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What is nth Root, Square Root and Cube Root?

In mathematics, an nth root of a number x, where n is usually assumed to be a positive integer, is a number r which, when raised to the power n yields x:


where is the degree of the root. A root of degree 2 is called a square root and a root of degree 3, a cube root. Roots of higher degree are referred by using ordinal numbers, as in fourth root, twentieth root, etc.

The computation of an nth root is a root extraction.

For example:

  1. 3 is a square root of 9, since 32 = 9.
  2. βˆ’3 is also a square root of 9, since (βˆ’3)2 = 9.

Any non-zero number considered as a complex number has n different complex nth roots, including the real ones (at most two). The nth root of 0 is zero for all positive integers n, since 0n = 0. In particular, if n is even and x is a positive real number, one of its nth roots is real and positive, one is negative, and the others (when n > 2) are non-real complex numbers; if n is even and x is a negative real number, none of the nth roots is real. If n is odd and x is real, one nth root is real and has the same sign as x, while the other (n – 1) roots are not real. Finally, if x is not real, then none of its nth roots are real.

Roots of real numbers are usually written using the radical symbol or radix with n√x  denoting the positive square root of x if x is positive, and n denoting the real nth root, if n is odd, and the positive square root if n is even and x is nonnegative.

An unresolved root, especially one using the radical symbol, is sometimes referred to as a surd or a radical. Any expression containing a radical, whether it is a square root, a cube root, or a higher root, is called a radical expression, and if it contains no transcendental functions or transcendental numbers it is called an algebraic expression.

Roots can also be defined as special cases of exponentiation, where the exponent is a fraction:  x1/n.

Every positive real number x has a single positive nth root, called the principal nth root, which is written as n√x.

  1. For n equal to 2 this is called the principal square root and the n is omitted. The nth root can also be represented using exponentiation as x1/n.

For even values of n, positive numbers also have a negative nth root, while negative numbers do not have a real nth root. For odd values of n, every negative number x has a real negative nth root. For example, βˆ’2 has a real 5th root, 5√-2 = - 1.148698354997035 but βˆ’2 does not have any real 6th roots.

Every non-zero number x, real or complex, has n different complex number nth roots. (In the case x is real, this count includes any real nth roots.) The only complex root of 0 is 0.

The nth roots of almost all numbers (all integers except the nth powers, and all rationals except the quotients of two nth powers) are irrational. For example,

The term surd traces back to al-KhwārizmΔ« (c. 825), who referred to rational and irrational numbers as audible and inaudible, respectively. This later led to the Arabic word "Ψ£Ψ΅Ω…β€Ž" (asamm, meaning "deaf" or "dumb") for irrational number being translated into Latin as "surdus" (meaning "deaf" or "mute"). Gerard of Cremona (c. 1150), Fibonacci (1202), and then Robert Recorde (1551) all used the term to refer to unresolved irrational roots.

Cube Root

In mathematics, a cube root of a number x is a number y such that y3 = x. All nonzero real numbers, have exactly one real cube root and a pair of complex conjugate cube roots, and all nonzero complex numbers have three distinct complex cube roots.

For example, the real cube root of 8, denoted 3√8, is 2, because 23 = 8.

In some contexts, particularly when the number whose cube root is to be taken is a real number, one of the cube roots (in this particular case the real one) is referred to as the principal cube root, denoted with the radical sign 3√. The cube root operation is associative with exponentiation and distributive with multiplication and division if considering only real numbers, but not always if considering complex numbers: for example, the cube of any cube root of 8 is 8, but the three cube roots of 83 are 8, βˆ’4 + 4i√3, and βˆ’4 βˆ’ 4i√3.

Square Root

In mathematics, a square root of a number x is a number y such that y2 = x; in other words, a number y whose square (the result of multiplying the number by itself, or yβ€―β‹…β€―y) is x.

For example, 4 and βˆ’4 are square roots of 16 because 42 = (βˆ’4)2 = 16. Every nonnegative real number x has a unique nonnegative square root, called the principal square root, which is denoted by √x, where the symbol √ is called the radical sign or radix. For example, the principal square root of 9 is 3, which is denoted by √9 = 3, because 3 = 3β€―β‹…β€―3 = 9 and 3 is nonnegative. The term (or number) whose square root is being considered is known as the radicand. The radicand is the number or expression underneath the radical sign, in this example 9.

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