MathGroup Archive 1999

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Rationalizing Fractions

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  • Subject: [mg17087] Rationalizing Fractions
  • From: price at (Adam Price)
  • Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 03:34:55 -0400
  • Organization: University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Personally, I think rationalizing fractions is overrated.  The curriculum
here emphasizes it, so that is what my students learn.  Yesterday I was in
the process of making an answer key to a review sheet for Alg. 101, and
found that Mathematica doesn't think much of the practice either.  I tried
Simplify, FullSimplify, and those two along with Together, Apart and
ExpandAll in various orders, but, like me, Mathematica thinks that
5/Sqrt3 is just as good an answer as 5 Sqrt[3]/3. Is there a short command
sequence that will do this?  
	I thought of using Numerator[] amd Denominator[] to have it build
the appropriate factor, but when I tried multiplying by
conjugate/conjugate, it just cancelled, and I was back where I started.  I
could, of course, regroup, so it does the numerator multiplication first,
but this is getting to be a pretty long expression.

	(If you are wondering why I didn't do it by hand - there were a
dozen problems, already in Mathematica, and the output had to printed out
too, so I thought "no problem....the computer will do this for me.)


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