CHM ENG 142 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Quadratic Equation, Elementary Algebra, My Passion

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Published on 10 May 2020
School
Berkeley
Department
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Course
CHM ENG 142
Professor
This Professorʼs ʻAmazingʼ Trick Makes
Quadratic Equations Easier
Looking for the answers to ax² + bx + c = 0? A mathematician has rediscovered a technique that the ancient
Babylonians used.
By Kenneth Chang and Jonathan Corum
Published Feb. 5, 2020 Updated Feb. 6, 2020
The quadratic equation has frustrated math students for millenniums. But a math professor at Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh may have come up with a better way of solving it.
When I stumbled on this, I was just completely shocked,” said the professor, Po-Shen Loh.
Quadratics, which are introduced in elementary algebra classes, pop up often in physics and engineering in the
calculating of trajectories, even in sports. If, while watching the Super Bowl, you had wanted to estimate how far a pass
thrown by Patrick Mahomes traveled through the air, you would have been solving a quadratic equation. The equations
also show up in calculations for maximizing profit, a key consideration for anyone who wants to succeed in business.
Dr. Loh has not discovered something entirely new. Indeed, his method mixes together ideas dating back thousands of
years to the Babylonians. But this is not how modern algebra textbooks present the topic.
To find out that there’s this trick from thousands of years ago that you can import into here is amazing to me,” Dr. Loh
said. “I wanted to share that as widely as possible.
Dr. Loh mentors some of the top high school math students in the country as coach of the United States Mathematical
Olympiad team. But he also wants to improve the teaching of all math students.
Everyone assumes the only people I work with are Olympiad students,” said Dr. Loh, who is the founder of the
educational website Expii. “That’s not true. My passion is everyone.
A few months ago, Dr. Loh posted online a paper describing his method, and teachers have already tried it in their
classrooms.
A Different Way to Solve Quadratic EquationsA Different Way to Solve Quadratic Equations
https://nyti.ms/2UthatG
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Document Summary

A mathematician has rediscovered a technique that the ancient. Published feb. 5, 2020 updated feb. 6, 2020. The quadratic equation has frustrated math students for millenniums. University in pittsburgh may have come up with a better way of solving it. When i stumbled on this, i was just completely shocked, said the professor, po-shen loh. Quadratics, which are introduced in elementary algebra classes, pop up often in physics and engineering in the calculating of trajectories, even in sports. If, while watching the super bowl, you had wanted to estimate how far a pass thrown by patrick mahomes traveled through the air, you would have been solving a quadratic equation. The equations also show up in calculations for maximizing pro t, a key consideration for anyone who wants to succeed in business. Dr. loh has not discovered something entirely new. Indeed, his method mixes together ideas dating back thousands of years to the babylonians.

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