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Q&A #6121

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Adding and subtracting polynomial fractions

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From: Michael Sakowski 
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2007091307:52:49
Subject: Polynomial Fractions

The equation for resistors in parallel comes to mind.  See
http://www.physics.uoguelph.ca/tutorials/ohm/Q.ohm.intro.parallel.html

We use the inverse of this operation (partial fraction decomposition)
a lot in calculus and differential equations.  For example, to find
the integral of 1/(x^2 - x - 6) we would "un-add" and break up this 
expression into two simpler rational expressions using partial
fraction decomposition.  We would get 
the integral of [(1/5)/(x-3) +  (-1/5)/(x+2)] which could then easily
be integrated.

In order to check the decomposition of the above result (or even
understand the process), one must know how to add rational
expressions. 




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