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Quadratic Equation Problems

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Geometric methods were used to solve quadratic equations in Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, China, and India. The Egyptian Berlin Papyrus, dating back to the Middle Kingdom (2050 BC to 1650 BC), contains the solution to a two-term quadratic equation. Babylonian mathematicians from circa 400 BC and Chinese mathematicians from circa 200 BC used geometric methods of dissection to solve quadratic equations with positive roots. Rules for quadratic equations were given in The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, a Chinese treatise on mathematics. These early geometric methods do not appear to have had a general formula. Euclid, the Greek mathematician, produced a more abstract geometrical method around 300 BC. With a purely geometric approach Pythagoras and Euclid created a general procedure to find solutions of the quadratic equation. In his work Arithmetica, the Greek mathematician Diophantus solved the quadratic equation, but giving only one root, even when both roots were positive.

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