## Friday, June 22, 2007

### Square Roots, part deux

There is a group of numbers for which the process previously described won’t work. For example, try to use it to find the square root of 100.

Grouping as before: 1 | 00

Subtracting 1 from 1 = 0.

Write 1 above the 1, bring down the next pair of digits, 00, and append to the 0.

Multiply 1 x 10 and add 11 = 21.

Can't subtract 21 from 0. Hmm. Although we know the answer is 10, to make things work, we can note the following, which is Rule #3:

If you want the square root of a whole number that ends in two or more zeros, write the number as a product of a number and an even power of ten.

So 100 = 1 x 10^2.

We get that the square root of 1 = 1, append one zero for every pair of zeroes in the original number, and Bob's your uncle. (Or something like that).

For example, to find the square root of 3,610,000, remove two pairs of zeroes from the original number, then apply the original procedure:

Group: 3 | 61.

Subtract 1 from 3 = 2

Can't subtract 3 from 2, so write 1 above the 3, bring down the next pair of digits and append them to the 2 => 261.

Multiply 1 x 10 and add 11 = 21.

Subtract 21 from 261 = 240.
Subtract 23 from 240 = 217
Subtract 25 from 217 = 192
Subtract 27 from 192 = 165
Subtract 29 from 165 = 136
Subtract 31 from 136 = 105
Subtract 33 from 105 = 72
Subtract 35 from 72 = 37
Subtract 37 from 37 = 0

So write a 9 above the 61. Append two zeroes to the 19, one for each pair removed.
Then the square root of 3,610,000 = 1900.

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Finally, this process works for whole numbers that aren’t perfect squares and for decimals. It just won’t stop in those cases. For a decimal, also break the number into pairs of digits to the right of the decimal point.

For example, finding the square root of 3 to 3 decimal places.

Append pairs of zeroes for each decimal place you want in the answer, plus two more to be able to round to the given place.

So write 3 as 3 | 00 | 00 | 00 | 00

Subtract 1 from 3 = 2.

Write 1 above the 3. Bring down a pair of zeroes, append to the 2 => 200.

Multiply 1 x 10 and add 11 = 21.

Subtract 21 from 200 = 179
Subtract 23 from 179 = 156
Subtract 25 from 156 = 131
Subtract 27 from 131 = 104
Subtract 29 from 104 = 75
Subtract 31 from 75 = 44
Subtract 33 from 44 = 11.

Write 7 above the first pair of zeroes.

Bring down the next pair of zeroes and append to the 11 => 1100.

Multiply 33 x 10 and add 11 = 341.

Subtract 341 from 1100 = 759.
Subtract 343 from 759 = 416.
Subtract 345 from 416 = 71.

Write 3 above the second pair of zeroes.

Append the next pair of zeroes to the 71 => 7100.

Multiply 345 x 10 and add 11 = 3461.

Subtract 3461 from 7100 = 3639.
Subtract 3463 from 3639 = 176.

Write 2 above the third pair of zeroes.

Append the last pair of zeroes to the 176 => 17600

Multiply 3463 x 10 and add 11 = 346241.

We could continue, but it suffices to realize that the next digit will be 0 and so our answer is that the square root of 3 is 1.732 rounded to three decimal places.