Calculator Calculus pp 1-13 | Cite as

# Squares, Square Roots, and the Quadratic Formula

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## Abstract

Since people began using numbers for measuring lengths, they have wanted to find the square roots of those numbers. There are many situations in which a square root is needed. For instance, knowing the square root is useful if you want to find the length of the side of a square field of a given area or the length of its diagonal when the side is known. The ancient Babylonian mathematicians were even solving quadratic equations in the time of Hammurabi, a Babylonian king of the eighteenth century B.C. Their method for approximating square roots was a first step in the more accurate repetitive process discovered by Hero of Alexandria about the time of Christ. This process, now known as Newton’s method, is universally used today.

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