1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Factoring problem

  1. Sep 20, 2007 #1
    [SOLVED] Factoring problem

    The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Factorize the following: a^2 - b^2 + 2bc - c^2

    The attempt at a solution
    I know this should be a fairly simple problem, but my brain must be fried or something, I can't seem to come up with anything... There are no factors common to all terms, and I can't spot anything I can do to this thing... I know, it's going to turn out to be me missing something really simple, but I've been staring at this for a while now.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2007 #2
    Does this help:

    a^2 - b^2 + 2bc - c^2 = a^2 - (b^2 - 2bc + c^2)

  4. Sep 20, 2007 #3
    Wow, now I feel like a moron.
    Thanks for the help, lol.
    So, a^2-(b-c)(b-c)... Is that as far as it'll go, or am I missing something again?
  5. Sep 20, 2007 #4
    Factoring is the decomposition of a polynomial into a product of other polynomials. This means that the final form of that expression should be a product of 2 or 3 or more parenthesis.

    How do you factorize x^2 - y^2 ?
    See if that applies to your expression.
  6. Sep 20, 2007 #5
    Grrr, I'm certainly getting in my "stupid stuff" quota for the day...

  7. Sep 20, 2007 #6
    It's not about smartness. It's just about practice.
  8. Sep 20, 2007 #7
    Well, thanks a lot for the help. You, sir, are a life-saver.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook