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Math Help - Not a real number

  1. #1
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    Not a real number

    (-1/36)^-1/4 The answer section is saying that this is not a real number. The -1/4 is an exponent.

    First off I'd like to make sure I have the question correct.
    (-1/36)^-1/4 is asking me for the quotient of one and the negative quotient of the fourth root's of 1 and 36. Which ends up as the quotient of -(36^1/4) and -(1^1/4).
    Secondly, although i understand that this is not a real number, I am confused by the vague definition. If it isnt a real number what is it?
    Last edited by bkbowser; November 2nd 2009 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Sorry for the poor formating. I still haven't quite figured out how to construct equations with html.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkbowser View Post
    (-1/36)^-1/4 The answer section is saying that this is not a real number. The -1/4 is an exponent.

    First off I'd like to make sure I have the question correct.
    (-1/36)^-1/4 is asking me for the quotient of one and the negative quotient of the fourth root's of 1 and 36. Which ends up as the quotient of -(36^1/4) and -(1^1/4).
    Secondly, although i understand that this is not a real number, I am confused by the vague definition. If it isnt a real number what is it?

    It's a complex number, just like any other even root of any negative real number (but NOT only these, of course):

    \left(-\frac{1}{36}\right)^{-1/4}=\left(-36\right)^{1/4}= \sqrt[4] {-36} =\sqrt{-6}

    Tonio
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