Date: May 10, 1995 9:48 AM
Subject: positive exponents

Hi!  I'm new to the list for the second time and alreasy have a question for
you knowledgeable folks.

I am teaching an introductory algebra class at my institution. Yesterday,
one of my students asked me why we eliminate negative exponents. I gave him
my pitiful explanation (convention, looks neater, makes substituting numerical
values easier, etc.) but said I would look into who came up with this great
idea. I've looked in my books and can't find anything- I'm looking for
something that says "so and so group of people thought this was a good idea"

Any information that any one person can share with me would be appreciated.
Obviously, e-mail me and I will post a summary.


Kim Fath Saint Xavier University Student Success Program
Learning Assistance Services