Introduction to Applying Exponent Rules

A common language is needed in order to communicate mathematical ideas clearly and efficiently. Exponential notation was developed to write repeated multiplication more efficiently. For example, growth occurs in living organisms by the division of cells. One type of cell divides [latex]2[/latex] times in an hour. So in [latex]12[/latex] hours, the cell will divide [latex]2\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}\cdot{2}[/latex] times. This can be written more efficiently as [latex]2^{12}[/latex]. In this section we will learn how to simplify and perform mathematical operations such as multiplication and division on terms that have exponents. We will also learn how to use scientific notation to represent very large or very small numbers, and perform mathematical operations on them.