

June 2, 2018


Word of the
Week"algebra"   Definitionthe
branch of mathematics that uses letters and symbols to represent variable
quantities and numbers, and are related by various operations.
 Discussionif you are not mathematically
inclined, algebra can leave you trembling. If you already understand
it, it's easy; if you don't, it's hard to learn. You can think of algebra
as the process of solving a puzzle. For example, if someone tells you the
sum of 4 days that form a square on a calendar, you can tell that friend
what the four days are. How? Using algebra as described
below:
Suppose that your friend tells you the sum is 56. You call
then quickly say the days were  10, 11, 17, and 18. You solve the puzzle
by subtracting 16 and dividing by 4. The algebra to reach this conclusion
is as follows, call the first number x. Then you know that
the next number would be x+ 1 and the next number would be
x+ 7 and the next number would be x + 8. So:
x + x + 1 + x + 7 + x + 8 =
56
Simplify our equation by adding like terms:
4x + 16 = 56
Then subtract 16 from both
sides:
4x = 40
Divide both sides by 4:
x = 10
Subtract 16 and divide by 4.
That's exactly how you solve the
puzzle. When your friend tells you the
sum, you subtract 16 then divide by 4. This gives you the first number
x. (Then add 1 and 7 and 8 for the other
numbers).  EtymologyIn English the term algebra
means the science of equations. It comes from the title of Arab
mathematician AlKhwarizmi's treatises. He was the first to establish
rules for adding subtracting, multiplying, and dviding with the new Arabic
numbers around A.D. 825.  The languages below all show the same early Greek
roots.  Foreign Translations
German:
 Algebra (f) 
Dutch:  algebra (de) 
French:  algèbre
(f)  Spanish: 
álgebra  
 Jane Ellis
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