# Sage is refusing to simplify an element of the symbolic ring to an integer For example: How can I get sage to simplify ( sqrt(2) + sqrt(3) ) * ( sqrt(2) - sqrt(3) ) to -1? I've tried simplify() but it wont do it. Thanks.

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Sort by » oldest newest most voted Not every method -- i.e. a function which lives inside an object -- has a function form. What I mean is that you can write sqrt(2), because sqrt is a function, and you could also write 2.sqrt(), but not everything is paired up like that.

This holds for simplify too. There is a simplify function, but you can get much tighter control by calling the simplify methods. You can usually look inside an object by hitting TAB. For example:

sage: q = ( sqrt(2) + sqrt(3) ) * ( sqrt(2) - sqrt(3) )
sage: q.[HERE I HIT TAB]
q.abs                       q.expand_log                q.left                      q.reset_name
[etc..]


In sage, lots of functionality lives inside objects like this. If you type

sage: q.simp[TAB]
q.simplify            q.simplify_factorial  q.simplify_log        q.simplify_rational


you'll see a bunch of possibilities. If you type

sage: q.simplify_radical?


you can see the docs for it (and two ?? show the code.)

All of that is a long-winded way to bring us here:

sage: q = ( sqrt(2) + sqrt(3) ) * ( sqrt(2) - sqrt(3) )
-1
sage: q.simplify_full()
-1

more

oh man great answer, I didn't even know about all that functionality, thanks.