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by Chris Burke
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1025: Absurd
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Mr. Michael Keegan, Math Teacher

The word "surd" is an absurd word.

For anyone who doesn't know what a "surd" is, I was one of you just a few weeks ago. I began brushing up on the Algebra 2 curriculum, in case I need to teach it in the fall, and I came across a page dedicated to the topic Surds.

Surds are just another name for radical numbers, particularly those that are irrational so the radical sign cannot be removed.

I checked with my son (the recent contributor and university student), and he hadn't heard the term. And then, a few days ago, a colleague in England, whom I follow on Twitter, posted some problems. The first response was "Surds! I love that topic!"

I admitted that I'd only recently heard that word, and the commenter asked, "Then what do you call them?"

The original poster responded, "Radicals!", so at least that term is known on the other side of the Pond.


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