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/
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.