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

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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.