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Simplifying fractions

  1. Aug 23, 2006 #1
    I'm wondering about fractions, and how I can simplify them. If they're small like 6/10, I see it straight away, but if they're big like 122/163, I don't really know where to start without resorting to random trial and error...
    Isn't there a more structural procedure to simplify fractions as much as possible?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2006 #2
    the only way I can think of off the top of my head is comparing factors...which is a litle better than trial and error.
    ie: factors of 122 include (I'll probably miss some) 1,2,61,122
    but the 163 is prime and only has factors of 1,163.
    Since no factors (besides 1) overlap the fraction cannot be reduced. But if you had a common factor X then both the top and bottom could be divided by X to get an equivalent but reducded form of the fraction.
     
  4. Aug 23, 2006 #3

    chroot

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    dmoravec's got it.

    Try dividing both top and bottom by small primes -- 2, 3, 5, 7, etc. -- until either the top or bottom is prime, or they share no common factors.

    - Warren
     
  5. Aug 23, 2006 #4

    StatusX

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    You might try looking at the Euclidean algorithm for finding the greatest common divisor of two numbers.
     
  6. Aug 23, 2006 #5
    Hey thx all. That Euclidean algorithm worked like a charm. Fancy.
     
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