`length`

or `population`

,
or even nonsense symbols like ↵ or ◊.
I'll mostly use ordinary English letters.
In Beginning Algebra,
you should have learnt how to solve linear equations
(such as 2*x* = 5
and 3(*t* + 5) = 6*t* − 4)
and seen examples of polynomials
(such as *x*^{2} + 5
and 3*a*^{3} + 5*a* − 8).
Now we will go further
and learn to solve many (although not all) *polynomial equations*.
To solve these equations,
you will need some irrational numbers,
which did not really come up in Beginning Algebra:
the *radicals*,
numbers like √2 and 5 + 6 ^{3}√5.
And in the course of studying polynomial equations,
you will also learn about some more algebraic expressions:
the *rational expressions*,
expressions like 5/(*x* + 2)
and
(*y*^{3} − 5)/(2*y*^{2} +
3*y* + 9).

You won't learn how to solve *all* polynomial equations;
that is a very deep subject in general,
which even most math majors never learn completely.
However, you can learn more about them
in College Algebra.

Go back to the course homepage.

This web page was written in 2010 by Toby Bartels. Toby reserves no legal rights to it.

The permanent URI of this web page
is
`http://tobybartels.name/MATH-1100/2011FA/introduction/`

.