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MathGroup Archive 1999

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Re: Solving difficult integral

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg18664] Re: [mg18620] Solving difficult integral
  • From: Richard Gass <gass at>
  • Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 01:45:50 -0400
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

You wrote
>I've got the following problem:
>I need to solve the following integral:
>For those of you who do not recognize it at once: it's the integral of the
>square root of a 4th degree polynomial in x. I've tried to solve the above
>integral with Mathematica, but after, say, two hours of computing I stopped
>the calculation - it looked like the Kernel crashed or whatever. Is there an
>analytical solution to this problem at all?
I was able to do the indefinte integral
Integrate[Sqrt[C0 + C1*x + C2*x^2 + C3*x^3 + C4*x^4], x] in a couple of
seconds on my Power Mac ( a 200 MHz 604e) with 4.0 The result is very
complicated as you might expect. I think the definte integral is basically
hopeless. It is a question of branch cuts and for general coefficients I do
not think Mathematica can get them right.

Richard Gass
Department of Physics
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45221
phone- 513-556-0519
E-Mail gass at

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