, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 21-110
Date: 07 Jan 2014

Rediscovery of Malmsten’s integrals, their evaluation by contour integration methods and some related results

Abstract

This article is devoted to a family of logarithmic integrals recently treated in mathematical literature, as well as to some closely related results. First, it is shown that the problem is much older than usually reported. In particular, the so-called Vardi’s integral, which is a particular case of the considered family of integrals, was first evaluated by Carl Malmsten and colleagues in 1842. Then, it is shown that under some conditions, the contour integration method may be successfully used for the evaluation of these integrals (they are called Malmsten’s integrals). Unlike most modern methods, the proposed one does not require “heavy” special functions and is based solely on the Euler’s Γ-function. A straightforward extension to an arctangent family of integrals is treated as well. Some integrals containing polygamma functions are also evaluated by a slight modification of the proposed method. Malmsten’s integrals usually depend on several parameters including discrete ones. It is shown that Malmsten’s integrals of a discrete real parameter may be represented by a kind of finite Fourier series whose coefficients are given in terms of the Γ-function and its logarithmic derivatives. By studying such orthogonal expansions, several interesting theorems concerning the values of the Γ-function at rational arguments are proven. In contrast, Malmsten’s integrals of a continuous complex parameter are found to be connected with the generalized Stieltjes constants. This connection reveals to be useful for the determination of the first generalized Stieltjes constant at seven rational arguments in the range (0,1) by means of elementary functions, the Euler’s constant γ, the first Stieltjes constant γ 1 and the Γ-function. However, it is not known if any first generalized Stieltjes constant at rational argument may be expressed in the same way. Useful in this regard, the multiplication theorem, the recurrence relationship and the reflection formula for the Stieltjes constants are provided as well. A part of the manuscript is devoted to certain logarithmic and trigonometric series related to Malmsten’s integrals. It is shown that comparatively simple logarithmico–trigonometric series may be evaluated either via the Γ-function and its logarithmic derivatives, or via the derivatives of the Hurwitz ζ-function, or via the antiderivative of the first generalized Stieltjes constant. In passing, it is found that the authorship of the Fourier series expansion for the logarithm of the Γ-function is attributed to Ernst Kummer erroneously: Malmsten and colleagues derived this expansion already in 1842, while Kummer obtained it only in 1847. Interestingly, a similar Fourier series with the cosine instead of the sine leads to the second-order derivatives of the Hurwitz ζ-function and to the antiderivatives of the first generalized Stieltjes constant. Finally, several errors and misprints related to logarithmic and arctangent integrals were found in the famous Gradshteyn & Ryzhik’s table of integrals as well as in the Prudnikov et al. tables.