# 3: Polynomial and Rational Functions

- Page ID
- 17357

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In this chapter, we will learn about these concepts and discover how mathematics can be used in such applications.

- 3.0: Prelude to Polynomial and Rational Functions
- Digital photography has dramatically changed the nature of photography. No longer is an image etched in the emulsion on a roll of film. Instead, nearly every aspect of recording and manipulating images is now governed by mathematics. An image becomes a series of numbers, representing the characteristics of light striking an image sensor. When we open an image file, software on a camera or computer interprets the numbers and converts them to a visual image.

- 3.1: Complex Numbers
- After all, to this point we have described the square root of a negative number as undefined. Fortunately, there is another system of numbers that provides solutions to problems such as these. In this section, we will explore this number system and how to work within it.

- 3.2: Quadratic Functions
- In this section, we will investigate quadratic functions, which frequently model problems involving area and projectile motion. Working with quadratic functions can be less complex than working with higher degree functions, so they provide a good opportunity for a detailed study of function behavior.

- 3.3: Power Functions and Polynomial Functions
- Suppose a certain species of bird thrives on a small island. The population can be estimated using a polynomial function. We can use this model to estimate the maximum bird population and when it will occur. We can also use this model to predict when the bird population will disappear from the island. In this section, we will examine functions that we can use to estimate and predict these types of changes.

- 3.4: Graphs of Polynomial Functions
- The revenue in millions of dollars for a fictional cable company can be modeled by the polynomial function From the model one may be interested in which intervals the revenue for the company increase or decreases? These questions, along with many others, can be answered by examining the graph of the polynomial function. We have already explored the local behavior of quadratics, a special case of polynomials. In this section we will explore the local behavior of polynomials in general.

- 3.7: Rational Functions
- In the last few sections, we have worked with polynomial functions, which are functions with non-negative integers for exponents. In this section, we explore rational functions, which have variables in the denominator.

- 3.8: Inverses and Radical Functions
- In this section, we will explore the inverses of polynomial and rational functions and in particular the radical functions we encounter in the process.

## Contributors

Jay Abramson (Arizona State University) with contributing authors. Textbook content produced by OpenStax College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. Download for free at https://openstax.org/details/books/precalculus.