Taylor’s Series of sin x
In order to use Taylor’s formula to ﬁnd the power series expansion of sin x we
have to compute the derivatives of sin(x):
sin� (x) =
sin�� (x) =
sin��� (x) =
(4)
sin
(x) =
cos(x)
− sin(x)
− cos(x)
sin(x).
Since sin(4) (x) = sin(x), this pattern will repeat.
Next we need to evaluate the function and its derivatives at 0:
sin(0)
sin� (0)
=
0
=
1
sin�� (0)
=
0
���
sin (0)
sin(4) (0)
= −1
=
0.
Again, the pattern repeats.
Taylor’s formula now tells us that:
sin(x) =
=
−1 3
x + 0x4 + · · ·
3!
x3
x5
x7
x−
+
−
+ ···
5!
3!
7!
0 + 1x + 0x2 +
Notice that the signs alternate and the denominators get very big; factorials
grow very fast.
The radius of convergence R is inﬁnity; let’s see why. The terms in this sum
look like:
x2n+1
x x x
x
= · · ···
.
(2n + 1)!
1 2 3
(2n + 1)
Suppose x is some ﬁxed number. Then as n goes to inﬁnity, the terms on the
right in the product above will be very, very small numbers and there will be
more and more of them as n increases.
In other words, the terms in the series will get smaller as n gets bigger; that’s
an indication that x may be inside the radius of convergence. But this would
be true for any ﬁxed value of x, so the radius of convergence is inﬁnity.
Why do we care what the power series expansion of sin(x) is? If we use
enough terms of the series we can get a good estimate of the value of sin(x) for
any value of x.
This is very useful information about the function sin(x) but it doesn’t tell
the whole story. For example, it’s hard to tell from the formula that sin(x) is
periodic. The period of sin(x) is 2π; how is this series related to the number π?
1 Power series are very good for some things but can also hide some properties
of functions.
2