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Why is the solution in the form of Ce^kx ?

  1. Jun 25, 2014 #1


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    Why is the solution to linear differential equations with constant coefficients sought in the form of Ce^kx ?

    I have heard that there is linear algebra involded here.

    Could you please elaborate on this ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2014 #2
    Once you provide initial conditions, those differential equations will define a unique solution (Since in principle you can just numerically integrate it).
    So once you have n (the order of the DE) linearly independent solutions (and thus are able to satisfy the initial conditions), you have a unique solution.

    This is my understanding, there is probably some more technical way to put it.
  4. Jun 25, 2014 #3


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    The solution of a first-order linear DE with constant coefficients is an exponential function follows directly from the definition of an exponential function.

    For an n'th order DE, either you can convert it into a system of n first-order DE's, or the fundamental theorem of algebra says that you can always factorize it as ##(\frac{d}{dx} - a_1)(\frac{d}{dx} - a_2)\cdots(\frac{d}{dx} - a_n)y(x) = 0##.
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