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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.
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