School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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We review the history and previous literature on radical equations and present the rigorous solution theory for radical equations of depth 2, continuing a previous study of radical equations of depth 1. Radical equations of depth 2 are equations where the unknown variable appears under at least one square root and where two steps are needed to eliminate all radicals appearing in the equation. We state and prove theorems for all three equation forms with depth 2 that give the solution set of all real-valued solutions. The theorems are shown via the restriction set method that uses inequality restrictions to decide whether to accept or reject candidate solutions. We distinguish between formal solutions that satisfy the original equation in a for- mal sense, where we allow some radicals to evaluate to imaginary numbers during verification, and strong solutions, where all radicals evaluate to real numbers during verification. Our theorems explicitly identify the set of all formal solutions and the set of all strong solutions for each equation form. The theory underlying radical equations with depth 2 is richer and more interesting than the theory governing radical equations with depth 1, and some aspects of the theory are not intuitively obvious. It is illustrated with examples of parametric radical equations.


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International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology



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Mathematics Commons



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