I was working on a differential equations homework problem and it took me a few tries to remember how to simplify a trig expression. So, I thought I’d put the results here to remind myself and others about **trigexpand()**.

The second order linear equation is

Now I asked my students to use the identities

and

to write the equation equivalently as

Finally, I wanted to use Maxima to show these two expressions are equivalent. I reflexively used **trigsimp()** on the difference between the two expression (the name says it all, am I right?) but the result was complicated in a way that I couldn’t recover…certainly not zero as I hoped. A few minutes of thought and I remembered **trigexpand()** which, followed by a call to** trigsimp()**, gives the proof:

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