Consider the equation . 3 is then called a root of f, because f(3)=0.
A substantial amount of mathematics was developed in order to find roots of various functions, especially polynomials. The roots of a quadratic equation could be given by the quadratic formula, and the study of the roots of polynomials of degree 3 led to the discovery of complex numbers.
One of the most important unsolved problems in mathematics concerns the location of the zeros of the Riemann zeta function.
Compare with the concept of a pole.