Fields Medal Prize Winners (1998)


Adding and Subtracting Monomials
Solving Quadratic Equations by Using the Quadratic Formula
Addition with Negative Numbers
Solving Linear Systems of Equations by Elimination
Rational Exponents
Solving Quadratic Inequalities
Systems of Equations That Have No Solution or Infinitely Many Solutions
Dividing Polynomials by Monomials and Binomials
Polar Representation of Complex Numbers
Solving Equations with Fractions
Quadratic Expressions Completing Squares
Graphing Linear Inequalities
Square Roots of Negative Complex Numbers
Simplifying Square Roots
The Equation of a Circle
Fractional Exponents
Finding the Least Common Denominator
Simplifying Square Roots That Contain Whole Numbers
Solving Quadratic Equations by Completing the Square
Graphing Exponential Functions
Decimals and Fractions
Adding and Subtracting Fractions
Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions with Unlike Denominators
Quadratic Equations with Imaginary Solutions
Graphing Solutions of Inequalities
FOIL Multiplying Polynomials
Multiplying and Dividing Monomials
Order and Inequalities
Exponents and Polynomials
Variables and Expressions
Multiplying by 14443
Dividing Rational Expressions
Division Property of Radicals
Equations of a Line - Point-Slope Form
Rationalizing the Denominator
Imaginary Solutions to Equations
Multiplying Polynomials
Multiplying Monomials
Adding Fractions
Rationalizing the Denominator
Rational Expressions
Ratios and Proportions
Rationalizing the Denominator
Like Radical Terms
Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions With Different Denominators
Percents and Fractions
Reducing Fractions to Lowest Terms
Subtracting Mixed Numbers with Renaming
Simplifying Square Roots That Contain Variables
Factors and Prime Numbers
Rules for Integral Exponents
Multiplying Monomials
Graphing an Inverse Function
Factoring Quadratic Expressions
Solving Quadratic Inequalities
Factoring Polynomials
Multiplying Radicals
Simplifying Fractions 1
Graphing Compound Inequalities
Rationalizing the Denominator
Simplifying Products and Quotients Involving Square Roots
Standard Form of a Line
Multiplication by 572
Adding and Subtracting Fractions
Multiplying Polynomials
Factoring Trinomials
Solving Exponential Equations
Solving Equations with Fractions
Simplifying Complex Fractions
Multiplying and Dividing Fractions
Mathematical Terms
Solving Quadratic Equations by Factoring
Factoring General Polynomials
Adding Rational Expressions with the Same Denominator
The Trigonometric Functions
Solving Nonlinear Equations by Factoring
Solving Systems of Equations
Midpoint of a Line Segment
Complex Numbers
Graphing Systems of Equations
Reducing Rational Expressions
Rewriting Algebraic Fractions
Rationalizing the Denominator
Adding, Subtracting and Multiplying Polynomials
Radical Notation
Solving Radical Equations
Positive Integral Divisors
Solving Rational Equations
Rational Exponents
Mathematical Terms
Rationalizing the Denominator
Subtracting Rational Expressions with the Same Denominator
Axis of Symmetry and Vertex of a Parabola
Simple Partial Fractions
Simplifying Radicals
Powers of Complex Numbers
Fields Medal Prize Winners (1998)

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Solving Rational Equations

Equations whith Fractions

When an equation includes fractions, first eliminate all denominators by multiplying both sides of the equation by a common denominator, a number that can be divided (with no remainder) by each denominator in the equation. When an equation involves fractions with variable denominators, it is necessary to check all solutions in the original equation to be sure that no solution will lead to a zero denominator.


Solve each equation.


The denominators are 10, 15, 20, and 5. Each of these numbers can be divided into 60, so 60 is a common denominator. Multiply both sides of the equation by 60 and use the distributive property. (If a common denominator cannot be found easily, all the denominators in the problem can be multiplied together to produce one.

Add -9r and 8 to both sides.

Check by substituting into the original equation.


Begin by multiplying both sides of the equation by x to get 3 - 12x = 0. This equation could be solved by using the quadratic formula with a = -12, b = 0 and c = 3. Another method, which works well for the type of quadratic equation in which b = 0 is shown below.

3 - 12x = 0

Verify that there are two solutions, -1/2 and 1/2.


Factor k + 2k as k(k + 2). The least common denominator for all the fractions is k(k + 2). Multiplying both sides by k(k + 2) gives the following.

2(k + 2) - 3k(k) = k

2k + 4 -3k = k Distributive property

-3k - k + 4 = 0 Add -k; rearrange terms

3k + k - 4 = 0 Multiply by -1

(3k - 4)(k + 1) = 0 Factor

3k - 4 = 0 or k + 1 = 0

Verify that the solutions are 4/3 and -1.


It is possible to get, as a solution of a rational equation, a number that makes one or more of the denominators in the original equation equal to zero. That number is not a solution, so it is necessary to check all potential solutions of rational equations. These introduced solutions are called extraneous solutions.




The common denominator is x(x-3). Multiply both sides by x(x-3) and solve the resulting equation.

Checking this potential solution by substitution in the original equation shows that 3 makes two denominators 0. Thus 3 cannot be a solution, so there is no solution for this equation.