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Denise.
Newbie

Joined: 24 Nov 2006
Posts: 3

 Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject: Solving equations, and exponents. I know this is a newb question, but is it possible to solve equations using this program? If so, how? For example, take -5(5-1), and the answer would be -25+5. And is there an exponent function? Every time when I'm on the computer, and using exponents, I have to use ^3 which reads "cubed" or "to the third power." Is there an exponent function? If there is, could you tell me how to use it? If not, then it's OK.
David
Super User

Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 5668

 Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 4:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Solving equations, and exponents. In a word, "No." Longer explanation: The editor allows you to write stuff, not solve it. In fact, not even high power symbolic math programs will do that. They will write bigger and better formulas, and give instant answers to complex calculations, but will not show the steps. For that you need the calculator contained in your skull. No offense intended there, just plain fact. There is an EXP() function and calculator capability in the spreadsheet. David.
micha137
Power User

Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 65
Location: Wedel

 Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 10:59 pm    Post subject: Hi David and Denise, I would like to make a comment on the "high power symbolic computation programs". In fact they can show you the steps of your calculations. In fact somewhere else in this forum I found a hint on the program maxima, which is open source and can be downloaded at sourceforge net. If you let it solve differential equations e.g. you can ask for the method it used and it will show you. In algebraic manipulations you can influence alsmost every aspect of how to group, resolve to whatever depth or order the result. However that needs a lot of practice and this animal is harder to ride than a spreadsheet. I am teaching physics and just a week ago began to use use maxima for solving problems and am pretty enthusiastic about it. In order to produce e.g. a demo solution for class tests, however, I still couldnīt find any better way than to use maxima to solve the math and first insert the calculation per copy and paste of the text editor into the openoffice document. Unfortunately this converts the nicely set math print into an ugly but readable text formula (putting everything in a single line and using * ^ / and the like as operators). Then I use OoMath as formula editor - typing everything anew using the text formula as rememberance aid- to produce nicely set formulas from that. Sounds complicated but works better than it sounds Have fun with math micha137_________________kind regards Michael Anders
David
Super User

Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 5668

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject:

 micha137 wrote: If you let it solve differential equations e.g. you can ask for the method it used and it will show you. Have fun with math micha137

Sigh. If only it was that simple. I could have handed out a computer program and had longer lunch hours. The initial query was a long way from systems of differential equations, and I'll grant that the computer was invented initially, along with some numerical methods, for solving that sort of problem to eliminate drudgery, or otehrwise impossible timelines. Here we're talking about showing the steps in an algebraic computation as taught in schools. It's not totally impossible, but it's just not the best way to learn.

I surely agree with the last bit. It has to be fun. It also has to have at the end, "I did that!"

David.
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