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The approximation of functions with branch points

Short, Leslie (1977) The approximation of functions with branch points. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94648) (KAR id:94648)

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In recent years Pade approximants have proved to be one of the most useful computational tools in many areas of theoretical physics, most notably in statistical mechanics and strong interaction physics. The underlying reason for this is that very often the equations describing a physical process are so complicated that the simplest (if not the only) way of obtaining their solution is to perform a power series expansion in some parameters of the problem. Furthermore, the physical values of the para­meters are often such that this perturbation expansion does not converge and is therefore only a formal solution to the problem; as such it cannot be used quantitatively. However, the relevant information is contained in the coefficients of the perturbation series and the Fade approximants provide a convenient mathematical technique for extracting this information in a convergent way. A major difficulty with these approximants is that their convergence is restricted to regions of the complex plane free from any branch cuts; for example, the (N/N+j) Pade approximants to a series of Stieltjes converge to an analytic function in the complex plane cut along the negative real axis. The central idea of the present work is to obtain convergence along these branch cuts by using approximants which themselves have branch points.

The ideas presented in this thesis are expected to be only the beginning of a large investigation into the use of multi-valued approximants as a practical method of approximation. In Chapter 1 we shall see that such approximants arise as natural generalisations of Pade approximants and possess many of the properties of Pade approximants; in particular, the very important property of homographic covariance. We term these approximants ’algebraic' approximants (since they satisfy an algebraic equation) and we are mainly concerned with the 'simplest' of these approximants, the quadratic approximants of Shafer. Chapter 2 considers some of the known convergence results for Pade approximants to indicate the type of results we nay reasonably expect to hold (and to be able to prove) for quadratic (and higher order) approximants. A discussion of various numerical examples is then given to illustrate the possible practical usefulness of these latter approximants. A major application of all these approximants is discussed in Chapter 3, where the problem of evaluating Feynman matrix elements in the physical region is considered; in this case, the physical region is along branch cuts. Several simple Feynman diagrams are considered to illustrate (a) the potential usefulness of the calculational scheme presented and (b) the relative merits of rational (Pade), quadratic and cubic approximation schemes. The success of these general approximation schemes in one variable (as exhibited by the results of Chapters 2 and 3) leads, in Chapter 4 to a consideration of the corresponding approximants in two variables. We shall see that the two variable scheme developed for rational approximants can be extended in a very natural way to define two variable "t-power" approximants. Numerical results are presented to indicate the usefulness of these schemes in practice. A final application to strong interaction physics is given in Chapter 5, where the analytic continuation of Legendre series is considered. Such series arise in partial wave expansions of the scattering amplitude. We shall see that the Pade Legendre approximants of Fleischer and Common can be generalised to produce corresponding quadratic Legendre approximants: various examples are considered to illustrate the relative merits of these schemes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Chisholm, Prof.
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94648
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 13:56 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 15:15 UTC
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