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Math Help - Growth and Decay question

  1. #1
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    Growth and Decay question

    There's this problem I have to do for calc, and I'm having a hard time getting it started.

    The number of bacteria in a culture is increasing according to the law of exponential growth. There are 125 bacteria in the culture after 2 hours and 350 bacteria after 4 hours.

    A) Find the initial population



    We've only done problems where the initial population has been given to us. Could someone explain how to find it?

    Thanks, Jeff
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  2. #2
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    Hi,

    Since we're modeling the number of bacteria, y, at time, t, according to the law of exponential growth;

    y=Ae^{kt}

    Where A is a constant representing the initial number of bacteria.

    From the question;

    125=Ae^{2k}

    350=Ae^{4k}
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  3. #3
    Senior Member apcalculus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTG2003 View Post
    There's this problem I have to do for calc, and I'm having a hard time getting it started.

    The number of bacteria in a culture is increasing according to the law of exponential growth. There are 125 bacteria in the culture after 2 hours and 350 bacteria after 4 hours.

    A) Find the initial population


    We've only done problems where the initial population has been given to us. Could someone explain how to find it?

    Thanks, Jeff
    The model fits the equation y = A B^t

    where A= initial population, y is population at time t. We're given two conditions:

    125 = A B^2 at t=2 hours
    350 = A B^4 at t=4 hours

    Divide side by side the second equation by the first:

    2.8 = B^2
    B = 1.67332005

    Plug this value into one of the conditions above to find A.

    Good luck!!
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by apcalculus View Post
    The model fits the equation y = A B^t

    where A= initial population, y is population at time t. We're given two conditions:

    125 = A B^2 at t=2 hours
    350 = A B^4 at t=4 hours

    Divide side by side the second equation by the first:

    2.8 = B^2
    B = 1.67332005

    Plug this value into one of the conditions above to find A.

    Good luck!!

    I appreciate the reply. I'm a little confused about what you mean by

    "Divide side by side the second equation by the first:"

    .. I just don't see what you did to get from those 2 equations to the next line
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  5. #5
    Senior Member apcalculus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTG2003 View Post
    I appreciate the reply. I'm a little confused about what you mean by

    "Divide side by side the second equation by the first:"

    .. I just don't see what you did to get from those 2 equations to the next line
    350 by 125 gives 2.8
    ab^4 by ab^2 gives b^2 since a (the initial population) is nonzero.
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