FunTrivia Homepage New Questions Unanswered Post a Question Goto Qn # Archives

Why are 'x' & 'y' normally used when doing algebra?

Question #56459. Asked by kola123. (Apr 05 05 9:32 AM)

Flynn_17

They are the names given to the axes on a graph. There's probably no relation, but when calculating simultaneous equations, it comes in very useful.

 Apr 05 05, 10:05 AM
peasypod

You can call up Rene Descartes (and his fly on the ceiling) and ask him, I guess.

Descartes could be said to have started a movement from geometry towards algebra, using algebraic methods to solve problems in geometry. One of these was an ancient Greek problem of Pappus of Alexandria (c. 300 AD), concerning the locus of a point that moves in such a way that it always makes fixed angles with a number of given lines. His approach to the problem was to call one length on the diagram x and another length y, and then to prove that the path of the point satisfies a quadratic equation in x and y, and is therefore a conic an ellipse, parabola or hyperbola. Thus, Descartes introduced x and y into geometry, but he did not introduce the xy-Cartesian coordinates that are named after him, they came later.

 Apr 05 05, 5:57 PM
quizbowler1

In algebra, x and y are used to signify the axes on a coordinate plane. They are also used as variables in an equation, which means they can be replaced with any numeral that makes sense in relation to the equation.

 Apr 02 06, 6:24 PM

 Sign up to see all responses! Create a Free ID instantly to see all recent responses, post your own follow-ups or questions, and access over 1,000,000 trivia questions! Choose a User Name: Your Email Address: Choose a Password: I agree by the terms outlined in FunTrivia's Conditions of Use

Other Similar Questions & Answers

 Where and when did algebra first appear?

Suggested Related FunTrivia Quizzes - 90,000 currently online

1 The Used
 A basic quiz about the brilliant rock band, The Used!
Used, The Average
10 Q
the_nu_born
Mar 06 06
1233 plays
2 The Used!
 This is my first quiz on the amazing rock band The Used! Hope you like it! Here goes...
Used, The Difficult
10 Q
runaway_drive
Aug 10 08
378 plays
3 'Y' is for...
 Only two to go now in my A-Z quiz and it is the turn of Y now for the word in the scenario, where you guess the answer. Enjoy!
Words N - Z Tough
10 Q
kristian88
Oct 12 03
555 plays

"Ask FunTrivia" is for entertainment purposes only, and answers offered are unverified and unchecked by FunTrivia. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or veracity of ANY statement posted. Feel free to post an updated response if you feel that an answer is inadequate or incorrect. Please thoroughly research items where accuracy is important to you using multiple reliable sources. By accessing our website, you agree to be bound by our terms of service.