The gamma and beta functions

The gamma function is one of the classical functions used in applied mathematics. If you don't yet own it, Abramowitz and Stegun (1974) is a very good investment (it is also coming to the web someday soon); it will stand by you for many years. In Chapter 6 there is all about the gamma function and its close relatives. These special functions often arise in the solution of different kinds of ordinary or partial differential equations. One should learn to think about them in the same way that one thinks about the simpler functions such as log, exp, or the trigonometric functions.

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