## Wednesday, March 09, 2005

### Calling all math geeks! (UPDATED)

I came across this math question on my break today, and it's been driving me batty:

8x-3(3x-2)=1

I liked math, and I used to be able to rock these kind of equations. But it appears that in my old age, memories of the Hallowe'en party in 1999 have pushed out how to solve for x. Here's what I have so far:
• First, we multiply everything inside the brackets with everything outside the brackets:
• 24x2-16x-9x+6=1
• So, now we group stuff and add other stuff together:
• 24x2-25x=-5 (because if you subtract the 6 from one side, you have to do it to the other side as well.)
• Here's where I start forgetting things. I want to get rid of the x's, right? So I divide both sides by x, correct? Thus, I have:
• 24x-25=-5/x (Yeah, I skipped some work, but I was getting tired of writing the tags to make the "2" superscript)
• I left the scrap of paper I was using to work on this at work, but do I put all the x's on one side now, and put the -25 on the other?
• 24x+5/x=25
Actually, I think I had something completely different. I had several somethings completely different, but that was this afternoon. Can someone tell me how this crazy formula ends? Denise? Lisa? Help?

(Update: I am an idiot. As Jen very helpfully pointed out, I got it wrong. Oh so wrong. I was trying to solve the equation as a quadratic equation, but it quite obviously isn't. For those of you playing along at home, a quadratic equation would have had both sets of numbers in brackets.

As Lise, fellow Dal grad, book clubber and Librarian at Laurentian wrote me this afternoon:
Oh! Oh! Pick me, pick me!

If you actually did mean 8x - 3(3x-2) = 1, then your question is much
simpler: it becomes 8x - [9x -6] = 1; 8x-9x+6=1; -1x = -5; therefore x = 5.

But if you did mean to write (8x-3)(3x-2)=1, you're dealing with a