I have a problem that involves finding $e$ such that $\left( g-e \right)^2=g$. Maxima tells me that $e=g \pm \sqrt{g}$, but I can't work on that equation to get this result. Actually, I can't go past $2ge - e^2 = g^2 - g$. Can someone show me the algebraic steps to get that result?

  • $\begingroup$ Hint: note that $(g -e)^2 = (-(g-e))^2.$ $\endgroup$
    – Ian Mateus
    Oct 14, 2012 at 22:30
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Don't expand it, square root. $\endgroup$
    – wj32
    Oct 14, 2012 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


We have $(g-e)^2 = g$. Taking square roots, $(g-e) = \pm \sqrt{g}$. Rearranging terms gives $ e = g \pm \sqrt{g}$.

Don't expand the left side; this makes it more difficult.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I let that slip. Too much math does that to your brain. Thanks everyone. $\endgroup$
    – GuiRitter
    Oct 15, 2012 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ Not expanding the right side is the easy part; it's the left side that you need to guard against expanding. $\endgroup$
    – jwodder
    Oct 15, 2012 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Jwodder: corrected $\endgroup$
    – Ganesh
    Oct 15, 2012 at 4:57

If $(g-e)^2=g$, then either $g-e=\sqrt g$, or $g-e=-\sqrt g$. Now solve these equations for $e$ to get the two possibilities.


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