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Math Help - Simplification

  1. #1
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    Simplification

    Hi all

    This is probably a piece of cake for most of you, but I haven't dealt with math in years so I could use a little help.

    (1/a + 1/b) (1/a - 1/b)

    So this is the starting point and it needs to be simplified. I have this from a friend and he said the solution is (1+a)/b . I'm not sure if that's correct, that's what I'm trying to find out.

    This is how far I got:

    (b^2 - a^2) / (a^2 * b^2)

    And then (1 - a^2 / b^2) / a^2

    From there I just go in circles... I'd appreciate if someone could tell me how to get to that solution (if it's correct...).

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Re: Simplification

    The expression is also equal to \frac{1}{a^2} - \frac{1}{b^2} by difference of two squares (so your answer is correct).

    I don't think your friend's answer is correct. For example, you could let a = b = 2, in which the correct answer is 0, but (1+a)/b = 3/2.
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