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Would someone please help me with some basic algebra?

  1. Jun 29, 2004 #1
    How would I simplify this equation? (3a^3)^-3(9a^-1)^-2
    When I put those carrots in that means the next number is an exponent. Is there any easier way to write exponents?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2004 #2
    How would I simplify this one: (2a^-1)^-2(2a^-1)^4
  4. Jun 29, 2004 #3
    Would the simplified expression of the second equation be 4/a ?
  5. Jun 29, 2004 #4
    Carrot :biggrin: That's "caret", btw :wink:

    Anyway, "distribute" some of the exponents. For example, [tex](2a^{-1})^{-2} = 2^{-2} \cdot a^{(-1)(-2)} = \frac{1}{2^2} \cdot a^2 = a^2/4 [/tex]. Then do the same for the other paranthesis, multiply them together, etc.

    The last one is almost 4/a, it's 4/a^2...
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2004
  6. Jun 29, 2004 #5


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    As far as "(2a^-1)-2(2a^-1)4" is concerned, there is a general formula: axay= ax+y.

    (Edit: replaced x*y with x+y!)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2004
  7. Jun 29, 2004 #6


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    You can use LaTeX typesetting. Refer to this thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=8997

    Also, you can click on the expressions that Muzza typed out to see how he did it.
  8. Jun 29, 2004 #7
    you mean axay= ax+y
  9. Jun 29, 2004 #8
    ah nice hello. I thought that I was the only one that caught that. That would be sad. Thanks guys, this really helps, sorry if I bore you all with these simple problems, but i have to start somewhere.
  10. Jun 30, 2004 #9


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    Do you perhaps mean (ax)y = ax*y?
  11. Jun 30, 2004 #10


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    Yes, I just corrected it!
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