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I think I figured it out, you have to have a function defined and it also has to be compiled.

this works

(%i1) factor(-hbar^2/(2*m)*diff(f(x),x,2)=E*f(x)-mu*x^4*f(x));

(%o1) -(hbar^2*('diff(f(x),x,2)))/(2*m)=f(x)*(E-mu*x^4)

if f is defined as a function of two or more variables and it is not compiled then you get this error.

(%i1) f(x,y):=x^2*y;

(%o1) f(x,y):=x^2*y

(%i2) factor(-hbar^2/(2*m)*diff(f(x),x,2)=E*f(x)-mu*x^4*f(x));

Too few arguments supplied to f(x,y):[x] -- an error.

To debug this try debugmode(true);

which is a better error message.

but if you compile f then you get

(%i1) f(x,y):=x^2*y;

(%o1) f(x,y):=x^2*y

(%i2) compile(f);

Compiling C:/DOCUME~1/RICHAR~1/LOCALS~1/Temp/gazonk_3888_0.lsp.

End of Pass 1.

End of Pass 2.

OPTIMIZE levels: Safety=2, Space=3, Speed=3

Finished compiling C:/DOCUME~1/RICHAR~1/LOCALS~1/Temp/gazonk_3888_0.lsp.

(%o2) [f]

(%i3) factor(-hbar^2/(2*m)*diff(f(x),x,2)=E*f(x)-mu*x^4*f(x));

Maxima encountered a Lisp error: Error in MACSYMA-TOP-LEVEL [or a callee]: MACSYMA-TOP-LEVEL [or a callee] requires more than one argument.

Automatically continuing.

To reenable the Lisp debugger set *debugger-hook* to nil.

Which is a harder message to debug. I think I may have had a definition for f after all and it was compiled too since I have a workbook which does just that and I was playing around with that workbook last night before I got this error. So it only happens on compiled functions so far in my testing.