When I was in high school, I never did figure out what logarithms were all about. (I must have been sick that week!) But in my first year of university math and physics courses, I discovered that I needed to know what they were, and how they worked. So I went off to the library, found an old high school math textbook, and taught myself all about them. I discovered that they weren't that strange at all! The word 'logarithm' looked intimidating, but in fact it was really just a new name for something I already knew all about!Here's what a logarithm is. The word 'logarithm' just means 'exponent', or 'power'. That's all!Here's a logarithm: This just means: 'What power of 10 is 100?' Easy, right? You can even work it out in your head ... it's 2. How about if I asked you: 'What power of 2 is 8?' Hopefully, you'd immediately reply, '3'.Here's the logarithm that says this: 'What power of 2 is 8? It's 3'Before we go any further, it's important that you know some powers. Your Math 9 teacher probably suggested you memorize a bunch of them. Here's the list you should know. Here's another logarithm example: 'What power of 2 is 32?' The answer is of course '5' because 2^{5} = 32.Here's the logarithmic statement that says the same thing: 'What power of 2 is 32? It's 5'This time you try one. What does this mean? |