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Simplifying A Fraction That Can't Be Simplified

  1. Apr 20, 2015 #1
    So let me start off by saying I am horrible at math and always have been. Despite considering myself highly intelligent, I suck at math. It's what led me into computer programming instead of physics like I wanted.

    Simply, I want to ask, say I have a fraction or a ratio that can't be simplified, say like 131,234:1,715, how would I go about rounding it to a smaller-numbered ratio that's more readily conceivable? It doesn't have to be an exact number, just a number that is close enough and small enough. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2015 #2


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    When plugged into a calculator, you get 76.5212827988.
    So, you could use 765/100, then simplify further if you wish. (Edit... Oops... 765/10. Thanks SteamKing)

    You could also try out possible denominators
    and see which numerator suits your taste.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  4. Apr 20, 2015 #3
    Ah, thank you! I was thinking that but didn't trust that I was on the right path.
  5. Apr 20, 2015 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    With a spreadsheet, or even a programmable calculator, you can look for others just with trial and error. The best one with a three digit denominator is 73690/963, the best one with a two digit denominator is 7193/94, and the best one with a single digit denominator is 153/2.
  6. Apr 21, 2015 #5


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    Uhhh... 765 / 100 = 7.65, not 76.5 :eek:
  7. Apr 21, 2015 #6


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    You can also use WolframAlpha to get what are called Egyptian fractions:

    \frac{131234}{1715} &= 76 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{47} + \frac{1}{161210} \\
    &\approx \frac{7193}{94}
    (keeping only the first two fractions).
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