
#1
Dec2912, 04:39 PM

P: 3

Quick math question: Why does 1/(x^4) = 4^4 simplify to 1/x = 4?




#2
Dec2912, 04:41 PM

Mentor
P: 16,543

It doesn't. It simplifies to
[tex]1/x=4~\text{or}~1/x=4[/tex] (assuming x is a real number) 



#3
Dec2912, 04:51 PM

P: 3

I don't understand why the exponents are disregarded.




#4
Dec2912, 05:03 PM

P: 771

1/(x^4) = 4^4 simplifies to 1/x = 4 



#5
Dec2912, 05:05 PM

HW Helper
P: 2,692

[itex]\frac{1}{x^4}=(\frac{1}{x})^4[/itex]
[itex]\sqrt{(\frac{1}{x})^4}=\pm(\frac{1}{x})^2 [/itex] [itex]\sqrt{(\frac{1}{x})^2}=\pm\frac{1}{x} [/itex] 



#6
Dec2912, 05:08 PM

HW Helper
P: 2,692





#7
Dec2912, 05:08 PM

P: 3





#8
Dec2912, 05:26 PM

Sci Advisor
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P: 11,863





#9
Dec2912, 11:24 PM

HW Helper
P: 2,692





#10
Dec3012, 08:41 AM

PF Gold
P: 1,930

Are we assuming x is real here? Because there's two other possibilities for x that yield the same answer.




#12
Dec3012, 02:54 PM

Sci Advisor
HW Helper
P: 11,863

And even better:
[tex] x^{4} = \left(\frac{1}{4}\right)^{4} [/tex] 


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