Home » Speedy Calculation » Herons Method of Finding Roots

A guest post by Nandeesh H.N. of Kolkata

Dear Vineet,

I am really grateful to you for your blog which makes Mathematics a pleasure. Keep up your good work. As requested by you I am sending a brief note on Heron’s method of finding square root. This method can be easily extended to find any root.

Heron’s method of finding square root

If n is the square root of N, obviously, dividing N by n gives n.

We can look at the square root as the average of the factor and the quotient.

If you divide N by a number x which is not the square root, you will get the quotient different from the square root.

However the average of the factor and the quotient is closer to the actual root than the starting number x.

This is the principle of Heron’s method of finding square root of a number.

Ex: To find the square root of 500:

Let us guess that the square root is 20.

Divide 500 by 20 to get the quotient 25.

Take the average of the factor 20 and the quotient 25 which is 22.5.

This 22.5 is closer to the actual root of 500 than the initial estimate of 20.

Repeating the above process:

500/22.5 = 22.2222

Average of 22.5 and 22.2222 is 22.3611.

For more accuracy, we can repeat the step once again to get the next estimate as 22.36068.

The actual square root of 500 is 22.36068.

I love to extend this Heron’s method for finding any root of any number.

For finding cube root, divide twice and take the average of the two divisors and the final quotient.

For finding fourth root, divide thrice and take the average of the three divisors and the final quotient.

Ex: To find the cube root of say 78654.

Let the initial guess be 40.

Step 1: 78654 / 40 = 1966.35

Step 2: 1966.35 / 40 = 49.15875

The average of 40, 40 and 49.15875 is 43.05292.

You can repeat the above process with the starting number as 43 (No need to start with 43.05292).

Actual cube root of 78654 is 42.84567.

Even if you start with a very wild initial guess, you will only need a few more iterations to reach the answer.

Ex: To find the fourth root of say 78654.

Let the initial guess be 20.

Step 1: 78654 / 20 = 3932

Step 2: 3932 / 20 = 196

Step 3: 196 / 20 = 10

The average of 20, 20, 20 and 10 is 17.5.

Repeat the above process with the starting number as say 17.

Step 1: 78654 / 17 = 4627

Step 2: 4627 / 17 = 272

Step 3: 272 / 17 = 16

The average of 17, 17, 17 and 16 is 16.75.

Actual 4th root of 78654 is 16.74674.

Ex: To find the fifth root of say 78654.

Let the initial guess be 10.

Step 1: 78654 / 10 = 7865.4

Step 2: 7865.4 / 10 = 786.54

Step 3: 786.54 / 10 = 78.654

Step 4: 78.654 / 10 = 7.8654

The average of 10, 10, 10, 10 and 7.8654 is 9.5731.

Actual 5th root of 78654 is 9.531125.

Our first iteration itself is quite close to the actual root. Is it not great?

Tips: Start with a convenient round figure as the initial guess to make divisions easier. The next starting number can again be rounded or adjusted for easing future divisions.”

This post is contributed by Nandeesh Nagarajaia. He is a Chemical Engineer who did his B.Tech from NIT Suratkal.  He is now in IT field as Assistant General Manager(Systems) in Hindustan Copper Limited. He love Maths and enjoy teaching Maths to his sons.

On behalf of all the QuickerMaths.com users, I  am highly grateful for his contribution.


comments

  1. Pavan says:

    Thankyou…

    BTW…wat is the best method for finding the squares of number from number 50 to 100 and 100 to 200

  2. Chris West says:

    I actually recently wrote a post about this very topic after trying out the MITx course for intro to CS. I wrote a JavaScript example which allows you to enter a number and find the square root of the number, showing the steps taken. My post is here: http://gotochriswest.com/blog/2012/10/11/javascript-herons-square-root-algorithm/

  3. FVsWZUu2pOq says:

    352251 747702I just put the link of your blog on my Facebook Wall. very nice blog indeed.,

  4. vinod kumar says:

    Please explain the method of squaring any number with the help of Yaavadunam method say i have to find out 979*979 and 478*478

  5. bharat says:

    osm..

  6. wanninayaka says:

    thanks sir its very useful.

  7. Rahul says:

    thanks sir its very useful

  8. very useful 2 find the roots

  9. [...] Heron’s method of finding square root [...]

  10. raghu says:

    thank u so much…….

  11. damilola says:

    it is a very good shortcut,because it help to prevent the use of a calculator

  12. anju says:

    i loved this post…………………….very interesting, thanks:)

  13. [...] problem. Check these 2 links : YouTube – Square Roots method ( For Perfect Square Numbers) Heron's Method of Finding Square Root of any Number (For Imperfect square [...]

  14. Deepak says:

    I really liked this method read a long time ago, so, thank you for this article. But i want to know do we have a technique in Vedic Mathematics to calculate square root???

  15. Deepak says:

    I really liked this method read a long time ago, so, thnak you for this article. But i want to know do we have a technique in Vedic Mathematics to calculate square root???

  16. [...] Heron's method of finding roots [...]

  17. Govind K. Bahroos says:

    By this method we can get closer to the answer but not the actual answer

    • NANDEESH says:

      Majority of the roots are irrational and run to unlimited number of decimals. In practice, roots correct to a finite number of decimal places are good enough. Heron’s method is a simple method of arriving at the roots of desired accuracy.

  18. GUJJAR says:

    i think these tricks are no where used now ..as far as competitive exams are concerned these are useless except from few…

    why would someone need to find the fourth root of 786543 .unless he is a maths freak….

    you should post something which is useful from the point of view of competitive exams like IIT, AIEEE, CAT, FMS tec…

    • NANDEESH H N says:

      Applications of finding roots is common in calculating rates of compound interest.

      For ex:
      If a principal of Rs 10000 becomes Rs 23456 in 4 years, what is the rate of interest?
      Rate of interest = 4th root of 2.3456 or (1/10)*4th root of 23456.

    • soumya says:

      may be for u these tricks are not of ny use,,,,bt for us its a great help…

  19. student loan says:

    Great, I never knew this, thanks.

  20. [...] You might also be interested in the trick of finding square root of any number [...]

  21. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  22. Vishal says:

    good
    very helpful process to find the roots.

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I am Vineet Patawari - PGDM (IIM Indore), ACA, B.Com(H). My passion for Mathematics, specially Vedic Maths encouraged me to start QuickerMaths

I believe that if trained properly using powerful tools like Vedic Maths, the immense intellect of human mind can be ignited instantly - find out more

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