Republic of Mathematics blog

Why Jared and Brittany will never be good at math.2

Posted by: Gary Ernest Davis on: September 19, 2013

Jared was pleased how easy algebra was. He thought it might be hard, but he was finding it much easier than he had imagined.

“Hey, Brittany, look at this,” he said. “How simple is this?”

Brittany looked at Jared’s work on the problem of calculating how far the point (x,y) is from the origin (0,0) of the Cartesian plane.

“Why’s it called the ‘Cartesian plane‘,” asked Brittany. “Like, who was ‘Cartesian‘ and what’s it got to do with flying?”

Jared didn’t know. “But let me show you how easy this is,” he said. “Look, there’s this formula of some Pythagoras dude that says the distance is \sqrt{x^2+y^2}“.

“I don’t get it,” said Brittany.

“Neither did I,” said Jared,” till I realized how easy it is. Look: \sqrt{x^2+y^2}=\sqrt{x^2}+\sqrt{y^2} = x+y.”

“Jared! You’re a freaking genius,” said Brittany. “How did you figure this out?”

“I worked on a couple of examples and it sort of just came to me,” said Jared.

“”Ace!” said Brittany. “You’ll be top of the class, Jared!”


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