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If I run the command

Minimize[Sin[x], x]

it returns the expected value of -1. However, if I run

Minimize[a*Sin[x], x]

then I get nothing - Mathematica simply returns the command as the output. Why is this? From the documentation page, the Minimize command should be able to handle free variables in the expressions.

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  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't know the sign of a or if it is bounded. In general the minimum is -Infinity. Look at Minimize[{a*Sin[x], Abs[a] < 5}, {a, x}] $\endgroup$
    – Bob Hanlon
    Aug 23, 2022 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ Why is it necessary to specify this though? In the documentation, Mathematica is able to minimize ax^2 + bx + c as a function of x for arbitrary a, b, c, with different minima depending on the different parameter ranges. I don't understand why this is different. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2022 at 17:36

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