# Questions tagged [algebra-precalculus]

For questions about algebra and precalculus topics, which include linear, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, rational, and trigonometric functions; conic sections, binomial, surds, graphs and transformations of graphs, solving equations and systems of equations; and other symbolic manipulation topics.

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### Why $\sqrt{-1 \cdot {-1}} \neq \sqrt{-1}^2$?

I know there must be something unmathematical in the following but I don't know where it is: \begin{align} \sqrt{-1} &= i \\\\\ \frac1{\sqrt{-1}} &= \frac1i \\\\ \frac{\sqrt1}{\sqrt{-1}} &...
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### Is it true that $0.999999999\ldots=1$?

I'm told by smart people that $$0.999999999\ldots=1$$ and I believe them, but is there a proof that explains why this is?
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### Why can a quadratic equation have only 2 roots?

It is commonly known that the quadratic equation $ax^2+bx+c=0$ has two solutions given by: $$x = \frac{-b\pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac}}{2a}$$ But how do I prove that another root couldn't exist? I think ...
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### Is there a general formula for solving Quartic (Degree $4$) equations?

There is a general formula for solving quadratic equations, namely the Quadratic Formula, or the Sridharacharya Formula: $$x = \frac{ -b \pm \sqrt{ b^2 - 4ac } }{ 2a }$$ For cubic equations of the ...
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### When do we get extraneous roots?

There are only two situations that I am aware of that give rise to extraneous roots, namely, the “square both sides” situation (in order to eliminate a square root symbol), and the “half absolute ...
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### Is $\sqrt{64}$ considered $8$? or is it $8,-8$?

Last year in Pre-Algebra we learned about square roots. I was taught then that $\sqrt{64}=8$ and $\sqrt{100}=10$, which I understood and accepted. I was also taught that $\pm\sqrt{64} = 8,-8$ because ...
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### Algebraic Proof that $\sum\limits_{i=0}^n \binom{n}{i}=2^n$

I'm well aware of the combinatorial variant of the proof, i.e. noting that each formula is a different representation for the number of subsets of a set of $n$ elements. I'm curious if there's a ...
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### How to factor $\,9x^2-80x-9?\,$ (AC-method) [closed]

Is there a general method to factor a quadratic like $9x^2-80x-9?\,$ I'm having a lot of difficulty due to the leading coefficient being unequal to $1$?
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### math fallacy problem: $-1= (-1)^3 = (-1)^{6/2} = \sqrt{(-1)^6}= 1$?

I know there is something wrong with this but I don't know where. It's some kind of a math fallacy and it is driving me crazy. Here it is: $$-1= (-1)^3 = (-1)^{6/2} = \sqrt{(-1)^6}= 1?$$
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### Purely "algebraic" proof of Young's Inequality

Young's inequality states that if $a, b \geq 0$, $p, q > 0$, and $\frac{1}{p} + \frac{1}{q} = 1$, then $$ab\leq \frac{a^p}{p} + \frac{b^q}{q}$$ (with equality only when $a^p = b^q$). Back when I ...
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### Trig sum: $\tan ^21^\circ+\tan ^22^\circ+\cdots+\tan^2 89^\circ = \text{?}$

As the title suggests, I'm trying to find the sum $$\tan^21^\circ+\tan^2 2^\circ+\cdots+\tan^2 89^\circ$$ I'm looking for a solution that doesn't involve complex numbers, or any other advanced branch ...
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### Simplifying $\sqrt[4]{161-72 \sqrt{5}}$

$$\sqrt[4]{161-72 \sqrt{5}}$$ I tried to solve this as follows: the resultant will be in the form of $a+b\sqrt{5}$ since 5 is a prime and has no other factors other than 1 and itself. Taking this ...
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### Is this Batman equation for real? [closed]

HardOCP has an image with an equation which apparently draws the Batman logo. Is this for real? Batman Equation in text form: \begin{align} &\left(\left(\frac x7\right)^2\sqrt{\frac{||x|-3|}{|x|-...
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### Given that $x^y=y^x$, what could $x$ and $y$ be?

It's not too difficult to figure out that $x$ and $y$ can both be 1, and also $x$ can be 2 and $y$ can be 4 (and vice versa). But I can't rule out if there are other solutions. Does it have anything ...
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### What actually is a polynomial?

I can perform operations on polynomials. I can add, multiply, and find their roots. Despite this, I cannot define a polynomial. I wasn't in the advanced mathematics class in 8th grade, then in 9th ...
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### What is the most elegant proof of the Pythagorean theorem? [closed]

The Pythagorean Theorem is one of the most popular to prove by mathematicians, and there are many proofs available (including one from James Garfield). What's the most elegant proof? My favorite ...
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