Monday, 24 August 2020

Praising Quadratic Equations


It irritates me when people who know little mathematics refer to quadratic equations as examples of very difficult mathematics.

I still remember when I was taught how to solve quadratics by completing the square. I was twelve years old  at the time and was most impressed by the ingenuity of the method. I think that was the first time I found Mathematics exciting. To me those who shudder at the mere thought of a quadratic are identifying themselves as intellectually pre-adolescent.

Quadratics are the key to solving polynomials of higher degree and thus to finding the eigenvalues of a linear transformation - at the heart of quantum theory- and to solving the differential equations governing electrical circuits and the oscillations of the wings of an aircraft. Quadratics are wonderful, and they are also easy.

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