Shaun and Jacob

Recently in Algebra 2 we came upon a wierd problem.

.

If you solve for x you get 1 but if you plug the answer, 1, back in the problem
it does not come out correct.

However, the 6th root of 1 can come out to 1 or -1. If you use -1 then the problem does work, but if you use 1 it does not. (Calculators automatically use 1 because its the simpler answer.)

We have been arguing about this for days and our math teacher is going nuts, please send a reply for his sake ;-p

Shaun and Jacob:

I like your question a lot. You ask an interesting question and then you essentually answer it yourselves.

The answer is that it depends what you mean by . If
cannot be negative, as is the way your calculator
works, then there is no number x so that . If, for
positive x, is two values, one positive and one negative,
then one of the values of is **3**,
the other value of is **5**.

In order to remove this ambiguity mathematicians usually follow the convention that cannot be negative.

Penny and Maxine

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