Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Quadratic equation solution

  1. Oct 26, 2008 #1


    User Avatar

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me a proof to the quadratic equation solution which is not the simple add here multiply that proof

    (I just recall some cooler proof, which I think requires more "complicated" mathematics than adding and multiplying, though I can't remember what it was)
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    What do you mean by an "add here multiply that" proof?
  4. Oct 26, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Do you want a proof or a derivation?
    For a proof, you can just plug
    [tex]x = \frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2 - 4 a c}}{2a}[/tex]
    into the equation
    [tex]a x^2 + b x + c[/tex]
    and show that both give zero.

    One derivation (the standard one, I think) is given here, for example. If there is any cooler one, I'd love to see it.
  5. Oct 26, 2008 #4


    User Avatar

    I mean a derivation.
    by "add here multiply there" i mean the derivation given above.
    and I'd like to see the cooler one too, or maybe i'm wrong and there isn't one, but I strongly recall there is.
  6. Oct 26, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There are generally lots of ways to prove any mathematical fact. But I would guess you're trying to remember a derivation that completes the square.
  7. Oct 26, 2008 #6


    User Avatar

    nope, that one is practically the same as the one mentioned here (or is it the same? don't know the name of each action =x )

    what I'm thinking of is conceptually different one, though if none of you guys heard of it, maybe i'm only dreaming.
  8. Oct 26, 2008 #7

    Taking 'a' common,

    Since a is not equal to 0, so








    e.g. x²+3x+4=0


    It's simple.
  9. Oct 26, 2008 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Yes, it is. But I imagine that was what ibc was referring to as an "add here multiply there" proof. Apparently he wants one that is more difficult!
  10. Oct 26, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    The most easily understandable derivation for the solution of a quadratic equation is based on "completing the square". This can also be shown graphically. Part of the derivation relies on the fact that you can "complete" the square and then undo the process. The algebraic steps are fairly straight-forward. Many/most intermediate algebra books show a derivation, some with the graphical picture, some without.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook