In article <email@example.com>, "Randall L. Rathbun" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> L.A. Graham, in the Dover book "Ingenious Mathematical Problems and > Methods" on page 18, Problem 25 "The Two Ladders", presents the classic > problem of two ladders, one 20 ft. long, the other 30 ft. long, each > crossing each other 8 ft. above the floor, and the question is asked "How > wide is the room? > > Is there anyway to solve this problem, without resorting to a quartic > equation, and using Ferrari's method? > > Thanks for your input. > > - Randall >
If you need an exact answer, I think you need to solve the quartic. If an approximate answer will do, there are other equations representing the problem, and they can be solved by approximation methods.