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Integration of (Cos X)^2

  1. Dec 28, 2004 #1
    Hi, I just don't get this. I'm to lazy to type inn what I've done, so I just took
    a picture of my textbook:
    You're supposed to end up with the starting point, right? So you can divide the rest by two?

    Whatever I try, I get zero... I got the solution from mathematica, but don't understand a thing of it.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2004 #2
    I'm not exactly clear on what it is you have done, but I'm guessing that you tried to integrate cos^2(x) using partial integration, and the equation you got reduced to 0 = 0? I suppose you expected to get back your original integral after a few iterations, so that you could solve for it. I wouldn't say that's what's "supposed" to happen (but it does happen, but not always, as you've demonstrated).

    Instead of partial integration, use the identity cos(2x) = 2cos^2(x) - 1 <=> cos^2(x) = cos(2x)/2 + 1/2.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2004
  4. Dec 28, 2004 #3
    Yes, I tried partial integration. And thank you for the help!

  5. Dec 28, 2004 #4


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    integration by parts does work of course but only if in the second step, you refrain from undoing the work of the first step. this can be confusing and is actually easier to do by guesswork.

    i.e. the derivative of sincos is cos^2 - sin^2. but sin^2 + cos^2 = 1 is also easy to get as a derivative, namely it is the derivative of x. so the derivative of x + sincos is 2cos^2. now you are done after dividing by 2.

    of course you notice here that cos^2 - sin^2 = cos(2x) is also coming in as in the trick suggested above, but here you do not have to know that trick.
  6. Dec 28, 2004 #5


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    Check post number 7 (mine :tongue2: ) from this thread:sine&cosine squared
    I think it sould be pretty clear... :smile: U have both the primitives/antiderivatives and the definite integrals of the 2 functions wrt to the limits -\pi/2 and +\pi/2.

  7. Dec 28, 2004 #6


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    Make sure you read what Muzza said at the end. Just using the identity [tex]\text{cos}^2(x) = \frac{1}{2}(1+\text{cos}(2x))[/tex] makes this a very simple integral.
  8. Dec 28, 2004 #7


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    but the point is not everyone has this identity at their disposal.
  9. Dec 28, 2004 #8
    Really!! I thought it was one of the basic identities in trigonometry usually referred to as the double angle formulae.

    -- AI
  10. Mar 18, 2009 #9

    i must integrate sin^2(x) by partial integration.

    i I've done this by taking the 2nd partial ingeral and substituting it with the original integral of sin^2(x); and calculate 0 =0. what is it that i'm doing wrong?

    what does mathwonk mean by : "integration by parts does work of course but only if in the second step, you refrain from undoing the work of the first step" ?
  11. Mar 18, 2009 #10
    why must you use integration by parts? When it's very easy to integrate using the power reducing formula.
  12. Mar 19, 2009 #11
    as far as i know, the power reduction formula is aquired by integration by parts. I must integrate by parts, because it can be done, and that is what the excercise says i must do: integrate using partial integration.
  13. Mar 19, 2009 #12
    got it : http://www.nevada.edu/~cwebster/Teaching/Notes/Calculus/Integration/intparts.html [Broken]

    i guess mathwork meant that one shouldn't substitute the original integral into the second partial integral...?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Mar 19, 2009 #13
    Doh!.. that's exactly the same method i was using, i still get 0=0 thus :(
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  15. Mar 19, 2009 #14
    So, it takes more than 4 years for Physics Forums to compute this integral? :uhh:
  16. Mar 19, 2009 #15
    hahahah :-p

    i'm wondering how seriously i should take the "integrate by parts" bit, if i do a substitution in the second partial integral with a trigonometric identity, would that be considered cheating?
  17. Mar 19, 2009 #16
    you can integrate by parts as long as you use the Pythagorean identity. I don't see how that would be cheating.
  18. Mar 19, 2009 #17
    well my logic says that i might just as well then substitute sin^2(x) with an identity in the begining. So my question is now, is this integral solvable with integration by parts alone, or MUST i do a substitution somewhere along the line to beable to solve it?
  19. Mar 19, 2009 #18
    Yes, never mind my earlier post I just made the process longer. You can absolutely do it by parts alone. Scratch that I messed up...Give me a minute
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  20. Mar 19, 2009 #19
    Nope, I cannot see how it can be done without using any identities. As I said though your still using integration by parts.
  21. Mar 19, 2009 #20
    so any hints in how i would do it with integration by parts alone? :-p
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