Associated Topics || Dr. Math Home || Search Dr. Math

### Who Invented the Square Root?

Date: 12/11/96 at 00:40:34
From: Mason
Subject: Square root

Dr. Math,

Who invented the square root?  I mean, I've only seen long, stringy
roots!

Mason

Date: 12/11/96 at 11:26:20
From: Doctor Rob
Subject: Re: Square root

I assume you mean who first used the phrase "square root" to refer
to a number which when multiplied by itself produces a given number.

The "square" part comes from the equation x^2 = 16 (or x^2 equals any
given number).  The word form of the equation is "x squared equals
sixteen".  Prior to that it seems to have come from the formula for
the area of a square with side length x:  A = x^2 = x*x.

The "root" part is the translation of the Latin word "radix" which was
used during the Renaissance by mathematicians who wrote all their
mathematics in Latin.  I am not sure who first used this, but it was
surely in use by the time of Pierre de Fermat in the 1630's.

-Doctor Rob,  The Math Forum
Check out our web site!  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/

Associated Topics:
Elementary Definitions
Elementary Math History/Biography
Elementary Square Roots
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Exponents
Middle School History/Biography

Search the Dr. Math Library:

 Find items containing (put spaces between keywords):   Click only once for faster results: [ Choose "whole words" when searching for a word like age.] all keywords, in any order at least one, that exact phrase parts of words whole words

Submit your own question to Dr. Math
Math Forum Home || Math Library || Quick Reference || Math Forum Search