Journal of Integer Sequences, Vol. 20 (2017), Article 17.3.8

A Note on Some Recent Results for the Bernoulli Numbers of the Second Kind

Iaroslav V. Blagouchine
University of Toulon
Avenue de l’Université
83957 La Garde
Steklov Institute of Mathematics at St. Petersburg
27 Fontanka
191023 St. Petersburg


In a recent issue of the Bulletin of the Korean Mathematical Society, Qi and Zhang discovered an interesting integral representation for the Bernoulli numbers of the second kind (also known as Gregory's coefficients, Cauchy numbers of the first kind, and the reciprocal logarithmic numbers). The same representation also appears in many other sources, either with no references to its author, or with references to various modern researchers. In this short note, we show that this representation is a rediscovery of an old result obtained in the 19th century by Ernst Schröder. We also demonstrate that the same integral representation may be readily derived by means of complex integration. Moreover, we discovered that the asymptotics of these numbers were also the subject of several rediscoveries, including very recent ones. In particular, the first-order asymptotics, which are usually (and erroneously) credited to Johan F. Steffensen, actually date back to the mid-19th century, and probably were known even earlier.

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(Concerned with sequences A002206 A002207 A002657 A002790 A075266 A195189 A262235.)

Received December 20 2016; revised versions received January 24 2017; January 25 2017; January 26 2017. Published in Journal of Integer Sequences, January 27 2017.

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