You are on page 1of 15

# Unit 2: Powers, Roots and Radical Expressions

## Unit 2: Powers, Roots and Radical Expressions (Surds)

What is the current world population? What is the diameter of an atom? What is the diameter of a galaxy? What is the wavelength of an x-ray? What is the current national federal debt? All these questions have answers that may involve either very large numbers or very small numbers. One way to accurately represent such numbers is with scientific notation. In this unit, we will study how to use scientific notation when answering questions such as those posed above. Working with very large and very small numbers involves knowing how to use powers. Because of that, it is compulsory to study the rules of exponents before explaining how to use scientific notation. In addition to that knowledge related to powers, in this unit we will have the opportunity to discover how the relation between powers and roots works.

## A compact method of writing 5 5 5 5 is 5 . The expression 5 written in exponential or index notation.

is

Exponential notation can be used to express the product of any expression that is used repeatedly as a factor.

## 1.1 Definition of Natural Number Exponents

If b is any real number and n is a natural number, then

b is a factor n times

Page 1

Examples:

## Pay close attention to the difference between

=
(the base is 5) and

## (the base is -5).

We can extend the definition of an exponent to all the integers but we have to take into account: The properties of natural number exponents, specially:

where

>

## We first deal with the case of zero as an exponent.

1.2 Definition of
For any nonzero real number

Note that if we want to extend the properties of natural number exponents to integers exponents, and to be mathematically coherent, then has to be equal to 1:

= .

2 8 = = 8 2

=2

Page 2

## Mathematics 4 ESO Option B

1.3 Definition of
If

## 0 and n is a natural number, then 222 2 = = 2222222 2

=
=2

and

This property is explained by the same reasons we have pointed out in the above section.

## If m, n are integers and a, b are real numbers, then

Product: multiplying terms with the same base. (Add the exponents on the like bases and recall = ) Quotient: Dividing terms with the same base. (Subtract the exponents on the like bases and recall = ) Power: Raising one Power to Another. (Multiply the exponents)

= = = =

Raising a Product to a Power Distribute that power through to each term in the product

Raising a Quotient to a Power Distribute that power over each term in the quotient

Page 3

## 2. Scientific Notation or Standard Index Form

2.1 Definition
miles. The wavelength of a yellow color of light is about 0.0000006 meter. Because working with many zeros is difficult, scientists developed a notation that expresses such numbers with exponents. For example, consider the distance from Earth to the sun, Often scientific problems deal with very large and very small numbers. For example, the distance from Earth to the sun is about 93,000,000

93,000,000 miles.

## 0.0000006 = 6.0 0.0000001 = 6.0 10

These numbers are written in a form called scientific notation. Each number written in scientific notation is written as a number greater than or equal to 1 and less than 10 multiplied by some power of 10. This definition can be summarized in the following formula: where 1

The following procedure is used to change a number from its decimal form to scientific notation. a) For numbers greater than 10, move the decimal point to the position to the right of the first digit. The exponent n will equal the number of places the decimal point has been moved.

< 10

= .

and

10

7, 430,000 = 7.43 10
6 places

b) For numbers less than 1, move the decimal point to the right of the first nonzero digit. The exponent n will be negative, and its absolute value will equal the number of places the decimal point has been moved. For example:

0. 0000007 8 = 7.8 10
7 places

Page 4

## 2.2 Adding and Subtracting Numbers in Scientific Notation

As a way of practicing with scientific notation we can try to add or subtract numbers without using the calculator like this:

## 2.3 Multiplying and Dividing Numbers using Scientific Notation

Bear in mind the following way of working with numbers in scientific notation.

3.5 10

= 24.5 10 = . : 6 10

7 10

= 3.5 7 10 10

3 10

= 0.5 10

= 3: 6 10 : 10 =

Page 5

## 3. Roots, Surds or Radicals

In slang, radical means something that is cool or excellent. In politics, a radical is someone who holds an extreme point of view. The Latin word radicalis means having roots. In mathematics, a radical is another word for the root of a number (for the nth root of a number). Surd refers to the same mathematical idea too. We can summarize all we know about nth roots in the following chart.

nth Roots

## There are two real nth roots

>0

81 = 3
+3 3 = 81 = 81

=
is a radical

is an even number

0 = 0
<0

## There isnt any real nth root

It is a Complex Number

81

is an odd number

32 = 2 2

32 = 2 2

= 32

= 32
Page 6

## 4. Rational Exponents and Radicals

4.1 Definition
To this point, the expression has been defined for real numbers a and integers n. Now we wish to extend the definition of exponents to include rational numbers so that expressions such as 2 will be meaningful. Not just any definition will do. We want a definition of rational exponents for which the properties of integer exponents are true. The following example shows the direction we can take to accomplish our goal.

If the property we have called Raising one Power to another for exponential expressions is to hold for rational exponents, then:

2
and

= 2 = 2

=2 =2
and

2 2
and

## These examples suggest that

= 2

=2 =2

because

= 2

Taking this into account the relation between radicals and exponents can be defined according to the following definition:

=
However, to explain situations such as the following:

2 = 2

Page 7

## Mathematics 4 ESO Option B

As we have already pointed out, we want the power property to be true for rational exponents, so we must have:

In general

= 2

=2

According to this definition, the concept of equivalent fractions can be applied to radicals, for instance:

=5

=5

## 4.2 Properties of Radicals

Because radicals are defined in terms of rational powers, the properties of radicals are similar to those of exponential expressions.

Product

Quotient

= = = =

Power

Index

In some situations, it is easier to work with radicals. In other situations, it is easier to work with rational exponents. So, it is important to be able to change from one notation into the other.

Page 8

## 4.3 Operations with Radicals

4.3.1 Adding and Subtracting Radicals To simplify the expression 3 + 5 + 2 9 , we combine like terms. The simplified expression is 8 7 . To add and subtract radical expressions, we combine like radicals. Like radicals have the same radicand and the same index. For instance: 92 32 152 = 9 3 15 2 = 92 The three addends are like radicals and when we combine like radicals, we add or subtract the coefficients. But the radicals do not change. Another example:

3 7 + 53 27 + 83 3 = 2 1 = 7 + 133 3 2

3 2 7 + 5 + 8 3 3 = 2

In this case we can only simplify the addends that are like radicals.

4.3.2 Multiplying and Dividing Radicals Before learning how to add or subtract two fractions we had to learn how to convert fractions into their equivalent so the two new fractions had the same denominator. The procedure to multiply or divide with radicals is quite similar to that one we apply to add or subtract fractions. If I want to compare or to order two radicals, the first thing I have to do is to convert these radicals into their equivalent so the two new radicals have the same index Example: Order the following radicals from greatest to least:

2,

5,

Page 9

## First we convert the radicals into their appropriate equivalent forms

Because the radicals have the same index, we can order them by comparing their radicands.

2 ,

5 ,

Finally,

## 2 <8 <5 8 <

and

2 <

2 < 8 < 5

How to multiply (or divide) radicals Case 1, If the two radicals have the same index we use the product (or quotient) property of radicals, thus:

or

7 6 = 7 6 = 42 45 9 = 45 = 5 9

Case 2, If the two radicals dont have the same indexes we first convert them into equivalent radicals with the same index. Then we use the product (or quotient) property of radicals.

42 5 7 = 20

= 20

2 7

The product property of radicals can be used to simplify radicals. The radicand of a simplified radical has no factors that are perfect roots of the index, for example:

or
IES Albayzn (Granada)

90 = 9 10 = 9 10 = 310

Page 10

## Mathematics 4 ESO Option B

We can also apply that property to add or subtract some special type of radicals. When we first look at an expression like the one in the next example,

256 =

2 =

2 2 =

2 =2

it appears that these are not like radicals and they cannot be added. However, we can simplify like this:

28 + 7

Now the radicals are like radicals, and we can add them:

28 + 7 = 4 7 + 7 = 4 7 + 7 = 27 + 7 27 + 7 = 37

## 4.4 Rationalize the Denominator

Many traditions for simplifying expressions were established to make arithmetic easier and more efficient, long before electronic calculators were invented. By tradition, simplified expressions have no common factors in the numerator and denominator and only have positive exponents. Also by tradition, simplified expressions have no radicals in the denominator. The process to change the denominator from an irrational number to a rational number is called rationalizing the denominator Why do we rationalize the denominator? It is easier to add fractions with rational denominators than it is to add fractions with irrational denominators. It is easier to divide by a rational number divisor than by an irrational number divisor

2 2

Page 11

## Mathematics 4 ESO Option B

Procedure: To rationalize the denominator of a fraction means to write the fraction in an equivalent form that does not involve any radicals in the denominator. This is accomplished by multiplying the numerator and denominator of the radical expression by an expression that will cause the radicand in the denominator to be a perfect root of the index. Case 1:

3 3

5 3 3

5 3 3

Case 2:

7 7

2 7 7

2 7 2 49 = 7 7

## Case 3: To rationalize the denominator of a fractional expression such as

we make use of the conjugate of + , which is . The product of these conjugate pairs does not involve a radical.

3 + 2 2

+ =

= =

3 + 2

3 2 3 2

23 22 = 23 22 32

Page 12

## Mathematics 4 ESO Option B s

READING
Complex Numbers =

It may seem strange to just invent new numbers, but that is how mathematics evolves. For instance, negative numbers were not an accepted part of mathematics until well into the thirteenth century. In fact, these numbers often were referred to as fictitious numbers. In the seventeenth century, Rene Descartes called square roots of negative numbers imaginary numbers, an unfortunate choice of words, and started using the letter i to , denote these numbers. These numbers were suggested to the same skepticism as negative numbers. It is important to understand that these numbers are not imaginary in the dictionary sense of the word. This misleading word is similar to the situation of negative numbers being called fictitious. If you think of a number line, then the numbers to the right of zero are positive numbers and the numbers to the left of zero are negative numbers. One way to think of an imaginary number is to visualize it as up o down from or zero.

Page 13

## Mathematics 4 ESO Option B

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

READING
The expression 10 is called googol. The term was coined (acuado) in 1938 by the 9-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner. Many calculators do not provide for numbers of this magnitude, but it is no serious loss. A googol has no particular significance in mathematics, but is useful when comparing with other very large quantities such as the number of subatomic particles in the visible universe or the number of hypothetically possible chess moves. Consider that if all the atoms in the known universe were counted (10 10 ), the number would not even be close to a googol. Edward Kasner used it to illustrate the difference between an unimaginably large number and infinity and in this role it is sometimes used in teaching mathematics. If a googol is too small for you, try 10 As final notes: The name of the Internet site Google.com is a takeoff (parodia) on the world googol. In The Simpsons, the family sometimes sees a movie at the "Springfield Googolplex" theatres, a humorous reference to multiplex, megaplex, and the general trend towards theatres with more screens (each of which is often smaller). A generation later of its invention, googol has been popularized enough to be able to reach audiences of the widely-distributed Peanuts comic strip in which Schroeder estimates Lucy's odds (probabilidad) of eventually marrying him as "Oh, I'd say about 'googol' to one": , which is called a googolplex.
10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Page 14

## Mathematics 4 ESO Option B

BIBLIOGRAPHY

This Unit has been developed using different materials selected from the following bibliographic sources:

Laura J. Bracken and Edward S. Miller, Elementary Algebra, (Belmont: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning)

## AAVV, College Algebra and Trigonometry, Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, 2008)

(Belmont:

AAVV, A Survey of Mathematics with Applications, Eighth Edition (Pearson Education, 2009)

Page 15