- Nth root
mathematics, an "n"th root of a number"a" is a number "b" such that "bn"="a". When referring to "the" "n"th root of a real number"a" it is assumed that what is desired is the principal "n"th root of the number, which is denoted using the radical symbol . The principal "n"th root of a real number "a" is the unique real number "b" which is an "n"th root of "a" and is of the same sign as "a". Note that if "n" is even, negative numbers will not have a principal "n"th root. When "n" = 2, the "n"th root is called the square root, and when "n" = 3, the "n"th root is called the cube root.
The origin of the root symbol √ is largely speculative. Some sources tell that the symbol was first used by Arabs, the first known use was by
Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī(1421-1486), and that it is taken from the Arabicletter" ج", the first letter in the word ("Jathr", in Arabic means root).
But many, including
Leonhard Euler, [cite book|title="Institutiones calculi differentialis"|author=Leonhard Euler|year=1755|language=Latin] believe it originates from the letter "r", the first letter of the Latinword " radix" which refers to the same mathematical operation. The symbol was first seen in print without the vinculum (the horizontal bar over the numbers inside the radical symbol) in the year 1525in "Die Coss" by Christoff Rudolff, a German mathematician.
Operations with radicals are given by the following
where "a" and "b" are
For every non-zero
complex number"a", there are "n" different complex numbers "b" such that "b""n" = "a", so the symbol cannot be used unambiguously. The "n"th roots of unity are of particular importance.
If you are going to do
additionor subtraction, then you should notice that the following concept is important.:
If you understand how to simplify one radical expression, then addition and subtraction is simply a question of "grouping like terms".
Working with surds
Often it is simpler to leave the "n"th roots of numbers "unresolved" (ie. with radicals visible). These unresolved expressions, called "surds", may then be manipulated into simpler forms or arranged to divide each other out. Notationally, the radical symbol () depicts surds, with the upper line above the expression called the vinculum. A cube root takes the form:
:, which corresponds to , when expressed using indices.
All roots can remain in surd form.
Basic techniques for working with surds arise from
identities. Some basic examples include:
**The above can be combined with index reduction:
The last of these may serve to "rationalize the
denominator" of an expression, moving surds from the denominator to the numerator. It follows from the identity
which exemplifies a case of the
difference of two squares. Variants for cube and other roots exist, as do more general formulae based on finite geometric series.
The radical or root may be represented by the
with . This expression can be derived from the
Computing principal roots
The "n"th root of an integer is in general not an integer or rational number. For instance, the fifth root of 34 is:
The "n"th root of a number "A" can be computed by the "n"th root algorithm. Start with an initial guess "x"0 and then iterate using the recurrence relation:until the desired precision is reached.
Another method is to use the infinite series mentioned in the previous section. Depending on the application, it may be enough to use only the two terms in this series::For example, to find the fifth root of 34, note that 25 = 32 and thus take "x" = 32 and "y" = 2 in the above formula. This yields:The error in the approximation is only about 0.03 %.
Finding all the roots of a given number
All the roots of any number, real or complex, may be found with a simple
algorithm. The number should first be written in the form "ae""iφ" (the so-called polar form). Then all the "n"th roots are given by::for , where represents the principal "n"th root of "a".
Positive real numbers
All the complex solutions of "xn" = "a", or the "n"th roots of "a", where "a" is a positive real number, are given by the simplified equation::for , where represents the principal "n"th root of "a".
It was once
conjectured that all roots of polynomials could be expressed in terms of radicals and elementary operations; however, the Abel-Ruffini theoremasserts that this is not true in general. For example, the solutions of the equation: x5 = x + 1cannot be expressed in terms of radicals.
For solving any equation of the nth degree, see
Nth root algorithm
Shifting nth-root algorithm
Twelfth root of two
* [http://www.mathwarehouse.com/arithmetic/principal-nth-root-calculator.php principal nth root calculator] reduces any number to principal nth root, shows simplest radical form
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