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Quadratic equation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about quadratic equations and solutions. For more general information about quadratic functions, see Quadratic function. For more information about quadratic polynomials, see Quadratic polynomial. In mathematics, a quadratic equation is a univariate polynomial equation of the second degree. A general quadratic equation can be written in the form

where x represents a variable or an unknown, and a, b, and c are constants with a 0. (If a = 0, the equation is a linear equation.) The constants a, b, and c are called respectively, the quadratic coefficient, the linear coefficient and the constant term or free term. The term "quadratic" comes from quadratus, which is the Latin word for "square". Quadratic equations can be solved by factoring, completing the square, graphing, Newton's method, and using the quadratic formula (given below).

Plots of real-valued quadratic function ax2 + bx + c, varying each coefficient separately


o o o

1 Quadratic formula 1.1 Discriminant 1.2 Monic form 2 History 3 Examples of use 3.1 Geometry

o o o o o o o o o o

3.2 Quadratic factorization 3.3 Application to higher-degree equations 4 Derivations of the quadratic formula 4.1 By completing the square 4.2 By shifting ax2 4.3 By Lagrange resolvents 5 Other methods of root calculation 5.1 Alternative quadratic formula 5.2 Floating point implementation 5.3 Vieta's formulas 5.4 Trigonometric solution for complex roots 6 Generalization of quadratic equation 6.1 Characteristic 2 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 External links



A quadratic equation with real or complex coefficients has two solutions, called roots. These two solutions may or may not be distinct, and they may or may not be real. The roots are given by the quadratic formula

where the symbol "" indicates that both

are solutions of the quadratic equation.


Example discriminant signs <0: x2+12 =0: 43x2+43x13 >0: 32x2+12x43

In the above formula, the expression underneath the square root sign is called the discriminant of the quadratic equation, and is often represented using an upper case Greek delta, the initial of theGreek word , Diakrnousa, discriminant:

A quadratic equation with real coefficients can have either one or two distinct real roots, or two distinct complex roots. In this case the discriminant determines the number and nature of the roots. There are three cases:

If the discriminant is positive, then there are two distinct roots, both of which
are real numbers:

For quadratic equations with integer coefficients, if the discriminant is a perfect square, then the roots are rational numbersin other cases they may be quadratic irrationals.

If the discriminant is zero, then there is exactly one distinct real root,
sometimes called adouble root:

If the discriminant is negative, then there are no real roots.

Rather, there are two distinct (non-real) complex roots, which are complex conjugates of each other:

where i is the imaginary unit. Thus the roots are distinct if and only if the discriminant is non-zero, and the roots are real if and only if the discriminant is non-negative.



Dividing the quadratic equation by coefficient a gives the simplified monic form of

where p = ba and q = ca. This in turn simplifies the root and discriminant equations somewhat to


[edit]History This section may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted citations that do not verify the text. Please help improve this article by checking for inaccuracies. (help, talk, get involved!)(September 2010)
The Babylonian mathematicians, as early as 2000 BC (displayed on Old Babylonian clay tablets) could solve a pair of simultaneous equations of the form:

which are equivalent to the equation:[1]

The original pair of equations were solved as follows:

1. 2. 3.


Form Form



(where x y is assumed)


Find x and y by

inspection of the values in (1) and (4).[2] There is evidence pushing this back as far as the Ur III dynasty.[3] In the Sulba Sutras in ancient India circa 8th century BC quadratic equations of the form ax2 = c and ax2 + bx = c were explored using geometric methods. Babylonian mathematicians from circa 400 BC and Chinese mathematicians from circa 200 BC used the method ofcompleting the square to solve quadratic equations with positive roots, but did not have a general formula.[citation needed] Euclid, the Greek mathematician, produced a more abstract geometrical method around 300

BC. Pythagoras and Euclid used a strictly geometric approach, and found a general procedure to solve the quadratic equation.[4] In his work Arithmetica, the Greek mathematicianDiophantus solved the quadratic equation, but giving only one root, even when both roots were positive.[5] In 628 AD, Brahmagupta, an Indian mathematician, gave the first explicit (although still not completely general) solution of the quadratic equation

as follows:

To the absolute number multiplied by four times the [coefficient of the] square, add the square of the [coefficient of the] middle term; the square root of the same, less the [coefficient of the] middle term, being divided by twice the [coefficient of the] square is the value. (Brahmasphutasiddhan ta (Colebrook translation, 1817, page 346)[2]

This is equivalent to:

The Bakhshali Manuscript written in India in the 7th century AD contained

an algebraic formula for solving quadratic equations, as well as quadratic indeterminate equa tions (originally of type ax/c = y). Muhammad ibn Musa alKhwarizmi (Persia, 9th century), inspired by Brahmagupta, developed a set of formulas that worked for positive solutions.[4] AlKhwarizmi goes further in providing a full solution to the general quadratic equation, accepting one or two numerical answers for every quadratic equation, while providing geometric proofs in the process.[6] He also described the method of completing the square and recognized that the discriminant must be positive,[7] which was proven by his contemporary 'Abd alHamd ibn Turk (Central Asia, 9th century) who gave geometric figures to prove that if the discriminant is negative, a quadratic equation has no solution.

While al-Khwarizmi himself

did not accept negative solutions, later Islamic

mathematicians that succeeded him accepted negative solutions,[9] as well asirrational numbers as solutions.[10] Ab Kmil Shuj ibn Aslam (Egypt, 10th century) in particular was the first to accept irrational numbers (often in the form of a square root, cube root or fourth root) as solutions to quadratic equations or as coefficients in an equation.[11] The Jewish mathematician Abraham bar Hiyya Ha-Nasi (12th century, Spain) authored the first European book to include the full solution to the general quadratic equation.[12] His solution was largely based on Al-Khwarizmi's work.[13] The writing of the Chinese mathematician Yang Hui (1238-1298 AD) represents the first in which quadratic equations with negative coefficients of 'x' appear, although he attributes this to the earlier Liu Yi. By 1545 Gerolamo Cardano compiled the works

related to the quadratic equations. The quadratic formula covering all cases was first obtained by Simon Stevin in 1594.[14] In 1637 Ren Descartes published La Gomtrie containing the quadratic formula in the form we know today.[4] The first appearance of the general solution in the modern mathematical literature appeared in a 1896 paper by Henry Heaton.[15]




For the quadratic function:

f (x) = x2 x 2 = (x + 1)(x 2)
of areal variable x, the xcoordinates of the points where the graph intersects the xaxis, x = 1 and x = 2, are the solutions of the quadratic equation: x2 x 2 = 0.

The solutions of the quadratic equation

are also the roots of the quadratic function:

since they are the values of x for which

If a, b, and c are real numbers and the domain of f is the set of real numbers, then the roots of f are exactly the xcoordinates of the points where the graph touches the x-axis. It follows from the above that, if the discriminant is positive, the graph touches the x-axis at two points, if zero, the graph touches at one

point, and if negative, the graph does not touch the xaxis.


atic factorizati on
The term

is a factor of the polynomial

if and only if r is a root of the quadr atic equati on

It fo llo w s fr o m

th e q u a dr at ic fo r m ul a th at

In th e sp ec ial ca se (b

= 4 a c)
w he re th

e qu ad rat ic ha s on ly on e di sti nc t ro ot (i. e. th e di sc ri mi na nt is ze ro) , th e qu ad rat

ic po ly no mi al ca n be fa ct or ed as


Appl icati on to high erdegr ee equa tions

Certain higherdegree equati ons can be brough t into

quadra tic form and solved that way. For exampl e, the 6thdegree equati on in x:

can be rewritten as:

or, equivalently, as a quadratic equation in a new variable u:


Solving the quadratic equation for u results the two solutions:


Concentrating on findi cube roots of 2 + 2i

three solutions for x (t

cube roots of 2 - 2i ) w

their complex conjuga

rewriting the right-han

using Euler's formula:

(since e2ki = 1), gives solutions:

Using Eulers' formula

trigonometric identities

= (2 + 6) / 4, and ad conjugates, gives the solutions as:





The quadratic formula

of completing the squa algebraic identity:

Dividing the quadratic

by a (which is allowed


The quadratic equatio

the square can be app

both sides of the equa square:

which produces

The right side can be gives

Taking the square roo

Isolating x, gives



ax2 with vertex shifted fro

The quadratic formula

which describes the p

Solving this equation f

Using Vieta's formulas

the values of x can be

Note. The formulas fo


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and comparing with th

from which Vieta's exp



For more details on th

An alternative way of d benefit of this method

which allows one to un

This approach focuses

assume that it factors

Expanding yields



Since the order of mul

polynomials in and

and . The Galois

can one "break the sy

called the symmetric g

and thus solving a qua

To find the roots and

These are called the L

the resolvents by inve

Thus, solving for the r

Formally, the resolven matrix Now r1

= + is a sy

symmetric, since switc expressed in terms of

of the roots only chang


and thus .

If one takes the positiv

and thus

Thus the roots are

which is the quadratic

the discriminant (of a m

A similar but more com

quadratic equation, an

polynomial of degree 2




In some situations it is

This alternative requir

the indeterminate form

does not (instead prod

The roots are the sam

The alternative formul very close to

, an

A mixed approach avo

Here sgn denotes the



A careful floating poin following:[18]

Here sgn(b) is the sign

the product of the root



Main article: Vieta's fo

Vieta's formulas give a


These results follow im

which can be compare

The first formula abov

average of the roots (o

The y-coordinate can

Graph of two evaluations

the curves beyond this m

As a practical matter,

The second Vieta's fo

These formulas are m

causes round-off error

Vieta's formulas (accu

However, at some poi and worse.

This situation arises c


In the case of complex


The formula and its de The symbol

in the formula should b

that even if a field doe


In a field of characteris

over a field of characte

and note that there is

In summary,

See quadratic residue

In the case that b 0,

polynomial. One verifi

d ab + a, where b is a root of x2 + x + a in F16.