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Re: Problem with Solve and NSolve

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg122449] Re: Problem with Solve and NSolve
  • From: "David Park" <djmpark at>
  • Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 07:08:40 -0400 (EDT)
  • Delivered-to:
  • References: <4981166.16368.1319792199648.JavaMail.root@m06>

There are an infinite number of roots so Mathematica can't give a solution.
However, if you use an inequality to specify the x domain, Mathematica will
find the solutions. The equation is even so one only needs the positive
roots but I include the first few negative roots. Copy and evaluate the
following in one cell.

rootequation = x^3 Sin[x] == 1;  
Solve[{rootequation, -5 < x < 20}, x]  
% // N  
roots = x /. %  

For those who have the Presentations application the following will plot the
roots on the curve and graduate the x axis using the root values.

<< Presentations` 

xticks = CustomTicks[Identity, databased[roots]];
 {Draw[x^3*Sin[x], {x, -5, 20}],
  Aliasing@Draw[1, {x, -5, 20}],
  CirclePoint[{#, 1}, 2, Black, ColorData["Crayola"]["TealBlue"]] & /@
 AspectRatio -> 1/4,
 PlotRange -> {-10, 20},
 Frame -> True,
 FrameTicks -> {{Automatic, Automatic}, {xticks, 
    xticks // NoTickLabels}},
 PlotLabel -> Style[phrase["Roots of ", rootequation], 16],
 ImageSize -> 600] 

David Park
djmpark at  

From: V. Williams [mailto:gvicente at] 

I've recently tried Mathematica 8.0.1, and I've found that it's unable to
compute Solve[x^3*Sin[x]==1,x] (and the same with NSolve), which gives an
Solve::nsmet: This system cannot be solved with the methods available to

WolframAlpha solves it without problems, so what's wrong with Mathematica?

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