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Homework Help: Geophyics equation, order of operation

  1. Oct 9, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    solve for b given;
    (a) = time (seconds)
    (b) = height (meters)
    (c) = Velocity (seconds)

    2. Relevant equations
    b^2 = a^2 x c^2 / 4

    3. The attempt at a solution

    If I take the square of the other side will I get? b = (a)(c) / 2

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2015 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Do you mean, if you take the square root of the other side, will you get b = ac / 2 ?
  4. Oct 9, 2015 #3
    yes exactly
  5. Oct 9, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Much better! To solve for b take the square root of both sides, and you get b = ac/2, as you show.

    If this were an algebra problem, there would be two solutions:
    ##b = \pm \frac{ac}{2}##
    But since this is a problem of a physical nature, you're probably not concerned with the negative value for b.

    BTW, you have many more parentheses than you need. More often, we get people posting here who don't use enough parentheses. Your equation can be written as b2 = a2c2/4. Having too many parentheses is not a problem, though.
  6. Oct 9, 2015 #5
    Awesome thanks for the help, I really appreciate it!
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