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Topic: Quadratic Equations
Replies: 6   Last Post: Apr 10, 1996 11:09 AM

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F. Alexander Norman

Posts: 141
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Quadratic Equations
Posted: Apr 9, 1996 8:09 PM
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My understanding is that it is related to the notion of "quadrature",
meaning to turn into a square (four-sided). For if x represents a linear
segment then x^2 should be represented by a quadrangular region.
I'm sure others will provide more detail and correct me if I'm wrong.

x x^2
---------------- --------------
| |
| |
------> | |
| |
| |
| |

UT San Antonio

On Tue, 9 Apr 1996, Jeffrey Darrow wrote:

> Today I had a student in my college algebra class ask me why
> "Quadratic Equations" are so named. If we have a polynomial of
> degree 3 set equal to zero, we call it a cubic equation and that
> makes sense to these students. However, this particular student is
> curious because she sees "Q-U-A-D" in quadratic and thinks of four,
> yet the polynomial in such an equation is only of degree 2. I've
> never encountered this question before and I was at a loss for an
> explanation. Does anyone know the origin of the term "quadratic
> equation"? I would be very grateful to receive an answer.
> Thank you in advance.
> Jeff Darrow
> Idaho State University

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