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And they had some basic guys memorized like

sqrt(2) is approximately equal to 1.414

So, if they needed a decimal value for a guy like

7 * sqrt(2)

they'd put in the memorized 1.414 part and crunch it out by hand:

7 * sqrt(2) is approximately equal to 7(1.414)...   1.414 x 7 = 9.898

Not very accurate either.  My calculator says

7 * sqrt(2) is approximately equal to 9.89949...

So...  What if they needed to crunch this guy?

5 * sqrt(200)

Well...  sqrt(200) might be too big for the tables and, even though they were geeks, I'm sure they couldn't have memorized ALL the radicals.

So, what did they do?

They rewrote the radical so that the smallest number possible was inside the radical.