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What is the square root of nine? - September 15, 2011
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Spiked Math Comic - What is the square root of nine?

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Three, for my computer said so after running an approved algorithm!

But what about -3?

Way to start a flamewar :D

then i guess the square root is (3,-3), problem solved

Well, since I like nothing more than to be pedantic, it'd be {3, -3}. (3,-3) is a set of cartesian co-ordinates.

I'm afraid not, because {3,-3} is a set. Squaring a set does not produce the natural number 9.

From Wikipedia: "Although the principal square root of a positive number is only one of its two square roots, the designation "the square root" is often used to refer to the principal square root."

So, by convention, the statement 'The square root of 9 is 3.' often means 'The principal square root of 9 is 3.', and in this case it is clear that is the meaning that is intended.

The key to being a successful pedant is doing your research.

Squareroot implies positive.

Hereafter, swoosh into a quint.

A reply with an estimate from a famous statistician:

O! Quite near to two, Hans. Fisher.

But does an equation show it? I thought there was no equation that you could use to determine a square root, and that calculators had to use a brute force guess and check method.

Here you go: 3*3 = 9; It satisfies the requirement and is an equation.

Here is an equation that a calculator can follow that requires no guess and check.
sqrt(x) = exp(log(x)/2)

The square root of eks squared is the absolute value of eks; ergo, three.

Brilliant. Just plain brilliant.

I'm impressed! I just hope the commenters aren't missing the anagram for the details.


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