First, please forgive the poor notation used here as LaTeX does not seem to be working properly for the time being (http://www.mathhelpforum.com/math-help/f47/working-latex-issues-178319-2.html)?

This is a problem from "Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems" by Boyce and DiPrima. Problem 10.7.1, one that should be trivial, I assume.

"Consider an elastic string of length L whose ends are held fixed. The string is set in motion with no initial velocity from an initial position u(x, 0) = f(x). Find the displacement u(x, t) for the given initial position f(x)."

f(x) = (2x)/L when 0 <= 0 <= L/2

f(x) = (2(L-x))/L when L/2 < x <= L

I eventually arrive at c_n = (2/L) * definite integral from 0 to L of (f(x) * sin((n*pi*x)/L)) dx

c_n = (2/L) * definite integral from 0 to L/2 of (((2x)/L * sin((n*pi*x)/L)) dx + (2/L) * definite integral from L/2 to L of ((2(L-x)/L) * sin((n*pi*x)/L)) dx)

How should I go about evaluating these integrals? I believe it has something to do with odd and even functions?

From the Student Solutions Manual I see they arrive at the same c_n prior to evaluating the integrals, and after they have evaluated them (this step is not elaborated at all) they arrive at:

c_n = (8/(n^2 * pi^2)*sin((n*pi)/2)