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The Root of the Problem

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Alison has been exploring sums with surds. She used a spreadsheet to make columns for square roots, and then added together various combinations.

Here is one of the sums she worked out: $$\frac{1}{\sqrt{1}+ \sqrt{2}}+ \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}+ \sqrt{3}} + ... +\frac{1}{ \sqrt {99}+ \sqrt{100}}.$$

The answer surprised her!
Can you find a way to evaluate the sum without using a calculator or spreadsheet?

Click here for a hint:

When a fraction contains surds, we often choose to multiply the numerator and denominator by an expression that gets rid of any surds in the denominator.
Knowing that $(a+b)(a-b)=a^2-b^2$ might help.


Can you find other similar sums with surds that give whole number answers?