Steven Strogatz, a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University, is currently blogging for The New York Times about issues “from the basics of math to the baffling”. It’s been a fascinating series, starting with preschool math and progressing through subtraction, division, complex numbers, and more. As Wolfram|Alpha is such a powerful tool for working with mathematical concepts, we thought it’d be fun to show how to use it to explore some of the topics in Strogatz’s blog.
Here we found the one and only root of 4x+2, but what if there is more than one root? Not a problem for Wolfram|Alpha—try “4x^2 + 3x – 4”.
Of course, Wolfram|Alpha has the ability to find complex roots as well. Try “solve x^2-10x+34 for x”.
Here you can see the complex roots of the quadratic function and a visual representation of the roots, as well as the steps to the solution.
If you want to make this a little more complicated, enter “solve e^(x – 3) = -x + 2” into Wolfram|Alpha.
Now that you have seen a few examples of what Wolfram|Alpha can do, try your hardest problem.