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Look up rational in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Rationality, a concept of reason Rational number, a number that can be expressed as a ratio of two integers Rational function, a mathematical function which can be written as the ratio of two polynomial functions Rational Software, formerly Rational Software Corporation, a software company now owned by IBM a central paradigm of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy The Rational temperament in the Keirsey Temperament Sorter Rational choice theory, a theoretical paradigm in microeconomics Rational AG, a German manufacturer of food processors

Rational Numbers

A rational number is a number that can be written as a ratio. That means it can be written as a fraction, in which both the numerator (the number on top) and the denominator (the number on the bottom) are whole numbers.

The number 8 is a rational number because it can be written as the fraction 8/1.

Even a big, clunky fraction like 7,324,908/56,003,492 is rational, simply because it can be written as a fraction.

Every whole number is a rational number, because any whole number can be written as a fraction. For example, 4 can be written as 4/1, 65 can be written as 65/1, and 3,867 can be written as 3,867/1.

Irrational Numbers

All numbers that are not rational are considered irrational. An irrational number can be written as a decimal, but not as a fraction. An irrational number has endless non-repeating digits to the right of the decimal point. Here are some irrational numbers: = 3.141592 = 1.414213 Although irrational numbers are not often used in daily life, they do exist on the number line. In fact, between 0 and 1 on the number line, there are an infinite number of irrational numbers!

Rational Number

A rational number is a number that can be expressed as a fraction where and are integers and . A rational number is said to have numerator and denominator . Numbers that are not rational are called irrational numbers. The real line consists of the union of the rational and irrational numbers. The set of rational numbers is of measure zero on the real line, so it is "small" compared to the irrationals and the continuum. The set of all rational numbers is referred to as the "rationals," and forms a fieldthat is denoted . Here, the symbol derives from the German word Quotient, which can be translated as "ratio," and first appeared in Bourbaki's Algbre(reprinted as Bourbaki 1998, p. 671). Any rational number is trivially also an algebraic number. Examples of rational numbers include , 0, 1, 1/2, 22/7, 12345/67, and so on.Farey sequences provide a way of systematically enumerating all rational numbers. The set of rational numbers is denoted Rationals in Mathematica, and a number can be tested to see if it is rational using the command Element[x, Rationals]. The elementary algebraic operations for combining rational numbers are exactly the same as for combining fractions. It is always possible to find another rational number between any two members of the set of rationals. Therefore, rather counterintuitively, the rational numbers are a continuous set, but at the same time countable.

(Honsberger 1991). The probability that a random rational number has an even denominator is 1/3 (Salamin and Gosper 1972). It is conjectured that if there exists a real number for which both and are integers, then is rational. This result would follow from the four exponentials conjecture (Finch 2003).

SEE ALSO: Algebraic Integer, Algebraic Number, Anomalous

Cancellation,Continuum, Denominator, Dirichlet Function, Farey Sequence, Four Exponentials Conjecture, Fraction, Integer, Irrational Number, Numerator, Q, Quotient, Ratio,Rational Polynomial, Rational Spiral, Transcendental Number Algebra II Recipe: Solving Radical and Rational Exponent Equations

Steps to Solve an Exponent Equation 1. Isolate the radical or exponent term. If there are two radical terms, set them equal to each other. 2. To eliminate the radical: square, cube, 4th power etc. both sides of the equation. 3. To eliminate the exponent: raise both sides of the equation to the reciprocal of the exponent. 4. Solve for the remaining variable using inverse operations. If an x2 and x terms remain, collect all terms on the x2 side and solve the quadratic equation by one of the previous methods: i. Quadratic Formula ii. Factoring iii. Completing the Square

5. Check your solutions by plugging them into the original equation OR where the radical orexponent term is isolated.

To simplify with exponents, don't feel like you have to work only from the rules for exponents. It is often simpler to work directly from the definition and meaning of exponents. For instance: Simplify x

6

x5

The rules tell me to add the exponents. But I when I started algebra, I had trouble keeping the 6 rules straight, so I just thought about what exponents mean. The " x " means "six copies 5 of xmultiplied together", and the " x " means "five copies of x multiplied together". So if I multiply those two expressions together, I will get eleven copies of x multiplied together. That is:

Thus:

11

(6 times, and then 5 times) (11 times)

x6 x5 = x11

Simplify the following expression:

The exponent rules tell me to subtract the exponents. But let's suppose that I've forgotten the 8 5 rules again. The " 6 " means I have eight copies of 6 on top; the " 6 " means I have five copies of 6 underneath.

How many extra 6's do I have, and where are they? I have three extra 6's, and they're on top. Then:

How many extra copies of t do I have, and where are they? I have two extra copies, on top:

5 do I have, and where are they? I have six extra copies, underneath:

Note: If you apply the subtraction rule, you'll end up with 5 = 5 , which is mathematically correct, but is almost certainly not the answer they're looking for. Whether or not you've been taught about negative exponents, when they say "simplify", they mean "simplify the expression so it doesn't have any negative or zero powers". Some students will try to get around this minus-sign problem by arbitrarily switching the 6 sign to magically get " 5 " on top (rather than below a "1"), but this is incorrect. Simplify the following expression:

39

Don't forget that the "5" and the "3" are just numbers. Since 3 doesn't go evenly into 5, I can't cancel the numbers. Don't try to subtract the numbers, because the 5 and the 3 in the 5 5 3 fraction " /3 " are not at all the same as the 5 and the 3 in rational expression " x / x ". The 5 /3 stays as it is. For the variables, I have two extra copies of

Either of the purple highlighted answers should be acceptable: the only difference is in the formatting; they mean the same thing. Simplify (46x

2 3

y z)0

(46x2y3z)0 = 1

Simplify (46x

2 3

y z)0

The parentheses still simplifies to 1, but this time the "minus" is out front, out from under the power, so the exponent doesn't touch it. So the answer is:

(46x2y3z)0 = 1

Simplify the following expression:

Now I need to look at each of the variables. How many extra of each do I have, and where are they? I have two extra a's on top. I have one extra b underneath. And I have the same number ofc's top and bottom, so they cancel off entirely. This gives me:

Rational Exponents

Definition of Rational Exponents

If the power or the exponent raised on a number is in the form , where q 0, then the number is said to

have rational exponent. For example: . More about Rational Exponents All the radical numbers have rational exponent. is also written as or th m as n root of a . Examples of Rational Exponents

In the expression

can also be written as and is the rational exponent. Solved Example on Rational Exponents Identify the rational exponential expression of . Choices: A. 22 B. 24 C. 43 D. Correct Answer: D Solution: Step 1: = [Convert radical expression to rational exponent expression.] Step 2: The rational exponential notation for the expression is . Related Terms for Rational Exponents

Evaluating Exponents

An exponent is a number that tells how many times the base number is used as a factor. For example, 34 indicates that the base number 3 is used as a factor 4 times. To determine the value of 34, multiply 3*3*3*3 which would give the result 81. Exponents are written as a superscript number (e.g. 34) or preceded by the caret (^) symbol (e.g. 3^4). Some facts about exponents:

Zero raised to any power is zero (e.g. 05 = 0) One raised to any power is one (e.g. 15 = 1) Any number raised to the zero power is one (e.g. 70 = 1) Any number raised to the first power is that number (e.g. 71= 7)

revised 6 Mar 2011 Copyright 20022011 by Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems Summary: Do you have trouble remembering the laws of logarithms? Do you know why you can change log(x)+log(y) to a different form, but not log(x+y)? This page

helps you make sense out of the laws of logarithms. See also: All the laws of logarithms flow directly out of the laws of exponents. If you feel a bit unsteady with the laws of exponents, please review them before going on. Contents: Logarithm? Whats a Logarithm? Where Did Logs Come From? Why Do We Care? Baseic Facts Log of 1, Log Equaling 1 Log as Inverse Whats ln? Combining Logs with the Same Base Multiply Numbers, Add Their Logarithms Exponent, Multiply the Logarithm Raising Numbers to Any Power Divide Numbers, Subtract Their Logarithms Changing the Base Summary Conclusion Whats New Copying: Youre welcome to print copies of this page for your own use, and to link from

your own Web pages to this page. But please dont make any electronic copies and publish them on your Web page or elsewhere.

A logarithm is just an exponent. To be specific, the logarithm of a number x to a base b is just the exponent you put ontob to make the result equal x. For instance, since 5 = 25, we know that 2 (the power) is the logarithm of 25 to base 5. Symbolically, log5(25) = 2. More generically, if x = by, then we say that y is the logarithm of x to the base b or the base-b logarithm of x. In symbols, y = logb(x). Every exponential equation can be rewritten as a logarithmic equation, and vice versa, just by interchanging the x and y in this way. Another way to look at it is that the logbx function is defined as the inverse of the bxfunction. These two statements express that inverse relationship, showing how an exponential equation is equivalent to a logarithmic equation: x = by is the same as y = logbx Example 1: 1000 = 103 is the same as 3 = log101000. Example 2: log381 = ? is the same as 3? = 81.

It cant be said too often: a logarithm is nothing more than an exponent. You can write the above definition compactly, and show the log as an exponent, by substituting the second equation into the first to eliminate y: Read that as the logarithm of x in base b is the exponent you put on b to get x as a result.

Before pocket calculators only three decades ago, but in student years thats the age of dinosaurs the answer was simple. You needed logs to compute most powers and roots with fair accuracy; even multiplying and dividing most numbers were easier with logs. Every decent algebra books had pages and pages of log tables at the back. The invention of logs in the early 1600s fueled the scientific revolution. Back then scientists, astronomers especially, used to spend huge amounts of time crunching numbers on paper. By cutting the time they spent doing arithmetic, logarithms effectively gave them a longer productive life. The slide rule, once almost a cartoon trademark of a scientist, was nothing more than a device built for doing various

computations quickly, using logarithms. See Eli Maors e: The Story of a Number for more on this. Today, logs are no longer used in routine number crunching. But there are still good reasons for studying them.

Why Do We Care?

Why do we use logarithms, anyway? To find the number of payments on a loan or the time to reach an investment goal To model many natural processes, particularly in living systems. We perceive loudness of sound as the logarithm of the actual sound intensity, and dB (decibels) are a logarithmic scale. We also perceive brightness of light as the logarithm of the actual light energy, and star magnitudes are measured on a logarithmic scale. To measure the pH or acidity of a chemical solution. The pH is the negative logarithm of the concentration of free hydrogen ions. To measure earthquake intensity on the Richter scale. To analyze exponential processes. Because the log function is the inverse of the exponential function, we often analyze an exponential curve by means of logarithms. Plotting a set of

measured points on log-log or semi-log paper can reveal such relationships easily. Applications include cooling of a dead body, growth of bacteria, and decay of a radioactive isotopes. The spread of an epidemic in a population often follows a modified logarithmic curve called a logistic. To solve some forms of area problems in calculus. (The area under the curve 1/x, between x=1 and x=A, equals ln A.)

Baseic Facts

From the definition of a log as inverse of an exponential, you can immediately get some basic facts. For instance, if you graph y=10x (or the exponential with any other positive base), you see that its range is positive reals; therefore the domain of y=log x (to any base) is the positive reals. In other words, you cant take log 0 or log of a negative number. (Actually, if youre willing to go outside the reals, you can take the log of a negative number. The technique is taught in many trigonometry courses.)

You know that anything to the zero power is 1: b0 = 1. Change that to logarithmic form with the definition of logs and you have

logb1 = 0

In the same way, you know that the first power of any number is just that number: b1 = b. Again, turn that around to logarithmic form and you have

logbb = 1

Example 3: ln 1 = 0 Example 4: log55 = 1

Log as Inverse

A log is an exponent because the log function is the inverse of the exponential function. The inverse function undoes the effect of the original function. (Im not a big fan of most uses the term cancel in math, but it does fit in this situation.)

This means that if you take the log of an exponential (to the same base, of course), you get back to where you started:

logbbx = x

This fact lets you evaluate many logarithms without a calculator. Example 5: log5125 = log5(5) = 3 Example 6: log10103.16 = 3.16 Example 7: ln e-kt/2 = -kt/2

Whats ln?

Any positive number is suitable as the base of logarithms, but two bases are used more than any others: base of logarithms 10 symbol log (if no base name common logarithm

ln

Natural logs are logs, and follow all the same rules as any other logarithm. Just remember

ln x

means

logex

Why base e? Whats so special about e? Most of the explanations need some calculus, for instance that ex is the only function that is both its own integral and its own derivative or that e has this beautiful definition in terms of factorials: e = 1/0! + 1/1! + 1/2! + 1/3! + ... Numerically, e is about 2.7182818284. Its irrational (the decimal expansion never ends and never repeats), and in fact like pi its transcendental (no polynomial equation with integer coefficients has pi or e as a root.) e (like pi) crops up in all sorts of unlikely places, like computations of compound interest. It would take a book to explain, and fortunately there is a book, Eli Maors e: The Story of a Number. He also goes into the

history of logarithms, and the book is well worth getting from your library.

In a minute well look at the various combinations. But first you might want to know the general principle: logs reduce operations by one level. Logs turn a multiplication into an addition, a division into a subtraction, an exponent into a multiplication, and a radical into a division. Now lets see why, and look at some examples.

Multiplying two expressions corresponds to adding their logarithms. Can we make sense of this? By the compact definition,

x = blogbx

and

y = blogby

xy = blogbx blogby

But when you multiply two powers of the same base, you add their exponents. So the right-hand side becomes

xy = blogbx+logby

Now apply the compact definition to the left=hand side:

blogb(xy) = xy

Combine that with the preceding equation to obtain

blogb(xy) = blogbx+logby

Now we have two powers of the same base. If the powers are equal, then the exponents must also be equal. Therefore

So whats the bottom line? Multiplying two numbers and taking the log is the same as taking their logs and adding.

Example 8: log8(x)+log8(x) is the same as log8(xx) or just log8(x). Example 9: log10(20)+log10(50) = log10(2050) = log10(1000) = 3.

Continuing our theme of logarithms reducing the level of operations, if you have the yth power of a number and take the log, the result is y times the log of the number. Heres why, starting with xy: Start with the compact definition of a logarithm:

x = blogbx

and raise both sides to the y power:

xy = (blogbx)y

A power of a power is equivalent to just multiplying the exponents. Simplify the right-hand side:

xy = b(y logbx)

blogb(xy) = xy

(The font may be hard to read: thats x to the power y on left and right.) and combine the last two equations:

If the powers are equal and the bases are equal, the exponents must be equal:

logb(xy) = y logbx

Example 10: ln(26) = 6 ln 2 (where ln means loge, the natural logarithm). Example 11: log5(5x) is not equal to 2 log5(5x). Be careful with order of operations! 5x is 5(x), not (5x). log5(5x) must first be decomposed as the log of the product: log55 + log5(x). Then the second term can use the power rule, log5(x) = 2 log5x. The first term is just 1. Summing up, log5(5x) = 1 + 2 log5x.

The trick to evaluating expressions like 6.74.4 is to use the exponent rule and the log-as-inverse definition: x = 6.74.4 log x = 4.4 ( log 6.7 ) = about 3.634729132 x = 103.63472... = about 4312.5 Theres nothing special about base-10 logs here. The calculation could just as well be x = 6.74.4 ln x = 4.4 ( ln 6.7 ) = about 8.369273116 x = e8.36927... = about 4312.5 This will work for any positive base and any real exponent, so for example x = log x = (log ) = about 1.561842388 x = 101.5618... = about 36.46215961 You can combine this with the multiplying numbers = adding logarithms rule to evaluate powers that are too big for your calculator. For example, what is 671217? x = 671217 log x = 217 (log 671) = about 613.3987869 Now, separate the integer and fractional parts of the logarithm. log x = about 0.3987869 + 613 x = 100.3987869 + 613

x = 100.3987869 10613 x = about 2.505 10613 For examples like this, you really do have to use base10 logs. If the base is negative or the exponent is complex, see Powers and Roots of a Complex Number.

Since division is the opposite of multiplication, and subtraction is the opposite of addition, its not surprising that dividing two expressions corresponds to subtracting their logs. While we could go back again to the compact definition, its probably easier to use the two preceding properties. Start with the fact that 1/y = y1 (see the definition of negative exponents):

and take the log of both sides:

logb(x/y) = logb(xy1)

The right-hand side is the log of a product, which

and the second term is the log of a power, which becomes (1) times the log, or just minus the log:

In words, if you divide and take the log, thats the same as subtracting the individual logs. Example 12: 67515=45, and therefore log10675 log1015 = log1045. (Try it on your calculator!) Example 13: log(xy) log(xy) = log(xy / xy) = log(x/y) = log(x) log(y).

Now you have everything you need to change logarithms from one base to another. Look again at the compact equation that defines a log in base b:

it a), you want to find loga(x). Since you already have x on one side of the above equation, it seems like a good start is to take the base-a log of both sides:

loga(blogbx) = logax

But the left-hand side of that equation is just the log of a power. You remember that log(xy) is just log(x) times y. So the equation simplifies to

Notice that logab is a constant. This means that the logs of all numbers in a given base a are proportional to the logs of the same numbers in another base b, and the proportionality constant logab is the log of one base in the other base. If youre like me, you may have trouble remembering whether to multiply or divide. If so, just derive the equation as you see, it takes only two steps. Some textbooks present the change-of-base formula as a fraction. To get the fraction from the above equation, simply divide by the proportionality constant logab:

Example 14: log416 = (log 16) / (log 4). (You can verify this with your calculator, since you know log416 must equal 2.) Example 15: Most calculators cant graph y = log3x directly. But you can change the base to eand easily plot y = (ln x)(ln 3). (You could equally well use base 10.) An interesting side road leads from the above formula. Replace x everywhere with a this is legal since the formula is true for all positive a, b, and x. You get

But logaa = 1 (see Log of 1 above), so the formula becomes

logba = 1 / (logab)

Example 16: log10e = 1/(ln 10). (You can verify this with your calculator.)

Example 17: log1255 = 1/(log5125). This is easy to verify: 53 = 125, and 5 is the cube root of 125. Therefore log1255 = 1/3 and log5125 = 3, and 1/3 does indeed equal 1/3.

Summary

The laws of logarithms have been scattered through this longish page, so it might be helpful to collect them in one place. To make this even more amazingly helpful <grin>, the associated laws of exponents are shown here too. For heavens sake, dont try to memorize this table! Just use it to jog your memory as needed. Better yet, since a log is an exponent, use the laws of exponents to re-derive any property of logarithms that you may have forgotten. That way youll truly gain mastery of this material, and youll feel confident about the operations. exponents logarithms

x = by

is the same as

y = logbx

b0 = 1 b1 = b b(logbx) = x

bx by = bx+y logb(xy) = logbx + logby bxby = bxy logb(x/y) = logbx logby (bx)y = bxy logb(xy) = y logbx (logab) (logbx) = logax logbx = (logax) / (logab) logba = 1 / (logab)

Dont get creative! Most variations on the above are not valid. Example 18: log (5+x) is not the same as log 5 + log x. As you know, log 5 + log x = log(5x), not log(5+x). Look

carefully at the above table and youll see that theres nothing you can do to split up log(x+y) or log(xy). Example 19: (log x) / (log y) is not the same as log(x/y). In fact, when you divide two logs to the same base, youre working the change-of-base formula backward. Though its not often useful, (log x) / (log y) = logyx. Just dont write log(x/y)! Example 20: (log 5)(log x) is not the same as log(5x). You know that log(5x) is log 5 + log x. Theres really not much you can do with the product of two logs when they have the same base. See also: Combining Operations (Distributive Laws)

Conclusion

Well, there you have it: the laws of logarithms demystified! The general rule is that logs simply drop an operation down one level: exponents become multipliers, divisions become subtractions, and so on. If ever youre unsure of an operation, like how to change base, work it out by using the definition of a log and applying the laws of exponents, and you wont go wrong.

Whats New

6 Mar 2011: Add Raising Numbers to Any Power (intervening changes suppressed) 11 Jan 1998: Adapt this article for the Web 22 Dec 1997: Post to alt.algebra.help

This formula can be interpreted as saying that the function eix traces out the unit circle in thecomplex number plane as x ranges through the real numbers. Here, x is the angle that a line connecting the origin with a point on the unit circle makes with the positive real axis, measured counter clockwise and in radians. The original proof is based on the Taylor series expansions of the exponential function ez (where zis a complex number) and of sin x and cos x for real numbers x (see below). In fact, the same proof shows that Euler's formula is even valid for all complex numbers z. A point in the complex plane can be represented by a complex number written in cartesian coordinates. Euler's formula provides a means of conversion between cartesian coordinates andpolar coordinates. The polar form simplifies the mathematics when used in multiplication or powers of complex numbers. Any complex number z = x + iy can be written as

where the real part the imaginary part the magnitude of z atan2(y, x) . is the argument of zi.e., the angle between the x axis and the vector zmeasured counterclockwise and in radianswhich is

defined up to addition of 2. Many texts write tan1 (y/x) instead of atan2(y,x) but this needs adjustment when x 0. Now, taking this derived formula, we can use Euler's formula to define thelogarithm of a complex number. To do this, we also use the definition of the logarithm (as the inverse operator of exponentiation) that and that both valid for any complex numbers a and b. Therefore, one can write: for any z 0. Taking the logarithm of both sides shows that: and in fact this can be used as the definition for the complex logarithm. The logarithm of a complex number is thus a multi-valued function, because is multi-valued. Finally, the other exponential law which can be seen to hold for all integers k, together with Euler's formula, implies

WTAMU > Virtual Math Lab > College Algebra

Learning Objectives

After completing this tutorial, you should be able to: 1. Rewrite a rational exponent in radical notation. 2. Simplify an expression that contains a rational exponent. 3. Use rational exponents to simplify a radical expression.

Introduction

In this tutorial we are going to combine two ideas that have been discussed in earlier tutorials: exponents and radicals. We will look at how to rewrite, simplify and evaluate these expressions that contain rational exponents. What it boils down to is if you have a denominator in your exponent, it is your index or root number. So, if you need to, review radicals covered in Tutorial 4: Radicals. Also, since we are working with fractional exponents and they follow the exact same rules as integer exponents, you will need to be familiar with adding, subtracting, and multiplying them. If you feel that you need a review, click on review of fractions. To review exponents, you can go to Tutorial 2: Integer Exponents. Let's move onto rational exponents and

roots.

Tutorial

Rational Exponents and Roots If x is positive, p and q are integers and q is positive,

In other words, when you have a rational exponent, the denominator of that exponent is your index or root number and the numerator of the exponent is the exponential part. I have found it easier to think of it in two parts. Find the root part first and then take it to the exponential part if possible. It makes the numbers a lot easier to work with.

Radical exponents follow the exact same exponent rules as discussed in Tutorial 2: Integer Exponents. In that tutorial we only dealt with integers, but you can extend those rules to rational exponents. Here is a quick review of those exponential rules:

Example 1: Evaluate

We are looking for the square root of 49 raised to the 1 power, which is the same as just saying the square root of 49. If your exponent's numerator is 1, you are basically just looking for the root (the denominator's exponent). Our answer is 7 since the square root of 49 is 7.

Example 2: Evaluate

*Rewrite exponent 2/3 as a cube root being squared *Cube root of -125 = -5

In this problem we are looking for the cube root of -125 squared. Again, I think it is easier to do the root part first if possible. The numbers will be easier to work with. The cube root of -125 is -5 and (-5) squared is 25.

Example 3: Evaluate

*Rewrite as recip. of base raised to pos. exp. *DO NOT take the reciprocal of the exponent, only the base

In this problem we have a negative exponent to start with. That means we need to take the reciprocal of the base.Note that we DO NOT take the reciprocal of the exponent, only the base. From there we are looking for the square root of 49/36 cubed. Again, I think it is easier to do the root part first if possible. The numbers will be easier to work with. The square root of 49/36 is 7/6 and 7/6 cubed is 343/216.

Example 4: Simplify

Example 5: Simplify

Example 6: Simplify

Example 7: Simplify by reducing the index of the radical. x represents positive real numbers.

Practice Problems

These are practice problems to help bring you to the next level. It will allow you to check and see if you have an understanding of these types of problems. Math works just like anything else, if you want to get good at it, then you need to practice it. Even the best athletes and musicians had help along the way and lots of practice, practice, practice, to get good at their sport or instrument. In fact there is no such thing as too much practice. To get the most out of these, you should work the problem out on your own and then check your answer by clicking on the link for the answer/discussion for that problem. At the link you will find the answer as well as any steps that went into finding that answer.

1a.

(answer/discussion to 1a)

1b.

(answer/discussion to 1b)

2a.

(answer/discussion to 2a)

2b.

(answer/discussion to 2b)

2c.

(answer/discussion to 2c)

Practice Problem 3a: Simplify the expression by reducing the index of the radical. x represents positive real numbers.

3a.

(answer/discussion to 3a)

The following are webpages that can assist you in the topics that were covered on this page: http://www.wtamu.edu/academic/anns/mps/math/mathlab/int_algebra/int_alg_tut38_ratex p.htm This webpage helps you with rational exponents. http://www.purplemath.com/modules/exponent5.htm This webpage assists you with rational exponents.

Introduction

In this tutorial, we will be looking at solving two different types of equations, radical equations and equations that have rational exponents. Both of these equations have the same ultimate goal, to get your variable on one side and everything else on the other side using inverse operations. Also, after removing the radical or rational exponent in the equations in this tutorial, they become either a linear or quadratic equation. Good news and bad news, as mentioned in other tutorials, a lot of times in math you use previous knowledge to help work the new concepts. That is good because you do not have to approach the problem as totally new and learn all new steps. That can be overwhelming. It is bad because you do have to remember things from the past. Sometimes we condition ourselves to drain our brains after taking a test and sometimes forget what we have learned. If you need a review on radicals in general, feel free to go to Tutorial 4: Radicals. If you need a review on rational exponents in general, feel free to go to Tutorial 5: Rational Exponents. If you need a review on solving linear equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 14: Linear Equations in One Variable. If you need a review on solving quadratic equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 17: Quadratic Equations. After going through this page, you should be an old pro at working with roots. I think you are ready to tackle these equations.

Tutorial

In other words, get one radical on one side and everything else on the other using inverse operations. In some problems there is only one radical. However, there are some problems that have more than one radical. In these problems make sure you isolate just one.

The inverse operation to a radical or a root is to raise it to an exponent. Which exponent? Good question, it would be the exponent that matches the index or root number on your radical. In other words, if you had a square root, you would have to square it to get rid of it. If you had a cube root, you would have to cube it to get rid of it, and so forth. You can raise both sides to the 2nd power, 10th power, hundredth power, etc. As long as you do the same thing to both sides of the equation, the two sides will remain equal to each other.

Step 3: If you still have a radical sign left, repeat steps 1 and 2.

Sometimes you start out with two or more radicals in your equation. If that is the case and you have at least one nonradical term, you will probably have to repeat steps 1 and 2.

The equations in this tutorial will lead to either a linear or a quadratic equation. If you need a review on solving linear equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 14: Linear Equations in One Variable. If you need a review on solving quadratic equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 17: Quadratic Equations.

When solving radical equations, extra solutions may come up when you raise both sides to an even power. These extra solutions are called extraneous solutions. If a value is an extraneous solution, it

is not a solution to the original problem. In radical equations, you check for extraneous solutions by plugging in the values you found back into the original problem. If the left side does not equal the right side, then you have an extraneous solution.

If you square a square root, it will disappear. This is what we want to do here so that we can get x out from under the square root and continue to solve for it.

In this example, the equation that resulted from squaring both sides turned out to be a linear equation. If you need a review on solving linear equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 14: Linear Equations in One Variable.

*Plugging in 22 for x

*True statement

Since we got a true statement, x = 22 is not an extraneous solution. There is one solution to this radical equation: x = 22.

If you square a square root, it will disappear. This is what we want to do here so that we can get x out from under the square root and continue to solve for it.

*Inverse of taking the sq. root is squaring it *Left side is a binomial squared

Be careful on this one. It is VERY TEMPTING to square the left side term by term and get 9 - x squared or 9 + xsquared. However, you need to square it as a side as shown above. Recall that when you square a binomial you get the first term squared minus twice the product of the two terms plus the second term squared. If you need a review on squaring a binomial, feel free to go to Tutorial 6: Polynomials.

In this example, the equation that resulted from squaring both sides turned out to be a quadratic equation. If you need a review on solving quadratic equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 17: Quadratic Equations.

*Quad. eq. in standard form *Factor the trinomial *Use Zero-Product Principle *Set 1st factor = 0 and solve

*Plugging in 6 for x

*False statement

*Plugging in 2 for x

*True statement

Since we got a true statement, x = 2 is a solution. There is only one solution to this radical equation: x = 2.

*Inverse of sub. sq. root is add. sq. root *One square root is by itself on one side of eq.

If you square a square root, it will disappear. This is what we want to do here so that we can get y out from under the square root and continue to solve for it.

*Inverse of taking the sq. root is squaring it *Right side is a binomial squared

Be careful on this one. It is VERY TEMPTING to square the right side term by term and get 1 + (y + 1). However, you need to square it as a side as shown above. Recall that when you square a binomial you get the first term squared plus twice the product of the two terms plus the second term squared. If you need a review on squaring a binomial, feel free to go to Tutorial 6: Polynomials.

*Inverse of add. y and 2 is sub. y and 2 *Square root is by itself on one side of eq.

*Inverse of taking the sq. root is squaring it *Left side is a binomial squared

Be careful on this one. It is VERY TEMPTING to square the left side term by term and get y squared plus 1. However, you need to square it as a side as shown above. Recall that when you square a binomial you get the first

term squared plus twice the product of the two terms plus the second term squared. If you need a review on squaring a binomial, feel free to go to Tutorial 6: Polynomials.

In this example, the equation that resulted from squaring both sides turned out to be a quadratic equation. If you need a review on solving quadratic equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 17: Quadratic Equations.

*Quad. eq. in standard form *Factor the trinomial *Use Zero-Product Principle *Set 1st factor = 0 and solve

*Plugging in 3 for y

*True statement

*Plugging in -1 for y

*True statement

Since we got a true statement, y = -1 is a solution. There are two solutions to this radical equation: y = 3 and y = -1.

Solving Equations that have a Rational Exponent AND can be written in the form

In other words get the base with the rational exponent on one side and everything else on the other using inverse operations.

The inverse operation to a rational exponent is to raise it to the reciprocal of that exponent. This will get rid of the rational exponent on the expression. For example, if the rational exponent is 2/3, then the inverse operation is to raise both sides to the 3/2 power. You can raise both sides to ANY power. As long as you do the same thing to both sides of the equation, the two sides will remain equal to each other.

The equations in this tutorial will lead to either a linear or a quadratic equation. If you need a review on solving linear equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 14: Linear Equations in One Variable. If you need a review on solving quadratic equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 17: Quadratic Equations.

When solving equations with rational exponents, extra solutions may come up when you raise both sides to an even power. These extra solutions are called extraneous solutions. If a value is an extraneous solution, it is not a solution to the original problem. In equations with rational exponents you check for extraneous solutions by plugging in the values you found back into the original problem. If the left side does not equal the right side than you have an

extraneous solution.

If you raise an expression that has a rational exponent to the reciprocal of that rational exponent, the exponent will disappear. This is what we want to do here so that we can get x out from under the rational exponent and continue to solve for it.

*Inverse of taking it to the 3/2 power is taking it to the 2/3 power *Use def. of rat. exp

In this example the equation that resulted from raising both sides to the 2/3

power turned out to be a linear equation. If you need a review on solving linear equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 14: Linear Equations in One Variable.

*Plugging in 5 for x

*True statement

Since we got a true statement, x = 5 is a solution. There is one solution to this rational exponent equation: x = 5.

*Inverse of mult. by 2 is div. by 2 *rat. exp. expression is by itself on one side of eq.

If you raise an expression that has a rational exponent to the reciprocal of that rational exponent, the exponent will disappear. This is what we want to do here so that we can get x out from under the rational exponent and continue to solve for it.

In this example, the equation that resulted from raising both sides to the 3/5 power turned out to be a linear equation. Also note that it is already solved for x. So, we do not have to do anything on this step for this example.

is an extraneous solution:

*True statement

is a solution. .

*Inverse of add. 1 is sub. 1 *rat. exp. expression is by itself on one side of eq.

If you raise an expression that has a rational exponent to the reciprocal of that rational exponent, the exponent will disappear. This is what we want to do here so that we can get x out from under the rational exponent and continue to solve for it.

*Inverse of taking it to the 5/2 power is taking it to the 2/5 power *The 5th root of -1 is -1 and -1 squared is 1.

In this example, the equation that resulted from squaring both sides turned out to be a quadratic equation. If you need a review on solving quadratic equations, feel free to go to Tutorial 17: Quadratic Equations.

*Quad. eq. in standard form *Factor the trinomial *Use Zero-Product Principle *Set 1st factor = 0 and solve

*Plugging in -4 for x

*False statement

*Plugging in -1 for x

*False statement

Since we got a false statement, x = -1 is an extraneous solution. There is no solution to this rational exponent equation.

Practice Problems

These are practice problems to help bring you to the next level. It will allow you to check and see if you have an understanding of these types of problems. Math works just like anything else, if you want to get good at it, then you need to practice it. Even the best athletes and musicians had help along the way and lots of practice, practice, practice, to get good at their sport or instrument. In fact there is no such thing as too much practice. To get the most out of these, you should work the problem out on your own and then check your answer by clicking on the link for the answer/discussion for that problem. At the link you will find the answer as well as any steps that went into finding that answer.

1a.

(answer/discussion to 1a)

1b.

(answer/discussion to 1b)

2a.

(answer/discussion to 2a)

2b.

(answer/discussion to 2b)

The following is a webpage that can assist you in the topics that were covered on this page: http://www.sosmath.com/algebra/solve/solve0/solve0.html#radical Problems 1,2, 3, & 4 of this part of the webpage helps you with solving equations with radicals. ONLY do problems 1, 2, 3, & 4.

Go to Get Help Outside the Classroom found in Tutorial 1: How to Succeed in a Math Class for some more suggestions.

Exponential Functions

We begin our discussion on the exponential function with an old parable that has countless variations than the one that is to follow. After presenting the problem, we shall examine it at length to figure out what is going on.

Once upon a time a Sultan asked a peasant to invent a game for him. Legend has it that the peasant went away and invented the game of chess. The Sultan was delighted with the game and asked the peasant to name his prize for inventing the game.

The peasant replied that the Sultan should place 1 grain of rice on the first square of the board, then two grains of rice on the second square, 4 grains of rice on the third, etc. When the board had no more squares to fill, the peasant would take the rice as payment and nothing more. (Now, recall that a chessboard is 8x8, so it has 64 squares on it.)

After eight squares, the Sultan thought that he had outsmarted the peasant. After all, he had only given the peasant 511 grains of rice. But every square, the amount he had to pay was double the amount from the previous square. And so, on the last square, the Sultan had to place 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 grains of rice, more grain than existed in the entire kingdom. And so, it was the peasant who had the final laugh.

We started with one grain of rice on the first square. For convenience, we shall label the squares 0 63 instead of 1 64. On the second position, there were two grains. The following table shows the first ten values of the function.

With these points on the graph, let us try to find a function that will fit the data. Notice that the number of rice is doubled each time. So we want something with 2 2 2 for as many 2s as there are squares. (Notice that this makes perfect sense, provided that we understand that for 0 2s, we have one grain of rice.)

To express this in mathematical terms, we write y = 2x. This reads as y equals 2 (raised) to the x. This function fits the data beautifully. We call such a function an exponential function.

Let us take a look at what is going on. The following figure shows the amount of rice placed on each square vs. the square number for the first seven values.

Clearly, the graph is not linear. Just above we said it is an exponential function. However, it looks a lot like a quadratic function. The red graph shows the function y = x2. Notice that for x > 4, the data points lie above the red graph.

It can be shown that this unknown graph will always be larger than any polynomial, provided that x is large enough. For example, the points will lie above the graph of y = x4 if x > 16.

In our discussion so far, we have made a logical jump that needs to be addressed. In the above example, we considered only discrete units (the number of the square), but the above function (y = 2x) is a continuous function, which means it does not have gaps like the points we plotted in the above figure. The justification why this can be done is far beyond the scope of this book.

Now that we have seen that the exponential function is its own function, we shall discuss some defining characteristics. The most important component of an exponential function is its base, denoted b. It is the number that is raised to the x. In the opening example, the base was 2.

The base has two important properties. First, it has to be a positive number. Second, it cannot be 1. Recall that 1 raised to any power is 1. That means that the graph of y = 1x is just the line y = 1.

There are two other bases worth examining as well: e and 10. First of all, what is e and why choose these two bases?

The letter e denotes a constant called Eulers number. It arises in a variety of limits, most notably . To eight decimal places, e 2.71828183.

As we shall see later in the chapter, the base e has applications in calculating interest and modeling radioactive decay. The base 10 is important because our number system is based on such numbers.

There are some useful facts about exponential functions that we summarize in the following table.

Key Facts of Exponentials There are five basic facts of exponentials to remember. Suppose that aand b are real numbers while x and y are variables.

1. axay = ax + y

2. 3. (ax)y = axy

4. 5. axbx = (ab)x

Example 1:

(i)

(ii)

(iii) (-2)-3

Solution:

(i)

(ii)

(iii)

Above, we plotted some points from the exponential function, which hinted at its shape. Now we present the graph and point out some notable properties.

Table 1: Properties of the Exponential Function y = bx The domain is (-, ) The range is (0, ) The y-intercept is 1 There is no x-intercept

Using what we learned previously about transformations of graphs, we can sketch the graph of similar graphs.

Example 2:

+ 1.

Solution:

We begin with the graph of y = 2x. The negative sign with the x tells us to reflect the graph about the y-axis to obtain the graph of y = 2 x.

The negative sign out front tells us to reflect the graph about the x-axis to obtain the graph of y = .

Finally, the +1 at the end tells us to shift the graph up one unit to obtain the graph of 1.

y=

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