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SPSU MATH 2640

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Dr. Saber Hashim

Krista Sexton & Bongsu Kim

Airy function

after the British astronomer

and physicist George Biddell

Airy (18011892), who

encountered it in his early

study of optics in physics (Airy

1838). The notation Ai(x) was

introduced by Harold Jeffreys.

Airy had become the British

Astronomer Royal in 1835, and

he held that post until his

retirement in 1881.

theory of electromagnetic diffraction

and radio wave propagation. Airy

functions play an important role in the

theory of asymptotic representations of

various special functions. They have

diverse applications in mathematical

physicsfor example, in the theory of

the diffraction of radio waves at the

earths surface. The Airy function also

underlies the form of the intensity

near an optical directional caustic,

such as that of the rainbow.

Historically, this was the

mathematical problem that led Airy to

develop this special function. The Airy

function is also important in

microscopy and astronomy; this

describes the pattern, due to

diffraction and interference, produced

by a point source of light.

method well-suited for?

y''+p(t) y'+q(t) y=0

The series solutions method is used

primarily, when the coefficients p(t)

or q(t) are non-constant.

Airy functions are prominently used in

problems defined by nonlinear equations.

equation

y''-t y=0

to model the diffraction of light.

We want to find power

series solutions for this

second-order linear

differential equation.

Continued

Continued

certain class of applications

Classical physics

Physical optics,

Electromagnetism, Radiative

transfer

y''-xy=0

Fluid Mechanics

Continuity equation

Quantum physics

Nonlinear wave propagation

WKB method

Solves certain differential

equations

directions

, where

F(x) is smooth and

positive on the O(1) scale

[1].

trying to solve Power Series

Radius of Convergence

Example:

which gives us

Continued

Analyzing the result

the ratio test tells us

that the power

series converges

only when

or | x + 3 | < 4

The radius of convergence is R = 4

REFERENCES

Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables, 9th

printing.

Airy (1838), "On the intensity of light in the neighbourhood of a caustic" , Transactions

of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (University Press) 6: 379402

Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, p. 413, 1995.

Boston, MA: Academic Press, p. 121, 1997.

Lebedev, N. N. Spetsialnye funktsii i ikh prilozheniia. 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad,

1963.

New York: Dover, pp. 446-452, 1972.

Olver (1974). Asymptotics and Special Functions, Chapter 11. Academic Press, New

York.

Press, WH; Teukolsky, SA; Vetterling, WT; Flannery, BP (2007), "Section 6.6.3. Airy

Functions" , Numerical Recipes: The Art of Scientific Computing (3rd ed.), New

York: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-88068-8

Valle, Olivier; Soares, Manuel (2004), Airy functions and applications to physics ,

London: Imperial College Press, ISBN 978-1-86094-478-9, MR 2114198

Zwillinger, D. (Ed.). CRC Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulae.

Zwillinger, D. Handbook of Differential Equations, 3rd ed.

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