The utility of trigonometrical substitutions

Today we will discuss the power of trigonometrical substitutions.

Let us take the expression \frac{\sum_{k=1}^{2499} \sqrt{10+\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}{\sum_{k=1}^{2499} \sqrt{10-\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}}

This is a math competition problem. One solution proceeds this way: let p_k=\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}, q_k=\sqrt{50-\sqrt{k}}. Then as p_k^2+q_k^2=10^2, we can write p_k=10\cos x_k and q_k=10\sin x_k.

This is an elementary fact. But what is the reason for doing so?

Now we have a_k=\sqrt{10+\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}=\sqrt{10+10\cos x_k}=\sqrt{20}\cos \frac{x_k}{2}. Similarly, b_k=\sqrt{10-\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}=\sqrt{10-10\cos x_k}=\sqrt{20}\sin \frac{x_k}{2}. The rest of the solution can be seen here. It mainly uses identities of the form 2\sin A\cos B=(\sin A+\cos B)^2 to remove the root sign.

What if we did not use trigonometric substitutions? What is the utility of this method?

We will refer to this solution, and try to determine whether we’d have been able to solve the problem, using the same steps, but not using trigonometrical substitutions.

a_{2500-k}=\sqrt{10+\sqrt{50+\sqrt{2500-k}}}=\sqrt{10+\sqrt{50+\sqrt{(50+\sqrt{k})(50-\sqrt{k})}}}

=\sqrt{10+\sqrt{50+100\frac{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}{10}\frac{\sqrt{50-\sqrt{k}}}{10}}}=\sqrt{10+\sqrt{50}\sqrt{1+2\frac{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}{10}\frac{\sqrt{50-\sqrt{k}}}{10}}}
=\sqrt{10+10(\frac{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}{10\sqrt{2}}+\frac{\sqrt{50-\sqrt{k}}}{10\sqrt{2}})}=\sqrt{10+10\times 2\times\frac{\frac{1}{2}(\frac{\sqrt{50+\sqrt{k}}}{10\sqrt{2}}+\frac{\sqrt{50-\sqrt{k}}}{10\sqrt{2}})}{\sqrt{\frac{50+\sqrt{k}}{20\sqrt{2}}-\frac{50-\sqrt{k}}{20\sqrt{2}}+\frac{1}{2}}}\times \sqrt{\frac{50+\sqrt{k}}{20\sqrt{2}}-\frac{50-\sqrt{k}}{20\sqrt{2}}+\frac{1}{2}}}

As one might see here, our main aim is to remove the square root radicals, and forming squares becomes much easier when you have trigonometrical expressions. Every trigonometrical expression has a counterpart in a complex algebraic expression. It is only out of sheer habit that we’re more comfortable with trigonometrical expressions and their properties.

Published by ayushkhaitan3437

Hello! My name is Ayush Khaitan, and I'm a graduate student in Mathematics. I am always excited about talking to people about their research. Please please set up a meeting with me if you feel that I might have an interesting perspective to offer- https://calendly.com/ayushkhaitan/meeting-with-ayush

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: