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Dingle's final main rule, Berry's transition, and Howls' conjecture

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AR2W02 - Mathematics of beyond all-orders phenomena

The Stokes phenomenon is the apparent discontinuous change in the form of the asymptotic expansion of a function across certain rays in the complex plane, known as Stokes lines, as additional expansions, pre-factored by exponentially small terms, appear in its representation. It was first observed by G. G. Stokes while studying the asymptotic behaviour of the Airy function. R. B. Dingle proposed a set of rules for locating Stokes lines and continuing asymptotic expansions across them. Included among these rules is the ``final main rule” stating that half the discontinuity in form occurs on reaching the Stokes line, and half on leaving it the other side. M. V. Berry demonstrated that, if an asymptotic expansion is terminated just before its numerically least term, the transition between two different asymptotic forms across a Stokes line is effected smoothly and not discontinuously as in the conventional interpretation of the Stokes phenomenon. On a Stokes line, in accordance with Dingle’s final main rule, Berry’s law predicts a multiplier of 1/2 for the emerging small exponentials. In this talk, we consider two closely related asymptotic expansions in which the multipliers of exponentially small contributions may no longer obey Dingle’s rule: their values can differ from 1/2 on a Stokes line and can be non-zero only on the line itself. This unusual behaviour of the multipliers is a result of a sequence of higher-order Stokes phenomena. We show that these phenomena are rapid but smooth transitions in the remainder terms of a series of optimally truncated hyperasymptotic re-expansions. To this end, we verify a conjecture due to C. J. Howls.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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