Even though you are probably familiar with the Pythagorean theorem, the result is so important and non-obvious that I am including a proof of it.
Proof: Consider a right triangle whose legs have length and , and whose hypotenuse has length , and whose angles are and as shown in the figure.
We have since is a right triangle.
The proof just given uses a combination of algebra and geometry. I will now give a second proof that is completely geometrical.
Construct a second square with sides of length , and mark off segments and of length as shown in figure 2. Then draw perpendicular to and let intersect at , and draw perpendicular to and let intersect at . Then is a right angle, since the other angles of the quadrilateral are right angles. Similarly angle is a right angle. Thus is a rectangle so and similarly is a rectangle and . Moreover and are perpendicular since and . Thus the region labeled is a square with side and the region labeled is a square with side .
In figure 2 we have
, and hence
Although the theorem we just proved is named for Pythagoras (fl. 530-510 B.C) , it was probably known much earlier. There is evidence that it was known to the Babylonians circa 1000 BC[27, pp 118-121]. Legend has it that
Emperor Yu[circa 21st century B.C.] quells floods, he deepens rivers and streams, observes the shape of mountains and valleys, surveys the high and low places, relieves the greatest calamities and saves the people from danger. He leads the floods east into the sea and ensures no flooding or drowning. This is made possible because of the Gougu theorem [47, page 29].
``Gougu'' is the shape shown in the figure, and the Gougu
theorem is our Pythagorean theorem. The prose style here is similar to
that of current day mathematicians trying to get congress to allocate
funds for the support of mathematics.
Katyayana(c. 600 BC or 500BC??) stated the general theorem:
The rope [stretched along the length] of the diagonal of a rectangle makes an [area] which the vertical and horizontal sides make together.[27, page 229]
Proof: Draw the vertical line through and the horizontal line through . These lines intersect at the point . The length of is and the length of is and is the hypotenuse of a right angle with legs and .
By the Pythagorean theorem,
We will now review the method for solving quadratic equations.
If , then the equation has no solutions in R.
, then the set of solutions of the equation
Proof: Let be real numbers with . Let . Then