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Algebra is the branch of mathematics dealing with the general properties of numbers and generalizations arising from those properties.


Introduction


A lot of people cringe at the mere utterance of the word algebra. There are so many rules that one needs to remember in order to work even the simplest of equations. I remember way back, what seems like a million years ago, when I started out in an introduction to algebra class. I was terrible at it. I think the main problem was my own ego getting in the way, especially the teenage part of me that despised homework and forced education in all its various forms. It wasn't until my mom showed me one day, that the math I was using to program simple video games on my Commodore 64 was, in fact, algebra. As it turned out, I already had a firm grasp of what algebra was trying to teach me, and I just needed to learn the language and the rules.


One of the most common stumbling blocks to learning something like algebra is, as it was with me, one's own ego and the mental blocks put in place by one's self. "Math is hard," is one such block that is easily corrected; if you tell yourself it's hard, it will be. "I'll never use algebra in real life," is another common block even I used to tell myself. I guess it was my mom showing me how algebra fit right into the work I was already doing as a teenager that showed me that I needed algebra in order to do the things I wanted to do with my life (primarily, write computer programs.)


Algebra, as I now understand, reaches into every field, and no matter what you choose to do in life, you will always be using algebra in one form or another, whether you know it or not. Something as simple as following a recipe, working on your car, or even grocery shopping, all involve algebra of some varying degree. And if you ever have aspirations of running your own business, you'll quickly find out how handy all that algebra really is.


As with the rest of my math pages, I won't be covering every topic, and I won't be going by a standard curiculum. I will, however, try to include a lot of useful information, including notes I've made myself over the years. Like I always say, if you can take one thing out of these pages, then I have done my job. I hope that the one thing you do take away is a love of the beauty and complexity of mathematics.



  Algebra: Exponents and Roots