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Math Help - simplification question

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    simplification question

    I've been asked to simplify this expression:

    (i - n)(i - m)(i - y)(i - s)

    All I can come up with is:

    i^4(1 - ni^{-1})(1 - mi^{-1})(1 - yi^{-1})(1 - si^{-1})

    I'm having a hard time convincing myself that this is simpler. Does anyone have any input on simplification? I'm looking for how I can confidently know that an expression is in its simplest form. Any input?

    Thanks a lot for your help... I feel like this right now...
    Last edited by absvalue; September 3rd 2009 at 12:08 PM.
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  2. #2
    Super Member Matt Westwood's Avatar
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    Tell me, is i in this context the square root of minus one?

    If so, then remember that i^2 = -1 and i^4 = 1 and of course i^{-1} = -i.

    Then you could multiply it out, but I can't see this making it simpler ...
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  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    No. i is just a regular variable. Very confusing, I know...
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