Letters in expressions and formulas

by Grog85
Tags: expressions, formulas, letters
Grog85 is offline
Feb5-14, 08:21 AM
P: 2
Hello, first post for me so I am sorry if this is in the wrong topic.

I'm am from the UK studying A-Level Physics.

I understand some formulas but this is testing me. Before I message my tutor I thought I would try here. Looks like a very useful website.

Letters in expressions and formulas.

v2 = u2 + 2as

I normally understand maths when I know the rules.

2 5 is written as 2 5 or 10
2 a is written as 2a
a b is written as ab

I don't seem to understand this and I can't seem to find helpful information and I will not skip the page.

Sorry if this is in the wrong topic and thank you for your help.
Phys.Org News Partner Mathematics news on Phys.org
Researchers help Boston Marathon organizers plan for 2014 race
'Math detective' analyzes odds for suspicious lottery wins
Pseudo-mathematics and financial charlatanism
DrClaude is offline
Feb5-14, 08:30 AM
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
DrClaude's Avatar
P: 1,111
Quote Quote by Grog85 View Post
v2 = u2 + 2as
Do you mean ##u^2## and ##v^2##, with the 2 small and high? In that case, it is called an exponent and, in the present case, means "squared":
u^2 = u \times u
v^5 = v \times v \times v \times v \times v
You can have a look at Wikipedia for what it means when the exponent is not a positive integer.
Mentallic is offline
Feb5-14, 08:32 AM
HW Helper
P: 3,436
Multiplication is used so much in maths that it's simply much easier to get rid of the [itex]\times[/itex] symbol. This also meant that the letter [itex]x[/itex] could be used as a variable (and it's used a lot) without running into problems of ambiguity between it being a variable or a multiplication symbol.

Whenever you have a situation like [itex]2\times 5[/itex] then you're expected to evaluate that to 10, while [itex]2\times a=2a[/itex] cannot be simplified further so it's ok to leave as it is.

Other than that, I don't see what's so confusing about the notation.

Grog85 is offline
Feb5-14, 08:41 AM
P: 2

Letters in expressions and formulas

Quote Quote by DrClaude View Post
Do you mean ##u^2## and ##v^2##, with the 2 small and high? In that case, it is called an exponent and, in the present case, means "squared":
Yes, small 2 above the u.

Thank you for your help. I'll see how I get on.
SteamKing is offline
Feb5-14, 09:22 AM
HW Helper
P: 5,554
You must have missed a couple of days in algebra class.
Mark44 is offline
Feb5-14, 12:07 PM
P: 21,032
Grog85, if you're going to be studying physics, you'll need to get the algebra difficulties squared away first.
PeroK is offline
Feb5-14, 12:15 PM
P: 334
Grog85, there a site here that covers all the A-level maths topics:


Register to reply

Related Discussions
redox reaction formulas or corrosion formulas? Chemistry 3
Calculate the numbers of ways to arrange 6 letters out of 7 letters of Precalculus Mathematics Homework 2
Flipped letters General Discussion 1
How many permutation of six letters, a,b,c,d,e,f i got the answer for 5 letters.urnt Calculus & Beyond Homework 2
Letters of rec Academic Guidance 2