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How to integrate sin(x)/x?

The integral of sin(x)/x cannot be expressed in terms of elementary functions.

The integral of sin(x)/x is a well-known example of a function that cannot be expressed in terms of elementary functions. This means that there is no formula involving only basic arithmetic operations, powers, exponentials, logarithms, and trigonometric functions that can be used to find the antiderivative of sin(x)/x.

However, there are several methods that can be used to approximate the value of the integral. One such method is to use numerical integration techniques, such as the trapezoidal rule or Simpson's rule, to approximate the area under the curve of sin(x)/x between two limits. Another method is to use series expansions, such as the Taylor series or the Fourier series, to approximate the function itself and then integrate the resulting series term by term.

For those interested in exploring different methods of integration, a deeper look into techniques of integration might provide additional insights. Furthermore, understanding both definite and indefinite integrals can aid in grasping how integrals function in various scenarios.


One interesting property of the integral of sin(x)/x is that it is closely related to the concept of the Dirichlet integral, which is defined as the integral of sin(x)/x over the entire real line. The Dirichlet integral is also divergent, meaning that it does not have a finite value, but it has a well-defined Cauchy principal value, which is equal to π/2. This result is often used in physics and engineering applications, where the Dirichlet integral arises naturally in the context of Fourier analysis and signal processing.

In the realm of trigonometric integrals, particularly those that cannot be solved using elementary functions, the integration of trigonometric functions page may offer valuable techniques and examples.


In summary, while the integral of sin(x)/x cannot be expressed in terms of elementary functions, there are several methods that can be used to approximate its value, and it has important applications in various fields of science and engineering.

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