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Homework Help: Cotangent function integration problem

  1. Jan 1, 2005 #1
    I was doing an integration question earlier on and I came across something that I would like to be cleared up. The question basically boiled down to:

    - \left[ {\cot \left( \theta \right) + \theta } \right]_{\frac{\pi }{6}}^{\frac{\pi }{2}} = - \left[ {\frac{{\cos \left( \theta \right)}}{{\sin \left( \theta \right)}} + \theta } \right]_{\frac{\pi }{6}}^{\frac{\pi }{2}}

    Now if I just substitute the relevant values into the antiderivative it works out fine. However if I write the following I end up getting a 'weird' (I do not
    know the right words to describe it :biggrin: ) answer(something involving 1/infinity).

    - \left[ {\cot \left( \theta \right) + \theta } \right]_{\frac{\pi }{6}}^{\frac{\pi }{2}} = - \left[ {\frac{1}{{\tan \left( \theta \right)}} + \theta } \right]_{\frac{\pi }{6}}^{\frac{\pi }{2}}

    Can someone explain to me why this occurs? I can understand that when certain values are substituted in, 'weird' numbers appear but I cannot understand why the question works/does not work, depending on which way an expression is written(I am referring to the cotangent function), even though it is just the same thing. Any help would be good. I hope I was not unclear. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2005 #2


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    That's because [itex] \frac{\pi}{2} [/tex] is the domain of cotangent (cot pi/2=0) and not in the domain of tangent (tan pi/2 does not exist).Taking this int consideration,at best u can do is set a limit for the 1/tangent.But again,why do that,when pi/2 is clearly in the domain on cotangent and the result works out fine?

  4. Jan 1, 2005 #3
    Thanks for clearing that up for me.
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