Questions about exponentiation, the operation of raising a base $b$ to an exponent $a$ to give $b^a$.

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164
votes
22answers
13k views

Zero to the zero power - Is $0^0=1$?

Could someone provide me with good explanation of why $0^0 = 1$? My train of thought: $x > 0$ $0^x = 0^{x-0} = 0^x/0^0$, so $0^0 = 0^x/0^x = ?$ Possible answers: $0^0 * 0^x = 1 * 0^x$, so ...
115
votes
9answers
5k views

What does $2^x$ really mean when $x$ is not an integer?

We all know that $2^5$ means $2\times 2\times 2\times 2\times 2 = 32$, but what does $2^\pi$ mean? How is it possible to calculate that without using a calculator? I am really curious about this, so ...
114
votes
3answers
9k views

Is 2048 the highest power of 2 with all even digits (base ten)?

I have a friend who turned 32 recently. She has an obsessive compulsive disdain for odd numbers, so I pointed out that being 32 was pretty good since not only is it even, it also has no odd factors. ...
74
votes
5answers
3k views

Root Calculation by Hand

Is it possible to calculate and find the solution of $ \; \large{105^{1/5}} \; $ without using a calculator? Could someone show me how to do that, please? Well, when I use a Casio scientific ...
71
votes
4answers
2k views

Complexity class of comparison of power towers

Consider the following decision problem: given two lists of positive integers $a_1, a_2, \dots, a_n$ and $b_1, b_2, \dots, b_m$ the task is to decide if $a_1^{a_2^{\cdot^{\cdot^{\cdot^{a_n}}}}} < ...
59
votes
4answers
4k views

Are the solutions of $x^{x^{x^{x^{\cdot^{{\cdot}^{\cdot}}}}}}=2$ correct?

Problem: Find $x$ in $$\large x^{x^{x^{x^{ \cdot^{{\cdot}^{\cdot}} }}}}=2$$ Trick: $x^{x^{x^{x^{\cdot^{{\cdot}^{\cdot}}}}}}=2$, so, $x^{(x^{x^{x^{\cdot^{{\cdot}^{\cdot}}}}})}=x^2=2$, and, ...
50
votes
4answers
2k views

A new imaginary number? $x^c = -x$

Being young, I don't have much experience with imaginary numbers outside of the basic usages of $i$. As I was sitting in my high school math class doing logs, I had an idea of something that would ...
50
votes
6answers
4k views

$x^y = y^x$ for integers $x$ and $y$

We know that $2^4 = 4^2$ and $(-2)^{-4} = (-4)^{-2}$. Is there another pair of integers $x, y$ ($x\neq y$) which satisfies the equality $x^y = y^x$?
49
votes
2answers
2k views

Fastest way to check if $x^y > y^x$?

What is the fastest way to check if $x^y > y^x$ if I were writing a computer program to do that? The issue is that $x$ and $y$ can be very large.
46
votes
10answers
3k views

What is exponentiation?

Is there an intuitive definition of exponentiation? In elementary school, we learned that $$ a^b = a \cdot a \cdot a \cdot a \cdots (b\ \textrm{ times}) $$ where $b$ is an integer. Then later on ...
43
votes
11answers
7k views

What exactly IS a square root?

It's come to my attention that I don't actually understand what a square root really is (the operation). The only way I know of to take square roots (or nth root, for that matter) it to know the ...
40
votes
15answers
4k views

Which is larger? $20!$ or $2^{40}$?

Someone asked me this question, and it bothers the hell out of me that I can't prove either way. I've sort of come to the conclusion that 20! must be larger, because it has 36 prime factors, some of ...
34
votes
11answers
4k views

How is $e^x$ read aloud?

My current research colleague from New Castle told me that I was reading it wrong. I usually read it as e power x. How do you read aloud $e ^ x$? Is it: e raised to x e power x e powered x or e ...
34
votes
1answer
599 views

Arranging numbers from $1$ to $n$ such that the sum of every two adjacent numbers is a perfect power

I've known that one can arrange all the numbers from $1$ to $\color{red}{15}$ in a row such that the sum of every two adjacent numbers is a perfect square. $$8,1,15,10,6,3,13,12,4,5,11,14,2,7,9$$ ...
33
votes
10answers
3k views

If both $a,b>0$, then $a^ab^b \ge a^bb^a$

Prove that $a^a \ b^b \ge a^b \ b^a$, if both $a$ and $b$ are positive.
33
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the value of $1^i$?

What is the value of $1^i$? $\,$
32
votes
3answers
8k views

Can you raise a number to an irrational exponent?

The way that I was taught it in 8th grade algebra, a number raised to a fractional exponent, i.e. $a^\frac x y$ is equivalent to the denominatorth root of the number raised to the numerator, i.e. ...
30
votes
1answer
627 views

How do I calculate the 2nd term of continued fraction for the power tower ${^5}e=e^{e^{e^{e^{e}}}}$

I need to find the 2nd term of continued fraction for the power tower ${^5}e=e^{e^{e^{e^{e}}}}$ ( i.e. $\lfloor\{e^{e^{e^{e^{e}}}}\}^{-1}\rfloor$), or even higher towers. The number is too big to ...
30
votes
4answers
644 views

What is the *middle* digit of $3^{100000}$?

The decimal representation of $3^{100000}$ has $47713$ digits. What is the $23857^{th}$ digit - i.e. the one in the $10^{23856}$'s place? There are lots of questions on this site asking for the ...
29
votes
14answers
2k views

How do I understand $e^i$ which is so common?

Raising something to an imaginary number is weird, I have a hard time wrapping my head around that. And e seems even more common and comes up in many situations, such as: the non-geometric ...
27
votes
1answer
394 views

Iterated exponent of $i$

WolframAlpha seems to tell me that $e^{e^{e^{e^{e^{e^{e^{e^{e^{e^{e^i}}}}}}}}}} = 1$, see link. Is this just an error or is it for real? Adding one more $e$ to the bottom of the tower gives me the ...
26
votes
2answers
356 views

Generalisation of $(n+3)^2-(n+2)^2-(n+1)^2+n^2=4$

After seeing the neat little identity $(n+3)^2-(n+2)^2-(n+1)^2+n^2=4$ somewhere on MSE, I tried generalising this to higher consecutive powers in the form $\sum_{k=0}^a\epsilon_k(n+k)^p=C$, where $C$ ...
25
votes
10answers
3k views

What is the accepted syntax for a negative number with an exponent?

A friend is taking a college algebra class and they are teaching him that $$-3^2 = -9$$ Their explanation is: $$-3^2 = -(3^2) = -9.$$ It has been a long time for me but I thought that in the ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do we need to prove $e^{u+v} = e^ue^v$?

In this book I'm using the author seems to feel a need to prove $e^{u+v} = e^ue^v$ By $\ln(e^{u+v}) = u + v = \ln(e^u) + \ln(e^v) = \ln(e^u e^v)$ Hence $e^{u+v} = e^u e^v$ But we know from basic ...
23
votes
8answers
2k views

How does the exponent of a function effect the result?

The $x^{2/2}$ can be represented by these ways: $$\begin{align} x^{2\over2}=\sqrt{x^2} = |x|\\ \end{align} $$ And $$\begin{align} x^{2\over2}=x^{1} = x\\ \end{align} $$ Which one is correct? And what ...
23
votes
9answers
1k views

Why is $x^0 = 1$ except when $x = 0$?

Why is any number (other than zero) to the power of zero equal to one? Please include in your answer an explanation of why $0^0$ should be undefined.
22
votes
7answers
3k views

Is $\exp(x)$ the same as $e^x$?

For homework I have to find the derivative of $\text {exp}(6x^5+4x^3)$ but I am not sure if this is equivalent to $e^{6x^5+4x^3}$ If there is a difference, what do I do to calculate the derivative of ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Rational number to the power of irrational number = irrational number. True?

I suggested the following problem to my friend: prove that there exist irrational numbers $a$ and $b$ such that $a^b$ is rational. The problem seems to have been discussed in this question. Now, his ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Infinite tetration, convergence radius

I got this problem from my teacher as a optional challenge. I am open about this being a given problem, however it is not homework. The problem is stated as follows. Assume we have an infinite ...
21
votes
12answers
2k views

Alternative notation for exponents, logs and roots?

If we have $$ x^y = z $$ then we know that $$ \sqrt[y]{z} = x $$ and $$ \log_x{z} = y .$$ As a visually-oriented person I have often been dismayed that the symbols for these three operators ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

Fun logarithm question

How would you go about solving $x^{2^{x}} = 2^{x}$? There should be a solution $1<x<2$, but I haven't found a way to derive the answer using the usual log laws, maybe there is an elegant way ...
19
votes
18answers
2k views

How to understand why $x^0 = 1$, where $x$ is any real number?

Alright, so the idea of an exponent, $x$, is that you are multiplying its base by itself $x$ number of times. With base $5$ and $x=3$, we have that $5^3$ = $5 \cdot 5 \cdot 5$ I understand that the ...
19
votes
12answers
670 views

Which is greater, $98^{99} $ or $ 99^{98}$?

Which is greater, $98^{99} $ or $ 99^{98}$? What is the easiest method to do this which can be explained to someone in junior school i.e. without using log tables. I don't think there is an ...
19
votes
7answers
33k views

How to calculate a decimal power of a number

I wish to calculate a power like $$2.14 ^ {2.14}$$ When I ask my calculator to do it, I just get an answer, but I want to see the calculation. So my question is, how to calculate this with a pen, ...
18
votes
7answers
1k views

Simple proof that $8\left(\frac{9}{10}\right)^8 > 1$

This question is motivated by a step in the proof given here. $\begin{align*} 8^{n+1}-1&\gt 8(8^n-1)\gt 8n^8\\ &=(n+1)^8\left(8\left(\frac{n}{n+1}\right)^8\right)\\ &\geq ...
18
votes
4answers
334 views

Find the smallest k such that $n^k > \sum_{i=0}^{n-1} i^k$

Let $n \in \mathbb{N}$. Is it possible to find the smallest $k \in \mathbb{N}$ such that $$n^k > \sum_{i=1}^{n-1} i^k \ ?$$ It's easy to prove that such $k$ exist because: $$n^k > 1^k + 2^k ...
17
votes
6answers
8k views

What's the inverse operation of exponents?

You know, like addition is the inverse operation of subtraction, vice versa, multiplication is the inverse of division, vice versa , square is the inverse of square root, vice versa. What's the ...
17
votes
5answers
988 views

Do equal bases imply equal powers?

$$x^a = x^b \Rightarrow a =b$$ So, this is a concept I used in multiple math problems and they often turn out right. The thing is, today my math teacher told me that this is not necessarily true. ...
17
votes
1answer
968 views

Can you raise $\pi$ to a real power to make it rational?

We're all familair with this beautiful proof whether or not an irrational number to an irrational power can be rational. It goes something like this: Take $(\sqrt{2})^{\sqrt{2}}$ If it's rational, ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

Approximation of $e^{-x}$

Is there a method to mentally evaluate $e^{-x}$ for $x>0$? Just to have an idea when computing probabilities or anything that is an exponential function of some parameters.
17
votes
6answers
1k views

$5^{x}+2^{y}=2^{x}+5^{y} =\frac{7}{10}$ Work out the values of $\frac{1}{x+y}$

$5^{x}+2^{y}=2^{x}+5^{y} =\frac{7}{10}$ Work out the values of $\frac{1}{x+y}$
16
votes
6answers
4k views

A question comparing $\pi^e$ to $e^\pi$ [duplicate]

I was doing an algebra problem set following a chapter on logarithms and exponentiation, and it presented this "bonus question": Without using your calculator, determine which is larger: $e^\pi$ ...
16
votes
2answers
444 views

Prove that for any nonnegative integer n the number $5^{5^{n+1}} + 5^{5 ^n} + 1$ is not prime

My math teacher gave us problems to work on proofs, but this problem has been driving me crazy. I tried to factor or find patterns in the numbers and all I can come up with is that for $n > 0$, the ...
16
votes
2answers
260 views

$2^x - a$ touches $\log_2(x)$

I was playing around with the functions $2^x$ and $\log_2(x)$. As they are the inversions of each other, I thought there was a simple number $a$ for which $2^x - a$ touches $\log_2(x)$. Using ...
15
votes
9answers
2k views

How to determine without calculator which is bigger, $\left(\frac{1}{2}\right)^{\frac{1}{3}}$ or $\left(\frac{1}{3}\right)^{\frac{1}{2}}$

How can you determine which one of these numbers is bigger (without calculating): $\left(\frac{1}{2}\right)^{\frac{1}{3}}$ , $\left(\frac{1}{3}\right)^{\frac{1}{2}}$
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How to solve equations to the fourth power?

Is it possible to manually retrieve the value of $y$ from the following equation $$153y^2-y^4=1296$$ WolframAlpha has four solutions for $y$: $-12, -3, 3, 12$. How has it solved? What I've achieved ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

$\sin(A)$, where $A$ is a matrix

If $A$ is an $n\times n$ matrix with elements $a_{ij}$ $i=$i'th row, $j=$j'th column. Then $e^A$ is also a matrix as can be seen by expanding it in a power series.Is $e^A$ always convergent and ...
15
votes
3answers
340 views

How can I prove $\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}…}}}}=2$ [duplicate]

How can I prove $$\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}...}}}}=2$$ I don't know which method can be used for this?
15
votes
1answer
310 views

Prove that $(p+q)^m \leq p^m+q^m$

If $p,q$ are positive quantities and $0 \leq m\leq 1$ then Prove that $$(p+q)^m \leq p^m+q^m$$ Trial: For $m=0$, $(p+q)^0=1 < 2= p^0+q^0$ and for $m=1$, $(p+q)^1=p+q =p^1+q^1$. So, For ...
15
votes
1answer
673 views

How to prove $\sum\limits_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{\sin n}n=\frac{\pi-1}{2}$

One of my classmates challenged me to solve $\displaystyle\sum\limits_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{\sin n}n=\;?$ With a simple c program I found that $\displaystyle\sum\limits_{n=1}^{1048576}\frac{\sin ...