History of Algebra

May 28th, 2015
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By the time of Plato, Greek mathematics had undergone a drastic change. The Greeks created a geometric algebra where terms were represented by sides of geometric objects, usually lines, that had letters associated with them.

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Example 1. axb=c.All problems like the following lead eventually to an equation in that simple form.Jane spent $42 for shoes. This was $14 less than twice what she spent for a blouse. How much was the blouse?Solution.Every word problem has anunknownnumber. In this problem, it is the price of the blouse. Always letxrepresent the unknown number. That is, letxanswer the question.Letx, then, be how much she spent for the blouse. The problem states that "This" -- that is, $42 -- was $14 lessthan two timesx.Here is the equation:

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