The Spider Project

Rydberg atomic wave patterns xii

Transcendental Function

A transcendental function is a function that is not a root of a polynomial equation. Such functions arise frequently in mathematics and science. A function that is a root of a polynomial equation is an algebraic function; all other functions are called transcendental.

The importance of transcendental functions stems from the fact that most of the functions that describe natural phenomena turn out to be transcendental functions. The six trigonometric functions...-sine, cosine, tangent, cotangent, secant, and cosecant-are all transcendental, for example, as are the logarithmic, exponential, and hyperbolic functions.

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