Exponential notation is a short way of writing the same number multiplied by itself many times. This is very useful in everyday life. You may have heard someone describe the size of an area in square metres or square kilometres. For example, the largest radio telescope in the world is being built in South Africa. The telescope is called the square kilometre array, or SKA. This is because the telescope will occupy an area of 11 kilometre by 11 kilometre or 11 kilometre squared.
Exponents are also very useful to describe very large and very small numbers. For example, the SKA will be detecting incredibly weak signals from objects which are so far away that to write out the strength of the signal or the number of kilometres away in full would be impractical. Outside of astronomy, exponents are used by many other professions such as computer programmers, engineers, economists, financial analysts, biologists and demographers.
You have already been introduced to exponents and exponent laws in previous grades. Remember that exponents can also be called indices or powers. Exponential notation is as follows:
For any real number a and natural number n, we can write a multiplied by itself n times as: a^n
In conclusion, we should now be able to identify know the difference between EXPONENT IDENTITIES, EXPONENT LAWS, RATIONAL EXPONENTS & EXPONANTIAL EQUATIONS.
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