Mathematics for Chemistry/Functions

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Functions as tools in chemistry[edit]

The quadratic formula[edit]

In order to find the solutions to the general form of a quadratic equation,

there is a formula

(Notice the line over the square root has the same priority as a bracket. Of course we all know by now that is not equal to but errors of priority are among the most common algebra errors in practice).

There is a formula for a cubic equation but it is rather complicated and unlikely to be required for undergraduate-level study of chemistry. Cubic and higher equations occur often in chemistry, but if they do not factorise they are usually solved by computer.


Notice the scope or range of the bracket.

Notice here that the variable is a concentration, not the ubiquitous .