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Using the quadratic formula

Sal solves the equation -7q^2+2q+9=0 by using the quadratic formula. Created by Sal Khan and Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.

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Video transcript

Use the quadratic formula to solve the equation, 0 is equal to negative 7q squared plus 2q plus 9. Now, the quadratic formula, it applies to any quadratic equation of the form-- we could put the 0 on the left hand side. 0 is equal to ax squared plus bx plus c. And we generally deal with x's, in this problem we're dealing with q's. But the quadratic formula says, look, if you have a quadratic equation of this form, that the solutions of this equation are going to be x is going to be equal to negative b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4ac-- all of that over 2a. And this is actually two solutions here, because there's one solution where you take the positive square root and there's another solution where you take the negative root. So it gives you both roots of this. So if we look at the quadratic equation that we need to solve here, we can just pattern match. We're dealing with q's, not x's, but this is the same general idea. It could be x's if you like. And if we look at it, negative 7 corresponds to a. That is our a. It's the coefficient on the second degree term. 2 corresponds to b. It is the coefficient on the first degree term. And then 9 corresponds to c. It's the constant. So, let's just apply the quadratic formula. The quadratic formula will tell us that the solutions-- the q's that satisfy this equation-- q will be equal to negative b. b is 2. Plus or minus the square root of b squared, of 2 squared, minus 4 times a times negative 7 times c, which is 9. And all of that over 2a. All of that over 2 times a, which is once again negative 7. And then we just have to evaluate this. So this is going to be equal to negative 2 plus or minus the square root of-- let's see, 2 squared is 4-- and then if we just take this part right here, if we just take the negative 4 times negative 7 times 9, this negative and that negative is going to cancel out. So it's just going to become a positive number. And 4 times 7 times 9. 4 times 9 is 36. 36 times 7. Let's do it up here. 36 times 7. 7 times 6 is 42. 7 times 3, or 3 times 7 is 21. Plus 4 is 25. 252. So this becomes 4 plus 252. Remember, you have a negative 7 and you have a minus out front. Those cancel out, that's why we have a positive 252 for that part right there. And then our denominator, 2 times negative 7 is negative 14. Now what does this equal? Well, we have this is equal to negative 2 plus or minus the square root of-- what's 4 plus 252? It's just 256. All of that over negative 14. And what's 256? What's the square root of 256? It's 16. You can try it out for yourself. This is 16 times 16. So the square root of 256 is 16. So we can rewrite this whole thing as being equal to negative 2 plus 16 over negative 14. Or negative 2 minus-- right? This is plus 16 over negative 14. Or minus 16 over negative 14. If you think of it as plus or minus, that plus is that plus right there. And if you have that minus, that minus is that minus right there. Now we just have to evaluate these two numbers. Negative 2 plus 16 is 14 divided by negative 14 is negative 1. So q could be equal to negative 1. Or negative 2 minus 16 is negative 18 divided by negative 14 is equal to 18 over 14. The negatives cancel out, which is equal to 9 over 7. So q could be equal to negative 1, or it could be equal to 9 over 7. And you could try these out, substitute these q's back into this original equation, and verify for yourself that they satisfy it. We could even do it with the first one. So if you take q is equal to negative 1. Negative 7 times negative 1 squared-- negative 1 squared is just 1-- so this would be negative 7 times 1, right? That's negative 1 squared. Negative 1 times 2 is minus 2 plus 9. So it's negative 7 minus 2, which is negative 9, plus 9, does indeed equal 0. So this checks out. And I'll leave it up to you to verify that 9 over 7 also works out.