Nested Negative Exponents
Date: 8/2/96 at 1:58:23 From: Alfred T Chu Subject: Negative Exponents Dear Dr. Math, Please simplify each expression and write it in a form containing only positive exponents. -2 -1 -1 [(-5) + 3 ] Thanks! I hope you understand this problem and how I typed it. Sincerely, Alfred
Date: 8/6/96 at 10:56:53 From: Doctor Jerry Subject: Re: Negative Exponents Dear Alfred, I will use the notation a^b for a raised to the power b. This is easier for typing and is best for e-mail messages, in which spacing can be changed without notice. In this notation, your question is v = ((-5)^(-2) + 3^(-1))^(-1). Do the outer exponent first. I'll use the fact that a^(-1) = 1/a. This gives v = 1/((-5)^(-2)+3^(-1)). Next, I'll look at the pieces. First, (-5)^(-2)=1/(-5)^2 = 1/25. Secondly, 3^(-1) = 1/3. So, v= 1/(1/25+1/3) = 75/28. The main rule I used was a^(-1) = 1/a, to get rid of the negative exponents. Good luck. -Doctor Jerry, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.