In today's link roundup, Uncertain Chad points to a new digital library of mathematical function. As a huge, huge fan of Abramowitz & Stegun (which can now be downloaded as a PDF, if you would rather not have it sitting majestically on your shelf), I am thrilled. Sometimes you'll be happily calculating along, and wind up with an equation you wouldn't want to meet at night in a dark alley. But, a quick flip through Abramowitz & Stegun frequently turns up your nemesis, along with handy tricks for disarming it. Additional satisfaction comes when you write the paper, and get to throw off lines like "The solutions to equation 4 are confluent hypergeometric functions (of the first kind)". However, it will be hard top my amusement when I once discovered that the solutions to my problem were closely related to Anger functions.
I can only hope that Dr. Hate and Professor Loathing someday derive equally useful function forms.