cylinder functions 
221 
7.1 Bessel functions 
222 
7.2 Zeros of real cylinder functions 
226 
7.3 Integral representations 
230 
7.4 Hankel functions 
233 
7.5 Modiﬁed Bessel functions 
237 
7.6 Addition theorems 
239 
7.7 Fourier transform and Hankel transform 
241 
7.8 Integrals of Bessel functions 
242 
7.9 Airy functions 
244 
7.10 Exercises 
248 
7.11 Summary 
253 
7.12 Remarks 
262 
8 Hypergeometric functions 
264 
8.1 Hypergeometric series 
265 
8.2 Solutions of the hypergeometric equation 
267 
8.3 Linear relations of solutions 
270 
8.4 Solutions when c is an integer 
274 
8.5 Contiguous functions 
276 
8.6 Quadratic transformations 
278 
8.7 Transformations and special values 
282 
8.8 Exercises 
286 
8.9 Summary 
290 
8.10 Remarks 
298 
9 Spherical functions 
300 
9.1 Harmonic polynomials; surface harmonics 
301 
9.2 Legendre functions 
307 
9.3 Relations among the Legendre functions 
311 
9.4 Series expansions and asymptotics 
315 
9.5 Associated Legendre functions 
318 
9.6 Relations among associated functions 
321 
9.7 Exercises 
323 
9.8 Summary 
326 
9.9
Remarks
334
viii
Contents
10 Asymptotics 
335 
10.1 Hermite and parabolic cylinder functions 
336 
10.2 Conﬂuent hypergeometric functions 
339 
10.3 Hypergeometric functions, Jacobi polynomials 
343 
10.4 Legendre functions 
346 
10.5 Steepest descents and stationary phase 
348 
10.6 Exercises 
352 
10.7 Summary 
364 
10.8 Remarks 
369 
11 Elliptic functions 
371 
11.1 Integration 
372 
11.2 Elliptic integrals 
375 
11.3 Jacobi elliptic functions 
380 
11.4 Theta functions 
384 
11.5 Jacobi theta functions and integration 
389 
11.6 Weierstrass elliptic functions 
394 
11.7 Exercises 
398 
11.8 Summary 
404 
11.9 Remarks 
416 
Appendix A: Complex analysis 
419 
Appendix B: Fourier analysis 
425 
Notation 
431 
References 
433 
Author index 
449 
Index 
453 
Preface
The subject of special functions is one that has no precise delineation. This book includes most of the standard topics and a few that are less standard. The subject does have a long and distinguished history, which we have tried to highlight through remarks and numerous references. The unifying ideas are easily lost in a forest of formulas. We have tried to emphasize these ideas, especially in the early chapters. To make the book useful for selfstudy we have included introductory remarks for each chapter, as well as proofs, or outlines of proofs, for almost all the results. To make it a convenient reference, we have concluded each chapter with a concise summary, followed by brief remarks on the history, and references for additional reading. We have tried to keep the prerequisites to a minimum: a reasonable familiarity with power series and integrals, convergence, and the like. Some proofs rely on the basics of complex function theory, which are reviewed in Appendix A. The necessary background from differential equations is covered in Chapter 3. Some familiarity with Hilbert space ideas, in the L ^{2} framework, is useful but not indispensable. Chapter 11 on elliptic functions relies more heavily than the rest of the book on concepts from complex analysis. Appendix B contains a quick development of basic results from Fourier analysis. The ﬁrstnamed author acknowledges the efforts of some of his research collaborators, especially Peter Greiner, Bernard Gaveau, Yakar Kannai, and Jacek Szmigielski, who managed over a period of years to convince him that special functions are not only useful but beautiful. The authors are grateful to Jacek Szmigielski, Mourad Ismail, Richard Askey, and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on the manuscript.
ix
1
Orientation
The concept of “special function” is one that has no precise deﬁnition. From a practical point of view, a special function is a function of one variable that is (a) not one of the “elementary functions” – algebraic functions, trigono metric functions, the exponential, the logarithm, and functions constructed algebraically from these functions – and is (b) a function about which one can ﬁnd information in many of the books about special functions. A large amount of such information has been accumulated over a period of three centuries. Like such elementary functions as the exponential and trigonometric functions, special functions arise in numerous contexts. These contexts include both pure mathematics and applications, ranging from number theory and combinatorics to probability and physical science. The majority of the special functions that are treated in many of the general books on the subject are solutions of certain secondorder linear differen tial equations. Indeed, these functions were discovered through the study of physical problems: vibrations, heat ﬂow, equilibrium, and so on. The asso ciated equations are partial differential equations of second order. In some coordinate systems, these equations can be solved by separation of variables, leading to the secondorder ordinary differential equations in question. (Solu tions of the analogous ﬁrstorder linear differential equations are elementary functions.) Despite the long list of adjectives and proper names attached to this class of special functions (hypergeometric, conﬂuent hypergeometric, cylinder, parabolic cylinder, spherical, Airy, Bessel, Hankel, Hermite, Kelvin, Kummer,
Laguerre, Legendre, Macdonald, Neumann, Weber, Whittaker,
them is closely related to one of two families of equations: the conﬂuent
hypergeometric equation(s)
each of
),
x u ^{}^{} (x) + (c − x) u ^{} (x) − a u(x) = 0
(1.0.1)
1
2
Orientation
and the hypergeometric equation(s)
x(1 − x) u ^{}^{} (x) + [c − (a + b + 1)x] u ^{} (x) − ab u(x) = 0.
(1.0.2)
The parameters a, b, c are real or complex constants. Some solutions of these equations are polynomials: up to a linear change of variables, they are the “classical orthogonal polynomials.” Again, there are many names attached: Chebyshev, Gegenbauer, Hermite, Jacobi, Laguerre, Legendre, ultraspherical. In this chapter we discuss one context in which these equations, and (up to normalization) no others, arise. We also shall see how two equations can, in principle, give rise to such a menagerie of functions. Some special functions are not closely connected to linear secondorder differential equations. These exceptions include the gamma function, the beta function, and the elliptic functions. The gamma and beta functions evaluate certain integrals. They are indispensable in many calculations, especially in connection with the class of functions mentioned earlier, as we illustrate below. Elliptic functions arise as solutions of a simple nonlinear secondorder differential equation, and also in connection with integrating certain algebraic functions. They have a wide range of applications, from number theory to integrable systems.
1.1 Power series solutions
The general homogeneous linear secondorder equation is
p(x) u ^{}^{} (x) + q(x) u ^{} (x) + r (x) u(x) = 0,
(1.1.1)
with p not identically zero. We assume here that the coefﬁcient functions p , q , and r are holomorphic (analytic) in a neighborhood of the origin. If a function u is holomorphic in a neighborhood of the origin, then the function on the lefthand side of (1.1.1) is also holomorphic in a neighborhood of the origin. The coefﬁcients of the power series expansion of this function can be computed from the coefﬁcients of the expansions of the functions p, q, r , and u. Under these assumptions, equation (1.1.1) is equivalent to the sequence of equations obtained by setting the coefﬁcients of the expansion of the left hand side equal to zero. Speciﬁcally, suppose that the coefﬁcient functions p, q, r have series expansions
∞ ∞
p(x) =
k=0
p _{k} x ^{k} ,
q(x) =
k=0
q _{k} x ^{k} ,
r(x) =
∞
k=0
r _{k} x ^{k} ,
1.1
Power series solutions
3
and u has the expansion
u(x) =
∞
k=0
u _{k} x ^{k} .
Then the constant term and the coefﬁcients of x and x ^{2} on the lefthand side of (1.1.1) are
(1.1.2)
2p _{0} u _{2}
6p _{0} u _{3}
12 p _{0} u _{4} + 6p _{1} u _{3} + 2p _{2} u _{2} + 3q _{0} u _{3} + 2q _{1} u _{2} + q _{2} u _{1} + r _{0} u _{2} + r _{1} u _{1} + r _{2} u _{0} ,
+ 
q _{0} u _{1} + r _{0} u _{0} , 
+ 
2p _{1} u _{2} + 2q _{0} u _{2} + q _{1} u _{1} + r _{1} u _{0} + r _{0} u _{1} , 
respectively. The sequence of equations equivalent to (1.1.1) is the sequence
j+k=n, k≥0
(k + 2)(k + 1) p _{j} u _{k}_{+}_{2} +
^{}
j+k=n, k≥0
+
^{}
j+k=n, k≥0
r _{j} u _{k} = 0,
n = 0, 1, 2,
(k
+ 1)q _{j} u _{k}_{+}_{1}
(1.1.3)
We say that equation (1.1.1) is recursive if it has a nonzero solution u holomorphic in a neighborhood of the origin, and equations (1.1.3) determine the coefﬁcients {u _{n} } by a simple recursion: the nth equation determines u _{n} in terms of u _{n}_{−}_{1} alone. Suppose that (1.1.1) is recursive. Then the ﬁrst of equations (1.1.2) should involve u _{1} but not u _{2} , so p _{0} = 0, q _{0} = 0. The second equation should not involve u _{3} or u _{0} , so r _{1} = 0. Similarly, the third equation shows that q _{2} = r _{2} = 0. Continuing, we obtain
p _{0} = 0,
p _{j} = 0,
j ≥ 3;
q _{j} = 0,
j ≥ 2;
r _{j} = 0,
j ≥ 1.
After collecting terms, the nth equation is then
^{} (n + 1)np _{1} + (n + 1)q _{0} ^{} u _{n}_{+}_{1} + ^{} n(n − 1) p _{2} + nq _{1} + r _{0} ^{} u _{n} = 0.
For special values of the parameters p _{1} , p _{2} , q _{0} , q _{1} ,r _{0} one of these coefﬁcients may vanish for some value of n. In such a case either the recursion breaks down or the solution u is a polynomial, so we assume that this does not happen. Thus
_{u} n+1 _{=} _{−} n(n − 1)p _{2} + nq _{1} + r _{0} (n + 1)np _{1} + (n + 1)q
0
u _{n} .
(1.1.4)
∞
Assume u _{0} = 0. If p _{1} = 0 but p _{2} = 0, the series ^{} _{n}_{=}_{0} u _{n} x ^{n} diverges for all x = 0 (ratio test). Therefore, up to normalization – a linear change of coordinates and a multiplicative constant – we may assume that p(x) has one of the two forms p(x) = x(1 − x) or p(x) = x.
4
Orientation
If p(x) = x(1 − x) then equation (1.1.1) has the form
x(1 − x) u ^{}^{} (x) + (q _{0} + q _{1} x) u ^{} (x) + r _{0} u(x) = 0.
Constants a and b can be chosen so that this is (1.0.2). If p(x) = x and q _{1} = 0 we may replace x by a multiple of x and take q _{1} = −1. Then (1.1.1) has the form (1.0.1). Finally, suppose p(x) = x and q _{1} = 0. If also r _{0} = 0, then (1.1.1) is a ﬁrst order equation for u ^{} . Otherwise we may replace x by a multiple of x and take r _{0} = 1. Then (1.1.1) has the form
x u ^{}^{} (x) + c u ^{} (x) + u(x) = 0.
(1.1.5)
This equation is not obviously related to either of (1.0.1) or (1.0.2). However, it can be shown that it becomes a special case of (1.0.1) after a change of variable and a “gauge transformation” (see exercises). Summarizing: up to certain normalizations, an equation (1.1.1) is recursive if and only if it has one of the three forms (1.0.1), (1.0.2), or (1.1.5). Moreover, (1.1.5) can be transformed to a case of (1.0.1). Let us note brieﬂy the answer to the analogous question for a homogeneous linear ﬁrstorder equation
q(x) u ^{} (x) + r (x) u(x) = 0
(1.1.6)
with q not identically zero. This amounts to taking p = 0 in the argument above. The conclusion is again that q is a polynomial of degree at most one, with q _{0} = 0, while r = r _{0} is constant. Up to normalization, q(x) has one of the two forms q(x) = 1 or q(x) = x − 1. Thus the equation has one of the two forms
u ^{} (x) − a u(x) = 0;
with solutions
u(x) = c e ^{a}^{x} ;
(x − 1)u ^{} (x) − a u(x) = 0,
u(x) = c (x − 1) ^{a} ,
respectively. Let us return to the conﬂuent hypergeometric equation (1.0.1). The power series solution with u _{0} = 1 is sometimes denoted M(a, c; x). It can be calcu lated easily from the recursion (1.1.4). The result is
M(a, c; x) =
∞
n=0
(a) _{n}
_{(}_{c}_{)} _{n} _{n} _{!} x ^{n} ,
c = 0, −1, −2,
(1.1.7)
1.2 The gamma and beta functions
5
Here the “shifted factorial” or “Pochhammer symbol” (a) _{n} is deﬁned by
(a) _{0} = 1,
(a) _{n} = a(a + 1)(a + 2) ··· (a + n − 1),
(1.1.8)
so that (1) _{n} = n !. The series (1.1.7) converges for all complex x (ratio test), so M is an entire function of x. The special nature of equation (1.0.1) is reﬂected in the special nature of the coefﬁcients of M. It leads to a number of relationships among these functions when the parameters (a, b) are varied. For example, a comparison of coefﬁ cients shows that the three “contiguous” functions M(a, c; x), M(a + 1, c; x), and M(a, c − 1; x) are related by
(a − c + 1) M(a, c; x) − a M(a + 1, c, x) + (c − 1) M(a, c − 1; x) = 0.
(1.1.9)
Similar relations hold whenever the respective parameters differ by integers. (In general, the coefﬁcients are rational functions of (a, c, x) rather than simply linear functions of (a, b).)
1.2 The gamma and beta functions
The gamma function
(a) =
0
∞
e ^{−}^{t} t ^{a}^{−}^{1} dt,
Re a > 0,
satisﬁes the functional equation a (a) = (a + 1). More generally, the shifted factorial (1.1.8) can be written
_{(}_{a}_{)} n _{=} (a + n) (a)
^{.}
It is sometimes convenient to use this form in series like (1.1.7). A related function is the beta function, or beta integral,
B(a, b) =
0
1
s ^{a}^{−}^{1} (1 − s) ^{b}^{−}^{1} ds,
Re a > 0, Re b > 0,
which can be evaluated in terms of the gamma function
_{B}_{(}_{a}_{,} _{b}_{)} _{=} (a) (b)
(a + b) ^{;}
6
Orientation
see the next chapter. These identities can be used to obtain a representation of the function M in (1.1.7) as an integral, when Re c > Re a > 0. In fact
Therefore
(a) 
_{n} 
(c) 

(c) 
_{n} 
(a + n) _{·} (a) 
(c + n) 
(c)
_{=} _{−} _{a}_{)} B(a + n, c − a)
(a) (c
(c)
= (a) (c − a)
0
1
_{s} n+a−1 _{(}_{1} _{−} _{s}_{)} c−a−1 _{d}_{s}_{.}
M(a, c; x) =
=
(c) (a) (c − a)
0
(c) (a) (c − a)
0
1
1
_{s} a−1 _{(}_{1} _{−} _{s}_{)} c−a−1
∞
n=0
(sx) ^{n}
n!
s ^{a}^{−}^{1} (1 − s) ^{c}^{−}^{a}^{−}^{1} e ^{s}^{x} ds.
ds
(1.2.1)
This integral representation is useful in obtaining information that is not evi dent from the power series expansion (1.1.7).
1.3 Three questions
First question: How can it be that so many of the functions mentioned in the introduction to this chapter can be associated with just two equations (1.0.1) and (1.0.2)?
Part of the answer is that different solutions of the same equation may have different names. An elementary example is the equation
u ^{}^{} (x) − u(x) = 0.
(1.3.1)
One might wish to normalize a solution by imposing a condition at the origin like
u(0) = 0
or
u ^{} (0) = 0,
leading to u(x) = sinh x or u(x) = cosh x respectively, or a condition at inﬁnity like
_{x}_{→}_{−}_{∞} lim u(x) = 0
or
lim
_{x}_{→}_{+}_{∞} u(x) = 0,
1.3 Three questions
7
leading to u(x) = e ^{x} or u(x) = e ^{−}^{x} respectively. Similarly, Bessel, Neumann, and both kinds of Hankel functions are four solutions of a single equation, distinguished by conditions at the origin or at inﬁnity. The rest of the answer to the question is that one can transform solutions of one secondorder linear differential equation into solutions of another, in two simple ways. One such transformation is a change of variables. For example, starting with the equation
(1.3.2)
suppose u(x) = v(x ^{2} ). It is not difﬁcult to show that (1.3.2) is equivalent to the equation
u ^{}^{} (x) − 2x u ^{} (x) + λ u(x)
= 0,
y
v ^{}^{} (y) + ^{1} _{2} − y v ^{} (y)
1
+ _{4} λv(y) = 0,
_{2} 1 of (1.0.1). Therefore, even solutions of
which is the case a = − _{4} λ, c =
(1.3.2) can be identiﬁed with certain solutions of (1.0.1). The same is true
of odd solutions: see the exercises. An even simpler example is the change u(x) = v(ix) in (1.3.1), leading to v ^{}^{} + v = 0, and the trigonometric and complex exponential solutions sin x, cos x, e ^{i}^{x} , e ^{−}^{i}^{x} . The second type of transformation is a “gauge transformation”. For exam ple, if the function u in (1.3.2) is written in the form
1
u(x) = e ^{x} ^{2} ^{/}^{2} v(x),
then (1.3.2) is equivalent to an equation with no ﬁrstorder term:
v ^{}^{} (x) + (1 + λ − x ^{2} )v(x) = 0. (1.3.3)
Each of the functions mentioned in the third paragraph of the introduction to this chapter is a solution of an equation that can be obtained from (1.0.1) or (1.0.2) by one or both of a change of variable and a gauge transformation.
Second question: What does one want to know about these functions?
As we noted above, solutions of an equation of the form (1.1.1) can be chosen uniquely through various normalizations, such as behavior as x → 0 or as x →∞. The solution (1.1.7) of (1.0.1) is normalized by the condition u(0) = 1. Having explicit formulas, like (1.1.7) for the function M, can be very useful. On the other hand, understanding the behavior as x → +∞ is not always straightforward. The integral representation (1.2.1) allows one to compute this behavior for M (see exercises). This example illustrates why it can be useful to have an integral representation (with an integrand that is well understood).
8
Orientation
Any three solutions of a secondorder linear equation (1.1.1) satisfy a linear relationship, and one wants to compute the coefﬁcients of such a relationship. An important tool in this and in other aspects of the theory is the computation of the Wronskian of two solutions u _{1} , u _{2} :
W(u _{1} , u _{2} )(x) ≡ u _{1} (x)
u ^{} _{2} (x) − u _{2} (x) u _{1} ^{} (x).
In particular, these two solutions are linearly independent if and only if the Wronskian does not vanish. Because of the special nature of equations (1.0.1) and (1.0.2) and the equations derived from them, solutions satisfy various linear relationships like (1.1.9). One wants to determine a set of relationships that generate all such relationships. Finally, the coefﬁcient of the zeroorder term in equations like (1.0.1), (1.0.2), or (1.3.3) is an important parameter, and one often wants to know how a given normalized solution like M(a, c; x) varies as the parameter approaches ±∞. In (1.3.3), denote by v _{λ} the even solution normalized by v _{λ} (0) = 1. As 1 + λ = μ ^{2} → +∞, over any bounded interval the equation looks like a small perturbation of the equation v ^{}^{} + μ ^{2} v = 0. Therefore it is plausible that
v _{λ} (x) ∼ A _{λ} (x) cos(μx +
B _{λ} )
as
λ → +∞,
with A _{λ} ( x ) > 0. We want to compute the “amplitude function” A _{λ} (x) and the “phase constant” B _{λ} . Some words about notation like that in the preceding equation: the meaning of the statement
is
f (x) ∼ A g(x)
lim
x→∞
f (x)
g(x)
as
x → ∞
= A.
This is in slight conﬂict with the notation for an asymptotic series expansion:
f (x) ∼ g(x)
∞
n=0
a _{n} x ^{−}^{n}
as
x → ∞
means that for every positive integer N , truncating the series at n = N gives an approximation to order x ^{−}^{N}^{−}^{1} :
f (x)
g(x) ^{−}
N
n=0 a _{n} x ^{−}^{n} = O x ^{−}^{N}^{−}^{1}
^{}
as
x → ∞.
1.3 Three questions
9
As usual, the “big O” notation
h(x) = O ^{} k(x) ^{}
as
x → ∞
means that there are constants A, B such that
h(x)
k(x)
_{} ≤ A
if
x ≥ B.
The similar “small o” notation
h(x) = o ^{} k(x) ^{}
means
lim
h(x)
= 0.
k(x)
Third question: Is this list of functions or related equations exhaustive, in any sense?
A partial answer has been given: the requirement that the equation be “recur
sive” leads to just three cases, (1.0.1), (1.0.2), and (1.1.5), and the third of these
three equations reduces to a case of the ﬁrst equation. Two other answers are given in Chapter 3. The ﬁrst of the two answers in Chapter 3 starts with a question of mathe matics: given that a differential operator of the form that occurs in (1.1.1),
x→∞
d ^{2}
d
p(x) _{d}_{x} _{2} + q(x) _{d}_{x} + r (x),
is selfadjoint with respect to a weight function on a (bounded or inﬁnite)
interval, under what circumstances will the eigenfunctions be polynomials? An example is the operator in (1.3.2), which is selfadjoint with respect to the weight function w(x) = e ^{−}^{x} ^{2} on the line:
−∞ ^{} u ^{}^{} (x) − 2x
u ^{} (x) ^{} v(x) e ^{−}^{x} ^{2} dx = −∞ u(x) ^{} v ^{}^{} (x) − 2x v ^{} (x) ^{} e ^{−}^{x} ^{2} dx.
∞
∞
in (1.3.2) and the Hermite polynomials
are eigenfunctions. Up to normalization, the equation associated with such an operator is one of the three equations (1.0.1), (1.0.2) (after a simple change of variables), or (1.3.2). Moreover, as suggested above, (1.3.2) can be converted
The eigenvalues are λ = 2, 4, 6,
to two cases of (1.0.1).
The second of the two answers in Chapter 3 starts with a question of mathematical physics: given the Laplace equation
u( x ) = 0
10
Orientation
or the Helmholtz equation
u( x ) + λ u(x ) = 0
say in three variables, x = (x _{1} , x _{2} , x _{3} ), what equations arise by separating variables in various coordinate systems (cartesian, cylindrical, spherical, parabolic–cylindrical)? Each of the equations so obtained can be related to one of (1.0.1) and (1.0.2) by a gauge transformation and/or a change of variables.
1.4 Elliptic functions
The remaining special functions to be discussed in this book are also associated with a secondorder differential equation, but not a linear equation. One of the simplest nonlinear secondorder differential equations of mathematical physics is the equation that describes the motion of an ideal pendulum, which can be normalized to
2 θ ^{}^{} (t) = −sin θ(t).
(1.4.1)
Multiplying equation (1.4.1) by θ ^{} (t) and integrating gives
^{} θ ^{} (t) ^{} ^{2} = a + cos θ(t)
1
for some constant a. Let u = sin _{2} θ . Then (1.4.2) takes the form
^{} u ^{} (t) ^{} ^{2} = A ^{} 1 − u(t) ^{2} ^{} ^{} 1 − k ^{2} u(t) ^{2} ^{} .
(1.4.2)
(1.4.3)
By rescaling time t, we may take the constant A to be 1. Solving for t as a function of u leads to the integral form
u
t =
u 0
dx
^{} (1 − x ^{2} )(1 − k ^{2} x ^{2} ) ^{.}
^{(}^{1}^{.}^{4}^{.}^{4}^{)}
This is an instance of an elliptic integral: an integral of the form
u
u 0
R
x, ^{} P(x) dx,
(1.4.5)
where P is a polynomial of degree 3 or 4 with no repeated roots and R is a
rational function (quotient of polynomials) in two variables. If P had degree 2, then (1.4.5) could be integrated by a trigonometric substitution. For example
0
u
dx
^{√} 1 − x ^{2}
= sin ^{−}^{1} u;
1.5 Exercises
11
equivalently,
t =
0
sin t
dx
^{√} 1 − x ^{2} ^{.}
Elliptic functions are the analogues, for the case when P has degree 3 or 4, of the trigonometric functions in the case of degree 2.
1.5 Exercises
1.1 Suppose that u is a solution of (1.0.1) with parameters (a, c). Show that the derivative u ^{} is a solution of (1.0.1) with parameters (a + 1, c + 1).
1.2 Suppose that u is a solution of (1.0.2) with parameters (a, b, c). Show that the derivative u ^{} is a solution of (1.0.1) with parameters (a + 1, b + 1, c + 1).
1.3 Show that the power series solution to (1.1.5) with u _{0} = 1 is
u(x) =
∞
n=0
1
_{(}_{c}_{)} n _{n} _{!} (−x) ^{n} ,
c = 0, −1, −2,
1.4 In Exercise 1.3, suppose c =
_{2} 1 . Show that
u(x) = cosh 2(−x) 2 .
1
1.5 Compare the series solution in Exercise 1.3 with the series expansion (7.1.1). This suggests that if u is a solution of (1.1.5), then
1
u(x) = x ^{−} 2 ^{ν} v ^{} 2 ^{√} x ^{} ,
ν = c − 1,
where v is a solution of Bessel’s equation (3.6.12). Verify this fact directly. Together with results in Section 3.7, this conﬁrms that (1.1.5) can be transformed to (1.0.1).
1.6 Show that the power series solution to (1.0.1) with u _{0} = 1 is given by
(1.1.7).
1.7 Show that the power series solution to (1.0.2) with u _{0} = 1 is the hypergeometric function
u(x) = F(a, b, c; x) =
∞
n=0
(a) _{n} (b) _{n}
(c) _{n} n !
x ^{n} .
1.8
In the preceding exercise, suppose that a = c. Find a closedform expression for the sum of series. Relate this to the differential equation (1.0.2) when a = c.
12
Orientation
1.9 
Consider the ﬁrstorder equation (1.1.6) under the assumption that q and 

are polynomials and neither is identically zero. Show that all solutions have the form r 

u(x) = P(x) exp R(x), 

where P is a polynomial and R is a rational function (quotient of polynomials). 

1.10 
Suppose that an equation of the form (1.1.1) with holomorphic coefﬁcients has the property that the nth equation (1.1.3) determines 

_{n}_{+}_{2} from u _{n} alone. Show that up to normalization, the equation can be put into one of the following two forms: u 

u ^{}^{} (x) − 2x u ^{} (x) + 2λ u(x) = 0; 

(1 − x ^{2} ) u ^{}^{} (x) + ax u ^{} (x) + b u(x) = 0. 

1.11 

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