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Physics 500 Mathematical Methods of Physics

Problem Set 4: Due Thursday, October 12


Orthogonal Polynomials

1. Tolstov Chapter 2, Problem 9 (p. 64)


A system of functions 0 (x), 1 (x), . . . , n (x), . . . is said to be linearly independent if given
any n, there is no set of numbers a0 , a1 , . . . , an which are not all zero such that the linear
Pn
combination ak k (x) is identically zero. Show (actual proof, no hand waiving!) that
k=0

(a) An orthogonal system of functions is linearly independent.


(b) The functions 1, x, x2 , x3 , . . . are linearly independent. (Hint: How many roots can an

ak x k
P
nth degree polynomial have? How many roots does the linear combination
k=0
have?)

2. Tolstov Chapter 2, Problem 12 (p. 65)


Expand the following functions in Legendre polynomials on the interval [1, 1]:

0 : 1 < x < 0
(a) f (x) =
1 :0<x<1
(b) f (x) = |x|

3. Using the measure r(x) = ex , use Graham-Schmidt to find the first three Laguerre polyno-
mials (up to an overall sign) on the interval x [0, ]. You can use
Z
(n) = dx xn1 ex = (n 1)!
0

for integer n.

4. Using the measure r(x) = 1, use Graham-Schmidt to find the first three normalized Legendre
polynomials on the interval x [1, 1].