Algebra

Equations of 4-th Degree

The program determines the real solutions of an equation of the 4th or of a lower degree.

a·x4 + b·x3 + c·x2 + d·x + e = 0

Example:

To determine the solutions of the equation   x4 + 2x3 - 8x2 -18x - 9 = 0  , enter the coefficients a to e as follows:

and receive the set of solutions:

 x^4 + 2x^3 - 8x^2 - 18x - 9 = 0
 L = {-1; -3; 3}

The formula for quadratic equations is well known. The formula for cubic equations was derived by  Scipione del Ferro  in 1530, but published after his death by his adept  Ceralamo Cardano . The extension to equations of 4-th degree Cardano himself attributed to his adept  Lodovico Ferrari  .

Equations of 5th or higher degree

We have to thank the Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel  for the proof that no formula can exist for equations with higher degree than 4. The only solutions are approximations like we do in curve discussions.

If we know one solution of an equation, we sometimes can find the others by polynomial division.

For example  x5 - 12x3 - 2x2 + 27x + 18 = 0  has the solution  x1 = 2 .

Thus we know that the left site of the equation can be divided by  (x - 2)   without a remainder.

(- 18x5 + 45x4 - 2x3 - 12x2 + 1 ) : (x - 2 ) = x4 + 2x3- 8x2 - 18x - 9

The equation   x4 + 2x3- 8x2 - 18x - 9 = 0   allows us to find the missing solutions.

See also:

Wikipedia:Cubic function
Wikipedia: Scipione del Ferro | Gerolamo Cardano | Ludovico Ferrari
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