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Math Help - [SOLVED] how do I do exponents that are negative decimals?

  1. #1
    Meghiddo
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    [SOLVED] how do I do exponents that are negative decimals?

    such as q = 5^-.5

    If I were allowed to use a calculator with the y^x key I'd be fine but only standard calculators or pen/paper for the test (managerial economics). so if someone could show me how to do this on paper or just by using a standard calculator that would be great. thanks
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  2. #2
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    earboth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meghiddo View Post
    such as q = 5^-.5

    If I were allowed to use a calculator with the y^x key I'd be fine but only standard calculators or pen/paper for the test (managerial economics). so if someone could show me how to do this on paper or just by using a standard calculator that would be great. thanks
    You are supposed to know a few rules and laws concerning calculations of powers:

    a^{-n} = \frac1{a^n} that means the negative sign of an exponent can be translated into a fraction with the numerator 1.

    a^{\frac1n} = \sqrt[n]{a} that means a fraction as exponent can be translated into a root. (Jhevon published recently a very impressive image about the (flower)power and it's root. Search for it)

    Your problem becomes:

    5^{-\frac12} = \frac1{5^{\frac12}} = \frac1{\sqrt{5}}


    EDIT: I'm not quite certain but maybe this is the thread: http://www.mathhelpforum.com/math-he...t=flower+power
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