Quadratic Formula, Distributive PropertyDate: 06/02/97 at 13:09:42 From: Domous Subject: What is so special about the quadratic formula? I would like to know if the quadratic formula is as important as the distributive property for solving equations. I would also like to know who invented it. Does Descartes have anything to do with this? Date: 06/02/97 at 14:01:41 From: Doctor Wilkinson Subject: Re: What is so special about the quadratic formula? It is hard to compare the importance of the distributive property and the quadratic formula. The distributive property is used in all kinds of equations, not just quadratic equations, so in that sense it is more important. It is also a little hard to say who invented the quadratic formula. The ancient Bablyonians knew how to solve quadratic equations, but they did not really have a formula; they just had a method. The earliest mathematician to have something like the quadratic formula was probably Brahmagupta, in 7th-century India. But it is unlikely that his work was known to European mathematicians before the nineteenth century. The Arab mathematician Al-Khwarizm appears to have known the quadratic formula in the 11th century, and in his case we know that European mathematicians were familiar with his work. By the time of Descartes the formula was very well known. In fact, by that time formulas for solving cubic and quartic equations had been discovered by the Italian mathematicans Tartaglia and Cardano. -Doctor Wilkinson, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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