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Origin of the Quadratic Equation


Date: 7/12/96 at 10:52:39
From: john terrell
Subject: Quadratic Equation Origin

I am a 11th grade Algebra II student who is borrowing her teacher's 
computer to learn things about the Internet. He has given me specific 
things to do while I am on-line. One thing he wants me to do is find 
out is, Who discovered the Quadratic Equation? 

Thanks,
Cody


Date: 7/14/96 at 21:17:42
From: Doctor Jerry
Subject: Re: Quadratic Equation Origin

It is not known (and is unlikely to be known in the future) who 
discovered the quadratic equation or who discovered how to solve the 
quadratic equation.

Here are a few items related to quadratic equations:

1. The Old-Babylonians (ca. 1700 BC) stated and solved word problems 
   involving quadratic equations. Here's one: Length, width. I have
   multiplied length and width, thus obtaining area. Then I added to
   the area, the excess of the length over the width: 63. Moreover,
   I have added length and width: 27. Required length, width, and
   area. (Direct translation from a clay tablet. They gave a   
   solution as well, showing that they could solve quadratic 
   equations.

2. In Vedic (ancient Hindu religion) manuscripts, there are procedures
   described for solving quadratic equations by geometric methods 
   related to actually completing a square. 

Otto Neugebauer has written an interesting book on the mathematics 
known by early humans.  It is called The Exact Sciences in Antiquity.


-Doctor Jerry,  The Math Forum
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