**In This Chapter**

Discovering exponents and bases

Performing basic exponent math — addition and subtraction

Considering three ways of calculating a square root

Mathematics has two mysteries that don't deserve that status: exponents and square roots. Knowing the concepts is important because then the mystery disappears. Life is challenging enough without having a long list of mystery items.

*Exponentiation* is a mathematics word that means "applying an exponent to a base" or "raising a number to a power." Using a few small numbers as exponents to generate large and useful numbers may seem mysterious, but it's not so hard. The *square root* of a number is another number that when multiplied by itself yields the original number. The mystery here is that there doesn't seem to be any obvious way to intuitively find square roots.

It's not as though you never use exponents or square roots in your work. Exponents and square roots are often just disguised or used limitedly. Practical use of exponents is the world of square and cubic measure, laboratory work (using metric units), and information technology. The practical world of square roots is very narrow and includes finding the radius of a circle or the edge length of square areas.

In this chapter, you see the way exponents work and review their most useful applications. You also discover the simple shortcuts in exponent math. The bonus part is that you see three ways to calculate a square root.

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